Arriving amidst a swarm of frenzied paparazzi, the #TEAMJUMP crew rolled into downtown L.A. for Anime Expo! Because Anime Expo takes place so close to the Fourth of July, some cosplayers displayed their patriotism like the girls in the picture above. I think one of them was cosplaying as the Declaration of Independence! This year's Expo was super cuckoo because the X-Games was taking place right next door! Strangely, the two crowds seem to mix rather well. Maybe it's a mutual respect thing? It takes a lot of guts to dress up in crazy costumes and walk around in public. It also takes a lot of guts to fly through the air two stories high on a tiny skateboard. Not sure which takes more.
As an old school anime fan, I can tell you this—Anime Expo is very different than it was back in the day. The dealer's floor used to house massive booths from all the major anime companies. ADV (now defunct) had a giant tower, and they'd bang on a loud war drum throughout the show and throw free stuff into the attendees. All that is gone. Rampant piracy destroyed most of the companies. Now there are only two large companies left from that era, VIZ Media and FUNimation. I guess that's what happens when people steal everything and pay for nothing. The funny part is, if you looked at the show floor, you'd think the anime and manga industries are booming! Look at all these people!
I'll get off my soap box now! The first day, we had a mission, interview heavy-metal anime-band ANIMETAL USA right before their U.S. concert debut! One thing I learned from the interview is—these guys are real rockers. When in the presence of a real rocker, you feel a sense of history. You can see it by the lines on their faces and the calluses on their hands, they've really rocked it and lived to tell! And they certainly did at their incredible concert! They had the crowd on their feet when they sang the Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals opening song, "Give Lee Give Lee Rock Lee." Look for our interview and some concert footage coming next week!
From there, it was time to hit the One Piece cosplay meet-up and try and snap some photos of stellar cosplayers! As usual, the crowd didn't disappoint as you can tell by this wonderful picture of Princess Shirahoshi! Because of her mermaid tail, she had to sit on a cart and be rolled around! Now, that's cosplay commitment! If you're a One Piece cosplayer, make sure you come to our JUMP TRUCK at SDCC to get free treats and your picture taken with a cool Augmented Reality Luffy! For details on that and all our other plans, click here!
The next day, we held another thrilling SJ Fan Meet-Up! These fan meets continue to gain popularity, and the AX one was a blast! As usual, we showered the audience with prizes, handing out sweet SJ swag left and right! We also broke some major news about the One Piece JUMP TRUCK at SDCC.
And of course, we had a live cosplay contest, where the audience applause picked the final winner! Dressed as Tetsuya Kuroko from Kuroko no Basket, the winner recieved a great prize, as well as our respect. And she proved you don't even have to be a cosplayer from a SJ series released in America to win the contest!
The live Fan Art Jam was amazing this time! We've had a few of these, but this one was special! I guess the theme of "Hollywood Alpha-kun" really sparked people's imagination. The winning entry by Jacob B. was really funny. I can't believe he asked me after the meet-up why his entry won despite the art not being great. Well Jacob B., if you're reading this, first off, your art's great! Super cartoony and funny. Also, your understanding of perspective is solid. Two, it's so creative! Many people just drew a movie star Alpha-kun, you made the only homeless one! You took the theme and did something totally unexpected with it. That's the sign of a real artist.
And that was Anime Expo 2012! It was a great con, we saw a ton of epic cosplay and had a lot of fun! I haven't been in years, so it was really cool seeing all the amazing SJ cosplay and fans. Although there were less companies than in the past, there are more fans and they're just as energetic about anime and manga as ever! I hope that never changes.
Join the full SJ Alpha crew at our next stop, SDCC!
by Urian Brown