Linus Lam Network News
convention coverage report of
Anime Expo 2013!

Welcome to another edition of Linus Lam Network News for 2013!  This news report covers our trip to Anime Expo 2013 for a huge weekend of anime and manga enjoyment and a whole lot more!  Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center over the weekend of July 4-7, Anime Expo 2013 saw lots of attendees ready to party on with a bunch of dedicated artists, live performances, gaming events, cosplay fun, and plenty of opportunities to hang out with fellow anime and manga fans. Our exciting trip to Anime Expo 2013 starts here!  Coverage you can count on, here at Linus Lam Network News!

Highlights: Various live programming events kept the attendees well-covered throughout the weekend. Guests of Honor included Eric Vale, Kyle Hebert, Christopher Sabat, Johnny Yong Bosch and Eyeshine, Mari Okada, Danny Choo, Starmarie, Ram Rider, Noizi Ito, Alodia Gosiengfiao, Kazuhiko Inoue, Keigo Sasaki, Kaya, Moon Stream, Kazuhiro Furuhashi, Megumi Han, Masaaki Yuasa, George Wada, Porno Graffiti, CELL, Nobuhiro Kikuchi, Kazuchika Kise, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Vic Mignogna, Ryohei Huke, Aya Ikeda, Carat, and KANAME.  Main events included Anime Music Video Competition, live concerts by Porno Graffiti, Cell with Kaya and Moonstream, and Star Marie, Karaoke Contest, KPop Cover AX Dance Competitions, Shibuya Rocks Gal Style Fashion Show, Liz Lisa Doll Tralala Fashion Show, Shinjuku Ball, Fashion Show GOLDS Infinity GLAVIL by tutuHA, Karaoke Gong Show, SPJA Charity Auction, and more.  Panels and workshops included Anime vs. Hollywood, Shonen Jump, Nerd Courting, Bishoujo Games, Surviving your first Anime Convention, Present and Future of Anime Streaming, Anime News Network, Inside the Anime Industry, Translating Anime and Manga, Anime Club Summit Meeting, Random Encounters with Video Game Musicals, Sewing Your First Cosplay, Body Painting, Choosing Fabrics for Cosplay, ParaPara Dancing, Otaku Parliamentary Debate, Origami, Taiko Drumming, GAIA Online Experience, Ultimate Geek Showdown, Anime Music Videos Creator Spotlights, Copic Markers, Anime's Girls and Women, Teaching Japanese Culture to College Students, Advanced Gunpla Model Building, Kendo, Japan Exchange Teaching Program, Scavenger Hunt, making an Audio Drama, Cosplay Music Videos, Super Art Fight Showdown, History of Anime and Manga Studies in Japan, Cosplay on a Budget, Surviving a Mecha Attack, My Little Pony, AMV Mortal Combat, Great Myths of Voice Acting, Dubs That Time Forgot, Diversity in the Cosplay Community, AMVs That Inspired Us To Buy The Music, Anime Singled Out, Crowdfinding and Classic Anime, Comic Book Live, and much more.
Cosplay: This year's trip to Anime Expo saw lots of inspired costumes from numerous anime and manga characters and more! Chart-topping displays for this year included characters from Attack on Titan, League of Legends, Kuroko no Basket, Evangelion, Macross, Sailor Moon, Vocaloid, Bleach, My Little Pony, Fate Stay Night, Final Fantasy, Maji, Naruto, Sword Art Online, Pokemon, Black Butler, Magica Madoka, One Piece, and much more! 
Please check out more cosplay photo coverage from our Anime Expo stock convention archives!
Report: Celebrating its 22nd year, Anime Expo 2013 opened up a mega-sized summer convention for the masses in Los Angeles, California. Without any X-Games like last year to snarl traffic or hoard up outdoor spaces, finding parking in South and West Hall every morning was a breeze. Duties for the weekend were going to be super busy, so getting basic daily logistics out of the way were really convenient. Thanks to the world-class registration system, Anime Expo brought in over 61,000 unique attendees, well over last yearís 49,400 and 2011ís 47,000. Pre-registration went by fast and smooth; a simple two-step lightning-fast process of scanning a barcode and picking up a printed badge, done within 10 seconds. Day 0 and Day 1 lines were as long as 2-3 hours but the next dayís saw much less and then almost nothing. People going through At-con registration went by very quick; enter personal information in, your credit card info, and pick up your printed badge inside of 2 minutes. There were no lines at the At-con registration on Day 0 which made it quite convenient to pay for a couple of friendsí weekend badges. I didnít see any major issues or long lines with Bag Check at either South Hall or West Hall entrances; they were fast and efficient with an average of 4-8 red-shirt security officers at each entrance. I visited the weapons peace-bonding booth several times and the staff seemed mixed on several occasions but signs were pretty bright and clear on what was and what wasnít allowed and most attendees came in with props well within those guidelines. Weapons were not tagged to the specific wearer and were wrapped with a red ziptie when approved and cleared. Hotel shuttles were complimentary this year which meant no having to purchase any annoying shuttle passes to go and from the convention center. Shuttle pickup and drop-off times were timely and I didnít hear about any long lines at any of the stops.

AX certainly felt Titan-sized as far as booths and exhibits in in both West and South Halls. South Hall's Exhibit Hall felt even more packed this year with fans flocking to booths featuring online streaming media, video games, and Blu-Ray disc distribution kicking in from Crunchyroll, Neon Alley, Nexon, Viz Media, Simul-TV, Blue-Fin, Funimation, Aniplex, Bushiroad, and more. DVDs and manga were often relegated into the discount vintage booths. Cosplay merchandise skyrocketed once again with plenty of booths selling wigs, cosplay accessories, and cosplay props. KPop popularity also exploded with more fans along with Jpop groups. New exciting anime shows like Attack on Titan, Evangelion 3.0 and Sword Art Online enjoyed the limelight this year with interactive contests, giveaways, and booth shows. Long lines for freebies and exclusive merchandise were seen at almost every major booth. Artist Alley was packed as usual with more and more booths towering with new displays featuring custom plushies, keychains, art pieces, etc. Guest of Honor Danny Choo brought a brand new Mirai Mart Booth to the South Hall selling all kinds of orange-colored Mirai-branded clothing, keychains, caps, etc. A few steps away, Anime Expo's Merchandise booth also sold plenty of AX-themed backpacks, jackets, shot glasses, T-shirts, mugs, and keychains. Just outside the South Hall lobby were a couple of food trucks and a full-size tank for Sentai Filmworks's promotion of Girls' Panzer. West Hall lobby hosted Art Show walls with the latest submissions and plenty of drawing walls that lots of attendees could leave behind their own signatures or drawings. Also notable were numerous automated AX Ticketing Kiosks where attendees could purchase tickets to attend any of the concerts and exclusive events.

This year I had the pleasure of hosting a cosplay exhibit booth that featured a full-size Evangelion cockpit that could also convert to a Macross Valkyrie jet inside the newly expanded Entertainment Hall located in West Hall A. It was extremely popular and a perfect fit with many surrounding interactive themed cosplay exhibits for cosplay photography. Other themes included a Japanese classroom, a graveyard, science fiction space station backdrop, a fluffy pink lolita bedroom, a traditional Japanese garden with cherry blossom trees and a huge stone lion, and of course, a standard Crunchyroll branded banner. Cosplay Photographers set up multiple booths along the sides to serve the needs of many cosplayers who wanted high-quality studio photos. Cosplay accessory booths sold sewing machines by Pfaff along with umbrellas, wigs, and assorted accessories for the cosplay enthusiast. Along the front was the big Cosplay Chess setup which always gathers a good crowd.

I also volunteered into helping out with the opening cosplay slideshows for the grand annual AX Masquerade as well as opening Sharon Apple act to introduce AX Cosplay Judge Diana Tolin. Although it started about 30 minutes late due to audience seating delays, the show went fairly well, headed by Cosplay Manager Tony Nguyen and several capable teammates. They did need some extra hands though so I also volunteered to help out backstage by escorting large props and costumes onto the steps and hydraulic lifts as well as pass cosplay props on music queues to the contestants. It was a really interesting experience to be able to see all the chaos and commotion backstage as the show goes on. Notable additions to the show were quick video montages of each entry introducing themselves. Press and attendees remarked that this yearís AX Masquerade felt much better and more exciting than previous years. Best in Show and a $3000 check went to a well-deserved cosplay group fight skit featuring the entire popular Kamen Rider team.

Additional functions at AX felt a little more crowded than usual such as the ever-popular karaoke room, numerous interactive workshops, manga reading room, fan panels, video screening rooms, and whole rooms made specially to queue up the long autograph lines. The brand new Entertainment Hall got a new facelift with countless video games and long lines of tables filled with networked PC gaming machines and tabletop RPGs. The new Lounge 21 was kind of nice with musical bands and plenty of large plush chairs to relax on. I didnít get a chance to visit the AX Maid Cafť or the big concerts like Porno Graffiti, but I heard they were really nice.

All in all, a much more pleasant experience at AX compared to last yearís challenges and I look forward to bringing back another big cosplay exhibit booth along with the usual convention coverage.

Come check out more cosplay and events photo coverage from our Anime Expo stock convention archives!

Be sure to visit the next Anime Expo!

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