Alongside the end of another Fourth of July comes the end of the biggest anime convention in North America, Anime Expo. This year was by far the largest Anime Expo has ever been, both in terms of attendance (overall unique attendance for Anime Expo reached 115,726 including Pre-Show Night, marking a 15% increase of attendance from 2016), as well as various notable guests and panels. People from all over the world come to experience the excitement of Anime Expo, and this year was certainly a memorable one.
|When it was Established||1991|
|Length of event||Anime Expo runs for 4-days, typically through the course of Fourth of July weekend. Anime Expo 2017 ran from July 1st to July 4th, with a pre-show "Day Zero" on June 30th. Anime Expo 2018 shall take place from July 5th to July 8th.|
|Place||Los Angeles Convention Center|
|Cost|| Ticket prices for Anime Expo increase as the event draws near. The final prices for 4-Day attendance were $114 on June 29th, with 1-Day attendance being $60, and pre-show night being $20. Purchasing a ticket at the door is also more expensive, so make sure to get them online if you want to save on money!|
Registration for Anime Expo 2018 has already begun, with 4-Day attendance being $71, Premier Fan attendance being $400 and 4-Day Children badges being $30. There are no recorded prices for 1-Day, Military discounts or Pre-show nights yet, but if you want the cheapest prices for tickets, it is best to get them as early as possible! There are also ticketed events, such as the Anisong World Matsuri concert, Neon District, and Maid/Butler Cafes.
|Hotels|| Various hotels are located around the Los Angeles Convention center, such as The Ritz Carlton, Luxe City Center Hotel, JW Marriott (which is also used for various AX panels and screenings), and the Residence Inn to name a few. There are also cheaper hotels in the area, so there are plenty of options for all types of accommodations!|
Anime Expo has partnered up with many of these hotels in order to provide special rates for AX attendees, as well as offering complimentary shuttle services in the event that one may not want to walk to the convention center. Anime Expo typically announces when the official hotel block opens up for booking. Hotel prices fluctuate as the event draws closer, and many of them sell out due to high demand, so make sure to book your hotel as soon as possible for the best experience!
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What to Expect
Anime Expo takes place over the course of four days, with Saturday being the most hectic due to the amount of both people there and the amount of activities. One of the most crucial aspects to remember is that a lot of people are going to AX, so if you want to enter early, the best idea is to line up early or go to the pre-show night in order to pick up your ticket, as there are generally fewer people. The AX lines can be brutal, so don't hesitate to bring something to entertain yourself in the meantime, such as cards, portable game consoles, etc. Once inside, there is a world of possibilities opened up to you - you can either go to the Exhibit Hall and try to get some merchandise before anyone else, go to Kentia Hall and support the artists at the Artist Alley, or participate in one of the many panels and screenings available.
While there may be a vast number of people at AX, they are there for the same reason as anyone else - a love for anime/gaming culture - so don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with them if you find common interest! Cosplay is also a massive part of Anime Expo, and there will be people cosplaying as various different characters - both popular and niche - so feel free to respectfully ask them for a picture if you see some cosplay that catches your eye! There’s so much of it, we’ve prepared a cosplay-only report for you!
What to Bring
It can be easy to forget some essentials when caught up in the hype of an anime convention, but there are certain things you should always bring with you in case of emergency! By far, the most important is a bag of some kind in order to carry around any merchandise or art you may find while exploring, as well as carrying the other necessities. Since AX takes place in the middle of Summer in California, it is of critical importance that you bring some kind of drink - ideally water - with you in order to stay hydrated in case it's a particularly hot day. It is also very smart to bring some food or snacks in a bag to be able to get a quick bite on your endeavors, as well as avoid potentially inflated convention food prices. Lastly, make sure to bring as much cash as you feel comfortable with, as well as a debit/credit card in case you find something you really like; it can be very easy to get carried away in terms of spending, so bringing a little bit extra is not a bad idea.
What to do While There
One thing that Anime Expo excels at is activities for everyone to attend. As mentioned previously, the Exhibit Hall has plenty of merchandise - both official and fanmade - that can take plenty of time to go through and see to its fullest. Even if you're not in the market to spend some money, there are plenty of booths that show off sneak peeks and premieres of certain games, shows, products, etc. so there's something for both parties! Kentia Hall houses the Artist Alley, as well as the Tabletop Zone and Autograph Signings, providing an area where one can find some art that they may like as well as be able to socialize more freely with people who are into the same things that you are.
If events is what you prefer, AX also has you covered on that front! The first major event that happened at AX 2017 was Anisong World Matsuri, two concerts on June 30th and July 1st featuring some hit Japanese groups such as Aquors, Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, GARNiDELiA, and ALI PROJECT just to name a few. Anisong World Matsuri was by far one of the biggest events to happen at AX, along with various other events such as Neon District, Cowboy Bebop: Bounty Hunter Blues, and MYTH just to name a few.
The real meat of Anime Expo comes from the various panels and screenings that take place over the course of the four-day weekend. Screenings give audience members a way to connect with other fans of the same property as everyone is watching a show that they may love - with some screenings also being exclusive premieres to anime that has yet to be released in America! One such example of a screening of In This Corner of the World, which has yet to be released in the U.S. Panels work similarly in that fans of a certain property all line up in order to watch a panel talking about said property in new and exciting ways. Panels can also offer exclusive content to Anime Expo attendees, such as sneak peeks into future projects and teasers to what is coming up next. There were also various panels which were hosted by Guests of Honor who were famous in their own way in the anime community, so you could even get to see some of your favorite creators from all over the anime world!
Anime Expo was the biggest it has ever been this year, and it was also one of the best in recent years. There were plenty of activities throughout the weekend to never get bored, and it was great being able to enjoy it with fellow anime fans. Despite the amount of time that Anime Expo is open, there is never a dull moment where there is nothing to do - one can keep themselves entertained for the entire time and still have plenty more to see. Every year, Anime Expo exceeds themselves in terms of guests and events, and there is no doubt that Anime Expo 2018 will expand on how large AX 2017 was, and we look forward to covering all of those events as well! Honey's Anime had the privilege to see quite a few of the panels firsthand, and we shall be covering them in the coming days! If you have any AX stories to share or opinions on the convention this year, make sure to leave them in the comment section, and make sure to come back to Honey's Anime for all of your anime convention news!