What did you enjoy most about attending Anime LA 2023?
The opening of the anime convention had me excited. I’ve been wanting to see it for years and seeing what the future holds is exciting. The hallways were full of cosplayers ready to meet fans from all over the world. They greeted us warmly and politely. It truly felt like walking into another dimension.
I also enjoyed being able to attend as an American — and not just because being here in America makes sense due to my mother’s upbringing. In Japan, people are very reserved when they meet someone on their first day of school. But there was no such thing as that feeling in the U.S.
That seemed to be where the real fun began. Even though we were already familiar with each other before entering the halls, some of our fellow Americans would ask if they could take pictures with them to celebrate.
We didn’t mind if they took photos with us, but after visiting many conventions over the last two years, we have become comfortable enough to pose for a selfie or share a photo. (In fact, the Japanese people seem so proud of their culture and way of life that they would rather pose with foreigners than invite them to dinner.)
The atmosphere among the attendees made the event feel more like a celebration than anything else. Everyone cheered wildly and threw out countless paper plates filled with food and drink. There was even a large party going on during one part of the event.
Some of our friends got together and had parties while others were simply enjoying themselves without having to worry about getting kicked away, or being hit by stray animals or other things.
What do you consider your favorite aspect of participating in the Anime LA Expo?
My fondest memories of Anime LA are when fans brought gifts to us that would not otherwise have been celebrated. One couple bought me flowers and a card with a message saying they wanted to express their gratitude for the trip and a signed picture of their child.
Another fan bought me a new anime novel, which is rare and doesn’t seem to happen often. All of these moments seemed unbelievable and amazing — to those of us who attended.
What was your least favorite aspect of participating in Anime LA 2023?
The long lines and lack of space. Since Anime LA has done everything possible to accommodate everyone, you don’t get anything other than standing in line for three hours just to say goodbye to family members.
While watching movies or looking at panels, you can’t move too far in case something happens while waiting in line. And yet, somehow, the majority of the show went on well into the evening. It seems impossible! If anyone deserves an apology, the organizers must be making sure we don’t miss out after they give us tickets.
What did you think was your biggest surprise at the Anime LA Expo?
It was surprising how much detail goes into preparing the event. On top of hiring skilled professionals, especially since the main organizer couldn’t attend for personal reasons, Anime LA hired an entire crew to take care of the necessary logistics and accommodations.
You may not realize until later that hundreds upon thousands of dollars were spent organizing various elements that can’t possibly be planned.
Is there anything you would like to see changed before next year’s expo?
There is nothing I would want to change for next year’s event. To be honest, I never thought it would be called Anime LA — although I know what that means — and now that it is called “Anime L.A.,” it sounds even better to talk about than ever.
I feel so privileged to have shared the opportunity to contribute to such a wonderful organization and be a part of creating history. This conference will always inspire me and continue to motivate us to spread awareness about anime and anime lovers! I hope next year’s showcase brings joy and happiness to everyone.
If next year’s program isn’t available due to COVID-19 or whatever other calamity happens, please do support the staff of Animation Productions LLC and/or Anime LA so they can continue performing events and keeping the legacy alive. Thank you. We look forward to continuing to push boundaries with you guys soon.
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