This past 4th of July weekend Anime Expo invaded the LA Convention Center to host what their social media is claiming to be the biggest incarnation of the event to date. Running for over 20 years the convention has attracted thousands of fans and although I’ve been familiar with the it’s existence I’ve never actually attended. For whatever reason I’ve just always passed on it until this year I decided maybe I should check it out. With the new DragonBall Z film on the horizon, Sailor Moon Crystal launching this past weekend, and new animes like Attack on Titan attracting my interest I felt that maybe it was time to get back into anime. So what better way to kickstart that passion again than by attending one of the biggest conventions dedicated to the genre!
Spending 2 days there I came back with a long list of shows that I now had to check out and geek out over, thankfully most if not all of them are legally streaming online. Aside from gathering titles to add to my list of new shows to watch I was able to get an insightful look at how anime has crossed over into other subcultures. One particular mash up I never quite expected was the Cosplay Wrestling Federation who had a fabulous demonstration on Saturday night. The Panel, simply dubbed AXtreme Rules, was a two hour competition wherein various cosplayers would cut promos in hopes winning the CWF championship belt. The contestants had to stay in character and be the best on the mic. However, at the end of the night it would be the audience who would decide which competitor would walk away the new champion. We had a solid selection of faces and heels that night with Mitt Romney and Luke Cage being two of the more entertaining cosplayers. I thought it was amazing to know that I am not alone when it comes to being a nerd who also loves wrestling. Would I go to another CWF event? In a heartbeat!
Of course I had to hit up some panels in order to indulge my inner anime fan and one that probably stood out more than the rest was the Sailor Moon voice cast panel. The line for this one was huge, of course, and had I not been given a press badge I wouldn’t have made it in. Once they began to let the line in people were running to get the best seat they could. In fact the staff had to start telling people not to run to avoid someone tripping or something worse. Thankfully Mike and I were able to procure some seats with a good view of everything without being trampled. After the crowd settled down the cast came out and simply opened things to a Q&A session. Then a line that probably stretched all the way back to the end of the hall formed. So while not everyone got to ask their questions everyone did have a damn good time. People were shrieking, laughing, and singing along as the cast helped the crowd have what would arguably be one of the more memorable moments of the weekend.
Naturally you had a few panels dedicated to cosplay, one of which was how to turn your costuming endeavor into a business. I personally am not a cosplayer or a business person but I do love to learn and I have been rather fascinated with cosplay as of late. So to see some of the more popular cosplayers in the Southern California scene share their stories was pretty educational as well as inspiring and entertaining.
At some point Michael and I wandered around the food trucks and found some good eats. Perhaps too good as I ended up taking an unexpected nap while Michael almost died of bacon overdose. Speaking of food trucks I’ve been seeing them make more appearances at conventions and I have to say thank you to whoever is making this happen. If you’ve been to a convention then you know most food selections within the convention center tend to blow on top of being overpriced. To know I have the option of getting a good meal that won’t break the bank or my tummy is a nice change of pace. Hopefully this becomes a thing and maybe convention centers will also go on to realize that they should provide better options. Either way I am excited to not hate myself for spending way too much on fries that I couldn’t even finish.
What perhaps was the weirdest, yet the most welcome thing I found at Anime Expo was the dance party. While not my typical flavor of music I am not one to turn down the opportunity to shake my booty. So Chabolla and I made a brief appearance where he kind of people watched and I attempted to dance to house music. It didn’t go quite as planned but it was still fun to see cosplayers going nuts at the convention while showing off their best dance moves. Heck, if Nick Fury can bust a move then so can you! Although if you’re going to have an all ages dance perhaps you should tell the dj not to play music that casually drops F bombs. I have no problem personally but I am sure the parents with their little kids didn’t appreciate it.
There was much more that happened this past weekend but those were my personal highlights. If you check my instagram you’ll find many more. I can’t wait to make Anime Expo a yearly tradition and for those of you on the fence, GO. Also, buy tickets early. More importantly, whenever possible, always hardstyle pose with M Bison.