Anime Comes To Life At Industry Expo

By Nolan Patrick Smith

Photos by Jason T. Smith

High Desert Daily

(Victor Valley)- When most people hear of anime, they see the big eyes, the blue hair, the crazy costumes and crazier stories. Now imagine these characters walking right out of an animated film or off a comic or mange page. That’s what you see and more at the Anime Expo.

Held annually on the 4th of July weekend, the Anime Expo resides inside the massive Los Angeles Convention Center. Four days of fun, vendors, screenings, panels, concerts, and of course, the costumes. This was the first anime convention this reporter has ever attended, and it definitely is not done justice by a few pictures. Celebrating its 20th year, the convention held nothing back.

When it comes to anime, there are some characters that stand hand and foot over the rest. Think popularity like Spider-Man and Batman. To name only a few of these anime legends: there is Vash the Stampede from the anime Trigun: the clumsy crimson clad gunslinger on the planet Gunsmoke, there are the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric from Full Metal Alchemist: one bound to a suit of armor, the other fitted with a bionic arm and leg due to practicing alchemy, and of course, there is Goku, the martial arts master and king of fighters from the Dragonball series. The expo highlights the anime and manga (Japanese comic book) companies, such as Funimation Studios and Digital Manga Press, but also has tons of vendors to find just the right item.

For the duration of the four days, fans flocked to the streets of LA dressed as pretty much anything they love from the anime/manga/comic book/video game/movies genres. There were plenty of characters dressed as the mega popular anime’s Bleach and Full Metal Alchemist, but there was also an Aerial from Disney’s Little Mermaid, a Predator newscaster, a Lady Gaga, and a man dressed in old Nintendo consoles. The expo is the ultimate opportunity for cutting loose with creativity, as the event had over 50,000 attendees last year, and this year is on target for a much stronger showing.

Everywhere I looked, I was amazed at the skill and talent that goes into the fan made costumes. The dedication to the anime genre was inspiring, and the crowd remained pleasant throughout the scorching temperatures and the “suspicious package” that had one part of the Expo blocked off on Saturday. Yet, the attendees remained happy and unfazed by such minor setbacks: this is the event they wait for each year to express their devotion to anime and manga, and nothing would ruin the happiness that brings.

For more information on the Anime Expo, feel free to check them out on the Internet at www.animeexpo.org

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