There is a scene from the movie “A Fish Called Wanda”, where Kevin Kline cracks open a safe, hoping to find a ton of pelf within, but is greeted instead with silent emptiness. Screwing his face up with disgust, he loudly proclaims, “OK… OK… DISAPPOINTED! Son of a bitch.” I know how he feels, when I got the letter from Anime Expo, letting me know that there will be NO AX for 2021. *sigh* OK… OK… DISAPPOINTED! Son of a bitch.
Ever since the pandemic, I do not think Los Angeles County has ever gotten out of Tier 0, or if they did, it was for the briefest of times. Aside from the fact that there were going to be upwards of 100,000 folks there, those who got bounced from the 2020 offering would have their tickets honored as well, so it was going to potentially be a clustercuss of a mess. Not to mention the whole hotel situation, as I assume THEY would try and honor the reservations. Jeez, how would that even work?
I had a feeling it was going to be cancelled (and anyone who thought I was going to say ‘They had to ax AX’, you go sit in a room and watch the first season of “Tokyo Mew Mew”) when certain signposts were missed: the early opportunity to purchase tickets on Black Friday, the lack of information regarding the hotels, vagueness as to who would be showing up, the endless TBA tags at the website itself. And it’s not like they were alone. A lot of the other Los Angeles entertainment venues were also suffering, so if I wanted to turn this into the Grand Great Adventure Out, it was slipping further and further from my grasp to do much of anything except come down, point fingers at landmarks from afar, take some blurry selfies and head back home.
Part of me understands the need for caution. Packing that many people into a tiny location? Have you ever eaten at the Center? Aside from being cheek to cheek at the tables, there are people hovering over you, waiting for you to wolf down that questionable $9 hot dog so they can absorb your spot. And the Grand Foyer, where all the cosplayers gather and all the photo hounds descend upon it as well, to see a grouping of Megera and the Muses vamping about, or someone from Evangelion in an amazing outfit posing and presenting it for the assembled multitudes. It can’t all be watching the first year of “Astro Boy” at 7 am (There must have been all of nine people). Social distancing would have been impossible, especially with the line spacing. Crap, the lines would have stretched to the Santa Monica Pier!
But there is still a caliber of sadness that it’s not going to happen. As of late, I don’t go for the anime viewing shows, unless it is a World Premiere of something. I consume so much anime that I have seen 90% of the shows and movies they are offering. I gravitate towards the panels. And, yes, I was going to make another pathetic attempt to score on a press pass, just to get into some of the more restrictive panels. I was hoping that I built up a better resume and track record over the last four years, so I wouldn’t get the back of the hand, but who can tell? I just don’t know what they want, but I was ready to go at it again. You know, hope springs infernal.
Now, we can always hope that when 2022 rolls around, a better degree of normalcy will have returned, but it could be as big of a zoo that we thought this year would have been. You can’t keep kicking the can down the road, hoping for something better. Nor can we assume that 2023 or 2024 will even things out. You know, a surge year, then a couple of retreat years. But there is still going to be a ton of folks out and about whenever we have the next AX. Interest in anime certainly has been building and this is one of the biggest conventions in the world, so it is going to draw people in.
And I am not guaranteed that some of the smaller venues are going to be any more available. The counties are changing their colors, but it will not be fast enough in many instances. A Year Without A Real Convention Anywhere. Man, I gotta go to at least ONE of them, right?
In the end, prudence wins out. The most daring chance I’d ever want to take is going for a ride on the Tilt-A-Puke roller coaster. What did your mother say to you to make you eat your Brussels sprouts (or broccoli or lima beans)? “It’s all for the best.” I guess it is. *sigh* DISAPPOINTED!