The 23rd Anime Expo, the largest in North America, took place over the long July 4th weekend. I’ve been attending the Expo since it moved from the Anaheim Convention Center to the Long Beach Convention Center in 2007. Then to the Los Angeles Convention Center the following year, where it has remained ever since.
Anime Expo features more than just anime and manga, but also cosplay, music, games and fashion. It also gives fans the opportunity to meet and hear from famous creators, companies and artists of the genre at panels/booth signings.
Events go on all day, up until midnight at the Convention Center. These include the annual Masquerade, AX Dance, karaoke, workshops, AX Maid Cafe, table top gaming/tournaments, video game arcade and co-play photography sets.
Here are my Top 5 Things from the 2014 Anime Expo:
• Sailor Moon Day – Featured the special broadcast of the first episode of the all-new series, Sailor Moon Crystal on Neon Alley and Hulu/Hulu Plus; a panel and autograph session with the Official English voice cast; photo ops; a stamp rally for a memorial coin and freebies.
• Oculus Rift – Never-before-seen Sword Art Online demos featuring Asuna fighting a huge creature and another with her resting on the grass during a sunny day.
• The Anime – KILL la KILL, Space Dandy (Season 2), Sword Art Online II, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, Wakfu, One Piece (Season 6) and One Piece Film Z.
• The Games – Hello Kitty Flower Bounce, Puzzle & Dragons, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution
• Smart Doll – This is something that would only come from Japan. It’s a little weird and creepy, but has a cool robotic/mobile device factor to it.
A few other things I thought were noteworthy:
Artist Alley tables: inki-Jinx, Leaflet Parade, Sorbet Jungle, Thousand Skies + Hermes Lapin.
Japanese Alpacasso (alpaca) plush are still as popular as ever, but the handmade plush from Bellzi and stuff from Tasty Peach Studios were really cute.
This is also the first time in Anime Expo’s history that badges for Saturday completely sold out and on-site registration had to be closed. Pre-registered attendees were still able to pickup their badges. So if you plan on attending next year, I would make sure you pre-register ahead of time.