By Staff Reports
110,000 fans of Japanese pop-culture descended upon the Los Angeles Convention Center this past week to experience Anime Expo (AX), the largest celebration of anime pop culture in North America. Produced by The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), this five-day extravaganza, held July 4 – July 8, drew fans from more than 70 countries and had an estimated economic impact for the City of Los Angeles and area hotels and businesses of $100 million.
To entertain the crowds, more than 150 guests and industry appearances, Guests of Honor, performers, voice actors, and creators were on-site to mingle with the throngs of attendees and provide special performances, sneak peeks and view premieres. In addition, fans were 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.
Once again, AX and the City of Los Angeles embraced the large crowds at the event. Attendance was purposely held at 110,000 (more than 350,000 turnstile for all show days) to ensure a quality event for fans to come together to share their passion and experiences with each other.
The Exhibit and Entertainment Halls featured more than 524 Exhibitors covering 171,000 sq ft. Additionally, AX 2018 featured 900+ hours of programming. And, for the second year, AX live streamed 50+ hours of content reaching fans globally.
More than 1,700 volunteers collectively put in 80,000 hours throughout the week to ensure that AX ran smoothly for all attendees, exhibitors, and guests.
“We are thrilled to have another successful Anime Expo under our belt,” said Ray Chiang, CEO of The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation. “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.”
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, i☆Ris, 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®, and world renowned producer Yasutaka Nakata were joined by fan favorites including Crystal Kay, TeddyLoid, YUC’e, Hachioji P, and Masayoshi Iimori.
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 3, Liz 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.
Planning for next year, 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.
SPJA is a non-profit organization dedicated to popularize and educate the American public about Japanese entertainment and pop culture, as well as provide a forum to facilitate communication between professionals and fans. For more information, please visit www.spja.org.
About Anime Expo
Anime Expo (AX) brings together fans and industry from Japan, the US, and all over the world for the largest celebration of Japanese pop culture in North America. Taking place every year since 1992, Anime Expo features the best in Japanese entertainment, music, fashion, and video games. For more information, visit www.anime-expo.org.