Anime Expo 2016 – Indofear’s Adventures
Anime Expo 2016, the resident 4 day, July 4th weekend convention is a great convention to attend for both anime fans and general convention goers alike. This year was no different. If you take away the odd convention dates falling on Friday through Monday instead of the typical Thursday through Sunday; adding in the fact that the convention was ostensibly larger this year, breaking a 100k average daily attendee milestone from what we’ve heard, and honestly felt, it was still the Anime Expo convention that we’ve come to love over the past few years of attending.
I had the opportunity to book a stay with Mayhem of Art of the Con, Miss Piratesavvy and our friend Ethan. This posed for great opportunities to catch up and hang out not only in the Airbnb that we stayed in but also when it came to planning our daily adventures for the convention. It also offered the opportunity for our friend TC Photo as well as others to roll through that generally stay with us as well. As always, it’s a pleasure to get the opportunity to hang out with them, and staying with friends is always something I look forward to.
Onwards to the convention!
Unlike last year, the interesting thing about this year’s Anime Expo was that although it broke 100k attendees, it did not have any sellout days like last year. I found this intriguing, because even though the convention was great to attend, it felt extremely congested both in the lobby, halls and even outside at certain points. I’m not sure if this change was regarding a change in staffing, the expansion of use of other nearby buildings and centers like the JW Marriott for additional screenings, or if there was a management change that I’m unaware of. Regardless, myself and others came to the consensus that there needs to be a cut off on attendees at this point to avoid potential over attendance and other issues in the future.
This year’s Day 0 was an oddity since it fell on Thursday, where as in the past, that is day 1 of the convention. Compared to Anime Expo 2014’s wait time and excessively long line, and even comparing to the swiftness of Anime Expo 2015’s badge pick up, this year’s badge pick up line went by with ease. I ended up staying in line with Miss Piratesavvy and Ethan around 8pm and they managed to pick up their badges right before 9pm hit, which was the purported cut off for badge pickups. Other people reported getting their badges within 20 minutes. After getting our badges, we decided to meet up at the Yard House with other friends including our founder and editor, Justin, Feoranna, Mayhem and others. Day 0 for most cons usually tends to just be badge pickup, but next year it’s been purported that Day 0 will be a preview night for Anime Expo, similar to larger conventions like Sandiego Comic Con and others.
This year, Anime Expo started officially on Friday. Day 1 resulted in getting a week gym membership at Gold’s Gym Down Town LA along with Ethan in the morning. We hit a quick workout to get a good pump and got some cardio in. Then we returned to the Airbnb to get ready for the convention. I opted to wear my “shredded Kylo Ren” from the Undercover Boss SNL skit and Ethan wore his Marty McFly cosplay. TC Photo and Miss Piratesavvy were back at the Airbnb by the time we got back, so we decided to attend the convention together. The first day of the convention for us usually tends to be slow and casual. We like to get a feel for the convention, spend some solid time checking out the various vendors, deciding what we might want to buy, meeting up with friends, so in and so forth which was what we ended up doing. I did manage to snag a shoot with a good friend, Ed Ying aka Surfside Images which you can find attached above and turned out amazingly I might add. By the time the convention was over with, we ended up going out for Yard House again with a larger crew of friends and enjoyed some great food and socializing.
Day 2 fell on Saturday of the duration of Anime Expo. Ethan and I went to Gold’s Gym again for a solid training session since I have to get that Deadpool pump. ;). From there we returned to the Airbnb, got ready and attended the convention along with Miss Piratesavvy. This day was pretty hectic. We had this crazy idea that we were going to make it into the convention floor to check out the exhibitor hall and shop around, but as soon as we entered the convention lobby, we knew we had no chance. The lobby was insanely full of people and looking up into the exhibitor hall, it was clear that it would have been an abyss of people to try and climb through and the artist alley wasn’t any different. We attempted to meet up with our friend Jarod: Nwbzpwnr, but with the hectic nature of the convention that day and other time constraints, we opted to head out past the West Hall of the convention to where the parking structure and Horse Shoe decorations are. We ended up spending a good couple hours catching up with friends and just enjoying our time at the convention. I did get a couple pictures taken of my X-Force Deadpool cosplay which you can find above.
Day 3 saw Ethan and I going to Gold’s Gym again. (I’m starting to feel like an advert for them, haha, but it is a good gym.) After that, we returned and I got into my Keegan P. Russ cosplay from the Call of Duty: Ghosts game. Ethan, Miss Piratesavvy and myself went over to the convention and took advantage of the opportunity to really shop around. Saturday saw the bulk of convention goers as with any convention that falls on a weekend, so we were able to more easily make our way around the convention. We all found and bought some really cool stuff. You can see my take away up top with the other images. I was really excited with the Magic the Gathering finds that I came across since the rarity of them is pretty high and I managed to get them for a really good price. That’s always one of the major fun parts about conventions. You have a gathering of various artists and merchants that want to share and sell their items and you tend to get come across things that you wouldn’t normally otherwise, even sometimes on the internet. And a lot of times it’s cheaper than on the internet as well surprisingly. After we came away with our purchases, Miss Piratesavvy ended up heading home since she had to catch up on work. She was sorely missed for the rest of the convention, but fortunately for us, she goes to quite a few local SoCal conventions so all is well.
Ethan and I ended up meeting up with TC Photo, Mayhem, Justin and others to hang out by the horse shoes outside of the West Hall. I had the opportunity to shoot with TC Photo alongside Meevers Desu Cosplay and had some other shots taken as well. It’s always great to catch up with Meevers, if you’re not following her, be sure to look her up on Facebook and Instagram. She does amazing work and is an all-around great person! You can find a couple photos from our shoot attached up top as well by TC Photo. After doing the shoots and hanging out for a bit we all ended up going back to our respective places of stay. After getting settled we had the opportunity to go out and eat where I met Danielle DeNicola, Keeks Cosplay, Rhoulette Cosplay and a few others. That night started helped set the tone for the rest of the night and Day 4 of the convention. I will forever be grateful for the bonds I made that evening just as I am with the other friends I’ve made and continue to make. One of many reasons why conventions are an amazing thing to attend.
Day 4 saw Ethan and I going to Gold’s Gym one last time. I wasn’t sure what I had planned to wear that day. I was debating on bringing out Lt. Simon “Ghost” Riley, but opted to go more ‘casual’ and wear my “shredded Kylo Ren” cosplay instead. I had various people asking me about it and there was a lot of talk, to my surprise about it. I meal prep and stick to a fairly strict eating regiment though so I wasn’t sure how good I’d look as compared to Friday when I debuted it. To my surprise I actually looked alright all things considered with how my eating had been all weekend. I ended up doing a shoot with Nels Photo who I highly recommend you all follow. He does amazing portrait shots and great post production work. While out at the convention, Ethan and I decided to enter the convention itself one more time. We both picked up quite a few Gunpla (it’s not an Anime Expo for me if I don’t get at least one.) as well as some other really cool finds like a foam Frostmourne for a future Lich King cosplay. Shhh. It’s a secret. 😉 After we picked up all the awesome items we did our usual routine and met up outside with Justin, Mayhem, Danielle, Keeks and Rhoulette. Unfortunately TC Photo wasn’t able to return today since he had family obligations. It was July 4th after all so no one could blame him. We ended up hanging out at Justin’s hotel. Danielle did a really cool swimsuit shoot with Justin while Mayhem assisted with lighting. After the shoot, we went out to this newer taco restaurant that’s owned by the actor Danny Trejo. It was widely recommended to us by various friends, so we knew we had to check it out before heading back to the hotel for the evening. I have to say that these tacos were phenomenal! I’m not really writing this article as a review for the taco joint, so I’ll save you guys the trouble and just say go check it out! They have great appetizers and tacos. Enough said! Finally, we returned to the hotel and hung out for a while. Ethan and I had to return home though, especially since our Airbnb stay had ended. It’s always a fun, yet somber thing to say goodbye to friends, but we know that we’ll see each other at a convention in the near future!
I definitely consider that Anime Expo 2016 was a successful convention. Although a matter of perspective, depending on what you are going to Anime Expo or any other convention for, the above experiences speak for themselves. From the high and steadily growing attendance, to broad spectrum of vendors in the vendor hall, to the massive amount and variety of cosplayers, to finally the general experiences of myself, friends and many others on a more personal level… I can confidently say that Anime Expo is a convention that is worth returning to for 2017!