It seems like the prevailing emotion that hits everyone before Anime Expo is anxiety. Whether it’s due to the general stress of scheduling, or worries about the lines and crowds there is rarely a positive feeling prior to this convention. I, too, was in that mentality. My anxiety came from the deep dislike I have for downtown LA. Despite my worries I packed everything I needed and preplanned my schedule for the convention. Yet, planning can only go so far and while this was not a terrible convention I did have quite the share of problems.
We chose to skip day zero, which was probably a good choice as it saved some money and reduced our need for more meals at the event. However, day one can with an earthquake shortly after we got our hotel room. It wasn’t anything devastating, just a surprise as we got our things ready. From there we had to get our badges and that was a much bigger hassle than expected. Apparently several people had issues with their badges and I was one of them. It took being shuffled into three different lines before the staff would work with me to get my badge issue sorted out. Due to problems with their system it took far longer than it should have taken to get things fixed. This took my anxiety and kicked it up another notch as I worried about how well the rest of the event would run if they can’t get something as simple as badge distribution flowing properly.
Despite my worries about the event there was a good share of fun to be had. On the first day I had a blast participating in Cosplay Wrestling Federation for the first time. I went as King Gilgamesh from the Fate series and had a wild debut as the audience almost immediately booed me. I was able to bring out a great performance as a heel-type wrestler and on day four when I wore the outfit again I had several people come up to me and tell me how much they liked my performance in the show. Day three had the Lupin movie screening which was fantastic and the impromptu My Hero Academia gathering in the Entertainment Hall. Moments like that can turn around even the worst convention experiences. Finally, I was able to get the con exclusive Haro toy from the Blue Fin booth, which was one of the rare times where I had to get an event exclusive.
Even with some great moments this convention had more than the usual share of bad things. Due to my issues with badge pickup I missed out on most of what I wanted to do on day one. The only panel I hit outside of CWF was the Bang Dream/Revue Starlight panel which revealed nothing new about either game or series. It was a dud of a panel and didn’t put me in a better mood after the badge drama. Day two was a mess almost from the start. We had to take ride share because the bus was taking so long, I nearly got sick in the dealer hall, and it was hell trying to find food in the evening. Day four had some very weak programming including the awful Netflix panel. It was also a pain to get out as the buses took a long time to pick up attendees from the convention center causing the shuttle lines to grow longer and longer. It was a rough event and the whole team wanted to just go home and sleep after the event.
Due to the problems and crowding of the convention the vibe is not great. If you are with a group you can push against the negativity, but rolling solo is asking to be pushed around, crashed into, and generally treated like you don’t exist. While the door security was pretty chill, the rest of the event staff never seemed to be around. It felt like utter chaos and even at fun events there was still that negative tension that never went away. There are fun moments at Anime Expo, but everyone is facing problems and dealing with mismanagement. I was even told that members of industry do not look forward to this event. The people who are there to get the fans excited, don’t feel excited themselves. This tension can be felt throughout the event and unless you seek out good times then your experience at Anime Expo will be miserable.
Overall, Anime Expo is a bad event with great moments. I am very happy with parts of this convention like the gathering I attended, some of the panels I hit, and meeting some nice strangers. However, that doesn’t fully make up for all the problems this convention throws at the attendees. Worse yet the negative cloud that seems to hover over Expo is something that everyone seems to experience, even industry and guests. There are many valid reasons to go to Anime Expo, but you should think about the costs before you go. Not only the money required to stay in the city and survive, but the damage to your spirit, drain on your energy, and the gamble that you will have a terrible experience. This is not the worst Anime Expo I have attended, but this also very far from the best. I want this convention to turn things around, but I highly doubt that will happen anytime soon.
- And Summer begins…
- I got my Haro
- RE3: and more lines…
- Note to self: Lines
- Did I mention lines?
- Gilgamesh in CWF!
- Kotaro SoCal debut
- Nobody loves Ignis
- Eagle Union rules the seas!
- Tenya Iida makes a debut because I’m lazy
- RE11: Is that ironic?
- Not sure if I mentioned lines yet
- I prefer the fun bus driver
- Pokemon GO, when you know you’re bored
- Yeah, I preregistered for the Gunpla game
- Next cosplay: Gundam!!!
- Feddie or Zeon?
- No, I don’t want your tacky merch
- I want the good stuff!
- Shout out to Okomono Kitchen
- Utter chaos
- And another earthquake!
- I should have gotten that GM Sniper kit
- I need to play that old DC Gundam game again
- Not as hot as it was last year
- Bang Dream/Revue Starlight panel was weak
- CWF was amazing
- Azur Lane panel was fun
- RE30: Plus hints about upcoming events
- Of all the Enterprises at this gathering…
- Bamco brings the noise
- Lupin Double Feature
- Bento for lunch please!
- Entertain us!!
- Netflix anime is made of fail
- Last minute deals…
- …more like last minute sell out
- I missed the Wild Bill soda shop?!
- Surviving Expo is an achievement