Micheal Toews, Dan Hummel, and I attended Anime Expo which was located in downtown LA. We made the 7+ hour drive down from San Jose for this con. We were all AX virgins. We came away with lukewarm feelings about the experience.
There was a lot of really good cosplay. About the same as what’s at Fanime. You can see my album of photos at:
There were a lot of good Legend of Zelda cosplayers:
The cosplay gatherings were pretty good but I think it would be great if the info desks knew about them and could help answer questions about them. I know the gatherings are organized by attendees, usually on cosplay.com, but it would have been nice if there was at least a sign near the entrance saying where all the gatherings were, like with what they did at Fanime. There was a lot of confusion about where the Legend of Zelda cosplay gathering was supposed to be at. Part of this is because this was the first year AX was at the LA Convention Center, so people didn’t know where a good place for the gathering was.
There were a LOT of people. It was cool to be a part of something so big, but it got rather crowded at times. I wanted to attend the masquerade, however, the line for tickets was really long, wrapping around the building out in the hot sun! No way were we going to stand in that line.
The staff were also not informed enough about how to obtain tickets for masquerade. We got three different answers from staff about where to go for tickets and what the process was. Also the information in the AX booklet was confusing.
That’s another thing. AX really needs to get professional writers to explain information on their websites and in their booklets.AX’s website was awful . It took me forever to figure out how to get the schedule online. Their website is really hard to navigate and the information on each page was poorly organized. Not to mention their web site design was bad. I thought the way they organized the schedule itself was fairly easy to read. But everything else was hard to understand.
We did see a really good movie showing in one of the rooms, but the projector appeared to be going bad as 2/3rds of the way through, the projector got dim. It was a 35mm movie I believe.
The Gong show was kind of cool.
The panel line up did not seem particularly interesting. I don’t think I saw a single cosplay related panel. There were a couple of art panels but I ended up not going to any as none of them really peaked my interest.
Artists alley was amazing. The skill level of the artists and the amount of artists was much larger than that at Fanime. I ended up buying a lot of art. And one of the artists was one I had seen on DeviantArt. It was kind of cool to meet him in person.
Micheal said the lineup of video showings was not as good as Fanime. And he didn’t even like Fanime’s lineup this year so I guess AX’s must have been pretty bad.
We stayed at the LA Athletic Club and we most likely wont stay there again.
First off, I reserved my hotel room through the AX website. I managed to navigate through their really poorly made web app to reserve a room and it said the LA Athletic club rooms were 3 people per room. It asked whether I wanted a room with one bed or two beds and I selected two. But when we arrived at the LAAC they said the room only has one bed (a king) and that all of their rooms are like that. WTF?
The lobby area and breakfast area looked really nice. But our room was kind of lacking. The faucets were leaky, the shower head didn’t work well, the mini fridge barely worked, and the only internet access they had was a really flaky wireless connection that kept dropping off every five minutes. We could only get a few bars of signal strength with it. Why, why, why, couldn’t they have a wired connection? This hotel was so ancient.
One thing that was good though was the shuttle system. If you stay at one of the convention center’s list of preferred hotels, there is a shuttle service that will run to and from the hotels and the convention center. This system worked really nicely.
My friends and I were not too impressed with downtown LA. It was very difficult to find a restaurant to eat at. We were hoping to just be able to walk down the streets and find a place to eat. But the area seemed rather deserted and almost everything was closed. Granted, it was on 4th of July weekend, but still, there should have been more places opened. Not to mention the place was filthy. A lot like San Francisco.
We did find a really nice sit down restaurant called Wokcano that serves Japanese, Thai, and Chinese food. It was really good. I’d recommend it if you are in the downtown LA area.
My Cosplay Experience
Cosplaying was fun but it wasn’t as fun as Fanime. At Fanime, random fangirls would come up to me and hug me. Not so much of that at AX. I think the maturity level at AX is probably much higher.
I only wore my costume on Friday and Saturday. By mid-day Saturday my chainmail started breaking. I could hear and feel the rings popping off throughout the day. By the evening my chain-mail was drooping down my arms. I went back to the hotel room and took it off. I’ll need to do quite a bit of work to repair it.
It was really painful carrying around the shield on my back with the chain-mail on. I had indentations in my shoulders from the rings. But carrying it on my back was way better than on my arm the whole day. The darn thing is really heavy.
My sword worked well. I had no problems with it.
There was a really good Princess Zelda and Gannon from Twilight Princess. I had signed up and pre-paid for a photo shoot and invited the two of them to come along. Unfortunately, my photographer stood me up so I couldn’t get good photos taken. But here’s a photo taken of us with my camera.
So in the end…
So all-in-all it was fun but perhaps not worth the 7+ hour drive. We may or may not attend next year. Perhaps we will just stick toFanime.