Anime LA 16 Con Report
I couldn't fall back asleep, so here we are. 😂😫 I don't even remember the last time I've ever typed up a con report, probably not since I deleted my LiveJournal several years ago. WARNING: this is purely a text post, so if you're looking for pretty pictures you probably want to hit up my Flickr instead.
Anime LA is one of my favorite cons of the year, always held in January and currently at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, CA so it's kind of a nice way to kick off the con season and beginning of the year too! I can't been attending for 10 whole years now, I remember being kinda hesitant about the move to Ontario a few years back but it's SO much nicer now that it's in an actual con center and not confined to a single hotel.
Okay, so onto the actual con report that you're all dying to read. 😛
DAY 1 - JANUARY 9, THURSDAY
I should note that yes, you read that right Day 1 of Anime LA is on Thursday of the con. Crazy, right?! I kinda wish I hit up the con, buuut I'll get to my reasons why later on. You'll see.
This was my first solo trip by myself so having to leave my cats behind was tough I almost cried lmao 😫 I left sometime mid-afternoon so I hopefully wouldn't have to wait around too long to check-in and for my room to be ready at the DoubleTree Ontario (this is the hotel I always stay at), of course coming from Santa Monica I'm always guaranteed to hit traffic on the 10 going by downtown LA, but aside from that it wasn't too bad! Once I got to the hotel and checked in I got settled into my room and tuned into one of my favorite tv shows: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives 😆 I'd rather watch Guy Fieri talk about food than hate watch anything on HTGV. lmao
I wanted to hit up Ontario Mills to pick up some last minute supplies, snacks, and dinner, it's also been a really long time since I was last there so I was curious to see what's changed and what's new. I hit up my usual spots: GameStop, Hot Topic, Spencers on my quest for Fallout merch and I did find a few things (2 hats and 1 pair of socks) at GameStop, I always feel like my mall trips aren't complete unless I pick up something Fallout, haha. I also picked up some cosmetics from Ulta, and snacks from Daiso, I love that they carry cold drinks, it was really nice to have my favorite Milk Tea and Ramune for the weekend! The last stop I made was the food court, and I decided to get a combo meal from Sbarro (slice of pizza, pasta side, and drink) for dinner and so I could eat the leftovers the next day. I headed back to my hotel room to watch more Guy Fieri while eating dinner, took a shower, got my costume stuff ready for the weekend, and konked out watching Forensic Files.
DAY 2 - JANUARY 10, FRIDAY
I honestly didn't have any set plans this weekend aside from wear Bernadetta, hit up the Artist Alley, and make sure Varnanii and I did a shoot with BlizzardTerrak (as is tradition~). So, this is actually the first time in a VERY long time I brought one costume with me and wore it the entire weekend 😂 no regrets, man!! I was really happy with how my costume turned out, and honestly I'm kinda over doing the multiple costume changes per day thing, how did I even have the energy to do that shit. lmao Anyways. I took a bit longer to get ready because I maybe got side tracked watching tv in the morning, also it was my very first time trying a magnetic eyeliner + lashes kit so I wanted to make sure I didn't fuck anything up. Did they work? YUP!! I'm going to give it a few more wears before I post a review, but so far I love this system so much better over the traditional eyelash glue + lashes method.
Uhh I think I finally got to the con around 2pm? LMAO Badge pickup was a breeze as usual, though I did brain fart and forget that I had my stuff registered under my other address, so when they asked for confirmation I was like: uhh, what do you mean that's not the right address?? Whoops 💀 I didn't know who was here yet, so of course I decided to start making the rounds at the Artist Alley because what else was I going to do~ the AA is a huge reason why I like attending cons in general, and Anime LA has probably one of the best around imho. It's a huge selection of artists with a decent mix of fandoms and nice variety of merch too! I didn't get very far in when I got a text from Varnanii saying she was here, so we were trying to figure out where to meet up as she was also in the Exhibit Hall (the Dealer's Hall, autograph lines, fan tables, and Artist Alley is all here) and maybe I missed it but none of the AA tables or rows were labeled...? So it did take us a few to find each other 😅 she hadn't started walking around the AA yet, so we started from the first row and slowly tried making it from one end to the other, when we spotted faradaycrystal sitting behind one of the booths, just hanging out. lol Of course, it happened to be an artist who was selling some Fallout prints and sticker sheets (I got 2 of the latter, hehe). None of us had really eaten anything because yknow... it's a con, that's kind of what happens so we headed outside to check out the food trucks.
We ordered our food, managed to find some empty seats, and just chatted about random shit until it started getting too dark which was around 5pm-ish, since yknow DST and all. 😂 We headed back inside and tried to pick up where we left off in the Artist Alley, which wasn't much time because as soon as we got there they made the announcement that it was closing in 30 minutes. I really kept thinking it closed at 7pm, it would have been nice to have that extra hour to shop but oh well, it is what it is. We didn't make much progress lmao, so once they kicked us out we found some spot to hang out for a bit inside the con center, and faradaycrystal decided to head home for the day so it was just me and Varnanii for the rest of the evening. It was mostly me trying to 'collect' any FE:3H cosplayers I could find 🙈 I did get some nice photos with 2 Edelgards (!!), got silly meme pics with Hubert, and also did a quick shoot with a Felix and Sylvain who called me over while they were shooting with Kris Z., so that was fun. It was also really nice catching up with Kris Z. as we hadn't run into each other in what feels like forever!! He also took some solo shots of me, so I'm excited to see how the photos turned out when he has time to edit them. Varnanii decided to headed home as she still had some stuff to do on her Hilda costume, so we walked to her car, and she dropped me off at my hotel. If you think I spent the rest of my evening watching Forensic Files, well you guessed right. 😆
DAY 3 - JANUARY 11, SATURDAY
I ordered room service for breakfast, just so I would have at least 1 non-junky meal during the weekend, and of course even though I woke up pretty early I still got a late start because I was busy watching tv. lmao I unfortunately ended up missing the Fire Emblem gathering because I swear the nightstand clock was set an hour back, I thought I still had an hour left to get ready. Oh well. 😅 I hit up the fan tables first while I waited for Varnanii to head to the con, as there was something very specific that I wanted to pick up as a gift for Siyegen. I saw a tweet saying that Tomonori Kogawa had some original works for sale, and they had desktop calendars, some prints, but what really caught my attention were original watercolor drawings 😱 the nice fellow working the fan table (I didn't get his name, sorry!!) said that Kogawa could sign/personalize anything purchased, they were just waiting for him to get back from autograph signings. As I was browsing the watercolor drawings (very carefully lmao, I made sure to ask it was ok too), I discovered he worked on Aura Battler Dunbine?? I had no idea?? Of course, I had to pick up the Shou Zama and Cham watercolor drawings, and the desktop calendar featuring Kogawa's original works. They gave me a time estimate to come back so I could get my stuff signed, so I killed some time by wandering around the Dealer's Hall side, but oh man, it was cutting so close to the Fallout gathering I was hosting at 4pm haha! I went back to the fan table, they apologized saying Kogawa wasn't back yet as he had to take a break, but he finally made it and when he was done signing, he stood up, came around the table to give me a hug and say thank you!!!!!! 😭❤ The fellow who helped me with my purchases earlier also gave me some gifts, some original art trading cards, so thank you so much!
NEXT I HAD TO HAUL ASS TO THE FALLOUT GATHERING LMAO 🏃♀️💨 it was getting pretty close to the starting time, and the meetup location was New Rose Garden. I spotted some of the usual suspects, and gave it a few for any stragglers coming in, there were so many people (non-Fallout) doing photo shoots in that area though, maybe they weren't aware that spot is a designated gathering location...? Or they did, but just didn't care, who knows. 🤷♀️ escape1218 suggested we move to the actual garden area for photos, so it still kinda worked out in the end anyways. I think it threw some people off who were there to take photos that I was in charge but not in Fallout cosplay, but honestly it's not the first time I've done this, and I really didn't want to change halfway through the day as I really don't have the energy for that anymore (how did I manage MULTIPLE costume changes per day when I first started cosplaying??). I feel like A LOT more people showed up than expected so it did get a bit cramped 😅 so, if you're on facebook, please make sure you RSVP to these things so the person hosting can get a better idea of how many will be attending, it helps out a lot!! I'm glad there was a decent turn out this year, I took a bunch of photos and selfies, and managed to talk to almost everyone this time too, we even had some new faces join this year! I got to catch up with some which is always nice, and discussed future con/event plans so keep an eye out on my socials if you'd like to stay updated, one thing in particular I've been planning for a while now, but need to scope the place out myself before I go forward.
It was starting to get chilly so after saying goodbye to everyone Varnanii and I headed back inside, hoping to shop the rest of the Artist Alley. Spoiler: we didn't make it LMAO 🙃 we did make a good bit of progress this time, but again, they closed everything at 6pm so once they kicked us out of the Exhibit Hall we bummed around the con center for a bit, trying to find friends or take photos/selfies with fellow FE:3H cosplayers which was a lot of fun! I opted for selfies most of the time, as the halls were pretty crowded as it was the big day for most attendees. At some point we decided to head back to my hotel room for snacks, and figure out if there were any parties going on, but nope, so after eating cup noodles we walked to her car and she dropped me off at the hotel and called it a night. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep watching Forensic Files lmao 😂 I really just wanted to catch up with anyone I've missed at the con so far, but oh well I guess there's always next time.
DAY 4 - JANUARY 12, SUNDAY
The final day, thank the lord 💀 I feel like I've already capped out my mental/physical/emotional/etc. capacity for the weekend, but it's the final day of the con and I don't really do cons like this anymore, so I was determined to get up early so I can get into costume one last time. I woke up pretty early, as I needed to because I kept thinking 11am was the check out time as I feel that's what it's always been the other times I've stayed here (this has been my go-to hotel ever since Anime LA moved to Ontario)?? Imagine my surprise when I was good to go at 11am, had triple checked to make sure I had all my shit, only to realize that check out was at 12pm. 😅 So, for anyone who plans to stay at the Doubletree Ontario, keep that in mind!! On the upside, I got to chill in my room for an extra hour which meant more selfies and Forensic files, hehe. Once an hour passed, I went to the front desk to store my luggage, super convenient as I didn't plan on leaving the con until later in the afternoon, and I also don't have to inconvenience any friends by asking if I could store my luggage in their car. 😅
I made it to the con between 12:30-1pm, so I just bummed around while waiting for Varnanii to get there as usual, and ran into the most amazing Lisa Silverman (Persona 2)!! It's so funny because we both wanted photos of each other haha, so I made sure to take some photos and a selfie. Also, quick note when I take photos: I'll usually take a couple shots, 2 full body and 2 close up, so why 2 of each? Just in case 1 shot turns out blurry 🙈 I always make sure to show the cosplayer too, because I want them to see how good they look in their costume!! 👏😤❤ When I review my photos to post on social media, if upon closer inspection it looks unflattering, I won't post it. I've had too many times where I go looking for my con photos and well, let's just say I don't look my best and I really have to wonder why the person even posted it to begin with. Anyways, mini cosplay photograph rant over haha, just something that you may want to keep in mind for next time you're at a con. ✌❤
I later met up with Varnanii, and y'all if you can believe it we fucking finally walked the entire Artist Alley LMAO 🙌😂 some artists also closed up earlier than expected, I really don't blame them as they've all been there since Wednesday for setup, I'm sure they were ready to get the fuck outta there. I'm just glad we made it all the way through, yeah we probably spent WAY too much money but that's how it always is whenever we hit up the Artist Alley at any con. I don't even really bother with the Dealers Hall anymore tbh.
The last big thing we needed to do was shoot with BlizzardTerrak, so we managed to squeeze in a shoot right before he had to head back to NorCal. It was a quick and fun lil' shoot, as usual we go through the standard 'boring' cosplay poses in a matter of minutes, and spend most of the time doing stupid and derpy shit. lmao He's already edited our set so photos of that will be coming soon! We also spent some time chatting about future con and event plans, so I'm really hoping 2020 is the year we finally make this shit happen!! 🤞🤓 After our shoot that was kinda it! Varnanii dropped me off at my hotel, I picked up my luggage, and finally headed home after a long weekend!
Things I learned from this year: definitely gotta start hitting up the Artist Alley first thing on Thursday if I wanna get anything else done 😂 I also need to start being more assertive over who gets ribbons from me. I really started getting into the whole ribbon culture thing 2 years ago, but man some people have been just plain aggressive and rude over getting ribbons from me, and yes this includes people who are supposed to be my friends or followers on my social media. I think it's really rude to assume that I'm just going to give ribbons out all willy nilly 🤷♀️ it's supposed to be for fun. At least most people were cool, and when they saw I had ribbons asked what they had to do to get ribbons, so thank you to those who asked!! I also ran out of my Bernie ribbons so fast LMAO so I'll definitely keep that in mind for next year if I plan on cosplaying a from a popular series. Speaking of popular...
Honestly, I wasn't expecting everyone to love my Bernie costume so much, I did it at the absolute last minute with less than a week until the con so I wasn't able to make the boot covers, but it kinda worked out as I ended up loving the boots I purchased and will stencil the gold detail onto those instead. It felt so overwhelmed every time anyone wanted photos of me, with me, or complimented my costume as usually people don't give a flying fuck about my costumes unless I'm wearing spandex and/or showing skin. 🙃 So it was really a nice change of pace, and I'm so glad I was able to meet so many amazing FE:3H cosplayers and people in general because of Bernie, and I'm really excited to start planning her time skip outfit! Well, okay minus the wig. Bernie sweetie, what were you thinking? LOL
If you've been looking into attending a CA based con whether you're a cosplayer, artist looking to apply for the Artist Alley, or a regular con attendee, I highly recommend looking into Anime LA! It continues to be one of my favorites and one I will continue to attend for years to come. I feel like I'm probably forgetting something but this is long enough as it is 😝 so thanks for reading, and feel free to follow me on my socials if you'd like to stay updated with my adventures!