Anime Expo has quickly become one of the largest conventions in Southern California, exploding over the past few years into an absolute monster. Four days celebrating all things otaku; from anime to cosplay and fashion to music, everyone can find something they love crammed within the LA Convention Center. This year the SSB Crew was in the thick of it holding things down. It’s been a week since the convention and I’m still having trouble getting over the post-con depression, but bear with me while I try to collect my thoughts about the weekend.
Day 1 was chill, there were pools involved and lines were circumvented to prevent potential heatstroke or death by otaku stampede. Even though some of us were only able to walk the floor for a good thirty minutes before it closed for the day, there was still plenty to see. Of particular note to me was a booth that had Aikatsu merchandise! That was something I never thought I’d see out here in the states; they had one of the BDs from a recent live that I’d been searching for and just about every single from the first season all the way to Aikatsu Stars. It took a lot of willpower to avoid dropping all the money I had then and there. The night ended with a few of us going out for some KBBQ with resident idol otaku vlogger Jimmy “Swoletaku” Pham to swap stories and just unwind after the first day madness. Oh, and to eat our combined weight in brisket.
Day 2 was absolutely stacked. There wasn’t a single moment that wasn’t spent running around the entire convention center in order to catch an event or stand in some arbitrary color coded line. The first event of the day was the Love Live! Sunshine!! event, something that couldn’t possibly be tainted by the awful communication from convention staff. The line was filled with all kinds of fans, from hardcore otaku to casual watchers everyone was excited for a chance to catch a glimpse of the new series and the girls that would bring it all to life. Between the work of a great MC and the amazing personalities of the members of Aqours, it was an absolute blast. We were lucky enough to see them do their character introductions, answer some fan questions and provide a bit of insight into the project. To top it all off we were even able to watch the first episode of Love Live! Sunshine!! before anyone else in the US!
After a quick nap back at the hotel I was out to wait in line to pick up my ticket for the Anisong World Matsuri Japan Super Live later in the night. The line, surprisingly, moved pretty fast. I was out with time to spare, time that was spent walking the floor and mingling with some friends I haven’t seen in a while. During the day I found out that there was going to be an event involving an idol group called Dempagumi.inc. I’m still relatively new to the entire idol scene but considering Swoletaku along with some of our mutual friends that are also big into idols were all going to be there I knew I’d be in for an amazing time. Needless to say I got my ass down there along with Brian and Mario to sit through a presentation for a mobile game before getting absolutely insane for their performance. After seeing them live I have definitely become a fan and will be following them much closer than before.
Unfortunately that entire ran along aside Anisong World Matsuri Japan Super Live. By the time we got out of that, I only had a couple hours left in the performance. That was still enough to catch the last few songs from T.M. Revolution, all of Sphere’s set and JAM Project’s entire set. Despite being tired after an entire day of running around, dehydration and a few hours of sleep I still managed to get on my feet for some great songs. It was my first time listening to Sphere but man were those songs great. JAM Project brought it with GONG and The Hero along with other classics. I think I ended up really messing up my elbow from all of the cheering because it was dead the next few days.
Day 3 started off right, there was actually a full night’s sleep. Twitch and I got down to the exhibition hall to grab some sweet jackets before we went our separate ways. He got Kotori’s colors and I needed to rep Nico. Afterwards Brian, Mario and I linked up with some other friends and walked the hall floor until closing. Afterwards we went out for one final meal with all of our friends out, did some dumb dabbing outside LA Live and made some memories that would last a lifetime. Day 3 was the perfect end to an amazing weekend. Good food, good company and goodtimes. I wouldn’t ask for anything else.
All in all, AX 2016 may have suffered from overcrowding and flawed staff but it was still a priceless summer memory. There were lots of laughs, lots of things I’d never thought I’d be able to experience in person and a lot of booze. A whole lot of booze. But at least it was all with the best friends anyone could imagine.