Every Fourth of July weekend, more than 40,000 anime fans head to the Los Angeles Convention Center for a weekend of sensory overload. There are concerts, including large-scale ones featuring Macross Frontier star Megumi Nakajima and J-pop group AKB48 this year. There will be more panels and screenings than you'll be able to squeeze into your schedule and aisle upon aisle of vendors selling everything from Japanese designer clothing to manga waiting to distract you. Then, there is the people-watching. You may feel underdressed amid the scores of cosplayers and Japanese street-fashion aficionados, but you'll be compelled to take photos of every epic Studio Ghibli cosplay you see, even as it halts traffic and makes you late for that steampunk panel you really wanted to catch. Your best bet for getting through Anime Expo is to simply admit you will fall off course at every turn in the convention hall and don't make plans.

July 1-4, 2010

LA Weekly