By Janice Eck
High Desert Daily
Pictures by Chris Eck
(Victor Valley)– Every year around the 4th of July, fans of Japanese Animation gather together at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the largest North American anime and manga convention, Anime Expo (AX). The 22nd annual AX took place from July 4 – July 7, with more than 60,000 fans who shared their passion for Anime through art, video games, music, technology, and cosplay (people in costumes who truly play their part) in imaginative displays of creativity.
Artists of all kinds showed off their skills through sketches, prints and posters of their favorite characters and were sketching and coloring prints on-hand at AX’s Artist Alley. Many vendors displayed prints of characters not of the anime world, but still loved by their cult followings, such as Dr. Who and Star Wars. Crafters sold unique handmade items for fans to add onto their cosplays or to accent their regular wardrobes.
The Entertainment Hall gave gamers a place to rekindle their love for gaming systems well beyond their time and also offered new gamers a chance to experience the nostalgia of playing an obsolete console on an equally-obsolete television set. With tabletop game tournaments and console gaming tournaments, players were able to quench their competitive natures by victorious wins or relinquishing in defeat. Cosplay settings gave attendees a new area in the Entertainment Hall to gather with photographers and show off their costumes while in character.
Fans had a chance to get up close and personal with various artists, actors, musicians, and representatives from their favorite shows through panel discussions with Guests of Honor: Huke – character designer for Metal Gear Solid, Megumi Han – voice actress for Yu-Gi-Oh and Digimon, and Kyle Herbert – voice actor for Naruto and Wreck-it-Ralph, and many more. They answered questions and gave insight of the industry to their fans and attendees alike. Visitors were able to view screenings of various shows and movies of those well-loved such as Robotech and Full Metal Alchemist, and Premieres such as Garden of Woods and Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack.
By far, what was most impressive about AX were the costumes. Seeing the intricacies and details, knowing fans spent hours perhaps even days, weeks or months to make the costume and engulfing themselves into their character by responding to the character’s name and perfecting the character’s stance was truly an amazing sight to see. The dedication and creativity each cosplay had to their character could borderline obsession, but still impressive nonetheless.
AX 2013 was a great time for anyone who enjoys the culture of Anime and for those who are just curious. An annual event with a full schedule of panels, special guests, viewing content, live shows and concerts, workshops, karaoke, tournaments, and so much more, start making your costumes now to prepare for next year or simply show up in your civilian clothes.