Despite the recent case of arson against a cosplayer during Anime Los Angeles, this convention remains a place to explore your inner child and inner geek. It’s a place full of self-expression and charm. You’ll find something here that will grab you to some degree.

People made this happen for us. Those people made this convention happen for those who want to experience something they cannot do at home or in their daily lives. This is a form of weekend escapism from reality before going back to the daily routine. It’s fun, exciting, and addicting! What can’t be said about a place where people come together for one purpose?

Well, let’s take a look at Anime Los Angeles!

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The Cosplay Scene

Cosplayers - Anime Los Angeles

Instagram (Left to Right): @gokotaiger, @jkpopluver48, @peachings, photos by me

When you first enter, you aren’t greeted by guests or games, but by those in cosplay. Cosplayers are often the focus, but not the meat—at least not anymore. But the casual, sexy, and those who place great detail in their outfits—they still own the scene for photographers and casual attendees alike.

There are countless people who cosplay for fun, while some may do it for monetization, or other reasons. Sometimes the photographer will charge just the same, but in a different way. There are varying degrees of elements that can make up the cosplay scene of a convention.

People wait for a whole year to cosplay, or otherwise just find a fairly large group of individuals who share their hobby. Anime Los Angeles is one of the few spaces where this occurs. Publicly, everyone displays who they are and why they are there.

There are also areas outside that have only recently become closed to the public during the convention. It doesn’t detract too much from the experience. Primarily, these areas are made up of white wall backgrounds, some trees, stairs, and small hideaways for photographers to use as their own sort of backdrop.

What to Do?

Anime Los Angeles - What to do?

Besides cosplay, there are numerous things to do at Anime Los Angeles. Various different panels, main events, and other forms of content also appear.

If you’re feeling tired, there’s a quiet lounge. Feeling stressed? Gaming hall, manga lounge, and even karaoke has you covered. There is no shortage of something to do at this convention. You can even pick up a shirt or figure in a Poké Ball at the Dealer’s Hall or Artist Alley. My personal favorite from Dealer’s Hall is always a mystery bag—and when its price is higher, I actually get better luck at walking away with something cool. So, definitely test your luck if you can!

Fan panels, special guests, and main events are also on the list, with possibly the biggest draw being the main events. You can go dancing at one of the many events that focus on it; go to a fashion show; or even attend Cosplay Chess. There are hundreds of things to do, but of course there is only one of you.

So, how do you decide? The people over at Anime Los Angeles have made it so simple! They offer an app and give you a short guide book after you pick up your convention badge. It would probably be best to write down what you want to check out, or otherwise mark everything you are interested in attending.

Though I’m a veteran of the convention scene, attending for over seven years has not fully prepared me. Sometimes, even I still get confused, or have no idea what to check out.

How Safe is it to Attend?

Anime Los Angeles - Photo of Grell Sutcliff

Instagram @meextreats, photo by me

Though a cosplayer’s car and other vehicles in a hotel parking lot were burned in a fire started by an obsessed stalker during the latest Anime Los Angeles, that isn’t the norm.

From my personal experience, Anime Los Angeles is possibly one of the safest conventions I have attended, if not the safest.

It is a convention in between a string of hotels, with places to eat just next door. It is located just next to the airport as well, so those who fly shouldn’t have a problem being picked up and dropped off. If you ever need any help with carrying something—and let’s say you’re a vendor—there’s no shame in asking. If you lose something, be rest assured that there are multiple people who will find and send those items to a designated lost and found area. There have even been posts specifically for missing items made in fan forums.

You normally don’t have to worry much about anyone else outside of the convention being around the area, as it’s almost always in a closed setting. Although this community cannot receive enough praise, it’s still obvious to keep your valuables in check.

Now, the Party Scene…

Anime Los Angeles - Lobby for Partying

While other conventions have had their share of cops show up, typically Anime Los Angeles has almost been completely void of this (with last weekend’s incident being an exception).

But why? A small room with a group of people who have been drinking is normally a plan for disaster. So to combat this, it’s less taxing to set up a larger area where everyone can be looked after. It’s just been the norm to host a room party, at least for large-scale conventions.

One hotel has specifically been smart about this—or it could be Anime Los Angeles maintaining a good line of communication with its management. Those who frequent this convention have been holding a lobby-con party themselves. What better way to round up everyone looking to party? So far, there has been little to no incident taking place because of this.

Is it Worth Going?

Cosplayer - Anime Los Angeles

Instagram: @aoikatori, photo by me

Even with the recent fire set by an obsessive stalker, I wouldn’t let that stop you from giving the event a shot. From personal experience, I suggest trying it. At least give it a try. There are friends to meet, whether it’s through waiting in line for an event, or taking photos. Definitely take pictures with a camera or smart phone, as most cosplayers adore the attention either way.

Use that to build a foundation for a wonderful experience. It’s never too late. It’s only too late when you don’t take that first step.

Anime Los Angeles was fun. Still one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long while. It invigorated my lust for photography and rekindled my friendship with others. It’s an experience that I need, and if you’re in a bad time in your life, then you may need it as well. It’s a coping mechanism for me and my life’s challenges. Check it out when given the chance.

I’ve not gone in too deep, as there is much to cover, and it would take a team to cover everything. Perhaps next year! Remember, stay safe and healthy out there, cowboy.

See also: The Future (SAO-based)

Also: Anime Los Angeles Official Website

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