Anime Expo 2014: Convention Report and Cosplay

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What’s up, HJU faithful?! Dustin here to share with you my experiences from Anime Expo 2014, held in Los Angeles, California last weekend, July 3rd-6th.

Before I get to into it, let me preface by saying that these were MY experiences and MY opinions, and they may not be the same as yours, so please keep this in mind.

When I  talk about cons, I like to talk about three things before giving a final say:

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I had a absolutely delightful time at my first Anime Expo, but like most conventions, some things are great and some are… not so great. But, to get a feel for a convention, nothing is better than stories and pictures, so let’s dive into….

THE GOOD

anime expo 2014

Anime Expo 2014

I enjoyed the location of the convention. It’s astounding how big the LA convention center is and how open it can feel at times. I say ‘at times’ because when it’s peak con hours, IT GETS PACKED! It’s all to wall with cosplayers, photographers, and fans – all with the sole purpose of geeking out and celebrating our media that connects us together! It’s awesome to see that many people come together and becoming friends over something as simple as ” WHAT?! YOU LIKE KAMEN RIDER TOO?!” I had a similar situation with a  guest of the convention, but you’ll see that a little bit later.

The cosplayers came out this year in full force, and man, some of you guys really stood out! Here are some of my favorites from the event! (I couldn’t get the name of everyone photographed, but if you would like to help me credit them, please leave a comment!)

To everyone featured in the gallery, thank you for your time and effort! What I find beautiful about the AX community is the love for craftsmanship, good joke cosplay, and the camaraderie between the cosplayers in huge hot outfits understanding each other’s pain, be it with shared ice cubes or packs of free water. It’s great to see people coming out in waves of this magnitude just to show off their cool duds and share with each other the joy of bringing their favorite characters to life.

Let’s move onto some figures  and merch, shall we?

And lastly, some personal photos and observations……..

While I was at AX, I did have some work to do, namely meeting Gen Urobuchi and Keiji Inafune. Luckily, I was able to get some time with each of them! Look for their interviews here on HJU very soon!

Now that we’ve seen the awesome of AX, there’s a few shortcomings…. that’s right, it’s time for…………

THE BAD

I’ve been to plenty of conventions over the years, and I gotta say, it’s so rough being at a convention with that many people. It’s by far the biggest I have attended, and I really wouldn’t recommend it to people with personal space issues or claustrophobia. The dealer’s hall was a mess to navigate with people walking through and colliding into each other. It was a rat-race at some points. So, please be cautious if big crowds are not your scene.

Some convention staff were obviously hired by the center themselves and communication with actual convention staff was very poor. There was a lot of miscommunication and issues with people getting badges. Press, exhibitor, and regular attendees had long waits for no reason other than a guard at the door.

My last complaint would be the lack of nearby restaurants and convenience stores.  The nearest store was almost 9 blocks away from the hotels closest to the con hall, making it very difficult to get a hold of last minute needed items. It’s just bizarre to not find one nearby.

ALRIGHT, I usually reserve this next part as a observation and a lil soap box, so, please try and understand my points and concerns.

Let’s see……

THE UGLY

There’s nothing that tears me up more inside than people publicly shaming cosplayers for size or looks, or even going so far as to sexually harass someone, with their large group of dudebros jumping in to help terrorize them.

Now, not all of the folks contributing to the shameful acts were convention goers, but none the less, there need to be more people who step up in those situations and say “Hell no, this isn’t right, why are we sitting here and letting it happen?”  What I’m saying is, should you see somebody being told they’re too fat to cosplay, jump in and stand up for that person. If you see a girl being  hooted and hollered at until she looks like she’s gonna cry, stand up and call out the punks doing it.

The second most disgusting thing to see was people looking on and knowing what was happening and just not acting.

People, we need to stand up to these behaviors. Tell the people who judge by body type to back off or maybe tell ’em to take a look at their own insecurities to see how unattractive they look in comparison to their victim.  Holler at the grown men saying horrible things to girls just trying to show off a costume and not get harassed for it.

Just stand up! Even if just one person does it, another will have your back – I saw it this weekend. It’s sad that I saw more of these actions here. I understand it’s a bigger convention, but nobody needs that, especially at the largest anime con in the states. It’s the worst thing I experienced all weekend and nobody should have to deal with that when we’re trying to get our geek on.

FINAL THOUGHTS!

Anime Expo 2014 was AWESOME! For my first large scale convention, I thought things would be SOOOOOO much worse, but it was handled so well!! Events and exhibitors were all very entertaining and well-organized.

It is a true feat to have a con that large run smoothly, and this one glided like a greased pig compared to some others. Guest and press relations were stellar, often announcing press interviews and providing accommodations for relaxation throughout the busy days. The guests were all very friendly and VERY eager to meet fans and fellow creators alike.

All in all, I couldn’t pick a better large-scale anime geekery retreat. If you’re looking for your eastern media answer to San Diego Comic Con’s mostly western media focus, Anime Expo is for you.

On behalf of myself and Henshin Justice, I would like to thank everyone who met me on this trip and helped support HJU. It was an absolute pleasure and I hope I can report more for you guys soon!!

Have a convention you’d like to see HJU at? Leave us a comment!

And be sure to keep an eye out for interviews with Gen Urobuchi and Keiji Inafune, soon to be posted on HJU!

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