*Phantom Sway is proud to introduce our new Chief Not-Old-Person Correspondent, 14-year-old Scott Davis – ed.
I recently went to Anime Expo, America’s largest anime convention. Anime Expo (AX) is an experience like none other, and is a must for all American die-hard anime fans.
AX began as a small anime convention in San Jose, California called Anime Con. After a few years it was relocated to Los Angeles and renamed Anime Expo. Since its beginning, AX has continued to thrive due to the rising popularity of anime and Japanese culture throughout the world. It is North America’s largest anime convention with over 100,000 members this year, a title it has kept for every year except 2003, when it was surpassed by Otakon.
If you were to ask me what is there to do at AX, we could be talking for a while. It doesn’t necessarily have any main attractions and many people come for many different reasons. The one thing I can say AX is for is meeting and seeing new people who also share your interests. From crafty cosplayers to your favorite Youtubers, everyone there shares a mutual interest in all things anime. There are even many people there who also share their love for American media and entertainment, like video games.
Besides those general things, some of the things you can do there include: the exhibition hall, where you can buy merchandise from various vendors; the artists alley, where you can buy different forms of nerdy art from talented artists across the world; and the panels, where you can listen to your favorite internet personalities, learn about the business side of anime, watch some of your favorite anime, and more.
On the organization side of Anime Expo they did well, but could have done better. The lines this year were longer than last year’s. Overall the lines moved smoothly.
A smart idea was AX’s integration of “Day 0”. This is a day where anybody can come to get their badges early. This was a good deal for people staying in hotels near the convention, as they could get their badges in a short amount of time, and be able to just get to the convention center only in time for when it opens, or when the exhibition hall opens.
The opening of the exhibition hall was an issue. On the first day of AX, the convention itself opens it’s doors at ten o’clock. This way, people can explore what the building has to offer, lay out a plan for the week, and show off their cosplays to others. However, the exhibition hall doesn’t open until 12:00, probably to build up excitement for one of the convention’s more prominent features. The danger is that people crowd around in the main room, which is too small for everyone to have ample room. This is a serious safety hazard, for if anything happens, or if someone even yells out about something dangerous (when there’s no danger) the entire hall could sink into madness. With panicking convention goers all around, there is a high chance of somebody getting caught in the mess, being separated from their friends or caretakers, or worse, trampled underneath the crowd.
Aside from all that, Anime Expo was an overall amazing experience and I would suggest it to any anime or even pop culture-loving people out there.