With each passing year, one of the largest conventions in the U.S. continues to attract fans of Japanese culture, pop culture, and anime from all around the world. Anime Expo 2017 took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA and ran from July 1st through July 4th. Anime Expo broke their own records this year with the number of attendings exceeding more than 110,000, approximately a 12% increase from last year. Even though Anime Expo had only been held in Los Angeles for nine years, Anime Expo has an economic impact of $72 Million+ to the city of Los Angeles. With the attendee growth expected from AX 2017, Society for the Promotion of Japanese Anime (SPJA) continued to use the nearby J.W. Marriott for several events and the Kentia Hall for the Artist Alley.
This year, there was a total of 450 exhibitors (15% more than last year) in a 137,600 sq ft of booth space (14% more than last year) in the exhibit hall. In addition to the increase in booth space and the number of exhibitors, Anime Expo also had a pre-show night which ran from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on June 30th. This pre-show night was only accessible for those who bought both AX badges and a pre-show night badge (priced as $20). The pre-show had events and rooms such as an AMV Theatre, AX Dance, and Karaoke Open Mic. Moreover, it granted attendees access to the Quiet Room, Screening Rooms, Workshop Rooms, Live Programming Rooms, Manga Lounge, Lounge 21 (only accessible for those that are 21 years old and above), Maid Café, Butler Café, and the Entertainment Hall.
With each following year, creators and directors from the anime industry continue to find Anime Expo to be the perfect location and time to unveil their creation to show the world. With 800+hours of panels, events, signing, concerts, workshops, screenings and more, Anime Expo also hosted several world premieres, as well as several US premieres. This year, Anime Expo hosted six World Premieres: Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card Prologue OVA, Infini-T Force, The Ancient Magus Bride, Tokyo Ghoul Live-Action Movie, Violet Evergarden, and Welcome to The Ballroom. In addition to that, six U.S. premieres were hosted at Anime Expo: Food Wars English Dub Premiere, Digimon Adventure tri.: Confession English Dub Premiere, The Irregular at Magic High School the MOVIE: The Girl Who Summons the Stars, Anohana English Dub Premiere, and the Brave Storm US Premiere Screening.
One of the many events that were held at Anime Expo included the Anisong World Matsuri. This year, marking its second time at Anime Expo, Anisong World Matsuri returned bigger and better than ever before. Like last year, Anisong World Matsuri was held consecutively for two days (on the 30th of June and the 1st of July). However, Anisong World Matsuri held two big concerts at the Microsoft Theater this year rather than different small events and one big concert. For attendees who were fans of Japan’s popular music, Anisong World Matsuri was definitely the place to be. The two concerts that were held this year were Anisong World Matsuri ~Japan Kawaii Live~ and Anisong World Matsuri ~Japan Super Live~. The ~Japan Kawaii Live~ performers included Aquors, JUNNA and Minori Suzuki from Walküre, THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS and Wake Up, Girls! And the performers for ~Japan Super Live~ included ALI PROJECT, angela, GARNiDELiA, Konomi Suzuki, Mashiro Ayano, and Minori Chihara.
Anime Expo is not just about anime. With each coming year, Anime Expo continues to add events that attract other audiences. This year, Anime Expo hosted their first EDM (Electronic Dance Music) concert, the Neon District, with guests such as banvox, R3LL, and TeddyLoid. In addition to their first EDM concert, Anime Expo also hosted the U.S. finals of the World Cosplay Summit. The U.S. finals of the World Cosplay Summit was held on the second day of Anime Expo along with the Cosplay Masquerade. This year, Ronin Cosplay with “The Red String of Fate” will be representing team U.S.A. at the World Cosplay Summit. If you would like to watch all the finalist of US Preliminaries of World Cosplay Summit that was held at Anime Expo 2017, you can watch them here: https://www.facebook.com/WCSPrelimsUS/videos/1635186343159807/
The Anime Expo Masquerade, presented by “We Are X,” is a cosplay competition which combines the art of cosplay and stage performing. If you are a part of Indonesia’s Cosplay Community, then you may have seen or heard of CLAS:h (Cosplay Live -Action Show: Hybrid). Anime Expo’s Masquerade is similar to CLAS:h Cosplay Competition. However, the main difference is that the winner of the Cosplay Masquerade will not represent team US at the World Cosplay Summit. The Masquerade and the World Cosplay Summit are two separate entries. The Masquerade winners are broken down into four different categories: Best in Show, Best Construction, and Division Winners (Masters and Intermediate). With a cash prize ranging from 750 U.S.D. to 3,000 U.S.D. (approximately 10050750.00 I.D.R. to 40290000.00 I.D.R.), each winner also receives a prize package and a four-day badge to Anime Expo 2018.
If cosplay and anime are not your thing but gaming is, fear not. Anime Expo should still be on your list. This year at Anime Expo, the Lupin the Third – Italian Game US Premiere Screening was held. Blizzard, Shall we Date, Love Live Sunshine, and many other gaming companies had booths set-up all around the convention center for visitors to purchase merchandise, take surveys, and even play their games there. Anime Expo also had an entire section in the Entertainment Hall and one of the ballrooms at J.W. Marriott set-up with arcade games. An escape game called “Trials of Bahamut”, by SCRAPS, was also located at the J.W. Marriott. For those who felt more competitive were able to visit the Entertainment Hall’s eGaming area where attendees could find more than 70 consoles and PCs with games, old and new. The eGaming area was open for all four days and tournaments were held throughout the convention. In addition to these, lead writer Michael Chu and several voice actors from the popular Blizzard game, Overwatch, also held a panel at Anime Expo. Charlet Chung (the voice of D.Va) and Jonny Cruz (the voice of Lucio) even had their own booth at the Exhibit Hall where they held signing for all four days of Anime Expo. Cosplay Jakarta was able to get an interview with one of these voice actors, so stay tuned for more updates regarding the interview (video included)!
Despite the line issue on day one of Anime Expo 2017, the event organizers were quick in fixing this issue. From Day 2 onwards, staff put up more bag checks, had more personnel, and even moved the shuttle bus locations.
Thus, making the line more organized and the entry process far more efficient than Day 1. To the right, you can see how the line at the same entrance which was seen in the video above on Day 1 is more organized on Day 3. Attendees were offered a refund or a badge for another day.
To view all the pictures from Anime Expo 2017 (Day 1, 2, 3,4), please access the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/cosplayjakarta/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1506454386077763
If you are interested in attending Anime Expo 2018, you can now order your 4-day badges and start applying for your tourist VISA to the U.S.! For badge purchase and more information, you can find it at www.anime-expo.org/registration/. For more information