This is the very first year that I had the opportunity in my schedule to attend Anime-Expo in Los Angeles and I had a good time. Even for those who have been going to Anime-Expo in the past, this year was markedly different with the X-Games taking over The Staples Center and many of the streets near the Los Angeles Convention Center, where Anime-Expo is held.
This made things rather inconvenient in a few regards:
- Lots of traffic redirects and street/foot traffic closures meaning you couldn’t just walk across the street to get to the hotel Luxe, but rather had to take a shuttle
- Much harder to get hotel rooms
- Many places to do private photo shoots were blocked off
Despite the hurdles, it was still a good first time experience.
Anime-Expo is a much bigger Anime convention than what I’m used to. Previous to this, the largest convention I’ve been to was Fanime and they average about 20,000+ attendees. In comparison, Anime-Expo had 47,000 attendees in 2011. Being a larger convention, many cosplayers like to debut their bigger and better costumes at this convention. So from a photographer’s standpoint, there are bigger and flashier things to photograph at Anime Expo than any other convention.
I also had the esteemed pleasure of meeting one of the internet’s most famous moms, Precious‘s mom: Xina. I also had the great pleasure of working with new cosplayers that I have been wanting work with such as Kasea Vp, Renokev, Johnny N Junkers, as well as working with past favorites such as Hikaru-Jan, Okageo Cosplay and Photography, Sinne Doll, Aku Sesu. I also met some new cosplayers like Matt PikaDude, Sadistichibi, Vensy, Chris Teh Ashbringer, Vash Fanatic Cosplay and other random people in the hallways (sorry if I forgot anyone!!).
I had a great time working with the other members of the Cosplay Photographers Network: Tim Vo (FiveRings), Venus Chan, Eric Ng (BigWhiteBazooka), and our beautiful spokesmodel Kara aka Electric Lady. We did some collaboration with the Cosplay Videographers: Michael Zhang of MLZ Studios, Romero, and Kim Williams. I also specifically want to thank Ackson Lee for allowing me to stay the night with him so I didn’t have to spend globs of money getting a room for just one night and for introducing me to the amazing cosplay dance group Tank9. It was also great seeing Ejen (Cosplay in America), Mike Rollerson, John Lynn (SNTP), Boo Radlus, Chloe Doan (Sushi Monster), Luke Ty, Tony Quan, Michael Cabusi, Tiffany Ho, Tiffany Jing Crawford, Yvonne Lim, AgentSakur9, Martin Wong, Gary de Guzman, Erskine Noel, Dave WinterWish, and so many more!
You’ll hear this over and over from other reports, but it was crowded! The main lobby of the convention center became practically unusable for anything other than a place to congregate or get bad coverage photos. Plus it was hot and with lots of bodies generating more heat, the lobby became a musty hot pot and at times, it was actually cooler (temperature-wise) to be outside.
Many popular locations to do private shoots were closed off for the X-Games meaning more photographers competing for the same spots as well as many shots with the same backgrounds. As much as we tried, we couldn’t find too many usable spots and ended up doing many of our shoots behind the South Hall on Pico Boulevard where the buses would do pick-up and drop-off attendees. It turned out to be a God-send as there weren’t too many other photographers using the same space as us and it offered us distraction free backgrounds.
We came, we saw, and we had fun. Anime Expo was definitely a worthwhile experience and would definitely be worth doing again next year so long as the X-Games do not return. Lots of people, lots of gatherings, and lots of great cosplays to see. We spent some time floating around in the exhibit hall/artist alley as well as hanging out at the Crunchyroll booth. I also wanted to take a moment and just say that I love how Crunchyroll spent so much time connecting with fans! This is one major thing that sets them apart from the other big companies: they truly support and love the community and I was very happy to hear of the partnership with Cosplay Photographers. If you haven’t heard what Crunchyroll is, in a nutshell, they are the Netflix for Anime and Asian dramas. You can watch many popular series streamed legally to your computer and other mobile devices. If you haven’t already, sign-up for a free 14-day trial here. What have you got to lose?
Check out more Anime Expo coverage, behind-the-scenes, and amazing photos from Cosplay Photographers: facebook.com/CosplayPhotographer