The ANIME Impulse Weekend at a Glance

ANIME Impulse has been a staple of Southern California’s anime and cosplay community since 2016. They have hosted events in the Los Angeles area, Orange County, and San Diego. Therefore, it was a momentous occasion when they organized their first event in the Bay Area.

ANIME Impulse Bay Area 2023 saw the community congregate at the San Mateo Event Center for a festive weekend. They were joined by special guests and leaders of the local fandom community. After months of planning and waiting, these are some of the highlights of the ANIME Impulse Bay Area 2023 weekend.

Dealers Hall / Artist Ally

ANIME Impulse Bay Area 2023 boasted over 100 merchants and artists in the South Hall. Within this treasure trove attendees could find a wide range of collectible merchandise or a work of art that speaks to them. Even if one had no shopping agenda, it’s still fun to look through all the cool stuff and meet the many artists.

First Stop Cosplay aims to help aspiring cosplayers become part of the community while also providing support for avid cosplayers. They had a team during the weekend to answer questions and help out anyone who was in need of their services. 

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.

OGpokerus is a Sacramento based artist and vendor that creates a variety of works inspired by classic games and anime. Among the work that will get your attention is the XL recreation of video game cartridges and mini recreations of iconic game cases. One also can’t overlook the many original fan art. 

88 Cardhouse is a trading card store based in Newark, CA. They sell a variety of trading card packs and sets while hosting tournaments at their shop. At the same time, they are known for having a presence at Bay Area conventions. They were present during the weekend to sell the latest sets while also helping out guests. 

Nekonode is a Fresno based vendor that specializes in anime collectibles. They primarily sell figurines, plushies, and other anime-inspired merchandise. They can be seen at conventions all around California with most of their focus around the Fresno area. 

Working in tandem with ANIME Impulse, Sneaker Expo was set up at the back of the Expo Hall. This section featured sneak vendors and dealers from around the Bay Area. 

Itasha Showcase

Behind the main hall had a spot designated for itasha’s to be available on display. This was a chance for motorists to showcase their work and mingle among the fans. It also welcomed guests for the chance to check out the cars and get a photo ops.

The arcade setup at ANIME Impulse Bay Area 2023.

Things to Do at ANIME Impulse

From live shows to cosplay gatherings and more, there was no shortage of activities at ANIME Impulse Bay Area. 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:

The Arcade was the place to be for gamers who wanted to kick it old school. Guests could enjoy the numerous versions of Dance Dance Revolution or get a thrill from playing The House of the Dead 4. The only rule is to have fun and be sure to share with others. 

ANIME Impulse 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.

Located in the Fiesta Hall, K-Play! was a K-Pop event that was working in tandem with ANIME Impulse. The highlight of their event was the main stage which featured local dance crews performing for a live audience. At the same time, the audience would also dance along to the show or cheer on their favorite performers. 

The food vendors at ANIME Impulse Bay Area 2023.

Food Trucks and Vendors

The area around the San Mateo Event Center is mostly offices and apartments while the Hillsdale Shopping Center is a good 20 min walk away. Thankfully, several food trucks were set up around the area. Guests had a diverse option from trucks that serve ramen to takoyaki and tacos.

Cosplayers of Anime Expo

Cosplaying has always been a tradition at fan conventions and ANIME Impulse 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 Impulse 2023? If so then share your story in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: ANIME Impulse provided me a pass for the weekend.

8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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