Anime expo is one of the world’s largest anime conventions. It takes place once a year and is held at the LA convention center in downtown Los Angeles.
One of the interesting things about this convention is the sheer scale of audiences that it attracts. I do not and have not worked behind the scenes of how Anime Expo works but here are some of my speculations on the reasons why this convention is as big as it is.
Anime expo is based on Japanese culture. Japanese culture is enormous across the United States and around the world, ranging from video games, manga, anime, television dramas, and even fashion and music. Almost every aspect of Japanese culture has found its way into American culture.
Anime and manga contains multiple types of genres ranging from action, romances, adult, and have even included certain video games as well. The sheer range of different genres of stories that anime and manga contains is one of the reasons why it is so popular. It is simple to read and watch at anyone’s leisure and there are hundreds of different stories.
Audience and content
The thing about anime and manga is that it can be broken down into dozens of different genres.Japanese writers and artists can be extremely creative and every story can be very unique. Since the genres that they write come in a huge variety of themes, this allows consumption of media that is interesting for people of all ages, young and adult.
Anime fans, video game fans, cosplay fans, there are also tons of things to do here that cater to everyone’s interests.
Arts and crafts
Anime and manga are both forms of art, which is also a reason that it appeals to so many people, regardless of their age and can build on nostalgia for older audiences.
Artists will try to mimic the artwork and create their own versions. Writers will attempt to write fanfictions or their own manga and sometimes branch off into drawing their own artwork. Animators will try to create AMV’s of their favorite series and showcase their animation skills. People who enjoy creating small memorabilia and keychains can also craft their own toys and gadgets of their favorite characters. The range of content that can be created from a single anime or manga series is absolutely endless and is limited to each person’s imagination.
People who enjoy wearing costumes of their favorite characters during times other than Halloween can have the chance to show off their best designs. Whether it is an intricate, handmade design or one that was put together in two minutes, many cosplayers come to the event solely for showcasing their designs. There are many professional and amateur photographers that attend and many professional cosplayers will try expose their work to as many of these photographers as they can in hopes to go viral.
Cosplayers usually also have fun here by joining the organized specifically themed meetups. These meetups tend to be massive depending on the theme and are a huge attraction for those who want to see a large group of their favorite characters together.
The exhibition halls in the convention center allows many vendors and artists to sell their products and artwork. The exhibition hall is massive and is one of the biggest attractions at Anime Expo. The audiences that travel from all over the United States come to the exhibition hall and will sometimes purchase as much merchandise as they can since it is an event they can only attend once a year of this scale.
People fly across the country to participate in this event.
Taking place in the heart of downtown LA, the Anime Expo convention attracts all the local anime fans in the populous city as well as tourists all over the world. The event also takes place during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which allows a flexibility in time to be able to plan and show up to the four day event. Being located in LA, people who fly in from across the country will be able to use the weekend as a mini vacation to visit the sunny city.
The area is it also surrounded by many hotels and famous restaurants in the area, allowing for many local businesses to be able to benefit from the event as well. Special promotions on nearby hotels will also be available when you purchase event tickets and also include free shuttle service to the convention center. Some of these famous hotels are Luxe City Center Hotel, JW Marriott, Residence Inn, Westin Bonaventure, and Courtyard LA Live
Being a four day event, Anime Expo has taken the initiative to start its promotions not too long after their prior event has ended. Sales on four day passes begin as early as November during the Black Friday sales. These passes go on sale in the $50 range for a four day pass. This is a very valuable promotion since attendees who decide to wait until the last minute to purchase passes could pay up to 40% more.
Promotions for the event also start very early because the organization knows that people will be flying from all over the country to attend the event. By promoting early, this allows all the non-local attendees and vendors to plan their trips by booking their flights early as well as reserving hotel space.
Putting it all together, Anime Expo takes a simple concept of a convention for anime and manga enthusiasts and have successfully created a massive ecosystem that combines many similar niches to their industry. Western style comics such as Marvel and DC characters can sometimes make cameo appearances at the convention. Video game characters that have artwork that have similar drawing styles also appear. A noteworthy mention is League of Legends, which in the last few years, have attained huge popularity in this audience group.
Anime expo has come a long way from its early years. The way that it can bring in audiences from outside the Anime world is exactly how innovation in the new marketing world works. Amazon started off selling books and is now a massive retail, fulfillment and logistics center. Anime Expo has essentially achieved the same for its industry and I do not expect it to slow down anytime soon. It is not driven solely on anime and manga itself but it feeds off of the interests of their target audiences.
Do you agree with any of my points? Why do you think Anime Expo is as large as it is?