Last weekend I attended Anime Expo 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I have to say, it was a LOT better than last year from my limited exposure. This is my 8th year in a row attending (first time at LA Convention Center), and the location is a much better fit for the size that Anime Expo has grown to, which is around 45,000 people. The past couple of years I have only gone to the Exhibitor Halls, but even just walking through the convention this year I found the mood to be much more pleasant and jovial, where in years past walking through I could sense the frustration and unhappiness of the other attendees, many of whom paid $50 and above to be there all weekend dealing with the disorganization of the staff.
Last year there were lots of lines everywhere I looked, and this year I didn’t see any, even when I showed up Monday morning to the At-Con registration. I heard that the SPJA hired a professional staffing company to train their staff and volunteers this year. If they did, it showed. Everything felt a lot better organized and not so chaotic. Trying to cram 40,000 people into the Long Beach Convention Center last year was a big mistake; I think the SPJA finally realized that AX has outgrown that venue. And since the Shriners have booked up the Anaheim Convention Center for the forseeable future, I have a feeling the LACC may become AX’s permanent home. I thought it was a lot better than the ACC though, there are a lot more vendors in the Convention Center itself for food, etc, which the ACC doesn’t have and there aren’t too many eating facilities within walking distance of the ACC.
Anyway, that’s my opinion of the Convention. 🙂 Usually I go to the convention to get my hands on random cute things that I probably could find online, but don’t want to pay tax and shipping for. I also go for the manga, usually targeting the “buy 4 get one free” or “$8 manga” offers that many booths have. Normally I avoid DVDs because they are easy to find at my local Fry’s or Best Buy, and the deals usually aren’t that great, but this year I spent most of my money on DVDs. The goods:
Ranma 1/2 DVD seasons 1,3 & 4 (we bought Season 2 at Best Buy recently, they didn’t have season 1)
Azumanga Daioh DVD Complete Series
Fruits Basket manga volumes 19 & 20
KareKano manga volumes 15-21 (which completes the series!! The ending was so touching and precious!)
3 boxes of Pocky (a con staple), 2 chocolate and one coconut flavor for Mike
1 “Jiji” plushie from Kiki’s Delivery Service
1 “Kodama” plushie from Princess Mononoke
1 “Kakashi” neckstrap from Naruto for Mike
1 “Kakashi” cell charm from Naruto for Mike
1 Naruto keychain for Mike
Domo-kun magnet sheet (6 on the sheet!)
1 Zodiac year of the Ox cell charm
I was pretty happy with my goods this year 🙂 See you there next year!