Anime Expo 2018 Celebrates a Successful Turnout

by Liz Tarnof

Photo courtesy of Anime Expo

For anyone who attended Anime Expo (AX) last year in Los Angeles knows the pain experienced in waiting for hours to get into the convention center. This year, The Society for the promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) really stepped up their game and provided an incredibly smooth process of obtaining badges and getting into the convention center itself. AX capped out attendance at 110,000 this year in order to ensure a quality event for fans to come together to share their passion and experiences with each other. This proved to be incredibly beneficial for everyone as the weather was at a record reaching high, at one point going over 107 degrees.

All logistics aside, AX delivered a great experience for anime fans alike. Fans from over 70 countries flew in to enjoy the convention and embrace the eclectic Los Angeles culture. The Exhibit and Entertainment Halls featured more than 524 exhibitors. Artist Alley was located in one of the convention center’s parking garages which made for a bit of a stuffy experience. Artist Alley proves to be one of the largest gatherings of amateur and semi-professional artists at any convention, featuring more than 500 artists from across the US and all over the world who showcased their original artwork, prints, crafts, clothing and comic collections. SPJ needs to create more room for foot traffic!

Photo courtesy of Anime Expo

Cosplayers were abounding in the halls. It wasn’t surprising to see numerous My Hero Academia cosplays and of course, a ton of D.Va’s from Overwatch. Cosplayers seemed to thoroughly enjoy their time at AX despite the sweltering heat. The energy was palpitating and the generosity of the cosplayers was immense.

The big highlight of AX was the Anisong World Matsuri concert; three massive nights of concerts featuring nine global acts including a power collection of fan-favorite performers including Aimer, AKB48 Team 8, THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS, i☆Ris, Yuki Kajiura, May’n, Shoko Nakagawa, and Sanketsu-girl Sayuri. In addition, school idol group Aquors (Love Live! Sunshine!!) performed their first-ever full-length solo concert in the United States.

AX is already planned for next year with it being scheduled July 4 to 7, 2019 with the pre-show night on July 3, 2019. 4-day badges are now on sale for $80 with the remaining Premier Fan badges to be released at a later date. Badges can be bought at anime-expo.org

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