Anime Expo 2016 was the first Anime Expo I have been able to attend and I have to say upfront that it was not quite like anything I’ve experienced. I’ve been to plenty of conventions and thought I understood what I was getting into when I booked my flight to Los Angeles. Much like everyone’s favorite bastard, I learned that I knew nothing. Except that Anime Expo is the largest anime convention by attendance in all of North America.
I didn’t quite grasp the just what that meant until I made my way to the Los Angeles Convention Center. I’d say that many other conventions I attended had rivers of fans making their way into and around the convention grounds. Anime Expo had a sea of Con-goers in and around it thorough each of the days of the convention. Hell, I might even say that it was an ocean. Some might find the number of people there overwhelming, I found myself ecstatic to see the sheer number of people excited to be at the convention. Always good to see a community together.
The number of attendees wasn’t the only thing large in size about Anime Expo. The Los Angeles convention center itself was massive and filled to the brim with different stores, panels, events, and gatherings of people. Needless to say, there wasn’t enough time to see it all and I had to make some (sometimes difficult) choices about how to spend my time.
To start, I had to take in the Anime Expo’s exhibit hall, which is by far the best exhibit hall I’ve ever seen. Not much of a surprise with the size of the event I suppose. Still, the merchant hall’s size was hardly its only impressive aspect. The number of companies involved with the industry was almost staggering. Aniplex, Bandai Namco, Sentai Filmworks, Funimation, Crunchyroll, VIZ, Capcom, Vertical, NIS America, Atlus, Toei Animation. The list goes on. In fact, it goes on so long I’m just going to post an image of the floor from the first day. If you’re planning on attending Anime Expo in the future, I’d recommend building up some extra cash beforehand.
While the Exhibit hall was impressive, Anime Expo has more to offer than things to purchase. It has things to play. The Entertainment hall was equally impressive. Filled to the brim with gaming stations, competitions, demos, and more, losing track of time in the Entertainment hall was incredibly easy. I have to say, I think watching competitive fighting games may have been my favorite. That or the amazing cosplay backdrops that were set up.
While we had the chance to meet with numerous guests and industry folks, there was one meeting we had that I feel like I have to mention. We were fortuante enough to have the opportunity to meet with Hideki Goto, President of Aniplex of America. This meeting came right after the announcement of AkibaFest, a new event presented by Aniplex of America.
This gave us the chance to speak with Mr. Goto about his vision for the future of Aniplex (of America). I found it to be an almost inspirational answer, focused on much more than simply improving what Aniplex does now. With the changing of the fandom, the way we watch anime, and the increased availability of the medium, Aniplex is looking into many new ways to reach fans new and old.
The last thing I want to touch on is the cosplay we saw while in attendance. I was blow away by the quality and detail of so many different cosplays. So many people poured their heart and soul (I would imagine) into these amazing cosplays, I felt out of place in just my BentoByte shirt. Next year I’m definitely going to be in costume. To everyone that came in full garb; you make the experience so much better than it would be otherwise. So thank you!
There’s so much to write when it comes to Anime Expo and specifically Anime Expo 2016. It was a whirlwind of an experience and I’ve never had more fun at a convention. But words simply won’t do the event the justice due to it. So instead, I recommend you check it out for yourself! Given how fast the passes run out, you may want to consider starting your plans for the trip sooner rather than later.Tweet