Anime California happened over the long Labor Day weekend, Friday, September 2nd – Monday, September 4th, at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Anime California is a fairly new anime convention, with this being only its 3rd year. I had not even heard of this anime convention until this year, so I was curious to see how this was. This con is way smaller than Anime Expo and not quite what I had expected. It’s more of a fan-oriented convention than your standard anime convention.
Anime California is a small, fun and entertaining Con. Less crowded than Anime Expo, probably closer in size and similarity to PMX and Anime Los Angeles and here are my TOP 5 HIGHLIGHTS from it:
Okay, so there weren’t really a whole lot of vendors there, but the ones that were there had some pretty cool stuff for sale: Pokemon plush, One Punch Man shirt, Transformer figures, anime books and art creations from the Artist Alley area.
Some of the panels and workshops were interesting, like: Disneybound… The Do’s and Don’ts! With The Adventure Effect, Kids Can Cosplay: It’s For ALL Ages!, Foam Prop Making With: Shawshank, How To Survive You First Convention, Traveling to Cons Survival Guide, Learn to Yo-Yo. About half of the panels on the schedule were Fan-led Panels.
3) Family Oriented
It was very much a family-friendly event for people of all ages. There were some 18+ events that happened in the late night hours, ID check required. Dance events were 16+, Karaoke and Anime Jeopardy were scheduled to end at midnight-1:30 am in the morning.
4) Attendees and Staff
I’m not sure what the attendance numbers were for the 4-days of the event. There was a steady stream of attendees venturing into the Exhibit Hall on Saturday all afternoon. The line to purchase passes was pretty long, but moved really fast. Prices for passes were very reasonable and the staff was pleasant, working under the pressure of the long line and processing attendees.
The gaming area was fun to watch. You could sit and watch attendees play Dance Central 3 on a huge video monitor, solo or in a group.
It is a bit difficult not to compare Anime California to Anime Expo, or similar Cons. Having attended many different Cons myself over so many years, some at the Long Beach Convention Center, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The Exhibit Hall was held in Hall B, which is a pretty large space. This contained the Dealer’s Hall, Artist Alley, Fan Tables, Guest Signings and Gaming (Tabletop, PC/Console Gaming. Panels, special programming and video screenings were held in rooms on the 2nd Floor, along with the Main Events and Masquerade in the Grand Ballroom.
Half the Exhibit Hall was vendors booths/Artist Alley and the other half was gaming. Some of the vendor booth areas were empty as were a couple of the Artist Alley tables. Would have thought that Crunchyroll or Loot Crate, both of which were sponsors, might have had some kind of profile there but there was none.
As I mentioned above, there were a bunch of cool things some of the vendors had and if I didn’t have a car payment to keep up with I would have bought all the stuff I saw. One of the items I could not pass up was a cool Team Mystic cap.
For more information on Anime California, visit animecalifornia.com.