It seems that every year I go to Anime Expo something bad happens to me. I have gotten sick, nearly gotten into several fights, had car trouble, was nearly hit by several cars, and have had panic attacks. This con is usually called my bad luck con because bad things usually happen. Oddly enough this year nothing bad happened to me. I am rather surprised by this, but I am glad that I could come back from AX with a smile on my face. This year felt different from other years and that is a good thing for once.

One aspect of the convention that was the same as previous years is the sheer amount of people posting online about how bad the con will be prior to it even starting. Anime Expo is the only convention that I have attended where the attendees really seem to want to hate the con before they even attend. This seems very foolish to me as I cannot understand why people would go to this convention if they are pre-disposed to hate the event. If you do not like AX then do not pay to go. In fact, do not go at all. I am tired of the haters who seem to hate AX only for the sake of hating the convention. I do not know where these people come from or why they would pay money to go to an event they hate, but at least they are attending and supporting this convention.

Overall, there were many great things about Anime Expo this year. Some of these things were within the control of the convention and some were not. Outside of convention control was the nice weather. It was not nearly as hot this year as it was last year and the refreshing breeze made the weekend much more enjoyable for me. Also I have gotten much more used to the set up of the LACC which made navigation much easier for me, for the most part. Staying with my brother was also a plus as I did not have to worry about taking the shuttles.

The first part of the convention that was done right this year was the ease of getting into the registration area and the speed at which everything was going. As always there were long lines, but they flowed much better than previous years. Secondly, the room set up felt more natural this time with live programming rooms being placed in better locations for entry. Third, the use of the Nokia Theater was a great addition due to the large area it provides for concerts and events. Fourth, the guest line up was very strong this year featuring many popular Japanese guests including anime producers, mangaka, and voice actors. In addition the idea of giving priority signing tickets to those who went to the panels was also a great idea. Fifth, the security seemed very professional and did their jobs very well. This may have upset attendees trying to break the rules, but those who follow the rules have nothing to complain about in this regard. Things were run very well this year, especially considering the amount of staff shuffling that occurred prior to the convention.

As much good as there was this year there were also several problems that need to be addressed for next year. The first is the set up for the dealer hall. The room had a very odd set up this year. Booths on the right side seemed closer than those on the left side then add in the artist alley and autograph line and things can get pretty crazy. It also felt like there were fewer vendors this year, though I am not certain that is true. The hall could be made roomier by putting autographs and the artist alley in other rooms. Also it would be nice to see a bigger variety of vendors next year because it felt like I was seeing the same booth over and over.

The second issue is that the shuttles were not very reliable. Granted I did not need to use them, I still heard many complaints and my team found it easier and faster to walk to some destinations. Not sure how this can be realistically fixed. LA traffic is a nightmare and many hotels are not very close to the convention center making quick roundtrips not very likely. The shuttle service will be a constant problem for the foreseeable future unless a workable solution can be developed.

Third, the lack of the ballroom dance is a bit of a downer. It was a fun event for many years and I would like to see it make a comeback. The fourth problem was the programming rooms were not very well marked this year. This was a problem I had last year, but this year the rooms seemed easier to find. Still there should be big signs pointing out the rooms and I should not have to find a room based on following a long line of people. Finally, although the arcade was well done I heard that on day three the coin machine was out of quarters. This is a minor problem that was caused by the success of the arcade. Adding a means to monitor the machines to prevent this from happening again would be a good idea.

I enjoyed my Anime Expo experience. I had fun at the concert, I enjoyed all the panels I attended, and the social side of the con was pretty good too. I know that there are many people taking about how much they hate AX, but it feels that they do that for the sake of doing that. Just as people love some conventions no matter how banal or poorly run they are, people hate Anime Expo no matter how much fun they have at the con. I feel the staff should not take offense to this, but rather continue to make Anime Expo the best convention they can.

Before I go, I would like to extend my thanks to Miguel, Ryan, Matt, Trumby, and the Bay Area crew it was great hanging out with you guys. I also want to thank the Anime Expo staff for helping me get registration squared away. Thanks to Mark Perez for his hospitality. Finally, thanks to my brother Keven for housing and transport during the convention.

As per usual I end this report with my list and if you have any comments or complaints be sure not to e-mail me at: Jared (at) Scarlet-Rhapsody.com. Until next time give my love to America, the greatest country in the world.

The List

1. I was born ready!
2 Iím the best at what I do!
3 Iím the dragon, bitch!
4 Happy hour snack time.
5 Regret not getting that Reno figure.
6 Wonder if I should have hit day fourÖ
7 Hey I know you!
8 Nice hanging with you Miguel.
9 Déjà vuÖ
10 Iím healthy!
11A cool breeze can make all the difference.
12 I like the industry side of this con.
13 Anime fansÖ
14 I think I should have eaten better.
15 WaitÖ I didnít pick up those swimsuit figures eitherÖ
16 Hat!
17 Another year without Aion, I think Iíll just cancel the project.
19 Another day 2 headache.
19. RE: 18 Ė Iím seeing a pattern here.
20. Letís dance until we canít remember why we were dancing.
21. Those stupid horns!
22. Two Words: Yoko Kanno!
23. One cosplay a day, I like that rule.
24. I also like roaming solo.
25. Made some PokeWalker friends.
26. Seriously, why didnít I go after those figures?
27. Finally, a con with interesting panels!
28. I didnít have to take the shuttles, suckers!
29. Note to self: Get a courier bag.
30. Still playing catch up with real life.
31. Finally, I want to work on AMVs again!
32. To hell with the haters.
33. Thanks for the help Keven!
34. Yuu Asakawa has great English.
35. Most AX attendees do not.
36. If you ask a question in Japanese you better be from Japan!!
37. Attitude determines everything!
38. Next cosplay: that Rick Hunter wannabe from Macross Frontier.
39. First Expo Iíve gone to unarmed in a very long time.
40. No rude photographers, thatís a nice change.
41. No facts about 41, just happy I did a long list again.

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