The most awaited anime convention of the United States once again welcomed over one hundred thousand anime enthusiasts this summer. Despite the Californian summer heat, thousands of attendees waited eagerly outside of the venue since the day of the pre-show on the 3rd of July. Choosing to skip the celebrations of the 4th of July, even more, people gathered on the first day of the event to celebrate anime and otaku culture. From fan-made merch to famous Japanese idols, join Honey’s Anime in a recap of AX 2019!
|WHEN IT ESTABLISHED||1991|
|LENGTH OF EVENT||4 Days ー July 4th to July 7th (Pre-Show Night July 3)|
|PLACE/LOCATION||Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California|
|COST||4-Day: $70 (limited qty – next price tier $80)|
|HOTELS||If booking at least a month in advance, you can find several affordable Airbnb in Downtown L.A for around $65 per night with parking included.|
Company/Event Message for Fans / Attendees
Obsessed with anime? So are we. Anime Expo is the largest anime con around, with over 100,000 fans in attendance. Grab your friends, craft your cosplay, and get ready to experience anime like never before.
What to Expect
Expect a lot of activity everywhere at all times; every year Anime Expo has more and more panels, events and special guests from the industry available for the public to enjoy, so much that honestly, it will be impossible to cram every activity in four days. If you’d like to fully enjoy the event, it’s recommendable to pick up your pass as early as it’s available before the official opening of AX, and if available, grab the AX booklet and read about everything scheduled throughout the four days as well as inform yourself about “who, when and where” in regards to all the special guests. After that, mentally and physically prepare yourself to be waiting in line under the sun for long hours. Yeah, it sounds terrible, we know, but it will be so much worth it once you are inside.
Another thing to expect at AX is that not all the activity happens inside of the Los Angeles Convention Center; right next door at The Novo you will find special otaku-targeted events being held from the day before AX and throughout the four days. This year, starting from July 3rd, The Novo hosted Otaquest Live, a one night concert that brought to us J-music bands like M-Flo, CAPSULE and the superstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Other appearances at The Novo during the days of AX were the anime idol group Aqours, with a two-day performance filled with songs of the massively famous idol anime, Love Live! Sunshine!!
If you’re planning on attending AX in 2020, be sure to check in advance what’s available during AX pre-show night, after-hours events and the special events held at The Novo! Keeping in mind that your AX ticket will not cover any of these events, and they will need to be purchased separately.
What to bring?
Anime Expo is a gigantic marketplace for anything you can imagine an otaku can purchase, so you must absolutely bring a bag to carry all your anime goods. Food, snacks, and drinks are widely available at the venue, but unless you want to spend a fortune each day, we’d recommend you bring your own water bottle and a few snacks to hold you off during the day, as you will definitely be enjoying AX until it’s closing at 6 pm every day. The most essential thing to bring to AX is lots and lots of money, although we’re sure that’s a given and you’ve been saving all year for this event! Anime Expo is *the* place to buy your otaku merch, from official Funko Pop anime figures to exclusive Good Smile Nendroids, there’s almost no limit to what you can find in there. Honey’s Anime often visits Akihabara and other anime hot spots in Tokyo, so comparing the prices of merch found in AX to those found in Japan, we can assure you you’re getting your money’s worth in most of the merch available.
Other good things to bring to this event are battery packs, selfie sticks, and permanent markers. Why the markers? Well, if you’re a fan of cosplaying you definitely follow a lot of cosplayers in Twitter or Instagram and believe us if they love anime as much as you, they will absolutely be cosplaying at AX, so don’t forget your marker! And if you bout the AX Priority ticket and are visiting AX’s guests of honor, it will become even more useful!
What to Do While There/What is Available
Since there was a lot to do while there other than blow money on merchandise, let’s break up all the events of AX 2019 in days and hours, keeping in mind the regular entry started at 10 am and ended at 6 pm, with the 21+ After Hours show starting from 7 pm.
During the first day, this year being July 4th, the best thing to do was heading to the south or west hall and quickly browse what was being presented, then go down to the Kentia Hall and grab one or two things that catch your eye before it sold out and finally attend the famous Maid Cafe’s show starting at 11 AM. After getting your dose of moe moe kyun, you could either head to Hall B for AX Welcome Ceremony event to catch exclusive first-day performances or attend some interactive workshops like “So You Want To Be An Anime Voice Actor?” or “Academic Symposium” talk-shows where you could get tips from students and professionals of the industry on how to start a career in the anime and Japanese pop culture entertainment industry. Other mention-worthy events during the first day were Street Fighter Novo Take-Over where Capcom Cup 2019 Finals were being held until 5 pm, the Taiko Workshop, Crunchyroll Presents world premiere of Dr.STONE and AMV competitions.
The best way to start your second day was by taking it easy and enjoying at your own pace all the merch available in AX because the busier events were coming later on during the day. To make it easier to budget for coming years, the average price of anime or game plushies were 25 to 45 dollars, pins and badges were commonly around 10 to 15 dollars, art prints went from 20 dollars to 100+ depending on the size, shirts and other wearable anime goods were around 30 to 85 dollars, the latter prices being the norm in the official Anime Expo merch store items as well. After your spending spree, it was time to go sit and relax while enjoying the Fashion Show that started at 12:30 PM, in which models presented Japanese designer brand apparel. Other interesting second day events included meeting the Made in Abyss Seiyuus, JPOP Dance Workshop, A-1, Pony Canyon, Square Enix, Sentai Filmworks, and Studio TRIGGER panels and lastly the first concert performance of Love Live! Sunshine!! Aqours World LoveLive! In LA.
On the third day, if you missed Aqours concert, you could catch the second performance starting at 1 PM, only after visiting the My Hero Academia Panel & Season 4 premiere and Sailor Moon Anime official panel. Right after, you couldn't miss out on meeting the staff behind KonoSuba! Or the Sword art Special event around 4 pm. If you still had energy after all that, you could attend event panels like Fate / Grand Order Second Anni Celebration, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba special event, The official Crunchyroll-Hime panel or go participate in the Open Mic Karaoke before ending your day with the Anime Expo Masquerade competition final show.
Lastly, on July 7th you could attend the AX annual Charity Auction, where you could bid and buy exclusive artwork, signed one-of-a-kind items and other memorabilia that sponsors and special guests from the industry donated for charitable causes. And, if you seriously still have money after that, you could walk around the Kentia Hall grabbing all the last minute goodies before attending the AX closing ceremony at 4:30 where you would get informed about what to expect during the next AX around July 2nd, 2020.
Anime expo is as fun as it is exhausting - in a good way - because there are so many things to do while there that you just wish you could do a shadow clone jutsu in real life to be able to experience everything. There’s way more stuff to do that was mentioned in this article and there are way more people that you would expect to see in one place at a time. Crowds were massive to the point it could create issues getting from place to place and with all the rush of walking to attend or see stuff, there were seriously not enough chairs or benches to sit and rest inside the venue. There is definitely not a single second you’ll be bored while attending this event, and the good panels, guests and events will definitely keep increasing throughout the coming years; we definitely need AX to be longer! How was AX for you? Did you travel far in order to attend AX 2019? Are you excited to attend AX next year too? Will AX 2020 be your first Anime Expo? Tell us your AX experience using the comment box below!