Another year of Anime Expo comes to a close as we usher in the great times we had over the holiday weekend. I was first introduced to Anime Expo via my sister when it was still held at the Long Beach area, but as the years passed it thrived and grew into one of the nation’s largest anime conventions. It was strategically moved to LA Convention Center when the attendance surpassed safety regulations. My first attendance was with a friend in middle school while masterfully being chaperoned by his mother. Back then the convention wasn’t even really that big yet, the lines weren’t excruciatingly long and everything was still affordable (one day pass was $20-$25; current one day pass $75).
If you’re new to the whole manga/anime world and its people, it could be daunting and even find it strange. The people residing in this world ranges on a many different levels of interest in anime: there’s the really obsessive ones on one end of the spectrum (the otakus), then there’s people like me in the middle (into it, but not about that life 100% of the time), and then there are people like my boyfriend who’s barely just getting his feet wet on the opposite side. I find it much easier to find someone who’s already familiar with the world if it’s your first time at a con or much of it may sound confusing or absolutely nonsense.
The con is usually made up of 60% cosplay and 40% event panels and exhibit booths. The cosplay usually is the highlight of the event for me, I like taking photos of different individuals, especially the really nicely done ones. The amount of effort and time some people put into their costumes is just so amazing and I am so impressed by their diligence and patience. For some people it may take up to a year for some to perfect one outfit for the con. Seeing the end result is always the best part when other people see it and it leaves their mouths agape.
The exhibit is what you’re actually paying for (the cosplay hall is actually free to get in). It hosts hundreds of booths that sells cosplay and promotional goods. You can usually find a good amount of deals and sales during the 4 day con. Other stalls have really fun photo op backdrops that attendees can take photos at. AX this year even provided an entire room to just backgrounds for people to take pictures at. There are also panels one can attend if you find one you like. Most of the time you get to meet the seiyuus (voice actors), the artist or animating team behind a particular show, producers, etc. You can also pay extra for concert type events, there’s actually a plethora of things lined up for attendees to do during their 4 day stay to explore Anime Expo. Check out their schedule booklet and jot down all the places you want to check out is what I normally do myself.
If you decide to traverse this awesome journey to Anime Expo next year there are a few tips I’d like to pass along. The parking and traffic is insane past 10:00AM, arrive early to get the best deal on parking fees and space (we arrived 8:30AM this year and got one of the BEST spots right by the lobby door for $20 all day). Remember to bring water to stay hydrated and snacks with you, I cannot express how important this is. Even in the cosplay hall there are so many people and it’s a glass ceiling so all the body heat and sun makes the room really hot even with the a/c blasting (the exhibit hall is much cooler). This is especially important if you’re cosplaying, I wasn’t drinking enough water and ended up overheating from my costume and thick wig. Please be very careful and know when to take a break.
Always make sure to eat and keep your energy up, there’s a lot of walking involved. Luckily AX has now created a separate Facebook/Instagram page dedicated to their Food Truck Grub Lot located on 1260 S. Figueroa where they put up a list of the trucks that will be in the parking lot across the street and around the convention. The Boba Truck and Sumo Salad Truck are one of my personal favorites from this year. 🙂 Also, all you girls out there, come prepared if you know you’re going to be on your period that weekend. Imagine my surprise when there were at least 8 girls that walked into the nurse room asking for tampons and pads.
For entry tickets, always buy them early! Usually the day after the con is the cheapest, they’re $50.00 for a 4 day pass. Any day after that is $65.00, or you can wait until Black Friday and get 20% off $65.00 general 4 day admission. The prices will start to increase as we get closer to the con date, it’s max price if you buy the day of. Among all that, one good thing is that veterans and military people gets discounted prices on tickets! Downside is that you have to purchase those onsite.
I am very excited for next year’s lineup and hope to see some familiar faces out there! Check out the rest of the event in this album here!