Sunday, September 27, 2020

Five Tips for Enjoying Anime Los Angeles

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Shelby Mcweeb
Shelby Mcweeb is the world's most acclaimed (only) nationwide Anime Convention Culture Journalist. Shelby has been working in the Film, Television and Journalism industry for over a decade. Shelby has traveled across the country, both as an award winning cosplayer and as a historian to document every aspect of Nerd and Anime culture possible. She is a Co-Host of Anime Weekly, which airs every Wednesday at 9pm. Rumor has it that if you stand directly in the center of any anime convention and whisper mean things about my favorite anime characters, I will materialize instantly to defend their honor.

Every year, cosplayers emerge from their winter cocoons to experience, the one, the only, Anime Los Angeles. A stark contrast from it’s sister con, Anime Expo, Anime Los Angeles offers intimacy, affordable hotels within walking distance, and the absence of the brutal southern California summer sunshine. However, if you have not gone to Anime Los Angeles before, then there might be a few things that will take you by surprise. It’s hard for me not to enjoy Anime Los Angeles. It’s, in my opinion, one of the best cons I’ve been able to stay at. Here are the ten things you should do in anticipation of attending Anime Los Angeles.

  1. Bring Water/Drinks

I wouldn’t call Anime Los Angeles only for partying, but it is a successful and well rounded convention offering something fun to do to all walks of life who attend it.

However, there are many people do go to ALA for the ultra fun party atmosphere on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Whether you are drinking the water because you danced for six hours straight and ran to all your friends hotel rooms, or the water is because of all the food you ate at all the wonderful establishments, or even if you are an adult above the age of 21 who consents to drink a couple of shots out of Sailor Moon shot glasses with friends. Who doesn’t love a good water?
 

(All photos in this article taken by me)

2. Bring Cash

My favorite thing in my ten years of con going, has without a doubt been the dealers hall. I enjoy the artists alley section the most, because I love seeing each and every artist’s interpretation of my favorite characters.

I recommend bringing cash because, let’s be real, it would take an insane amount of

discipline not to. (Like, man who has lived in the mountains for 35 years and trains daily under a waterfall level of discipline.) It makes it so much easier to buy any pin, piece of jewelry, shot glass or plushie that you’ve had your eye one all weekend.

There were dozens of amazing places, I didn’t know where to spend my money. (So I spent all of it. If anyone knows if it’s possible to write off a dozen Yuri On Ice fan art pins on your taxes, please send me an email explaining how.)

Necklaces pictures are by https://www.instagram.com/kawaiifeature/, a long time seller at Anime Los Angeles!

3. The Schedule is Your Friend

It really helps going around ALA if you know where everything is. Especially the cosplay gatherings and the panel rooms. It can be very tricky to meet up with your fan groups if you have no idea where the Rose Garden is. (Spoiler: it’s a red herring. There are no roses in the rose garden.) There are tons of fun and interesting panels as well, so make sure you know exactly which ones are being offered before you miss it. The one complaint I have leaving Anime Los Angeles is always that I didn’t check ahead and accidentally missed a really fun panel, or didn’t get in line earlier enough for a swap meet. It’s pretty common for people to just show up and linger to try and make friends and see cool things, but you don’t always get the most of your time that way. If you plan ahead, and make your own schedule, you’ll make the most of your three short days there. 

4. Plan Out Your Meals Beforehand

There are two types of food at ALA. Cheap, fast and wholesome fast food and sit down restaurants, or interesting, unique and good quality food truck meals. I’ve met many people who ate only fast food, then were upset to learn they could have had really good speciality food. Likewise, I’ve met people who were disappointed they spent all their money at the food trucks when they could have walked 15 minutes outside the convention center to get something more filling for less of their dollar. Me? I ate everything. EVERYTHING.

5. Book a hotel room with other nerds

My very first ALA, I was extremely nervous. I didn’t want to drive an hour and a half each way every day, but I didn’t have any friends yet. (One or two cool people, but I was too scared to ask.) I answered a post looking for roommates from a super fun girl, but deep down I was really nervous. What if they didn’t like me? What if something happened? I ended up having the most fun and was so happy I did!

I’m not supporting random room shares, (well I am a little) but half the fun of ALA is that it’s like a big sleepover camp for dweebs. The most fun is at night when you can go between your friends hotel rooms and watch anime, sing karaoke, engage in adult beverage consumption if you are above the legal age of 21, tell secrets, and talk about the mysteries of the world.

(like why doesn’t Ash age?)

(This photo was taken by Ophelia Alexander Photographer, who made the most of her ALA for sure!)

Alright, so now that you know EXACTLY what you need to enjoy Anime Los Angeles to the fullest, I wish you the best. For more updates on Anime Conventions and events, keep watching and reading NERDBOT!

Do you have any con tips? Let Nerdbot know in the comments!

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