Starting tomorrow, thousands of people will descend upon the LA Convention Center for Anime Expo.
For many, this is the big time. It’s where every major player, from Viz Media to NIS America, struts their stuff and shows off their most prized properties. It’s a week when every major player pulls out all of the stops. Even now, a day before the event begins, we’ve seen Sentai tweeting about their Gatchaman Crowds van (affectionately called “The Gatchavan“), and Viz hyping their big Sailor Moon Day.
At the same time, we’re seeing industry talents confirming their arrival, and vendors eagerly posting pictures of their booth setups. Fans are posting, sharing, and discussing across social media, creating a colorful prelude to what will be the anime industry’s biggest event of the year.
Of course, it’s never entirely smooth sailing. At this point, there are rumblings of difficulties at pre-registration with massive lines, and slow processing speeds leading to unreasonable waits for people to receive their passes. Today, it’s a problem. If not corrected by tomorrow, it will turn into a disaster that could make Anime Boston’s infamous “Line Con” seem like a walk in the park.
That said, though, large conventions like Anime Expo tend to really bring out the biggest, brightest parts of the anime community. On the surface level, we see cosplayers bring their “A” game, with amazing presentations and truly inspired costumes. Artists deliver truly inspired works that gush with their love of anime, as a whole. Social media is filled with photos of amazing sights and sounds of the event, and YouTubers capture every minute of the event with a breathless sense of wonder and anticipation.
Below this, though, below the surface elements, we see something truly special. There are stories of new friendships being kindled, as well as amazing acts of kindness. People raise money for the homeless, and contribute toward amazing causes. Fans meet and bond over their love of the medium, and the world seems to just grow that much more friendly for a few days.
The next few days will prove to be truly interesting. While I won’t be attending this year, I can’t help but look forward to the constant feed of sights and sounds that will inevitably arise. The stories may not always be amazing, or even impressive, but they tend to be something that really shows the world just how awesome we, as fans, can be.