KKS at Anime Expo 2014

Anime Expo 2014 just ended this past Sunday and it was the usual affair. Since loads of other people have their own experiences chronicled, I’d rather talk about whether or not Anime Expo is the convention for you.

Considering Anime Expo is one of the largest anime conventions in the United States, it’s no surprise that the Los Angeles Convention Center was PACKED with attendees. For most of the day it was quite difficult to walk around the halls and explore without accidentally bumping into people or vice-versa. For first-timers, this could be a daunting experience. The sheer number of people can cause people to unconsciously feel rushed during convention, putting a damper on their experience. I wish I was exaggerating when I describe the literal sea of people that attend Anime Expo. In addition to the number of people attending, it’s also the peak summertime in California, which is no picnic when you’re amongst thousands of other con-goers. Going to Anime Expo alone your first time is “Con-going” on hard mode; it’s not recommended.

The "sea" of people.  Photo taken by Anime Expo Photography Team
The “sea” of people. Photo taken by Anime Expo Photography Team

You can probably guess that I didn’t enjoy my time at Anime Expo but that’s because AX is the opposite of what I want out of a convention. When compared to smaller conventions like PMX or Anime Los Angeles, my time at Anime Expo felt rushed. There was always some panel to go, some video game tournament to watch/participate in, or some famous person you want to get an autograph from. A lot of cool events clashed in terms of scheduling so you usually had to sacrifice one event for another. You never get to experience the entirety of convention but rather handpicked bits and pieces.

But just because I didn’t enjoy the convention doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. With the size and prestige of Anime Expo, there are a lot of big name companies in attendance on the show floor. You get to try out some games from Japanese game developers like Nippon Ichi Software, Bandai Namco, Atlus, Aksys Games, Koei Tecmo. Even Riot Games, and even if people complain about the League of Legends crowd, Riot sponsored the Cosplay Repair Station so immediately disregarding them would be pretty close-minded. There is also an astounding amount of Japanese merchandise that you would have to otherwise import on the show floor so it’s great for those looking to buy such things while avoiding import tax.

Also, in defense of the amount of the people at the convention, watching anime with a ton of people is more fun than I anticipated. Basically, at Anime Expo there are large video rooms reserved for the sole purpose of showing anime. It gives people a chance to preview a series before committing to it. They show three episodes following the typical “3 episode rule” when watching new anime. It’s quite a different experience watching an anime again/ for the first time in a room with at least fifty to hundred other people when compared to watching anime alone. I only wish there were more anime screenings to get people out of the hallways (people just sit down in the hallways while they take a rest; it would probably be more comfortable for them to be able to relax in the video room where the air conditioning isn’t immediately absorbed by a large concentration of attendees.)

Finally, what I personally as the best part of Anime Expo (but isn’t limited only to Anime Expo) is the amount of cosplayers. Considering all the people attending, it’s a given that there would also be a lot of cosplayers amongst the attendees. The quality ranges from intentionally poor to meticulously accurate but each cosplayer is presenting themselves and their work to everyone attending and I always admired and appreciated each cosplayers love for a series. Who knows, seeing all the cosplayers could inspire you to cosplay.

I know this article is atypically dense but I wanted to entice people to either go to Anime Expo or any convention in general because in the end it’s nice to be able to mingle and converse with like-minded people about things you don’t normally get to talk about. Most people who attend these conventions are the closet fan amongst their group of friends so it can be a cathartic experience to gush over a series you love but never got to talk about in person.

Also, here’s the best picture I took while at Anime Expo:

Can't. Handle. THE CUTE.
Can’t. Handle. THE CUTE.

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