Every year in California, all of the weebs, cosplayers, and anime enthusiasts gather together at the Los Angeles Convention Center on the first weekend of July for the largest anime convention, Anime Expo (AX for short). Even those who have never seen an anime before will still have an enjoyable time and be able to recognize some characters people cosplay as.
I was never a huge anime nerd but I did watch some of the older ones such as Kenshin, Death Note, Sailormoon, and Yu-Gi-Oh. Not only do people dress up as anime characters but also other well-known characters from movies and TV shows such as Power Rangers, Storm Trooper, and Marvel characters.
This year, Anime Expo 2018 was not my first AX, my first Anime Expo I attended was in 2009, so almost a decade! Not much has changed in regards to the setup and the format of AX. There are still a bunch of panels that you can check out, merchandise you can buy at the Exhibit Hall, entertainment you can watch, and pictures you can take with the cosplayers.
The Exhibit Hall is where companies can showcase their new and exciting products. This is a large marketplace for stores to sell their products to consumers and get them excited for what is currently trending and coming soon.
The Exhibit Hall is not only limited to consumer goods, but also a marketing and promotion area where you can snag some free goodies. There are also many things that these stands and booths in the Exhibit Hall put on display. Some things you can also interact with!
Alongside the Exhibit Hall is the Artist Alley where visitors can admire the artwork of local artists. The walk space between one booth to the other is narrower than the Exhibit Hall so it can get really congested. Here, you can buy anything ranging from pins and stickers to posters and paintings.
Cosplaying is a huge part of the Anime Expo experience. Many cosplayers make their own outfit, which can normally take up to a year to put together. The dedication of some people is astounding. Although it is fun to take photos with cosplayers, it is also another experience to dress up yourself. If you have the opportunity, I would highly suggest it!
To find a majority of cosplayers head straight to the Main Hall. This is where most people gather to take photos of people and with people at Anime Expo. Be sure to ask nicely before you start snapping photos like a creep, compliment them, and say your thank yous!
Make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time, as they are cheaper the further you are away from the event date. Tickets are available now! You can buy a 4-day weekend pass or 1-day passes. Either way, don’t miss out on the next Anime Expo!