Saturday, February 4, 2017

Anime Los Angeles 2017 Review

Anime Los Angeles
January 25 - 28
Omtario Convention Center

February 4, 2017
by Madelyn Lund

Photos by Madelyn Lund

Anime Los Angeles is a Japanese animation and pop culture convention unlike any other in Southern California. Due to its rapidly growing popularity over the past couple years, the convention which was once held in a small Marriott hotel now has fans traveling to its new location at the Ontario convention center. While the convention held panels, cosplay meetups, food trucks, and exhibit halls filled table to table with vendors, the unique friendly bond between attendees is what sets it apart from the rest. While walking around the convention center and seeing giant props and colorful wigs, you also heard giggling between friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time, and felt an upbeat and fun vibe throughout the entire three days of the event. The positivity, elaborate costumes, incredibly friendly staff, and simple badge pickup will make Anime Los Angeles an annual event for many anime fans for years to come. 

Anime Los Angeles truly cared about its attendees no matter what their weekend plans at the convention may have been. Outside of the convention center were numerous food trucks for a variety of unique foods for any diet. From BBQ and macaroni and cheese sandwiches to a vegetarian sushi roll; the food trucks were a popular area to hangout with friends and take a small break from the convention’s activities. Inside the convention center held panels and vendors which could entertain any attendee no matter what their fandom may be. Some of my favorite vendors are the independent artists found in the Artist’s Alley. The artists there often take the community's favorite characters and create them with their own artistic twist making their pieces one of a kind. Vendors were held on the top and main floor of the convention center, along with panels spread out throughout the con and to surrounding hotels for extra room. This made finding panels a bit confusing at times, but the staff were always eager to point their attendees in the right direction or happily give them a map. 

One of the panels I was able to attend was “The Observation of the Wind Rises” put on by Douglas Ikemi. Ikemi talked about the Studio Ghibli film ​The Wind Rises and it’s history that not many movie viewers know about. He talked about connections between the movie and it’s director Hayao Miyazaki, how some of the characters were based off of real people during its time, and how the Studio Ghibli version of the film was a remake of a half hour long short film. This and many of the panels at the convention were very interesting and well planned! 

Filling the floor in and outside of this busy convention were hundreds of cosplayers bringing out their best work for this event. The exciting element to this particular anime convention is that an attendee never knows what the cosplay limit may be. From comics, to anime, video games, and movies; this convention had a costume that would make nearly every attendee want to snap a photo. Some of my personal favorites were the pokemon trainer and their pokemon cosplay and with her giant pink robot mech from Overwatch. 

This being my third Anime Los Angeles to attend, I have seen a smooth transition in the convention’s layout from the Marriott to the Ontario Convention Center. Anime Los Angeles is one of the only larger scale anime conventions I attend where attendees are smiling for a full three days and the convention staff is smiling with them. Organized layout, location, time of year, a well trained staff, and an energetic attendance prove to me every year why Anime Los Angeles is my favorite convention to attend in all of Southern California. I can’t wait until next year’s adventure!



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