By Hannah Means-Shannon, photos by Michele Brittany
It was a gala weekend for all things anime in Los Angeles last weekend, and the general growth spurt in cons of all kinds has given anime a bump in numbers also, particularly the Anime Expo, the largest of its kind in the country now celebrating its 22nd year. Perhaps even more single-mindedly than comic cons do when promoting their art form, the Anime Expo puts the emphasis on pop culture education and cultural understanding, and focuses as much on the artwork involved as vendors and cosplay. 500 artists booths graced the expo, outstripping even the 400 vendor booths in a massive display of anime pride and craftsmanship. There were plenty of gaming opportunities and one of the biggest draws for an animation-focused event was, of course, the screenings open to ticketholders. Evening events were particularly high-energy, rather than functioning as an extra-afterthought, from concerts to music video screenings and masquerades.
It was quite an attractive spread for fans to choose from, though the word from the floor is that things got a little dominatrixy while waiting in lines due to over-zealous volunteers determined to keep things super orderly. If you survived the frequent barking of commands and didn’t trespass beyond roped areas, you might have been a little nonplussed by what fans are describing as a slightly disappointing haul from the goody bags this year. Still, one of the expo’s premier attractions is really the dedicated fan-base of committed cosplayers who render the event truly carnivalesque and are a photographer’s paradise. Cosplay based on video games and wider pop culture animation took its place alongside anime and manga costuming to striking affect. The expo could teach our run of the mill comic con cosplay a thing or two based on these excellent photos by Anaheim-based writer and photographer Michele Brittany, who sent these images our way to testify to the grandeur of the expo.
All images belong to Michele Brittany, and you can find out more about her intrepid con-going photojournalism here.
Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress. Find her bio here.