As another Anime Expo comes and goes, it's safe to say that AX will hold their crown of "North America's Largest Anime Convention" at 61,000 attendees for the 2013 edition. Keep in mind though that it's not the biggest convention in the world let alone North America; San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon*Con, and Japan Expo in France pull in more if not double or triple of AX's attendance numbers.
I will say this: this year's Anime Expo was a blast to a part of, but it could of been much better.
Anime Expo 2013 vs. Anime Expo 2010: Usage of the Convention Center and LA Live
Anime Expo 2010 had most of their events spread out including the usage of Club Nokia, the Nokia Theatre, Nokia Plaza, and the adjacent hotels like the Westin and the JW Marriott. In 2011, the same spots were bustling when Hatsune Miku was performing at the Nokia Theatre.
Anime Expo 2012 was when everything started to contract back into the convention center proper because of the X-Games that were taking place the same time. Except for Porno Graffiti, everything took place between the West Hall and South Hall. It does make that everything is in one place and you didn't have to walk over to the JW Marriott for the dance or the Nokia Theatre for all the main events, but it seemed a bit crowded.
My Response to Tally's Review
I first got word of Tally's review on Sunday and read through it that Monday morning. While some may or may not disagree with her overall message and/or the validity of her statistics, I will say this: if my person's sources are legit and reliable, then I still stick by my published reports unless someone can substantially prove me otherwise. If you have any concerns, you can e-mail me at email@example.com and we can continue our conversation there or on another medium.
I like said before, this could of been a much better Anime Expo. Not covering RAM RIDER or the Garden of Words viewing because of mishaps from Access Control and other staff members who changed the rules contrary to what I received as press when I first got in. Even then, some of the Access Control staff didn't know about the fact that press could be in the same line as the Premiere Pass and Industry badge holders. I don't blame LACC staff for not knowing though; they're just there for convention security and are independent from AX's Access Control operations. I do want to give props to the one guy that was protecting the press and staff hallway on the Southern end of South Hall; we had a running dialogue throughout the weekend and even called me "hardcore" for all the times I was coming in and out of that area. Words like that can pick someone up who just needs that push of encouragement through a marathon weekend, and that certainly helped. Thanks Mr. LACC staff person!
Probably the best parts of Anime Expo were the cosplay gatherings and the Exhibit Hall. I haven't been to big-time gathering and big-time Exhibit Hall in such a long time. To see all the new players in the anime industry like Aniplex and Sentai Filmworks alongside FUNimation and Viz Media made me excited for the future of anime in North America. To see huge gatherings run by those who can manage that big of a crowd impresses me, and this is coming from someone who is used to managing a medium-sized gathering. It makes me wonder how they were able to manage the massive Attack on Titan and Homestuck Gatherings that were taking place.
Shout-outs & Thanks
Big shout-outs to those who worked with the food trucks to get the AX Food Truck Lot going. I loved the idea and it brought out the best in LA mobile cuisine for this convention to taste. Also a big shout-out to all the staff and volunteers that made AX what it is sans those who I mentioned above. All of you put just as much effort, heart, and soul as all of us here at the California Conventions Blog do.
I also want to send a special thanks to my AX press staff: Ryan, newcomer Amanda (they'll be reporting on conventions as a couple!), Nate, Ray, Tally, Jaden, Lucas, and Jade. This is the team that I've always wanted and despite our differences in our individual coverage, all I ever asked for is that you put your best effort out there both on the floor and when writing your reports. And at this convention, all of you showed that to me and for that I'm grateful.
Will I come back to Anime Expo in 2014?
I really can't say sure; then again, nothing is set in stone beyond Otakon Vegas in early January and even then there's a ton of planning and saving to do. I guess it all depends on who comes as guests and if other opportunities arise that I would save up more for i.e. covering an out-of-state convention that's not on the West Coast. I would certainly love to come back, but if something bigger comes calling that's within reach I'm going to go for that first.
What's On Tap
I would cover SacAnime Summer, but I've decided to let Ryan and Amanda report as a couple. Both are excited to see the plethora of guests that will be at the convention, and I can't wait to see how their coverage especially since both will be under press and not split like Anime Expo.
That doesn't mean you haven't seen the last of me for possibly the rest of the year. There's Super SacCon coming up after SacAnime Summer, and with their expansion to two days it'll be interesting to see how that convention runs under a two-day format.
What we are working on is how to split everyone up for next year's January conventions. While SacAnime Winter and Anime Los Angeles will have their installments, Otakon is expanding West to Las Vegas with Otakon Vegas. Me and a couple of the staff members have a strong interest in covering this convention, so we'll see how everything plays out.
Thank you for reading my report.
-Anime Expo 2013 Report End-