Give ‘Em the “AX” – Pre-Report #1

Well, it’s that time of the season again, making plans to see one of the three biggest anime conventions in the world, The LA Anime Expo® (or ‘AX’). This year promises to be different than in seasons past, but much is still fraught with peril and uncertainty. Getting “Hamilton” tickets wasn’t this bad, but it was bad. I will gladly explain, as that is what I do best.

You have to make the commitment to this well in advance, as you need to be prepared in November to make the first sortie and then, you have to stay on top of things, lest it gets out of hand. This was the year that the daughter was going to be a vendor, but things got away from her (as is usually the case). It is rather intimidating to do this, as you have to mentally prepare for it and have the supplies on hand, so I don’t blame her for uncertainty and doubt. I have a hard enough time selling stuff on eBay, much less the intensity of four days of being in Artist’s Alley (and surviving on Subway sandwiches) while seeing tons of people who mostly glance and walk past or worse, make some kind of snarky comment. (“You’re an artist? You can’t even draw flies!”) So, she’ll be attending as a regular person. I am the one with the interesting tale.

Although I have covered other anime conventions under a press pass, and covered this one, as I was there, this one is going to be the Big Dog for me as a correspondent. The perks you get are rather nice, as I will enumerate:

  • Admission to Anime Expo® (Like, duh!)
  • Priority entry to all panels (limited) as well as the Exhibit Hall.
  • Complimentary tickets and assigned seating for certain ticketed events/concerts. (Subject to availability. Tickets are distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis in the Press Lounge.)
  • Admission to press conferences and Press Lounge.
  • Consideration for interviews with Guests of Honor. (Must apply for press badge by May 15th. Interview request form will be sent to eligible press.)

OK, I don’t do interviews. I do reviews. I don’t do interviews because I am terrible at it and all the practice in the world has not made me any better at it. But I certainly want to get into some of those exclusive seminars where they talk about industry things. I wanted to hear one on US Manga vs Japanese Manga last time I came, but, since I wasn’t press, I wasn’t allowed in. And, yes, I want that priority seating to some of the more tony events. I wanted to go when the creator of ‘Attack on Titan” showed up the next time I went, but I was massively behind the curve on that one when I made the belated decision to attend it.

But whenever there is honey, there is the threat of bee stings. And there are a lot of potential bee stings out there:

  • Press badges will not be granted to cosplay photographers, personal blogs, or photo gallery websites.
  • Outlet must be at least two years old.
  • You must be able to provide relevant coverage from other events.
  • Press outlet/organization must submit coverage from previous years if they have attended Anime Expo in previous years.
  • A reporter or press outlet that was approved in a prior year is not guaranteed approval for the current year.
  • Applying for a press badge does not guarantee a press badge.

I mean, tickets weren’t too bad. I jumped on their Black Friday Sale at midnight and scored tickets for $55 a person (normally $65, $75 on December 1st, $80 on February 1st). I want to see if I can get a free press pass for Day #0.5. Yes, they have decided to go back to an early half-day event before main festivities. It was $20 for it (or $10 with a pre-purchase and code), but I’ll see how it works. Day #0 is still the Stand In Line and Get Your Ticket Day (although, in theory, it should be a breeze for me IF I get a press pass) and we are turning this into a Big Vacation in the Citadel of the Angels.

Please understand that Los Angeles is not the workout in and of itself; the driving is. My son used to live in San Diego and it took more time to cross the LA Basin (which I define as Santa Clarita to Mission Viejo) than to get from Mission Viejo to San Diego, even though it is the same approximate distance, so I always approach this area with dread and concern. Even if you do the Big Bypass (Bakersfield, Barstow, San Bernardino, Perris and Temecula), that still takes less time than The Drive. But we are going into the belly of the beast for this sojourn; so, gird your grid for a big one. And if the weather is going to be like it was last time I went, I’m going to need my own personal ice cream truck.

Now, I had to hedge my bets about tickets and yeah, I did talk to them about that. I didn’t want to miss out on cost-effective tickets, but if I get a press pass, I’d like to get a refund. I am still awaiting the mad melee which will be the hotel room. You have to balance out cost and amenities. Some of the nicer (read: pricey) ones are a bit farther (further? I never got that one right) away, but the closer ones are not as fab and a ton more noisy, so it’s what you want it to be for you. Still waiting, waiting, waiting for the gate to drop. Even seeing “Code Geass: Akito” didn’t take this long, and that was four years to see. More to follow. Oh, I have also been asked by those guys to post this notice:

“The applicable Trademark(s) are registered trademarks of the Society for Promotion of Japanese Animation and are used with permission.  This site and its content are not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by, or affiliated with, the Society for Promotion of Japanese Animation.”