We are halfway through the Summer Season which means we had to make a stop in Los Angeles during the 4th of July weekend for Anime Expo 2023. This is the largest anime convention in the world as the event attracts over 100,000 visitors along with every major name in the anime and video game industry.
The weekend once again saw the fans gather around the Los Angeles Convention Center for a festive weekend. They were joined by special guests, industry professionals, and leaders of the local fandom community. After months of planning and waiting, these are some of the highlights of the Anime Expo 2023 weekend.
Dealers Hall / Artist Ally
Anime Expo 2023 boasted over 200 merchant booths, artist tables, and industry showcases set up in the South Hall. Within this treasure trove of the dealers hall, attendees could find a wide range of collectible merchandise. The artist alley has garnered praise as the crown jewel of the convention due to its impressive size and the high quality of items available for purchase.
Even if one had no shopping agenda, it’s still fun to look through all the cool stuff and meet the many artists.
Crunchyroll was present with a show of force in both the dealers hall and the lobby of the J.W. Mariott. Besides hosting several premiers during the weekend, they also had a shop selling all kinds of memorabilia exclusive to Anime Expo. Fans could pick up some awesome t-shirts or hoodies at their booth. Guests could also pick up some free convention swag.
Once again in the center of the dealers hall was the Gundam Base: Los Angeles. Guests were welcome to check out the latest kits that were being showcased. At the same time, a variety of Gundam kits and memorabilia were also available for sale. Overall, this is the one vendor to check out if you are a Gundam fan.
SEGA / ATLUS was present to promote Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, Persona 5 Tactica, Persona 3 Reloaded, along with other games. Guests could check out the latest trailer or participate in a photo op. Several stations were also set up for guests to try out some of the upcoming titles. There was also an on-site shop for anyone who wanted to pick up some official merchandise.
Wild Bill’s Craft Beverage was back to quench everyone’s thirst with the best craft soda. Fans of the soda could either bring their mug from a previous convention. Visitors had a variety of different sodas to choose from, each having its own unique flavor.
Located in the West Hall of the Convention Center, Anime Expo 2023 featured a section dedicated to games. The Entertainment Hall provided an enjoyable space for guests to engage in gaming activities, socialize with friends, and partake in other exciting activities. Moreover, attendees had the opportunity to explore and purchase official merchandise if they found something appealing.
NIS America was showcasing all the major titles that are set to launch in 2023. Fans got the chance to try out CRYMACHINA, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless, and The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails just to name a few. Guests could also pick up some official merch and earn some free swag by completing a series of tasks.
ROMWE is an alternative-style brand renowned for its original works and collaborations with popular IPs. During the Anime Expo weekend, they had a show of force outside the Entertainment Hall. Guests would right away notice the showcase of their Attack on Titan collaboration series. a photo booth along with with an on-site storefront.
Snowbreak: Containment Zone is an upcoming free-to-play game set to launch for the PC and mobile devices. Set during an invasion of Earth, players take command of a squad to save the world. Guests who visited the booth could learn more about the game, play a demo, and participate in a photo-ops. They could also walk away with some free merch if they completed a series of tasks.
Senpai Squad combines one’s love of anime, cars, and nightlife into one experience. Besides hosting or participating in several events, they also had a booth in the dealer’s hall. Here they were selling a variety of merchandise while also mingling with the community.
Throughout Anime Expo, several booths had itasha’s set up as a way to promote their work and to attract guests. Several itasha’s were on display, allowing guests the chance to check out the cars and get a photo ops. They could be found either in the Dealers Hall or in the Entertainment Hall.
Things to Do at Anime Expo
From live shows to cosplay gatherings and more, there was no shortage of activities at Anime Expo 2023. Given that so many had gathered here for one weekend, there was so much to enjoy. Here are some of the activities one could stumble upon:
No anime convention is ever complete without its own Maid / Butler Cafe. Guests got to enjoy some tasty treats while playing fun games or watching a live performance by the staff. Given its popularity, fans were expected to get their ticket as soon as possible.
While not organized by Anime Expo, there were random moments in which guests would participate in a Pokemon Go raid. With several gyms near the convention center, there were moments were guests would get together to participate in raids.
Anime Expo organized many Cosplay Gatherings during the weekend based on the most popular franchises. Those wanting to participate could meet at one of three spots for a photo shoot while networking with other fans.
Lounge 21 was the place to be for anyone who needed a cold one during the convention. Besides enjoying a cocktail, the venue allowed guests to mingle with each other while enjoying a musical performance.
Food Trucks and Vendors
With its location in the center of Downtown, the Los Angeles Convention Center is surrounded by a plethora of restaurants and bars. Yet for those who did not want to travel far or leave the area, several food trucks were set up around the area. Guests had a diverse options from trucks that serve dumplings to takoyaki and tacos.
Cosplayers of Anime Expo
Cosplaying has always been a tradition at fan conventions and Anime Expo is no exception. Many work months to either create the best or most off-beat that will premier during this special weekend. Those who are dedicated will work to bring their favorite character to life. Others will add their own personal style or a special twist.
Did you get a chance to check out Anime Expo 2023? If so then share your story in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: Anime Expo provided me a pass for the weekend.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.