Ronin Expo 2022 took place on August 13, 2022 in Little Tokyo (Los Angeles, CA) at the Terasaki Budokan Center and Little Tokyo Public Library. This one day event used to be known as Ninja Con. We usually attend Ronin Expo since it’s local. We were invited to do a panel on getting started with gunpla, better known as Gundam plastic models. Additionally, I wanted to check out the artist alley to make up for lost time from Anime Expo.
Ronin Expo’s new location at the Terasaki Budokan Center was somewhat of an upgrade from the Japanese American Cultural Center. Albeit it is smaller and the vendors market is indoors. Yet, the facility was new and it does show promise for small events.
Panels were held in the Little Tokyo Public Library, which was literally next door to the convention. We didn’t really attend many panels. There were about five panels hosted at the Little Tokyo Public library that varied from topics from Final Fantasy to Hideo Kojima. Albeit, I wanted to check them out, but I always wanted to make time to explore artist alley thoroughly.
We also had Okamoto Kitchen selling lunches to attendees. The line for Okamoto Kitchen at a large event like Anime Expo can take forever. We waited less then 15 minutes for our order. We got a beef rice bow and the yanki burger. After all, Jared the Greek was dressed in yankii fashion (and I was reppin’ a rockabilly inspired Nozomi Tojo).
We enjoyed our lunch to the sounds of Origami Flagship. This 2010’s punk rock anisong cover band sang tunes from Digimon and NANA while wearing haori from Demon Slayer. They were later joined by Flautist Acacia. They provided flute melodies to enhance Origami Flagship’s punk sound.
The main draw of Ronin Expo is the Artist Alley. It’s been harder and harder for SoCal artists to afford tables at larger weekend events. Small events like Ronin Expo give artists opportunity for exposure and sales. I picked up a few notepads and pins for my office supplies. The Artist Alley had plants, clothes, enamel pins, and so many Genshin keychains! I was even happy to spot a Nezuko popcorn bucket from Universal Japan here!
Ronin Expo also hosted a very competitive cosplay contest ran and judged by community veterans – Rem Cosplay, Dust Bunny, and A Foamsmith. Cosplays went on stage to strut to their selected song choices for walk ons or do a mini skit. We had Genshin and Miku cosplayers dance on stage. We also had another Genshin group perform a mini skit. Top honors went to the two Miku cosplayers, Monster Rancher, and the Genshin duo. The show was a lot of fun and I’m glad I was able to get the front row treatment!
Of course, we’re in Little Tokyo! There was a ton of fun things to do in the area. I don’t come down here all too often. Yet, we topped off the day with dinner at Hachioji Ramen (don’t sleep on this! it’s really good!) and stopped by the Demon Slayer pop up store by Anime Jungle.
Overall, I have no real qualms about Ronin Expo aside from the fact that their health / mask policy was found on their Facebook page the day before the event. I always like reading what the most up to date health policy is on the website rather than having to dig around. With that said, most attendees were masking up – even more so than Anime Expo.
Genshin Impact was the winner of the most represented fandom in terms of artist alley and cosplay. Yet, Spy x Family is trailing by a close second.
In conclusion, I do love coming out to help Ronin Expo. It’s one of the few, the proud “by fans, for fans.” I’m happy to support you always, Big Danny G!