If you have never been to an anime convention, I highly suggest that you avail yourself of it. They are not the rarity of years past and if you do an internet search under ‘anime conventions’, you will find a long list of them. They range from local and fan-driven to highly professional with some dramatic clout. I happen to be in at Anime Expo in Los Angeles. Find a map of Downtown LA and look for the Staples Center and that’s where I am.
In years past, I would roll up about halfway through Day One, where you would breeze through for your tickets, but you then lose half a day. This year, we decided to get there on Day 0. Also, in the past, they used to have a quarter-day of activity, but they dropped that. So, we get to the line for the ‘common’ tickets. There are tickets that were insanely expensive and are so SuperMegaAwesomeCrunchy. They give you entree everywhere: the front of the line, special venues, behind the scenes kind of stuff.. That line was so short, the ticket people there were playing their hand-held video games.
No, I had to get in the line with the unwashed masses, and some of them were very unwashed. How long was the line? It took me 10 minutes to find the end. Disney would be proud with the crowd control and how they kept us moving, but I felt like some tapeworm, navigating the serpentine intestine to get inside the building. For some folks, it wasn’t too soon to cosplay and the outfits ran the gamut from very cheap to very involved. One guy was dressed up as part of the Recon Corp from “Attack on Titan”. He was in line sewing the shoulder patch as we walked along. Another was from “Sword Art Online” with the double swords. A third person was from “Tron” and he was insane.
Hewais dressed head to toe in black, including the helmet. Look, LA is suffering under a heat wave, so here he is, in black, in the sun, in the sweat. That is either insanity or dedication (or both). Now, I am not one to discourage people from doing cosplay. If it is something you love, go for it, but you have to be a bit more realistic in what you are trying to achieve and somewhat able to pull it off. One woman was trying to be Kim Possible and time had shifter her figure. I also do not remember Kim being so busty. Another was Mocha from “Rosario + Vampire” and I guess there was a run on desserts. I just don’t remember her being so big. Another woman looked fabulous in her costume, but it was all leather and layered, so she was really sweating. Her friends were fanning her down.
Still, with about 4000 people in line, things were kept in a light mood. It took us about 160 minutes to run the line and that was a pretty consistent time for everyone. Here’s the kicker: between the time you finally get into the door and get your badge in hand was about seven minutes, and that was waiting for the machine to print the badge. Then, you got your goodie bag which had the schedule of events and there is just so much to see.
One drawback of a convention is that you are going to have to miss something to get to something else. In a sense, I am lucky, as about half the anime showings are ones that I have seen and even reviewed (“Guilty Crown”, “Future Diary”, “Case Closed”), but there are some I have missed (“Wolf Children”) and special presentations (“Garden of Words”, “Blue Exorcist: The Movie”). One that will draw a lot is the dubbed release of “Sword Art Online”, as there will be a Q&A afterwards with the English cast.
As with any convention, there are the “Hot Hentai Nights“, where things of a more adult nature are shown. One venue will teach you Japanese while watching hentai and another asks the question “Is it hentai?” There are dating shows (think of “The Dating Game”), stand-up comedy shows, karaoke sing-offs, some magic shows and lots of AMV showings. I am upstairs in my hotel, plotting a strategy, but I still have to make time for the Vendors Room and that could easily gobble up a bunch of hours.
You will have to excuse me, as I have to get my cosplay costume ready as well. Yeah, I did it for my daughter. I will see if I can get snaps later on that.
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