Not Just Manga Anymore – The Anime Expo Diversifies, Plus Photogallery

By Michele Brittany, a West Coast Bleeding Cool Correspondent

It was the second day of the 23rd annual Anime Expo (AX) being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center over the holiday weekend. This is my second year, having attended only one day last year, which wasn't enough time to see the entire exhibition hall and artist alley. In addition, I went cheap last year and only got admission to the exhibit hall, so I didn't have access to the panels. This year, I picked up the four-day pass that included the exhibit hall and panels. Any evening shows still charge a separate admission, ranging anywhere from $5 – $45, depending on the event.

There were two separate lines. Those with their badges from Thursday, lined up along the front of the convention center, while those of picking up our badges, formed a separate zigzagging line along the side of the long, very long convention center. That said, the lines were orderly and kept moving, so the wait to get inside was perhaps 30 minutes. I think the most disorganized moment was after picking up the program and waiting for the hall the open. There were no lines and masses patiently waited until the doors opened.

For today being a holiday, it was surprising how many people were in attendance. I had anticipated the crowd would be light, but everywhere it was crowded. The one major bump in the day I encountered was that I wanted to attend a couple of panels. The first one on my list was the Aksys Games Panel. The description indicated that they would be announcing a new title. Apparently, a lot of people were attracted by the same tidbit of information. Well, I ended up joining a bit late the Comfort and Love Present: Let's Make a Character, and I can honestly say I wish I had picked this panel instead. It was informative and entertaining. Lesson of the day? Better timing when planning to attend panels where there is a big reveal.

I think one of the observations I had this year over last was the amount of cross-pollination of pop culture icons and the presence of Western characters. For example, a pair of cosplayers crossed Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn with Sailor Scouts. It wasn't just cosplayers, but in the artist alley, I noticed the same occurrence. Additionally, there were comic book characters – Spider Man, Deadpool, Harley Quinn – as well as characters from Game of Thrones, Frozen, Tangled, Gears of War and many others. While AX is still very much about anime and manga, it is no longer exclusive to those two mediums.

The amazing cosplay costumes did not disappoint today. There were some cute surprises such as Brave Little Toaster or the improvised ingenuity of the two men that wore boxes with their character names on the front. And, I loved seeing cosplay of two of my personal favorites, the anime Black Butler and the video game Eternal Sonata.

All in all, it was fun filled day. Tomorrow? Panels and artist alley. Until then, enjoy the photo gallery.

AX continues through Sunday, July 6th opening each day at 10 AM.

All photographs by Michele Brittany.

Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer currently editing an upcoming anthology on the influence of James Bond on popular culture. She regularly posts reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage genre on her blog, Spyfi & Superspies.

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About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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