Anime Expo 2018 was off to a great start; the lines were long but efficient and quick to admit eager guests, the crowd was seemingly controlled, and the convention hall was full of colorful cosplayers in every corner. The Exhibit hall opened promptly around 9:45AM accompanied by the Taiko drums ceremony, setting off the signal that prompted attendees to rush to buy their favorite merchandise–from figures to adorable plushies, Anime Expo’s Exhibit Hall has it all.

Under the exhibit hall lies a fan favorite shopping area known as Artist Alley. At artist alley, attendees can buy art inspired by their favorite fandoms as well as original art made by artists who travel from near and far just to attend this once a year anime extravaganza. Artists trade their art, communicate with followers on social media, and overall have a great time selling the art they so passionately made. Of all the things Anime Expo has to offer, Artist Alley reigns as a personal favorite of mine because of its unique and colorful characteristics–from the people to the art.

The cosplay culture at Anime Expo is one of the strongest of all the anime and comic book conventions. Cosplayers at Anime Expo are dedicated and it shows through their intricate, detailed cosplays they flaunt for photographers in the lower lobby of the South Hall. The showcase of these colorful costumes draws crowds of spectators and fans alike to characters they enjoy from their favorite anime series to video games and more. Cosplay gatherings have also become a major part of Anime Expo’s cosplay culture; You can expect a group of 50-200, people depending on the fandom, at these fan organized events where cosplayers of a certain anime, video games, or category come together and meet up for a class photo. These cosplay gatherings are great as it gives attendees an opportunity to meet others who share similar interests like cosplaying and their respective fandoms.

Before the day came to an end, I visited the ‘Netflix <3 Anime’ panel where the streaming service gave sneak peeks of upcoming anime they were developing. Fans were most excited to hear that Castlevania‘s season 2 premiere will release on October 26, 2018 exclusively on Netflix. The series’s co-showrunner, Adi Shankar, was ecstatic to hear fans excitement for the return of the beloved video game adaptation, “It’s a show created BY FANS, FOR FANS!” he exclaimed. He also went on to talk about how the anime culture has become much more accepting today and how “anime is a connecting factor in our society; We get to spread the values of the (Japanese) culture through it.” Coming straight from working on his upcoming anime series, Cannon Busters, in Japan, LeSean Thomas was greeted by roars from the crowd. He is most famously known for his work on the cartoon network series The Boondocks and Black Dynamite; Thomas’s work was heavily influenced by Japanese anime as he believed “anime was different; The characters had depth and consequence to their actions.” The animation style of anime had also influenced his own art style as it had dynamic staging, as if a comic book had come to life. When asked about what inspired him to make his upcoming Netflix series, Cannon Busters, he responded that it was a nice, new pace because of its uniqueness; It was also a break from the heaviness of the content he was used to producing. Below is Netflix’s upcoming anime release schedule:

  • New Series ULTRAMAN will launch in Spring 2019

  • New Series Kengan Ashura will launch in 2019

  • Aggretsuko will return for a second season in 2019

  • GODZILLA: City on the Edge of Battle will launch on July 18, 2018  

  • Dragon Pilot will launch on September 21, 2018

  • Castlevania Season 2 will launch on October 26, 2018

  • Cannon Busters will launch on April 1,  2019

Day one of Anime Expo was a thrilling adventure and I cannot wait to experience more tomorrow. Stay tuned for our coverage of Day 2!

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