A decade ago, I was young and full of… love for anime. I made my cosplay debut at Anime Expo, which is considered one of the largest U.S. anime convention. I’ve had a lot of good memories from this convention and at one point, I thought it was something I would never get tired of! Alas, my nerdy interests took a different path and cosplay became less of Â a priority. The hobby takes dedication, a lot of time, and a lot of money to do it properly (by my standards at least).
I guess I still have somewhat of a personal attachment to Anime Expo as it was so important and a big part of my growing up, teenage years.
Unfortunately, my con experience at Anime Expo has been degrading these past few years. It’s not quite the same anymore. Perhaps it’s because I no longer cosplay as much. The new generation of cosplayers are different from my own. I don’t watch as much anime anymore.
My friends and artists, C. Lijewski (known for her Tokyopop series, RE:Play) and Christine Crossley, flew out/drove to California to try and sell at Anime Expo’s artist alley this year. I helped them out all four days this year, but unfortunately, sales were bad… real bad. Not just for them, but for a lot of the artists that attended this year (one artist I talked to described it as a ‘sinking ship’). Most barely made any profit. There is no way to pinpoint the sudden downward spiral of Artist Alley sales this year– is it the recession? Are fans just becoming more frugal as free access to everything on the internet gives them less incentive to buy? Or maybe it’s because Anime Expo decided to charge for every single event this year, including the masquerade? It was almost as if the badges were worthless, besides granting you access to the Exhibit halls and the sparse list of panels this year.
This convention was anything but fun for us, in comparison to the past years of excellent memories made at the same convention. It could be a sign of our growing detachment to the community– a sign that we’re growing up from anime conventions in general. I can’t deny that we did have a few great moments during the four days.
First, to the AX staffers that helped us with the rude girls that cut us in line during Konishi Kotani’s autograph session: thank you, thank Â you, thank you! One of my problems with the current generation of anime fans is the general lack of manners. While standing in line for Kotani’s autograph, three girls– despite having been told by us, the people infront and behind us that they need to go to the back of the line– shamelessly squeezed themselves into our line and blatantly cut us off. When we called them out on it, they replied very rudely which got me in a rage. I do not stand for rudeness and I will not allow children (or adults) to get away with bad behavior. I risked losing my spot in the line by marching off to plead for help. Three of the staff members did not hesitate to march back and kick the cutters back in line. I know there is a lot of drama/complaints with the recent AX staffing, but a few of them are still good people.
As for you rude convention attendees? Don’t think you’ll always get away with it. I wished most of you were raised better by your parents on how to behave in public.
I also cosplayed as my friend’s main character Cree fromÂ RE:Play… but surprised her when two more of my friends, known as Tasu and Ivy, Â showed up and cosplayed the other main supporting characters from the book! I’m pretty sure it was one of the better moments we had during the entire four days. We had a great photoshoot, with pictures taken by friend, Vincent D (aka Sklathill).
Overall, I would recommend the convention to those who is in-love with the anime and Japanese inspired community. You will probably meet a lot of new friends. Though personally, I do prefer the smaller conventions with friends if I am ever to attend an anime convention again. For artists considering AX as a selling spot, from my experience this year, I do not recommend it– some will say you will do better at Fanime.
Not a lot of photos were taken since I sat at Artist Alley for the majority of it, but check out our slideshow!