AX: Anime Expo 2015 Walkthrough / Field Report

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Summary

Founding

1991

When

The Anime Expo is usually held on the weekend of Fourth of July. This year the exposition was held July 2, 2015 to July 5, 2015.

Length of Convention

4 days

Location

Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA

Price

The price of the Anime Expo is generally the same every year, though prices may rise every few years. It is much cheaper to get tickets early than later. Last minute tickets were $80 for all 4 days and $39 for a single day ticket. Purchasing at the door is more expensive! If you were to buy your tickets early on, you can manage to get a 4 day ticket for $55. A premiere fan ticket will cost you $350, but it will get you premiere seating to a lot of panels. There are some ticketed events that will cost you more such as the maid or butler cafe.

Hotels

There are quite a few hotels that are nearby including luxury hotels like the Ritz Carlton to cheaper ones like the Kawada Hotel. Prices vary, but certain hotels tend to sell out fast so if you plan on staying at a hotel, book early! While some hotels are within easy walking distance, there are shuttles available to transport guests to and from certain hotels. Check out the website to see which hotels do offer a shuttle service to the exhibition hall. A very popular choice is the Little Tokyo Hotel where guests can explore Little Tokyo in Los Angeles after and enjoy a little Japanese culture.

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) who runs AX is to promote Japanese culture and the arts that are related to Japanese animation. More Info

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What to Expect

If I were to compare the Anime Expo to anything I have experienced, I’d say it was like walking the streets of Akihabara in a smaller scale. There are stalls upon stalls of action figures, figurines, stuffed toys, and wall scrolls. Have you ever been to the anime shop Jungle? It is very similar to that. Aside from just the products available, you can participate in card tournaments, video gaming, previews of anime, concerts, a masquerade and so much more! It’s a shame that you have to choose between panels! Also, expect pure nerdom when you come here because the people who go to Anime Expo are serious fans!

What to Bring

This was my first anime convention, but there were a few things I made sure to bring:

  1. Camera: You need a camera to capture all of the awesomeness! I wanted to take pictures of the cosplayers and fun times you’re having!
  2. Cash: It is getting much easier to pay for things with a credit card with the invention of the Square and other such apps, however cash is usually the way to go. There were a few vendors that accepted cash only and some food vendors only accepted cash so if you want some flexibility, bring cash.
  3. Food: It is hard to stay at a convention without getting hungry at least once. I arrived at around 10AM and people were already eating lunch! If you want to save food, bring a lunch or a few snacks so that you can eat when you want without shelling out the big bucks for the inflated food prices. The Anime Expo had a lot of food trucks this year, but I know from experience that wait times can be an hour long if there are a lot of people and who wants to wait that long when you’re starved? Bring a snack and order food on off hours if you really want to eat something at the convention.
  4. ID: You definitely need your ID card if you want to buy something with a credit card or even grab your attendee badge. Don’t forget your ticket too!
  5. Notebook: I know that everyone has a cell phone these days and it is easy to make notes in them, but I prefer a good old fashion notebook and pen. During some of the panels and events, I discovered a few anime I hadn’t seen that sounded interesting so it was handy to have a notebook to note them to watch later. Also, you’ll want to take notes of what is going on during the panels or take the names of a few new friends you made!
  6. Trading cards: If you collect certain anime trading cards like Pokemon cards or even Yu-gi-Oh! Cards, you’ll want to bring them so you can trade with attendees or even battle them!
  7. Nintendo DS: This isn’t exactly a necessity either, but you may want to play Super Smash Bros with some friends or attendees! It’s a great way to pass the time away when you’re waiting in line.
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What is Available

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There are so many events available at the Anime Expo. It is often really hard to decide on what you want to do! The exhibition hall has a large number of vendors with products to sell ranging from figurines, dvds, wall scrolls to stuffed animals. You can also grab a few goodies like stickers, fliers, and even a little fan, which is seriously handy when you’re in an exhibition hall with thousands of people and hot weather. I really enjoyed the video game demonstrations!

A fun place you may find yourself wondering in is the Artists’ Alley. Here, you can view the amazing artworks of many different artists from all over the world. Bring cash to buy some of the artists’ artwork, prints, clothes, and so much more! Not only do the artists do a great job at recreating artwork with their favorite characters, they truly make the characters their own.

Have you ever seen an anime with a maid café? I’m sure you have, but have you been in a maid café? Go check out the maid café at the Anime Expo. They also debuted a new butler café. Here you can play games with the various maids and butlers and see what the fuss is about. Make sure to get a ticket first, though!
A great event to check out is the Masquerade! You get to see cosplayers from all around the world in their beautiful creations. It takes months to properly create a costume so show some love to all the hard work! I love seeing a person’s costume come to life.

You can also look forward to screenings of different anime such as what is up and coming to what is a classic. You’ll soon find your list of anime to watch increasing as you find wander the exhibition halls. Some of these showings last a couple hours so if you have another exhibit you want to catch, be mindful of the time.

A major part of the Anime Expo are all the panels that are available. They can be quite informative like Crunchyroll’s panel about working in the anime industry. Some panels actually involve a Q&A between fans and the professionals. There was a Cosplay Senpai panel in which fans were asked why they cosplayed or how they decided on their cosplay. Apparently villains and tertiary characters were popular choices for cosplay rather than heroes. Who knew? You can also learn about cosplay from the Cosplay workshop or learn about how anime is produced.

If you’re the competitive type, you can participate in a series of different competitions ranging from Dungeon & Dragons to trading cards. My favorite event was the Anime Music Video Awards. You get to see music videos from all over the world. This year there was a record breaking number of entries from 28 different countries, and boy, everyone is talented! This event lasts a couple hours, but you can always walk in during the event to see your favorite category.

If you are looking for some socializing, there are several dances held at the Anime Expo. There is even a singles’ mixer that is held for lonely otaku who want to meet another awesome otaku. Isn’t that fun? The Anime Expo really helps you find new friends and make new lasting relationships.
Seriously, AX has something for everybody!

The best days to go to the Anime Expo are probably the first 3 days since the exposition hall is open until 2AM. Sunday is actually only a half day, but truly, all the days are packed with different panels and events, how can you deprive yourself of even a single day? Of course, more people are available on Saturdays and Sunday so those days are sure to be the most crowded, but you’ll definitely love every single moment that you are there.

Cosplay

I think everyone’s favorite part of any anime convention is the cosplayers! People work very hard on their costumes and at a convention, it is their time to shine. I have some serious respect for cosplayers who put so much time into their costumes. It is more than just a hobby; it’s an art.

Cosplayers generally cosplay for a multitude of different reasons, but it is truly amazing to see a character’s face light up when someone asks to take their picture. I had the pleasure to make someone’s day when I asked him for a picture. Cosplayers really feel joy when someone recognizes all of their hard work.

Cosplaying is also a great way to make friends with people who love the same characters. Even if you don’t know each other’s names at first, you may find yourselves with new lasting friendships and mutual respect. I was able to witness a few people fall into conversation before they even asked each other for their names and information.

Also, there were many stations set up to take professional photo shoots of cosplayers. It is truly like being a celebrity. There are also cosplay gatherings set up throughout the grounds for cosplayers to take pictures together as a group.

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The popular cosplay this year include One Piece, Sword Art Online, and Attack on Titan, but there were many other costumes as well. I have to say, I have real respect for those willing to genderbend. I love the joy cosplayers have in their craft and I know just how uncomfortable it can be to wear certain costumes so do not forget to respect cosplayers.

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Final Thoughts

This was my first ever anime convention, and even though I was nervous about going alone, I had a blast. Everyone is so friendly and respectful. I have never been in an area where everyone shared the same passions. You have otaku of all different avenues under one roof and the energy is just plain infectious.
Despite being alone, I never really felt alone. Everyone is very friendly and easy to talk to. There is never a dull moment with all the events being held and things to see. I wish I went back to the exhibition hall to buy more merchandise! Everyone seems to love the Anime Expo as a way to make friends, show off their talent in cosplay, and see famous people they never get to see. People also love going to the panels, dances, and seeing the concerts. There are so many different things to do that you will never find yourself feeling bored.

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If you have never had the chance to go to an anime convention, I highly suggest that you check one out! You don’t have to dress up if you don’t want to; just go out and have fun!

Jenangelx3

Editor

Author: Jenangelx3

California based workaholic. Current mottos are “I don’t care” and “I’ll try almost anything once”. Interests include traveling, eating, video games, and weightlifting. Currently living life to the fullest, pursuing my happiness, and conquering my fears. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

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