By Chris Furguson
In what many call the largest convention of its kind in the country, more than fifty thousand fans, cosplayers, industry professionals and others arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center over the July 4th holiday weekend to celebrate Japanese Animation at the annual “Anime Expo” show.
Hosted by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, Anime Expo is touted as one of the largest conventions in North America dedicated to “anime,” the defacto name for Japanese-style animation.
Anime was inspired by the cartoons of Walt Disney and the Warner Brothers, but incorporates a uniquely Japanese aesthetic and feel.
Japanese animation also tackles topics and issues that are considered more mature than is acceptable for American animation.Famous anime that aired in the United States includes “Gigantor,” “Kimba, the White Lion,” “Robotech,” “Voltron: Defender of the Universe,” “DragonBall Z,” “Pokémon,” and “Yu-Gi-Oh.”
Current popular series airing in the Unites States include “One Piece,” “Fullmetal Alchemist,” “Naruto,” and “Attack on Titan.”
Popular guests of this year’s convention include voice actors Vic Mignogna and Christopher Sabat, along with Filipina cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao and more.
Anime Expo also has a larger variety of activities available for attendees than most conventions, including karaoke and dancing, along with the usual industry and related panels going throughout all four days.
Cosplay Continues To Be A Growing Part Of The Convention ExperienceOne of the largest aspects of Anime Expo is “cosplay,” a portmanteau of the words “costume” and “play” where fans of certain media will create costumes and props and take on the personas of their favorite characters.
At Anime Expo, however, cosplay is not strictly limited to characters from Japanese animation. Characters from video games, television, movies, comic book superheroes and more are also cosplayed by creative fans during the four-day event.
One of the most popular things to cosplay this year at Anime Expo was the video game “League of Legends,” one of the most popular PC games in the world today.
Several hundred cosplayers arrived on Saturday to join a gathering, one of dozens throughout the day, with members of the game’s parent company, Riot Games” on hand.
Much buzz from the convention went towards Oliver Holmes, who is also known by his cosplay name “Kohalu.” Holmes arrived at Anime Expo as the newest champion of League of Legends, Aatrox.
“I wanted to be the first person in the world to cosplay him,” said Holmes of the red demon-like champion. “He’s very eye-catching, even if you’re not familiar with the series.”
Another popular cosplayer was Michael Pham, also known as “MGhost.” Pham arrived at Anime Expo in two “fursuit” costumes as League champions Teemo and Kennen.
“I cosplayed Teemo and Kennen to have people see their favorite character brought to life” explained Pham. “I just want people to smile.”