Anime Expo is over, I’m back home, got some much needed sleep and got a warm welcome from my mom this morning – all is right with the world! Haha, anyways, this post will be a kind of ‘review’ of AX (though it might fall victim to a bit of ranting and crazed episodes of fangirling). I’ll also have pictures of cosplayers at the end, enjoy!
Ok, let me take out my handy dandy…notebook! Where I wrote some stuff about expo while on the bus.
General: For being my first time out in the Los Angeles area for more than 30 minutes and attending a 4 day con, I think AX was a great con! There was hardly ever a time where I was idle, the dealer’s hall offered enough to where my wallet was wiped out, and the people that I met in and out of the con were really friendly （˶′◡‵˶）
If I have the funds, I plan to go to AX again next year! And I totally recommend buying a premier pass, which I will be doing next year. Don’t like being turned away from panels I really want to go to, haha
Panels 8.5/9 out of 10
I’ll start off talking about the panels, since panels are pretty important for me (they’re what keep me occupied). Like I mentioned above, there was hardly a moment I was idle. If I wasn’t already inside a panel then I was waiting in line to go into a panel or rushing to go to a panel. A bulk of the panels were industry panels with a few workshops and AMV showings. I actually didn’t go to any of the workshops but I did go to a lot of industry panels (VIZ Media/Neon Alley, Funimation, Crunchyroll, Yen Press, Ponycanyon, Vertical Manga) and I don’t really have any complaints here.
Some of my favorites included the Funimation Preview Panel and the Peep Show (18+). I would have to say that it’s mostly because the panelists were really fun to listen to (because anime-wise I’m totally behind). I actually wasn’t going to go to the Peep Show because I’m not a big fan of booby fan service (I like a different kind of fanservice lol). Of course, after I listened to the panelists in the Preview Panel I was hooked and it was added to my schedule. I do have to say that the best part of that panel (for me) were the live Tweets. They were hilarious and I was just on my phone favoriting and retweeting. Also, if the panelists liked your Tweet then you’d win prizes!
The Crunchyroll panels were my second favorite, especially considering their prizes…oh yeah, giving away game systems and DVDs and yeah. Too bad I didn’t win anything T__T I have terrible luck, haha.
If I had to talk about the meh panels, then I’d mention the VIZ Media Panel. The first one I went to was actually pretty interesting. We learned about releases (volume 1 of The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Omnibus edition of Maid-sama, the Ranma 1/2 sets in Blu Ray) and we got some information on their Hokage For A Day contest (they also played the Boruto movie trailer). But their second panel was pretty much the same thing as the first one. If we did get some new information then it was just the dub cast of the Sailor Moon S (I believe it was).
Another panel that I feel felt short was the Vertical Manga Panel. I probably only stayed like 10 – 15 minutes and then left. they actually had some interesting manga and light novel releases but the panelist was just so unenthusiastic that I didn’t want to stay and listen.
- Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Yaoi Bingo panels were placed in small rooms and many attendees had to be turned away (like a lot). Honestly, I have no idea why these would be placed in smaller rooms.
- A/Z Dub Premier was also placed in a small room (LP 3) where I think I heard someone say had a 700 attendee limit. Again, lots of people were turned away, me included ｡ﾟ(ﾟ´Д｀ﾟ)ﾟ｡
- Julietta Suzuki Panel was hosted in one of the bigger panel rooms (LP but was more than half empty. Why not use one of these rooms for the more popular panels?
- Why were there so many amazing panels scheduled at the same time?! Why must I pick, why can’t I go to them all?! This is where some Kage Bunshin no Jutsu would be extremely helpful, haha
- Sunday panels were lacking
- Autograph sessions were where…? I couldn’t find them in the booklet and I also didn’t see signs for them. I know I found a few scattered in the dealer’s hall but I wasn’t sure if there were more or at what time they would be held…
I also want to mention that the cancellation rate of panels was rather low. I think only 2 panels were cancelled (Anime Journalism was one, nooooooo), which was surprising to me, haha.
Staff 8.75/9 out of 10
Surprisingly I had almost no complaint about the staff. Whenever I had questions staff would usually direct me to the right place or help me figure something out. They were pretty organized and made sure there was no way to cut lines. I will say they were a bit on the stricter side but that helped keep things organized (for example, at one point we were told we wouldn’t be able to re-enter the building if we left through a certain set of doors, why not I have no idea?).
- After the first day there seemed to be more confusion and sometimes I’d get different information from different staff members. For example, when I was looking for the Funimation Peep Show line, only one out of like five staff members in charge of the lines outside knew what was going on. The first people we asked directed us to 3 different lines until one person told me which one was the actual line.
- There was some problem going on near LP 3 (panel room) with a staff member and some attendees. I don’t really know what the problem was but it escalated to the point where even among staff members there was some problem. Then my brother told me that the staff consisted of AX staff and LA Con Center staff. It was the only issue I saw but i seriously thought someone was going to get hurt (either an attendee or an AX staff member).
I know there’s always some confusion at cons so considering how big AX is, staff was extremely helpful and friendly. I mean, nobody screamed at me because I accidentally showed them the wrong side of my badge (A. Matsuri) so that’s got to be good, haha
Dealer’s Hall/Artist Alley 7.5 out of 10
I won’t say that the dealer’s hall was anything special but it was extensive. I found a lot of manga goodies (yay!). There also seemed to be a little bit of everything: manga, anime, doujinshi, OSTs, Art Books, Shirts, Japanese Candy, Bags, Figures (is this what they’re called?), Wall Scrolls, etc!
I do have to say that their Artist Alley was pretty neat. Usually this area is lacking so I was glad to see a lot of artists. I would have splurged here but I left it for last so I just didn’t have the money to, haha. An obvious favorite of mine was Zzyzzyy (zzyzzyy.storenvy.com) but I also found some other interesting artists!
- Leafychwan leafychwan.storenvy.com
- Faiell (their pixiv ID is 2511031)
- Nicole Adamson (Visual Development/Concept Art/Illustration)
Please check out their work, it’s great! （´・｀ ）♡
The only reason the rating for this is on the lower end (but above average) is that I’ve seen Otakon’s dealer’s hall and artist alley and they blew me away. Another plus for AX is that Industry booths were in abundance! There were also a lot of mobile game booths (or I assume they were mostly mobile, they could have been on other platforms).
I know there was one booth (promoting a dating game) that was giving out pins if you took a picture with their props and posters. I had my brother take a picture of me at their stuff and I got pins, yay! They only had two different ones though, haha
Location/Transportation 7.5/8 out of 10
All of the con seemed to be happening inside the convention center, which was a major plus for me. Usually, for the bigger conventions I have to go from the convention center and into the different local hotels for panels. At AX that wasn’t a major problem. I know the Marriott was hosting the FREE Dub Premier, video screenings, and the AMV awards (which I didn’t go to because I didn’t know where the hotel was at). I’m sure I could have asked and gotten directions but then I would have probably missed other panels.
There were also carpeted floors inside the dealer’s hall, which made the walk around easier. Of course it also made me trip a few times because I wouldn’t notice the slight rise in the floor. In terms of cleanliness, it was alright. Outside the convention center the garbage bins were overflowing (trash trash and more trash and not the good kind, haha). Inside the convention center it was better, except for the bathrooms. A lot of them were bad.
Some of the bathrooms were icky and when I’d wash my hands it felt pointless. The faucets were the older ones so you’d have to actually touch/push the knobs to get the water running (which is totally fine in a house but at a convention center with hordes of people…). I’m a bit of a germaphobe so that was bad.
Transportation-wise, there were lots of buses running in the area and at night they had these really nice coach buses that would take people to their hotels (they had a specific list of hotels). I do have to say that the public transportation confuses me though…I bought the 7-day pass that was supposed to be good for the buses and trains but I also have to pay an additional 0.75 cents to ride. That totally defeats the purpose of the pass. If you were coming from further out (like I was) then Uber was the best option once it got really late (Taxi charged us $34, Uber $13)
Like always, food was extremely overpriced. Hotdogs were $7 inside the con, $5 outside the con, burgers and fries cost $12.50, and ice cream cups were $6 (cones $3). It hurt to buy there…so we tried not to.
Manga Lounge 4.5/5 out of 10
I’m only giving this a rating because I went there and it seemed to be a popular thing. I’ve never gone to other con’s manga lounge so I don’t really have much to compare it with but I will say it was lacking. The room size was fairly decent, however, considering the line that was constantly there, I think it could have been bigger.
In terms of their collection…it could have been way better. Because it’s such a big convention I was expecting the room to be spilling over with manga (well, only a little bit), but when I started browsing the titles and couldn’t find anything that really grabbed me. I did find Legal Drug volume 3 (so I read it) and I started Natsume’s Book of Friends but I wasn’t satisfied.
I would have rather stayed outside and read the books I bought.
I also had a bit of an issue with their sorting. They had an 18+ section and I ventured in there and found some really adorable yaoi…like, is it 18+ just because it’s yaoi? Because I know for certain that some of those titles had nothing beyond kisses, hugs, and cutesy stuff.
Okay, that’s all I can think of that I could rate. I know there were tons of other things going on like the maid and butler cafe, karaoke, concerts, ticketed panels, fashion show, etc, but I didn’t go to those so I can’t really say anything about that. I won’t rate cosplay since there’s good and bad everywhere (not to mention that if people are cosplaying then that’s already amazing enough).
I will mention though that I was totally exhausted by the middle of the third day. I couldn’t believe there was another day left but I was also happy because it wasn’t over yet.
It was also colder than what I expected. When we left for the con in the mornings I’d always wear my sweater because it was cool outside and on the way back it was cold again (public transportation also had their AC on full blast so that wasn’t good). I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have to leave the convention center throughout the day, otherwise I’d have been really uncomfortable for the whole convention (I get really itchy and bumpy when I’m out in the sun too long).
And since this post isn’t that long yet, I’ll talk a bit about my hotel conditions…this is where things turn ugly, haha.
My Sleeping Arrangement
I’ll call it this for now since I’m not sure what to dub it. So I found some roommates around the middle or end of June (I forget) and my brother and I were going to be staying like a 15 minute walk from the convention. We ended up paying $325 for two people with floor space only to find on Day 0 (the day before we were to arrive) that we wouldn’t be staying at the hotel we paid for.
Instead, we’d be staying at a hotel 12 miles away from AX (so about 30 minutes away on public transportation).
- This totally threw off our plans. Now we had to consider transportation into our expenses (because we had originally planned to walk), and transportation at night. I didn’t know at what time public transportation stopped running and getting a taxi would be super expensive.
- Our hotel was in a not so great neighborhood. When we walked to our hotel I did not feel safe and that was in the morning…just imagining at night, I totally wanted to bolt. One night we had to pay for a taxi and after that we found out about Uber. Much cheaper but still expensive considering we originally planned to walk 15 minutes.
In addition to this, our roommates (last minute, again) told us they wanted to check out early. Check out was at 11 on Tuesday morning but they wanted to be out of the hotel room at like 2 – 3 am. Where would that leave us exactly?
- In the end they let us check out for them but just the stress that they’ve put me through (I’m sure I’ve got more grey hairs)
- Originally, I had planned to leave our baggage at the hotel on Tuesday (since hotels near the convention centers usually have a bag check) but because we ended up moving we could no longer do that. This hotel didn’t have that option and in the end we rented a car (and kept our junk in the trunk).
The first time I decided to room with someone was at Yaoi-con with Dia Thao and my experience was great! I paid for the days I wanted (with this person I had to pay the whole total, regardless of what days I stayed or not), got a bed (I agreed to no bed so that’s not something I can complain about), and pretty much got what I paid for. The second time I stayed with a group of girls for Anime Matsuri who also ended up changing the hotel we would be staying at.
Originally we were going to be at the con hotel but we moved like 5 minutes away. My only real complaint about that was that I couldn’t get into the hotel room until late because they didn’t make it in on time. I was just loitering at a park until mercy came and I was able to get inside before they got in. But this time was terribly bad.
Remember I mentioned I was a germaphobe? Yeah, it was not nice at this hotel. It could have something to do with cramped space and 8 people inside but it could also have been that the room wasn’t all that neat too. We would purposely come back at like 2 am just to knock out and not think too much about where we were sleeping.
Totally regretting that decision.
Because of this I have to say that Anime Expo was one of my worst con experiences, which sucks because what made it bad has nothing to do with the con itself. Next time I’ll be the host instead of trusting someone else.
Now to make this post a little bit happier! Because it depresses me to think about that. Here are some pictures of my purchases and cosplayers!
I was actively searching for A/Z and Seraph of the End cosplayers! There were more, especially some with the one Slaine cosplayer (the guy). They had a whole group but I just couldn’t work up the nerve to go ask for a picture…There had also been some other Seraph cosplayers but when I asked they said they were in a hurry so yeah…I don’t think I saw them after that, haha
And these here are a bit more random. I did go find the blue-kimono wearing cosplayers since I like the character look. I first saw it when Reika cosplayed as them and was totally loving it. Oh, also saw Shiro from K and was like, must get a picture!!
I just have to add some Yaoi Bingo pictures! I don’t have many and the ones that I did take are bad (damn you camera!) haha. This panel was crazy! Before there was even a line people were just prowling around, loitering near the side hallways, and just waiting for it to be 10pm (when the line was to officially start).
I almost got knocked over when everyone started moving to make a line but one of the staff members kept me upright (then we got yelled at because no, don’t trample over people!). Luckily I managed to get into line before it was cut off. In fact, I ended up someone close to the front! （˶′◡‵˶）
And that is all for this post! I’ll add these pictures into a gallery so they’re easier to see! These pictures will also be up on my Instagram and Twitter so if you know any of the cosplayers (or if they’re you) tell me and I’ll tag them accordingly. I know a few people already identified some cosplayers on my Instagram