I was trying to think of a clever article title for this, something about My Hero Academia or the heat wave but nothing sounded right so welcome to the Anime Expo 2018 recap! I arrived into town Thursday and stayed at the JW Marriott which I was so happy about. It is by far the closest hotel to the Los Angeles Convention Center, it was incredibly well kept, and despite some questionable service from the staff, I enjoyed my stay.Full disclosure, this was personally my first Anime Expo experience. I’ve had photos of the event on this blog the last couple of years which have been credited to my good friend. That same friend convinced me to give it a shot this year and while I knew it was going to be a pretty busy event, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Well, it was packed! Not packed like the biggest con in your town, but packed liked people fly in all over the country for this con “packed”. Wall to wall, elbow to elbow, attendees were shuffling along to check out the three main halls as well as trying to get a glimpse of all the great cosplay hang out areas. The con consists of the Entertainment Hall which houses a few video game companies, a gaming area, the cosplay sets, and an area for smaller concerts. The second area in another part of the convention center is the Exhibit Hall (or vendor hall if you prefer) where you’ll find booths from Funimation, VIZ, as well as all the vendors and exhibitors. Last up is Artist Alley which takes place in the lower level of the convention center and is massive. The size of artist alley is the size of a lot cons alone. I didn’t spend nearly enough time in this area as it is insanely busy. I tried walking down four different aisles and didn’t make any further than half way on each of them because of the amount of people.
I didn’t make it to any panels as there was a good variety but none of them really were a must attend for myself. I was a little disappointed that both Bill Farmer (voice of Goofy) and Tony Anselmo (voice of Donald Duck) were guests but I didn’t see either of them on any panels. With the popularity of Kingdom Hearts, you’d think a panel would have been put together with those two. Lines stretched for panels down endless halls as well as under large tents outside in the California heat. While I enjoy panels, nothing was worth the time dedication it would have required. The highlight of my weekend however was getting the chance to meet Dragon Quest creator Yuji Hori. Square Enix announced he would be signing autographs and tickets to attend the autograph session would be given out the day before for the following day. Friday morning I expected to get a ticket for Saturday but they were giving out tickets for the signing that morning. My friend and I (who was in a Dragon Quest cosplay) were both able to get tickets and meet the legendary creator.
I’d be remiss not to mention the amount of cosplay and the quality/uniqueness of much of it. If you’ve been wanting to be sure an elaborate cosplay somewhere it would truly be appreciated, Anime Expo is the place to do it. There are hundreds of photographers waiting to shoot cosplayers and many of the cosplayers don’t hold back. It was one of my favorite parts of the convention.
Even though I didn’t attend a single panel, I’d still consider going to Anime Expo again because of a how much of a spectacle it is. Much in the same way San Diego Comic-Con is, Anime Expo is an industry show that attendees, creators, and industry folk flock to. If you’d like to see the cosplay photos I took during the con, bang it here.