Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved anime. Since the days of Toonami on Cartoon Network my memories are of running home from school to watch shows like Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Wing. My love of anime, manga and geek culture has grown to the point where I make it a point to attend as many cons as possible.
The granddaddy of them all is Anime Expo. I’ve been to every Anime Expo since my first one back in ’06, missing only one year, ’09, due to going on some family trip. Anime Expo isn’t just the largest anime convention in California; it’s the largest in North America. It gets bigger and better every year and Anime Expo 2017 was no different.
Ticket prices for AX are way cheaper than for other huge cons like SDCC or Wonder Con. You can either choose to go for four days for $90 or you can choose one day for $55. But honestly you’re playing yourself if you choose anything less than the 4 day pass. The tickets get even cheaper if you purchase them earlier. Overall this convention is easier than most on my bank account. That is – at least until I see the vast amounts of stuff in the dealer room that I cant resist buying!
I always stay at the Wesion Bonaventure. This gives me only a half mile walk to LA Convention Center. While this was never a problem to begin with, any issue is now completely gone due to buses that are constantly running to and from the Convention Center all day. This is a thoughtful improvement by convention organizers and allows me make trips to and from my hotel room to drop of bags I don’t feel like carrying anymore. I took advantage of this 2 to 3 times each day.
Anime Expo stands on top of other anime cons because it has every single connection you can think of in the anime and manga industry doing panels. Every year they give you the chance to meet voice actors and creators, along with sneak peeks of their current projects. This year was especially cool because we got to see a teaser for the Season Two announcement for FLCL. I feel very lucky I was one of the few people able to make it to the panel in time to see it.
There were more panels than usual this year, which was no surprise with the growing popularity of Anime Expo. Over 115,000 fans attended! This caused them to be forced to use some of the ballrooms in the J.W. Marriott Hotel which is a block and a half away on Olympic. At first I couldn’t agree with the decision to show screenings and some of the larger industry panels in the hotel. I thought it would be optimal if some of the fan panels were held there instead and the convention could focus exclusively on industry connected events. I didn’t visit many fan panels this year, as there were far too many more important panels that I had to make sacrifices for. But it worked out for the best in the end.
All in all, Anime Expo 2017 was a great time, and I was so excited I literally bought my pass for 2018 on day 4 to get all 4 days for a better discounted price. I cant wait to see who and what will all be at the convention next year!