This is not a review of Anime California as this website is known for its convention coverage, but a story of my personal experience at this past year's Anime California. I was invited by the Cosplay Wrestling Federation to attend the convention to film the panel, CWF Absolute Chaos, but took the time afterwards to explore the convention for the day.
After I was finished filming the panel, I explored the convention for the rest of the day. Anime California was held in Burbank in the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport. The convention center was next to the Marriott hotel making it very easy for anybody to go to any event between an attendee's hotel room, and the convention center. In this in-between space between the two buildings was something that didn't occur to me until I walked into the outside of portion in-between the convention center, and the Marriott hotel. There was a DJ, couches, chairs, tables with umbrellas, and a very casual atmosphere. As I walked around the area I observed people were posing for a photo in their cosplay outfits, sitting down at one of tables and talking to one another, and everyone enjoying their time at the convention. It was like the cosplay lounge at Fanime or any other convention that provides a space for cosplayers to sit down, and relax. After taking in the scenery of this, I walked into the convention center to explore the events, and other rooms that were presented for the weekend.
As I walked into the convention center, the chill atmosphere that I was once was in, changed to a much more lively and busier scene. I was greeted with a huge space. To my left were cosplayers talking to one another, and taking photos. To my right where tables of vendors, and other special guests that were set up in a hallway with varying degrees of vast interesting items and or videos that were being shown. This entire area was very busy, and crowded, but not too crowded for me to walk around or any attendee to walk around in the area. The staff were very helpful, and this huge area I walked into, suddenly became very small when I walked into the other rooms in the convention center.
The first room I checked out was the Dealers Hall. It was at a good size for the vendors to sell their merchandise, and to everyone else walking into the room to check out what items were on sell. The usual items you would see up for sale ranging from body pillows, figures, posters, video games, manga, and other trinkets related to the anime culture. The room was at a good size for this convention, but compared to other conventions it was also rather small. This wasn't a problem at all with the amount of people entering, and leaving the Dealer's Hall, but this did start to feel like this convention is smaller then I initially thought this was. After my time in the Dealer's Hall, I checked out the other rooms. The Game Room was pretty standard fare in regards to what the convention is offering. You have an assorted range from classic to modern consoles, and games. There were tournaments being held in the game room for Street Fighter, Smash, and Dragonball Fighterz. The room was also very small to reiterate the previous note from the Dealers Room. I left to check out the rest of the convention had to offer for my short time being there.
I wasn't able to check out the panels room, but manage take a sneak peak of the main events room which was a pretty decent size compared to the other rooms. Artist alley is always a delight to check out. Love the artwork that is displayed alongside other type of art. There were a few items I really wanted to get, but given I was getting my feet planted in southern California I passed on buying anything there. After checking out what I can, I feel the convention was just a standard anime convention. Nothing really appealed to me or grabbed my interest at the convention. All the parts of a convention were there, but nothing made me excited to be there, nor did anything grabbed my interest to stay longer. The talk from the other attendees was that this was a relaxing type of a convention, and it seems everyone is busy hanging out with friends who were there. Also, I know this is usually the way all anime conventions are, but Anime California wasn't offering much to do if you were not interested in what Anime California was offering. After a few hours I end up leaving at around 5 or 6 pm, but walked away with a feeling of what the convention could develop into.
Overall, I feel from my short time being at Anime California is that this convention is trying to find its footing among the marred of conventions in the southern California convention circuit. There are some interesting ideas this convention has, and have room to grow. Anime California name has not been the best of views when the convention started out. We talked about Anime California in the past on this website, and after the first year of Anime California we didn't have any hope for the convention. This is a good a start of restarting the convention from it's last iteration to put the Anime California in a good standing in the anime convention community. We shall wait, and see what this convention holds for the future, but its a start.
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