And now, for some solid, upper-tier nerdery!
5) Geeky Super Sentai/ Tokusatsu Stuff
One of the things I love about Anime Expo is its palpable dedication to ALL KINDS of Japanese stuff; more often that includes things that I don't necessarily care about, like Visual Kei bands and so forth, but God bless AX for being one of the few places where you can buy Kamen Rider crap.
And not only that, you can even buy FAN MAGAZINES.
Super Sentai and general "Tokusatsu" shows have had a bit of a rough ride in the West since the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers heyday of yore, but it's soothing to the soul to see that there's still a definitive and active fanbase supporting these silly masked people and the weird monsters they fight.
It's enough to make my cynical heart melt. Which is good, because every year, I find myself enraged by:
4) Obnoxious Nerd Jokes
My girlfriend has a joke that any convention could be easily replicated by having a throng of people shouting "SOMETHING WE KNOW! SOMETHING WE KNOW!" and that is always an omnipresent part of any dealer's room. There's your usual offenders, like fake mustaches:
No joke, when I bumped into this thing on accident, I turned and said "sorry" because I thought it was an actual person. A lot of obnoxious nerds still think it is the height of hilarity to wear a fake mustache. God forbid any of these people leave the convention center and wander over to Silver Lake; they'd be in constant, painful hysterics.
But overall, my least favorite thing of all time can be summed up by this picture, which features a painting somebody was selling for money:
"Hey! I'm a big nerd and I like to draw, but I'm also exceptionally lazy and have no good ideas! I'll take a current pop-culture phenom, and fill it with superheros! I AM A GENIUS!"
God damnit. I need something nice to think about before I throw my laptop in the trash. Or at least violent.
3) Heavy Artillery And General Weaponry
No foolin', this year's AX had some top-quality weapons on display. Better than I've seen in previous years. Whoever's been running in the cosplay circles that's found the best way to create massive, yet light, swords, keep up the good work. In particular, I got to see easily the best - if not simply the LONGEST - representation of Inuyasha's Tetsusaiga.
That is one huge sword. But... eh. It's just a sword. That's still only one sword. How about a crapload of knives?
Hey, whatever works. And then, just when I thought I had my fill of artillery, I found another tank:
However they managed to get that thing into the dealer's room is beyond me, but I imagine it played out a bit like the tank scene from the beginning of Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer. (14 balding men just got that reference and choked on something.)
2) Intentionally Creepy Things
Like any nerd gathering, you go in understanding that the clientele here has an exceptional appreciation of the macabre and the unusual. So there were a plethora of goodies, cosplay and artifacts to that effect.
Like, for example, this stellar replica of the titular Titans from Attack on Titan!
There were also these stellar fan-made posters featuring Evangelion characters:
And, of course, half-naked men.
But that's all well and fun. It's fun to celebrate the twisted side of the psyche! Because if we don't, we could end up with, uh - well, the entirety of this last entry.
1) Unintentionally Creepy Things
As we wind down, let's go over some of the standard stereotypes of the anime fan: they buy body pillows featuring cartoon characters they want to have sex with, they're all sad and awkward people, and so forth. That's all hogwash of course, because *I'm* an anime fan, and I turned out pretty normal. Maybe.
But those people DO exist, and Anime Expo is here to serve their needs. So, yeah, there are body pillows.
But hey, at least there are body pillows for girls, too.
And, yeah, there are boob mouse pads.
There are also butt mouse pads for girls (and guys too)! But the vendor who was selling it gave me the shittiest look when I pulled out my camera. Considering I nearly got into a confrontation when I took a picture of this decapitated Totoro here, I figured it wasn't worth the trouble.
But all of this pales in comparison to the true horror of the convention: MANKIND. I kid! It's actually these things.
God bless that Yuna cosplayer for not urinating herself in fear when those monsters appeared out of nowhere. And in case you needed to ask: yes, there were more of them.
All told though, Anime Expo is always a fun time. I've been going there regularly for almost a decade now, and even though I usually know what to expect or what to find, I never leave disappointed.