Cat ears? Glowsticks? Naruto characters walking around? The entire cast of One Piece brought to life? Darth Vader playing DDR? Tetris with little shoes and legs? And so much anime I don't even know....
It was another year at Anime Expo - same script, similar cast, different venues. Anime Expo seemed to settle into its new Downtown LA home like it was a second-skin cosplay outfit. It's a convention that's not so much about the space it occupies, but the people that occupy it - in all their cosplay glory of cat-ears, furry tails, brightly colored wigs, creatively designed costumes and intricately crafted "weaponry". But whether you're an Otaku (Japanese term for the most passionate about anime and manga) or just there to check things out (me!) it's truly an enjoyable experience. I even donned on some cat ears to make it all the worthwhile (courtesy of my friend Julius).
The highlights of my Anime Expo experience (aside from buying two anime series and a manga ^__^) included the everso creative AMVs (Anime Music Videos)...which also inaugurated my first-time ever in Downtown's Nokia Theatre. Action/Adventure, Drama, and Anime TV Pro categories were great for its use of music and movie editing techniques, but the best category by far was Comedy. Featuring such songs as Stephen Lynch's "She Gotta Smile"/"Big Fat Friend" and Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend", it's probably pretty easy to envision the comedic chaos that might ensue with these songs related to anime.
The other great event at AX was something that is perhaps only loosely related to anime/manga, but has plenty of color - the Art of Glowsticking workshop (see video above). Presented by Glowsticking.com (GSC), the event packed the entire room and as the event underwent the tutorial portion, the room began to look like a miniture rave - glowing sticks of light moving in the darkness as the faint sound of dance music played in the background. While it might seem like a far-fetch connection between glowsticking and anime, I'd like to think that there's more in common than meets the eye. In talking to the members of GSC and how they presented their community as being open and welcoming, about how it's about spreading the love/art/experience of glowsticking, I couldn't help but relect that that was the sense of community presented at AX, itself.
It doesn't matter how much anime you watch or don't watch; it doesn't matter if you're there to cosplay or to roam around in jeans and a funny t-shirt - AX is a few days to just be...whatever that might mean to you.
-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA.com Web Coordinator