Review: Anime Expo 2018 was Bigger, Better, and More Crowded Than Ever!
Anime Expo is with out a doubt one of our all time favorite conventions to date. Every year is filled with the biggest names in the industry coming together to showcase their upcoming shows. Cosplayers show up in their very best work, artist hustle their wares, and fans race to consume as much of the convention they can before it ends.
This year our team was composed of Darth Mexican, Deegan, and Cheshsmiles! Although that was our team roster, we had plenty of other homies involved in the trip from Schrei205, Amberskies Cosplay, Instagram’s Game2hype, Sincerely Sam, Horsemen Of and so many more! Shout out to Hyundai for providing us their 2018 Sonata SEL for the trip! It drove like a dream! With all of these factors, we knew going in that it was going to be a great weekend.
This year, like many before, Anime Expo was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Practically every single inch of the venue was utilized in some way or another. For any normal convention, this facility has the space needed no matter the event. However, Anime Expo is a beast unlike any other as it is one of North America’s largest anime convention, if not the largest. The main exhibitor hall was filled to the brim with huge booths such as Viz Media, Aniplex, Funimation, and more, but there were also indie vendors like our homies, Anime Trash Swag! Downstairs was a huge parking garage floor of artists showing off their fan art, original pieces, and other products.
If you are interested in seeing top tier cosplay, then Anime Expo is the place to go. As we mentioned before, we got to hang out with lots of AZ cosplay homies including Amberskies who rocked Spirited Away costumes all weekend, and Instagram’s Game2hype came in his classic Lucio skin. Before we move on, I just want to say that when two incredible cosplayers become friends and hang out at con, it creates giant crowds of photographers and fans. This is exactly what occurred when these two goofballs became friends at AX and hung out!
Horsemen Of came to Anime Expo in their My Hero Academia cosplays, with Jackie and Deb as gender bent Kirishima and Bakugo while Garrick and Paul went as Present Mic and and Aizawa! Schrei205 brought out her classic Nidalee and Graves League of Legends cosplays. Other cosplayers we saw during the weekend were Anna Lynn Cosplay as Jeanne from Fate Grand Order, and Cheshsmiles as Junko, Mercy, and Lust!
Another great aspect of Anime Expo was their photo set areas where you could wait in line for a photos with your friends in various aesthetics. Of course, we took full advantage of this!
As always, Anime Trash Swag showed up with the best gear for sale! They had new hats, shirts, and more available anyone looking to show off their love for all things anime. We got a chance to chat with not only Crunchyroll but also VRV, who gave us the latest and greatest information of their brands! You should be on the look out for VRV’s artist gallery coming to San Diego Comic Con that features a ton of artists who created art based off of various shows that can be found on VRV!
Viz Media celebrated Sailor Moon’s 25th anniversary by taking products from Harajuku, Japan, and selling them at Anime Expo! They also had a two hour panel that discussed their love for Sailor Moon by having the voice actors come out and talk about their work. Cosplayers were also featured who looked like beloved characters, and Sailor Venus was actually our homie Lunar Lyn!
Charlene Ingram has run the major Anime Expo Sailor Moon panel for five years, and announced that she would be stepping down from running the panel in order to pursue something new. Her voice cracked and tears streamed down her face as she spoke about her love for the fandom. Imagine her surprise as she was handed flowers by the voice actors and each flower was the color of their sailor scout. The cosplayers also pitched in by providing her a memory box that was filled of their favorite photos and letters of appreciation for all of Charlene’s hard work!
Last year was a rough one for the convention community as a whole as an armed gunman walked into Phoenix Comic Con before being stopped by police. While thankfully no one was harmed, it caused a chain reaction that resulted in conventions increasing their security tremendously. Anime Expo responded to this incident by reducing entry points and having a more thorough bag/prop check. The downside to this were intense lines out on the sidewalk in the middle of July that lasted hours.
This year, these issues were resolved and while there still were lines, they were not as intense as 2017. Security check points still put a great deal of effort to ensure nothing harmful was being brought in, more checkpoints were provided, and there were no signs of hour long wait times thankfully!
Another improvement was in their Artist Alley. In previous years, the Artist Alley was held upstairs before being placed in the garage. Unfortunately, last year there did not seem to be a good method to proving proper air conditioning and it was uncomfortably hot and muggy. This year was near record breaking temperatures for L.A. yet down stairs in the parking garage the temperature was quite cool. Not only that but there was a noticeably increase in aisle space to allow consumers to walk and browse. Granted there were so many people that it didn’t help too much but the effort is what counts!
At large conventions such as Wondercon/Anime Expo/San Diego Comic Con, you expect lines because the sheer amount of people. However, when every single aspect of the convention looks like this:
…there are major issues. Over crowding is the reason so many call Anime Expo ‘Line Con’ because essentially a good portion of your time will be spent in lines. Again, for major conventions, this is expected, but at least a majority of conventions place a reasonable cap on ticket sales to avoid intense over crowding. I wholeheartedly believe that it is time for Anime Expo to further limit the amount of attendees so that it can improve the experience for staff, vendors, and convention goers overall.
Anime Expo 2018 was a step in the right direction as they resolved their line wait times and increased space in various areas to allow for additional foot traffic. Unfortunately, they still face the issue of over crowding that will absolutely have to be addressed in the near future if they wish to maintain the enjoyment of the community. Still, it is a great problem to have too many people show up to your event who are all equally excited to check out their favorite fandoms!
We highly recommend coming to Anime Expo despite the crowding and popularity of it all. There is so much to see and do that it makes the ticket price worthwhile!