Well its all over, except the horrible post-con depression and multiday hanger-over of course! This years Anime Expo closed out with records across the board, more attendees, more premiers, more space, more hotels filled, Five whole days of Anime and Japanese Culture. From Otakuquest concerts to Lounge 21’s Jazz Anime Expo has so much more than just panelists and vendors now, that even 5 days is too little to see it all. I did my best to see what I could and you can read all about it here (tag). But, just like last year I wanted to do a warp up of the whole experience.  If you wish to attend next year, now is the time to get your tickets Anime Expo 2019 is scheduled for July 4 – 7, with Pre-Show Night on July 3. 4-day badges for AX 2019 are now on-sale for $80, with the remaining Premier Fan badges to be released at a later date.

Anime Expo
Day 1 was a tad bit crowded

First up lets talk numbers. This year saw over 110,000 fans report the LACC for Anime Expo. Over 70 countries were represented, and the SPJA estimates that there was an insane $100 million dollars spent in the greater LA area due to the convention.

More than 150 industry appearances, Guests of Honor, performers, voice actors, and creators all came to LosAngeles to enertain the masses. There was something for everyone. Entertainment was again presented in West Hall with Blizzard, Square Enix, and many more bring merchandise and show exclusive news. Also present was a massive cosplay area, a video arcade, and of course hundreds of vendors, from Wacom to Weapons, there was something for everyone. fans were also treated to dedicated cosplay areas that enabled them to depict classic poses within interactive photo sets, a fashion show, concerts, panels and many more immersive experiences all celebrating Japanese pop culture.

Though attendance was capped at 110,000 this year (at the requests of the LA fire marshall) more than 1700 volunteers worked over 80,000 hours to make the show as smooth as possible.

Ray Chiang, CEO of The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation said of the conventions growth:

“We are thrilled to have another successful Anime Expo under our belt, Each year we strive to deliver unforgettable experiences to the fans, From the unparalleled performances at Anisong World Matsuri and m-flo presents OTAQUEST LIVE to the remarkable cosplay costumes, popular Lounge 21 and film premieres like My Hero Academia: Two Heroes and the XOGENASYS pilot, we truly had some of the best and noteworthy talent in the industry to help make AX 2018 such a success.”

There was more merch, more guests, and more of everything this year than ever before. So much so that even the massive LACC was plagued with accesss issues. This year was the first that Anime Expo used advanced access control (link) including a badge in badge out system at the con-center doors. While it worked well enough it did see long lines at many entrances, and of some minor hiccups. Just like always lines were rapidly, capped, audiences stood in line for hours, and in some cases people got up eat 2am to get autograph tickets! But it wouldn’t be Anime Expo with out some adversity.

Overall I think most people I spoke to had a good year, splitting their time between the vendor hall, panels, and more often than not a concert or two. Fans continue to be happy with the

This Years Hilights included:

Concerts: Anisong World Matsuri; Three massive nights of concerts featuring nine global acts included a powerful collection of fan-favorite performers including Aimer, AKB48 Team 8, THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS, iRis, Yuki Kajiura, May’n, Shoko Nakagawa, and Sanketsu-girl Sayuri. In addition, school idol group Aqours (Love Live! Sunshine!!) performed their first-ever full-length solo concert in the United States.

m-flo presents OTAQUEST LIVE powered by LDH USA with the legendary hip hop trio m-flo, superstar collective PKCZ

20 World & US Premieres:  Something for the cinephobes, Anime Expo featured a plethora of films making their debuts, such as MY HERO ACADEMIA” the Movie: The Two Heroes Subtitled, Flavors of Youth, Attack on Titan Season 3Liz and the Blue Bird, and XOGENASYS.

Guest of Honors: Many industry guests shared their knowledge and passion with attendees including Guests of Honor Go Nagai, Hiromi Wakabayashi, Mari Okada, Sean Danconia, Santa Inoue, and SUSHIO.

Artist Alley: A fan-favorite, the largest gathering of amateur and semi-professional artists at any convention, featured more than 500 artists from across the US and all over the world who showcased their original artwork, prints, crafts, clothing and comic collections.

For me this was a great AX, I met at on of awesome people, got to see most if not all of the panels I wanted to see, and learned a lot. I hope to see you there next year.