In the last several years, Fourth of July and the days surrounding it have meant one thing at the Los Angeles Convention Center: the annual Anime Expo. This year was no exception.
Aside from gathering the usual gathering industry members and fans at the largest Japanese animation convention in North America, the SPJA (Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation) has continued to increase the quality and scope of events at the con.
First, let’s talk about the basic stuff. Every major distributor and production company had booth space in the exhibit hall, complete with exclusives and con-only early release Blu-rays. The entertainment hall provided several fully built sets for cosplayers and photographers to really capture the essence of the characters. Also in the entertainment hall were arcade games, consoles and table top varieties.
But of course, the showstopper at this convention was the cosplay.
The cosplay was out of control in the best possible way. Whomever your favorite character is (comic book and Disney characters included), I’m pretty sure someone took the time to craft an impressively accurate costume.
However, I’d have to say this year's anime TV hit “Kill la Kill” was well represented throughout the convention center. I always wondered if the costume design for this show was a challenge for cosplayers, since "Kill la Kill" features some skimpy outfits. I periodically wondered how far the cosplay would go. Let’s just say it went all the way at the Anime Expo. The cosplay wasn’t always gender or racially accurate, but the costumes were impressive nonetheless.
Which brings us to the weekend's highlight: the "Kill la Kill" event. It was held in the main event hall, and it was packed with people. It began with a Q&A with the producer, script writer, costume designer and voice actors for the two main characters. The voice actors came out cosplaying their onscreen personas, which was really fun to witness.
After chatting with the impressive cast and crew, the crowd was treated to a concert by Eir Aoi, who sings the theme song for the show as well as other popular anime shows. The crowd waved their glow sticks in a synchronized light show, indicating everyone was having a blast at this impressive, visually stimulating Anime Expo.
Without a doubt, Fourth of July barbecues and pool parties could not compare to this festive convention.