Early Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appeared at Anime Expo to announce that the annual mega-event will return to Los Angeles Convention Center through 2013.

“Los Angeles is the perfect host city for this event thanks to our many local companies specializing in cutting-edge technology, our irrefutable standing as the epicenter of the entertainment industry, and Downtown LA's immaculately planned infrastructure,” Villaraigosa said in a press release. According to the press release, AX is expected to result in a $24 million “economic impact” for the City with 7,200 hotel room bookings.

But the real story is in the crowd's reaction. Cosplayers with iPhones clamored for a shot. Passersby seemed weirdly stunned, like they weren't quite used to the attention.

“Are you sure?” we heard someone ask.

“That's the mayor?” said someone else. “Holy.”

“Holy crap,” his friend finished.

A small child asked, “Who's the mayor?”

“Wow,” added another person in the crowd. “Why is the mayor at Anime Expo?”

Meanwhile, there was the guy who shouted, “I want my job back.”

And, yes, someone else in the exhibit hall did shout out a question about the Lakers tickets.

Credit: Shannon Cottrell

Credit: Shannon Cottrell

Villaraigosa stopped by several booths on the on his tour of the convention, including J-rock record label Maru Music. He stopped by the booth with a full crowd in tow as the booth crew was helping a customer.

“There was a field of cameras coming through a big crowd,” said E.J. Rivera. “All of a sudden, there were a bunch of gentlemen in suits.”

“We thought the mayor was going to pass by,” he continued. “He came up and shook our hands.”

Maru Music's Rob Kelso gave a description of what the company does. Villaraigosa answered a “thank you” and “good luck,” before continuing through the hall.

LA Weekly