Review: Anime Expo 2016
For so long I looked on with with envy as friends flocked every summer to the exotic and foreign lands of California for Anime Expo, the nation’s most prominent Anime convention. As we, The Geek Lyfe, grows we are getting accepted to various convention as press which makes traveling easier. This year I promised myself that hell or high water I would go to Anime Expo and cover it. Despite dropping money for my crew, I still applied for a pass and was actually approved!
Here is my review for Anime Expo:
Before I begin, I should inform you that the only convention center I have ever attended in California was the Los Angeles Convention Center for both Wonder Con and Anime Expo. Due to the fact that I have never been to San Diego Convention Center, I can only compare the location to my own past experiences.
As I said before, Anime Expo was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It’s a large facility with multiple halls built to hold whatever event is going on. For this event the western hall was reserved for Entertainment, Cosplay, Gaming, and Concerts. Traveling to the south hall brought you to the vendor hall and the Artist Alley. Personally, I was a fan of their set up because it gave various aspects of the convention it’s own space to breathe.
Despite the massive number of unique attendees which is reported being 100,420, there was enough space most of the time to move around. Things did get packed in the vendor hall on it’s Saturday and Sunday rush but you could easily slip through the crowd without much trouble if needed. For the Artist Alley, it was almost impossible to make your way through without shoving others in front of you. This is surprising since the convention center featured 40% more space than the last few years.
Anime Expo was packed full of events ranging from fashion shows, masquerades, live performances, panels, and so much more. A world first occurred at Anime Expo with their Anisong World Matsuri event! Big name YouTubers like Dodger and Happilee erin hosted panels talking about themselves as YouTubers and their love for Anime. Blue Excorist not only announced a next season but also held a gathering in honor of the fandom. Director Makoto Shinkai displayed the world premier of “Your Name” a film that was finished just before Anime Expo. As if that was not enough, guests had the chance to view first look clips from Season 2 of FLCL.
Needless to say, there was something for everyone at Anime Expo. If regular Anime and Video Game updates did not interest you, there were a number of more adult events to attend such as the Cosplay Deviant party or panels on Hentai.
The cosplay at Anime Expo was insane. Cosplayers from far and wide came to show off their best costumes during the holiday weekend and show off they did! Both indie cosplayers and big name ones like Momokun, Commander Holly, and D-Piddy came and had a blast with fans as regular attendees. For those cosplayers who were headlining, Vampy Bit Me, Kiba the Cosplay Corgi, Stella Chu, Dustbunny and others had a booth in the cosplay senpai area.
One of my favorite aspects was actually D-Piddy’s convention video of Snorlax waddling around.
Aside from the bigger cosplayers, indies like Heartless Aquarius, Natalie Arvizu, Lunar Lyn and others walked the floor in their outfits, gaining attention for their latest creations like Natalie’s Sly Cooper and Heartless’ Leafeon costume. While the bigger named cosplayers are always entertaining, the indies are always rare gems as they bring high quality cosplays but are not so popular that they don’t have time to sit and chat with fans! I was able to meet up with most of them and had a blast getting to hang out casually.
The staff of Anime Expo was incredibly kind to attendees while they waited in huge lines for registration and assisted with peace bonding. They even passed out bottles of water to those waiting to help ward off heat exhaustion, which is incredibly kind of them!
While they did enforce their peace bonding policies strictly, they tried their best to be kind about it. I know many were frustrated by how harsh some judgement calls were but after the recent tragic incidents in our country, it’s understandable why they chose to increase security. I personally have no problem waiting in line for bag checks and peace bonding!
Whenever I was lost or had an issue, the staff were always there to help out in any way they could. I didn’t have a single bad experience with staff personally and I have to give them a ton of respect for being so hardworking!
The guest list for Anime Expo was intense to say the least! If you were into music, DJ Heavygrinder and Dempagumi.INC were there for you. Can’t get enough of voice actresses? Then Chika Anzai, Cherami Leigh, and Amanda Miller were right around the corner. Love your YouTubers? Dodger, Happilee erin, and Octopimp were running around getting into shenanigans.
These are just a small portion of the massive amount of folks on their guest list. I was blown away by just how many incredible people came out to Anime Expo as both guests and regular attendees. It never mattered what time of day it was, there was always someone amazing doing something within walking distance from you. Whoever coordinated their guest list did a fantastic
job during Anime Expo and I hope stays in charge for years to come!
The exhibitor hall was jammed packed of incredible vendors like Anime Trash Swag who sold incredible gear aimed for fans of Japanese culture to exhibitors like Aniplex who were there to show off their latest news for Anime. I was able to speak with a number of vendors and game developers and was excited by what I found. Anime Expo worked hard to find relevant and interesting folks to fill their hall so that every time you turned a corner, there was something new for you to see and be apart of.
Unfortunately, they were a bit too incredible and it wrecked my wallet fast but the amount of swag I got was well worth it and after searching a bit online, a few items, such as my Anime Trash Swag hat was only available at Anime Expo! The information they gave at the various Anime booths about their current and future line ups was a wealth of information to the point where some even had pieces of original artwork that fans could check out and appreciate from their favorite shows.
I had a wonderful time during Anime Expo this year, especially since it was a holiday weekend and they took full advantage of it by bulking up Sunday like another Saturday. Despite the massive amount of people who attended, I feel the staff of Anime Expo were able to handle the crowds, help keep them hydrated, and help ensure their safety by checking bags and costumes for any potentially dangerous items.
A huge thank you to Anime Expo for supplying us a media pass so we could attend and gather photos and information for this review.