Fans headed to Anime Expo 2011 may want to double-check their directions: This year's con takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, not at the Anaheim Convention Center of years past — though there is another anime convention this weekend in Anaheim, AM2, and it's something of an upstart rival to the original. Guests of honor at Anime Expo include Danny Choo, host of TV show Culture Japan (debuting locally July 5 on cable channel MNet); virtual idol Hatsune Miku, the holographic J-pop star whose vocals are synthesized via Yamaha Corp.'s Vocaloid technology; chamber-pop anime-theme-song trio Kalafina; Fred Gallagher, author/artist of American manga title Megatokyo; and many other acclaimed artists, editors and creators. Of course, there's the customary cosplay showcase known as the Masquerade, plus a pop Shock Masquerade (steampunk and beyond), a Chibi Masquerade (for the little ones) and a “lolita/aristocratic-based” Midnight Tea (don't ask). Relax for a spell at the artist alley, manga lounge or maid cafe (where cute girls in French maid outfits tend to your every whim) before competing in “AX Idol,” “Anime Singled Out” and “Otaku Parliamentary Debate.” (Otaku translates as “megafan,” more or less.) Nota bene: Admission starts at $50 per day, and concerts cost extra, while AM2 is free, and it has a maid cafe, too. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., dwntwn.; Fri., July 1, noon-6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., July 2-3, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Mon., July 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; $50 one-day pass; $65 two-day consecutive pass; $75 four-day pass; $35 kids 6-12; 5 & under free. (805) 290-1341,

July 1-4, 2011

LA Weekly