Note: I appropriated “Friendcon” from The Dogeman.
RPG Adventurers recently attended Anime Los Angeles (ALA) for the first time, and while we don’t have much history with the convention, it was definitely a positive experience and is now going to be part of our travel planning for next year. There are a variety of ways we attend conventions. Most of the time we go because we are interested in what the convention itself has to offer: panels, products, or persons of interest. Other times we go to meet up with friends, take photos, and stand around to chat with anyone and everyone. ALA was definitely the latter to the Nth degree.
Anime Los Angeles is in it’s 12th iteration and has moved away from its hotel convention status into a convention center event. Even with its growth, the atmosphere seems to be very rooted in the hotel culture. There was a great buzz of activity all around the center, and while the associated hotel, the Radisson, had its own activities, we stayed mainly around the convention. The event’s mission focuses on “events for the education and appreciation of anime, manga and related subjects.” The attendees definitely fall under enthusiasts of the culture, and go to congregate with fellow fans. As night falls, like most anime cons in my experience, its gets a little more wild. Overall, the convention is what you’d expect in terms of atmosphere and events. Something interesting to note, however, was the clear amount of security and badge checks at the event, which is usually uncommon for these types of conventions.
Friends, Photos, Fan-Personing
To start, we were rooming with a couple of So Cal friends, Angi and Ally and so that is definitely checking off meeting up with friends. In addition to that, we were part of a cosplay group organized by another friend. I think every person that dresses up as a character wants to not only find people with like minds, but to be part of a group of people. Thanks to Rian Synnth (ALA 2016) and Hendo (Comikaze 2015), we’ve been fortunate to have that welcoming experience, as well as to share it with one of our weekend roommates. In common cosplay fashion, there was still work to be done, so much of our downtime was spent in the room trying to piece parts together, and venturing off to other rooms to help others do the same.
Friday was a nice start, as we were dressed in Avatar: The Last Airbender cosplay. Jeanette and I had a good chuckle over the fact that I had to wear a wig and dress in flowing clothes, while she wore pants and a mask. It was a nice start as we met up with some photographer friends that helped capture a few moments, and met up with other ATLA mates LuciferBob, ShannahBananas and got a nice picture as a Fire nation team thanks to DeathThorn. We pretty much walked circles and tried to bump into as many people as possible for the rest of the day, eventually meeting up with a few more people, and eventually to Rian. After three oddly long hours, we returned back to our room to rest, refuel and unequip for a bit. My beard fell off a bit, so I decided to rip it off and just go back as a generic old man in Asian-ish armor. Jeanette stuck around in costume and grabbed a couple of pics here and there. We also incidentally bumped into someone that recognized us, which is a rare occasion outside of our current circle. It was great to chat with them and talk about their ridiculously radical swords.
A side note on con diets. I don’t know how the rest of the con world works, but I feel like my perception of a meal changes drastically. We had a steady diet of chips, soda, ramen and spirits. More often than not, I treat a con like a long hiking trip, bring snacks and available provisions, or be in survival mode and avoid hunger by whatever means necessary. We have talked about perhaps bringing a crockpot one year and just slow cooking a real meal while we con around one year. It sounds good, but maybe not…
Saturday was the best time for us in terms of connecting with people. Our first goal for the convention was to attend a RWBY meetup, but we also wanted to make sure to see some familiar faces. Einismine is one of the first friends we met at a con, and this was the first time since Anime California ’15, that we ended up in the same place. We had bumped into them on Friday evening, but didn’t get to spend much time with them because of cosplay work, so we made a point to meet up with them after a RWBY meetup. It was great to have a drink, help with cosplay and catch up with each other, and ruminate on how awesome that moment was. The rest of the day is pretty much summed up by the endless number of selfies we took. The day ended similarly to the previous night, more cosplay work, tossing out a little assist to a friend in need.
Sunday was a big day as we had a large sized group and a panel to get to. Our friend James was hosting a photography panel and we wanted to make sure to attend, both for knowledge and support. The panel was filled with all levels of information, as well as a live demo. The attendees were a good mix of photographers and cosplayers, and was well attended by friends and fans.
Once the panel was over, it was on to the meet up. The meet up met with some hiccups and not everyone was able to find themselves in the same place at the same time. However, we ended up getting together with enough people here and there to get some nice photos together. I’m not expert at these things, but I do know that no matter how well you plan, it will never be perfect, so you just have to roll with it and see what happens. Thankfully, we did get a few great photos. Rather than post them here, I’d rather you guys take the time to visit the people who took them. Jon York’s photo is probably the sharpest group photo, and after seeing it, I felt like I belonged on a box set for the blu ray. James Rulison (IG @jrulison) has a variety of photos on his blog and IG as well as Nelson Seralbo (IG @nelsphotos) and David Ngo (IG @dtjaaaam).
Our trip was typical for a cosplay trip. Minimal panels, maximum pictures, and a lot of good feelings. The atmosphere was great and everyone around us seemed to be having a solid time. If you’re looking for a party con atmosphere, this is a great con for it. Also if you love getting things, this con is great for accumulating ribbons, which there were apparently a lot of (we got offered one).
Hope you enjoyed the recap. Feel free to question or comment.