Anime Expo 2013: The Good, the Bad, and the WTF

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Cosplay, anime, gaming, panels, live shows, unique vendors and artists, dancing, drinking, and excessive amounts of fandom all come together in one place every year just around Independence Day. The Los Angeles Anime Expo is the United State’s answer to Japan’s Comiket. While most will assume that Comic-Con is the only event of the year which can present all of these features to its attendees, Anime Expo is getting pretty damn close.

While the past years have always been entertaining and exciting, I have to say that under its new management, AX has become not only more organized, but much more saturated with quality content. By this, I imply that changes made to both the dealer and gaming/photo hall as well as the panels and side attractions have all improved in one way or another.

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The biggest change this year has to be the gaming area located in West Hall. In the previous years this area has either been largely unused or populated with a few arcade machines and some consoles. This year, not only has the numbers of consoles quadrupled with new arcade machines being added, but the inclusion of some great gaming desktops. Although these only had Starcraft 1 ( Come on, Seriously?), it was still a nice improvement over nothing. This year’s tournaments were also much better coordinated as well as much more popular. The high-quality projector was a very nice touch.

Another notable addition to West Hall was the pre-build scenic photography areas. Being able to take photos in a girly bedroom, next to a bridge, in a classroom, or at a shrine surrounded by Sakuras brought cosplayers in flocks. Whoever thought of this idea really needs a promotion. I hope next year this concept expands to more environments and becomes a staple of Anime Expo.

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South Hall was largely untouched in layout and substance. The dealer hall did however have a few more big names this year, notably the Good Smile booth, where waiting in line would take around 2-3 hours. Artist Alley was bigger than ever. I don’t think in my past 5 years of attendance I had ever seen the entire area sold out of space.

As for panels, I was quite satisfied to see such a wide variety of content available for con attendees. Everything from game shows, movies, and TV shows to the strangest in hentai presentations (my favorite one was hands down EroManga: The Good, The Bad, and The WTF).

Two notable attractions were the Maid Cafe, which I didn’t have a chance of visiting this year, and the 21+ Lounge which served watered-down overpriced drinks to anybody wishing for some alcoholic refreshment (hosted by CosplayDeviants).

In closing, this year’s Anime Expo was a huge surprise in just how quickly this con is growing into one of the year’s most anticipated attractions for anybody with interests pertaining to Japanese animation and/or culture. I just want to give a shout-out to the staff and volunteers as well as management team for working so hard in providing the best possible quality experience any otaku can have outside of Japan for four days a year. Cheers, and see you all next year.

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Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian
Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian 397 posts

Adam "kharakov" Kharat is part nerd, part geek, and full awesome. With deadly writing skills and the sleeping habits of a jackrabbit, late night gaming sessions are all but mandatory.