Anime, manga, video games, cosplay, collectible merch drops and so much more get the spotlight at Anime Expo 2022 this weekend. Presented by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the event is North America’s largest gathering celebrating Japanese pop culture.  It’s the 31st anniversary of this colorful convention, and like Comic-Con, it has grown in unexpected ways. What started as a niche fandom has turned into a mainstream form of art and entertainment. Anime has influenced everything from film to fashion, music to video games and this extravaganza has it all. With over 300 exhibitors (Aniplex of America, Arc System Works, BoxLunch, Crunchyroll, Cygames, Good Smile Company, Hypland, Kodansha, NTT Solmare, PONYCANYON, SEGA/ATLUS, Toei Animation, VIZ Media, Yostar and more) shopping is a big draw. Dress-up is also popular (a film called Cosplay Universe will premiere). Other premieres, panels and appearances will represent titles such as SPY x FAMILY, Bleach, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, Mob Psycho 100, Chainsaw Man, ULTRAMAN and more. Evening parties at nearby club venue The NOVO offer after-dark revelry too, with Steve Aoki, Slushii and an 80s themed event called City Pop just some of the post-expo amusements.

Anime Expo 2022, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St. Downtown; Fri., July 1- Monday, July 4. Proof of vaccination (or negative test) and face coverings are required for entry. For full schedule and tickets go to anime-expo.org.

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