AX 2017: 10 reasons to attend

anime expo ax

Hello Kitty cosplay at AX 2012. Photo Credit: Reinier Macatangay

Anime Expo, otherwise known as AX, comes to the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend. The event officially runs from July 1 to 4. For many anime fans and con-goers, this is a regular “must attend” gathering. Other fellow nerds who casually watch anime or do not cosplay often might be on the fence. After all, the price is a little higher than smaller cons.

But what do attendees get to experience with an AX badge? Why should they invest in purchasing a pass to this massive anime con? Well, list articles are popular these days. So here is a list of 10 reasons to attend AX 2017, in no particular order.

1. Cosplay

Without a doubt, there is a lot of cosplay going on at AX. Because it is the largest anime convention in California, chances are most fans will see their favorite anime character being cosplayed. Plus, no one needs to cosplay as an anime character. Go as whatever, as long as the costume is nerdy. Even Harry Potter cosplay is acceptable for this environment.

2. Friends

Anyone who regularly participates in the anime community will know someone attending AX. It is just too hot of a convention for people not to know at least one person. Think of this weekend as a gigantic party for anime nerds. For those attending completely alone, then talk to someone. Try to get a Mario Kart game going in the Entertainment Hall.

3. Exhibit Hall

Browsing through all the dealers in the Exhibit Hall can become a marathon. According to the convention website, “With nearly 400 vendors and exhibitors, Anime Expo’s Exhibit Hall floor is a marketplace showcasing amazing merchandise straight from Japan.” Wow, 400. Expect to see more than only anime-themed booths. As with most anime cons, the Exhibit Hall is a good place to find retro video game consoles and games too. Fashion and music-related items are popular as well.

4. Guest of Honors

The Guest of Honor list is too vast and wide to go over each person in this article. But it does feature creators, personalities, voice actors, artists and more. Needless to say, a big anime convention like this offers variety.

5. Autograph Sessions

AX has a section on their website that gives step-by-step directions on How to Get an Autograph. It might come across as initially confusing. The first steps indicate that “The line for the Autograph Ticket Booth will start outside of on Pico Blvd outside of South Hall/Kentia Hall. This starts as one single line which will split into six lines and signs will be posted on the booths to indicate which one is for which booth.” If still lost, just ask an AX official.

The website also makes clear AX does not manage the sessions. Fans need to “visit the guest’s respective booth or company website for more information about the relevant policies and procedures.”

So attendees will need to wait a little bit. Waiting in line never stopped anyone from seeing their favorite industry celebrity or artist before. The good thing is, the convention lasts four days which gives plenty of time.

6. Panels

Panels can feature those from the Guest of Honor list. But they also offer special reunions and industry discussions. Ever wanted to break into the business? Find a panel relating to the topic on the official AX Schedule.

7. Concerts

Live music from major artists is one of the biggest draws of AX. Unfortunately, the concerts do require a separate fee. The AX website gives more information in their Ticketing FAQ.

On a personal note, one of the scheduled performers is the wonderful Minori Chihara. Most anime fans know her as a voice actress on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Beyond the Boundary and Sound! Euphonium. She also played Chiaki on the vastly overlooked Minami-ke (Season 1 was the best). If attending AX with extra money, give this talented star a chance.

8. L.A. Live

Looking for a cool, trendy place to hang out in after the Exhibit Hall closes? L.A. Live has a lot of restaurants and bars just across the street from the Staples Center. For coffee addicts or people who simply need free WiFi, there is even a Starbucks.

As an extra tip for those looking for WiFi, the Katsuya restaurant also features reliable WiFi and extends into the Smashburger nearby. Additionally, there are two electrical outlets inside Smashburger on the far corner.

9. Screenings

An anime convention without anime to showcase in dark rooms would be an odd one. AX is no different in that it constantly shows anime throughout the weekend for all attendees. It can get easy to forget about this with everything else happening.

Two of the screenings are world premieres. Check out the Premieres & Screenings page for more information. For other anime screenings, refer back to the overall schedule link. The screenings are a welcome break from the hectic AX action.

10. Gaming

AX provides console video gaming (including tournaments) and an arcade in the Entertainment Hall. While the convention is mainly focused on anime, video games are an integral part of the fun. Look at everyone who goes to anime conventions and dresses up as video game characters such as Mario, Link, Zelda and even characters from more serious games.

Luckily, the AX Entertainment Hall tends to be spacious, although still crowded because of the amount of attendees.

And the list ends.

No conventions are perfect, and AX certainly takes its share of criticism. For instance, the environment can feel very crowded at peak hours. Attendees should map out a plan if they wish to not miss anything, as it takes time to walk around.

The hotels and restaurants by the convention center tend to run on the pricey side. One needs to be certain AX is affordable before going. Parking fees run on the high side too (on Sunday take advantage of free street parking in the neighborhood).

Regardless, this is AX. Con-goers come from all over the country for this event. So give AX a chance this year, and see if it becomes an annual tradition to attend.

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