Anime Impulse 2020 took place on January 18-19, 2020 at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, CA. The venue is best known for holding the Los Angeles County Fair. It’s not a convention center or a hotel, but rather, show space that has a few pavilions and outdoor stages. A day pass cost $12. A weekend pass cost $20. This affordable event drew in plenty of otaku across Greater Los Angeles. Now granted, Anime Los Angeles, a weekender convention, took place the weekend prior. One would think that this con would be not so crowded after recovering from a four day weekend con – this con brought in many attendees!
This is our first Anime Impulse. We heard good things about it. Our friends convinced us that there would be plenty of food because it shares space with Asian American Expo. We have attended Asian American Expo in 2012 representing Pacific Media Expo. Asian American Expo draws in families from the Greater Los Angeles to ring in the Lunar New Year, shop for groceries, buy food, watch cultural performances, and more. Your ticket to Anime Impulse allowed you access to this event. For many Anime Impulse attendees we talked to, the food festival is a huge draw.
Anime Impulse took place on fair grounds. As you enter, you could either watch a performance, stop and shop into the Anime Impulse pavilions, sing karaoke at the Honda stage, check out itasha, and more. This was a different layout from a typical anime convention. We went to the Artist Alley pavilion which had e-gamming and panels. We stopped by to check out the AniMental Health presentation where panelists talked about anime series that they identified with.
The artist alley rows were pretty narrow. It got crowded too quickly. When you step outside the artist alley, you can see itasha or cars that showed off fandom. I liked seeing the Fate themed cars. The Saber Lily one was my favorite. The Director Nozomi car sparked a lot of joy with me because it had my best girl and one of my favorite non-anime fandoms mixed together. I’m not big into itasha, nor would I customize my Honda Accord Sport anytime soon, but I appreciate seeing the details on outside and inside of itasha.
The dealers hall was pretty full. I found a lot of idol merchandise for my ita bag collection. In this hall, you could also meet principal voice actors in the Fire Emblem Three Houses. Outside the dealers hall, you could line up for karaoke. The selection was mostly American pop music. The line for karaoke snaked around the stage.
Photoshoots were really popular around the barn yard sections of the fairplex. There was like this western old town that photographer and cosplayers were using. There was also a fiesta village. As far as fandom represented at Anime Impulse, there was a lot of Demon Slayer, Love Live, Fate, and Fire Emblem Three Houses cosplayers seen.
The food was the best part of the event. We had lunch at Okamoto Kitchen. You can view our review here:
Overall, Anime Impulse is worth checking out for a day. You can do and see everything in a day. I would also recommended checking out and supporting Asian American Expo. Not only you can get boba (and pay with Venmo!), there’s a huge marketplace for Asian snacks, free tote bags, and an aisle of food booths! Anime Impulse is fairly laid back. I was surprised to find a lot of materials for my upcoming ita bags. J was very happy to find rare Gunpla. The vibe was pretty chill. It’s a good walk-around con with great value!