BBQs For Some, Japanese Culture Convention For Others
While most people are enjoying a BBQ and fireworks for the 4th of July holiday, tens of thousands of people attended Anime Expo in downtown Los Angeles.
Anime Expo is a convention showcasing Japanese animation, called Anime, and Japanese culture. Anime conventions are held all over the country but Anime Expo is largest in North America.
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Thousands of fans come dressed as their favorite anime TV and movie characters. Called cosplay by convention attendees, this practice is one of the most popular past times at Anime Expo.
In the Nokia Theater, the masquerade had cosplayers perform comedy skits and routines to a packed crowed.
Screenings of anime films and television episodes are also part of the experience. The directors and producers from the films travel from Japan to screen the films for attendees.
The latest anime craze, Last Exile, was screened especially for attendees four months before the Japanese audience.
Last Exile is a series about kids in a steam punk style universe with flying machines reminiscent of WWII fighter planes.
Various musical talents from Japan were also on hand performing concerts. One such artist is actually virtual. Miku, a computer generated character that performs with a live band. Her voice is also computer generated showing off some the latest technology by Yamaha.
From people who love the giant robot genre such as Gundam, to Nintendo video games, Anime Expo draws fans from all walks of life. These fans just enjoy being an otaku, the Japanese word for an extreme fan.
While drawing odd looks and stares from the unsuspecting public, for the otaku of Anime Expo, it is the ultimate destination short of Japan.
Photos By Philip Long, Qui Nguyen and Ryan Cech