Anime Culture Experience is a series of free one day events that occur around Southern California. These aren’t your traditional anime conventions. These events allow artists that you would normally find at artist alley to have a venue to sell their artwork. These are a new breed of anime events in Southern California. A few event planning organizations have capitalized on the need for artists to sell and a place for cosplayers to hang out given that the convention scene is making a slow comeback (as we’ve seen previously at ALA).
Anime Culture Experience usually hosts these one day events at malls. We went to the Del Amo Mall event (Torrance, CA) on March 12, 2022. It was a breezy, cool day for cosplayers and casuals to check out the vendors at the same mall where Jackie Brown was filmed. We generally like going to this mall because of Mitsuwa Marketplace is there and so is one of the largest Joann’s.
Our team went as Mirabel from Encanto and “casual anime hipster guy.” This was a light cosplay event. Though these was a cosplay contest with big money involved, you had a handful of Generation Z cosplayers gallivanting around. Of course, the most popular fandoms represented were Genshin Impact and Demon Slayer. Friends teamed up and did group cosplays for this event.
I perused through the gaggle of artists and etsy sellers. Of course, the Nezuko popcorn bucket from Universal Japan caught our eye immediately! Alas, we have bills to pay. However, I did like looking at various charms from Genshin Impact and decals and stickers from Sailor Moon. I felt there was a hearty mix of fandom present amongst the artists. If you’re looking for decals for your car or anything to stick in on (my sewing machine has a few), these would be the events to check out. If you’re constructing an ita bag and you want something unique, this is the place to be.
The cosplay contest had an interesting structure. Interested contestants wore a number pinned to them. They were to meet at the fountain to have the winners announced. I was hoping for maybe a cosplay cat walk to see all of the costumes and get photos, but it was just an announcement of the top 3. Judging was based off popular vote by the vendors. In other words, the more you interacted with the vendors, the likelier you were to take home some big money.
I had a good time for the few hours we perused through Anime Culture Experience. I probably wouldn’t do these every weekend they occur, yet for us, who have been in our homes for a while, it was nice to get some fresh air and be a part of the community.
Del Amo mall also had Santouka Ramen in the Mitsuwa building. We haven’t had Santouka Ramen in the longest time. It was nice to have some of our comfort food during the before times. It was amazing as we remembered it. If you do catch an Anime Culture Experience event at Del Amo, be sure to take advantage of checking out Mitsuwa Marketplace.
If you need a quick escape and just want to do some shopping for yourself or get gifts for others, Anime Culture Experience’s events are worth checking out. Shoutout to all of the cosplayers that represented their favorite fandoms. Here’s a few photos we took of cosplayers attending Anime Culture Experience’s Del Amo Mall Spring ’22 event.
For more information about upcoming Anime Culture Experience events, you can follow them on Instagram.