With all the conventions we have experienced, from Anime Expo to Blizzcon, we have had a ton of fantastic journeys. However, there is one convention that really just knocks it out of the park every single year. No, it isn’t San Diego Comic Con with it’s immense crowds, announcements, and more. No, it isn’t our own Phoenix Comicon, or rather Phoenix Comic Fest now. It is a humble convention that takes place in Ontario, California by the name of Anime Los Angeles. Shout out to the wonderful folks at Mitsubishi for supplying us a 2018 Outlander Sport!
If you have been a reader of ours since last year, you’ll know that we gave ALA high marks. I have to admit that I was wondering if those high marks were just puppy love, just the rose tinted goggles of a new convention that I had never experienced before. Sure enough, this year when I traveled to Ontario, I was greeted with an even better experience than I had last year!
For the price of $70 you get their all weekend pass which spans from Thursday to Sunday. If you are interested in single day passes the cheapest is Thursday at $20 and then Saturday at $40.
The guests the had for the weekend were Steve Blum, Wendee Lee, Mary Elizabeth Mcglynn, Zach Callison, and a legion of other great voice actors. The most notable vendors were Anime Trash Swag, ArsenicxCyanide, Fakku, Idea Factory Intl., Cosplay Deviants, Darling Army and more!
In the year of 2017 their total attending members: 8954. For comparison other California conventions like Wondercon is 130,000 and Stan Lee’s Comic Con is 91,000.
There are a lot of great things I could say about Anime Los Angeles but I’ll keep it short and sweet. First and foremost, the staff are on point all the time with answering questions, providing assistance, and being kind to everyone they interact with. Every time a problem came up, we got the help we needed and I can not appreciate that enough! As always, there were incredible food trucks placed right outside the convention center for hungry con goers that offered a whole range of treats. It is hard to capture in words the experience of being at an incredible convention, eating fantastic food, and staring out at snow covered mountains while a gentle breeze washes over you.
The cosplay was amazing no matter where you looked. Our Arizona homies, Q-Ki, Khainsaw, Lunar Lyn, Game2hype, Lemonbell, Trouble Maker cosplay, Heartlessaquarius all looked amazing in their various costumes. We got the chance to meet some California cosplayers including Frostkings, Chickenpineapple, Iamvailence, and more! You can not help but become inspired to cosplay when you are around so many talented individuals who bring their absolute A-game to ALA.
Ribbons. Lord almighty, the ribbon culture they have established is second to none. Convention goers fiended over small peices of cloth that were being given out by vendors, cosplayers, and normal attendees alike. Some folks gathered enough ribbons to have one massive, several yard-long chain of ribbons.
This year, they split up the vendors from the artist alley and it was a great change up. I enjoyed that both aspects of the convention got extended space so everyone could stretch out just a bit more and include a ton of other folks. As far as security goes, there were police, check points, and wanding as well as plenty of other techniques to ensure everyone remained safe. There was a bit of a scare on Sunday morning when an anonymous user on 4chan announced that he was going to do something awful on the final day of ALA. In response, the amount of police had been doubled with tighter security checks and even bomb sniffing dogs. I did not mind at all how tight security got as long as it meant every single person went home safe and sound. Thankfully, there were no incidents at all!
The Not So Good
The only aspect I have to mention here was how the prop check was placed in an awkward area that many cosplayers simply bypassed the entire weekend. In order to get into the building you needed to first get your bags checked, then pick up your pass, and then report to a separate room for the check which you could simply just avoid. Only a handful of costumers that I knew were asked to report for a check. Granted, nothing happened all weekend so no harm, no foul. I know that security were hard at work monitoring for anything odd and may have focused on that solely. Still, having a method of ensuring props are checked would be nice.
Other than this, everything went better than expected!
I would absolutely recommend Anime Los Angeles to anyone looking for an event to add to their line-up. It has everything you could ever want from a convention and so much more. If you ever get the chance to go to Anime Los Angeles, you need to do it. Normally, I would only suggest going if it was near you, but this convention is most definitely worth a bit of travel. For more information be sure to check out http://www.animelosangeles.org/.
Photos by Deegan Marie Photography and Darth Mexican