Anime Expo Day 1

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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Intro

One day as I was playing World of Warcraft on my computer and occasionally browsing the internet, my friend asked me if I wanted to go to Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California.  I didn’t even think twice, I said, “When and how much?”  So a month before the expo, we registered for the event at the official anime expo website and paid 40 something dollars to attend 2 of the 4 days.  We decided to go on a Friday and Saturday because that would be the peak days of the event, with Thursday and Sunday being the opening and closing respectively.  Anime Expo is held every year during the 4th of July weekend in the Los Angeles convention center next to the Staples Center, home of the Lakers and the almighty Clippers and it’s the biggest organized expo of its kind in the United States.

Totoro
  So 2 of my friends and myself drove south from Fresno at 4 am in the morning to Los Angeles.  It took us nearly 3 and half hours to get to the downtown area.   Thankfully we had a car GPS in hand to lead us.  Los Angeles County is huge, with many small cities, and an intricately complicated freeway system. 

 

I grew greatly influenced by Japanese products as my hobbies.  I was into videogames, anime, and mangas.  In a way that is a good thing because it kept me occupied and kept me away from trouble, not that I would have gotten into trouble without it because I had a strong family who steered me in the right direction.

  I’ve always wanted to attend an anime convention partly to check out cosplayers, individuals who dress up in their favorite anime, manga, or videogame costume.  I really appreciate the efforts they put into making their costume, and it really shows when they wear it to show to other people.

 

This was the first time me and my friends have done a road trip, and it was a lot of fun to have a chance to hang out with them and do something for a change.  So it was a big event for all of us.  We arrived at the convention center just before 8 am, and parked our car in the parking garage next to convention.  Finding parking in Los Angeles or any big major such as San Francisco as well is extremely difficult, and people know this, so visitors or travelers who decide to come should be prepared to pay on average 7 dollars or more to park their car in a garage or parking lot.

  And it can add up to a lot when visiting so many places because public transport in Los Angeles or the United States in general is lacking, and not very visitor or travel friendly.  I ended up paying 12 dollars to park my car in the garage.

 

Anime Expo Day 1.  July 4, 2008.

 

We went inside the convention and obtained our 2-day Anime expo name card, and we also received a goody bag which contained the official Anime Expo event magazine this year, maps, and times of the special events.  Los Angeles Convention center is humungous and I was quite excited to explore and see everything.

  By this time people were already starting to arrive.  We took a look at the event guide, and notice David Hayter was a special guest, and he was about to hold an interview and question session in one of the main halls. 

 

The line was quite long just to get into the main hall, and we waited outside for about 30 minutes.  At this time we saw so many cosplayers as well waiting in line.  Once they opened the door, we slowly made our way in.  David Hayter if you probably don’t know, you probably don’t because he is a no-name actor. But he was in the movie the Guyver, and he is famously associated with the English voice of Snake in the Metal Gear Solid Series for the Playstation.  We got to see him, and he answered some questions for the crowd, but refused to do any special shout-outs for the fans who asked.  He did some of his famous Snake voice which was a crowd pleaser, and I thought that was pretty cool.   

 

After this was over, we walked all over the convention center to check out cosplayers.  Anime expo is not just about cosplayers, it’s a celebration of Japanese products such as Anime, mangas, and videogames.  It consists of booths and panels with special guests. Special events such as concerts which features famous Japanese singers takes places next door in the Nokia Theatre, which is famous for holding events such as American Idol.

Exhibit Hall
  They also had a videogame and arcade section featuring Japanese games, manga reading section, and several rooms with anime episodes and movie screening.  So all-in-all it had a little bit of everything for everyone who attended.

 

It was nearing noontime, and decided to obtain our first come, first serve free concert tickets which was held in the Nokia theatre every afternoon of the expo.  The concerts features famous Japanese singers and idols who sang music for anime series or movies.  We went inside Nokia theatre and it felt great to cool off for a bit.  First in the concert was a Japanese male and female duo.  After that was over a Japanese singer performed, she was famous for doing the soundtrack for the anime Chobits.  The whole concert lasted less than 90 minutes, and by this time we were hungry.

 

We walked around for a bit trying to find a restaurant to eat.  The area surrounding the convention center and Staples Center didn’t have a lot of restaurants to choose from.

  It was nearly 20 minutes later until we decided to eat at California Pizza Kitchen.  Then we went back to the convention center, took my car to find Wildshire Grand Hotel where we will be staying in for the next 2 nights.  Wilshire Grand is about 3 blocks from the convention center.  We checked in and went to our room.  This hotel was one of the official anime expo hotels, which means we had free shuttle bus rides to the convention.

 

One of my friends was quite exhausted and passed out in the couch.  He was the one that said if I wanted to attend anime expo, and he doesn’t really like traveling to begin with.  We rested up for a bit, and left him in the room to sleep some more.  One of my other friend and myself decided to walk around the hotel and made our way back to the convention center to explore more of the places and take pictures of cosplayers. 

 

The main event for the night was the masquerade, which was held in Nokia theatre.  We bought tickets just to make sure we got a seat, although it wasn’t necessary because we could have gotten some for free if we waited in line as a first come, first serve basis again.  The masquerade event is just like it sounds.  People dressed up in their anime costume, and masquerade onto the stage and act out.

  Personally I thought it was quite boring and must have dozed off for a few minutes during all of it.

 

When the event was over, we walked inside the convention center some more, but most people have left.  They still had some rooms open to view anime episodes which we decided to check out.  I wanted to actually attend the anime expo dance, for anyone 18 years old or over, lol, just to get a chance to mingle with anime fans.  But my friends are not into that sort of stuff.  So we all left, boarded the shuttle bus to our hotel.  I couldn’t sleep that night, so did my friend, and it was already 2 am in the morning.  So we walked outside the hotel, and sat in the lobby eating Doritos and drinking soda.  I finally fell asleep around 3 am and woke up at 6 am.

 

 

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