In this series, we will be reporting our experience at Animé Los Angeles.

Running between January 9–12, 2020 at the Ontario Convention Center in California, we flew out to the west coast for the 16th fan-operated convention that drew a large crowd of cosplayers and fans. Just about everything for otakus was here—guest speakers from anime, manga discussion panels, cosplay booths, and autograph signings with anime creators and voice actors. Attendees went about meeting old friends, taking photos, and buying up unique merchandise. Meanwhile, crossing paths with guests of honor such as the director for Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tomonori Kogawa and voice actor, Chris Tergliafera who is known for his voice as Avdol in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Gundham Tanaka in Danganronpa.

Noteworthy activities include life-sized games of cosplay chess, rooms for playing Mario Kart with friends and trying out the virtual reality rhythm game, Beat Saber. If that was not enough, hours of shopping for rare and unique items could have been found in the Dealer’s Room and Artists Alley, while constantly surrounded by cosplayers enjoying themselves. There’s even a special room set aside for costume repairs and construction advice for those taking part or looking to learn.

In a strange twist, for fans who like a mix of professional wrestling with their cosplay, there was some smack talk action with the appearance of characters from Cosplay Wrestling Federation. This west coast team of entertainers descended on the convention to determine who would win or lose their championship title belts. The crowd roared and applauded for the best one-liners and put-downs. While contestants squared off on stage, the battle of wits was intense. After several rounds of humorous improv and comical jabs, the villainous Skeletor retained the championship belt.

But at JROCK NEWS, we are mostly here for the music and Friday night would mark the first US performance of BRATS with an opening performance by FEMM. Earlier that day in the entertainment lounge, we were delighted to discover Japanese Lunchtime Rush, a local southern California based group performing anisongs in their style of jazz, pop, and rock. Later in this series, we will be sharing exclusive interviews with these bands as well as the big night of Jrock entertainment.

To sum up this introduction for Animé LA, in contrast to San Diego Comic-Con and Anime Expo that get all the big crowds with big media headlines, this convention has a more inviting atmosphere. Such that it has the benefits of the big conventions, yet it seems more like a reunion with truly passionate fans. This medium size convention was easier to navigate and attendees could appreciate all the events more fully. Although everyone there may not yet know your name, the feeling is that they are glad you came.

Next up, we have an interview with the super fashionable music duo, FEMM, so please look forward to it!

Animé LA
Official Website

Cosplay Wrestling Federation

DHP Gastelum
Official Website

Read more from this series:
Report: Animé LA 2020
Interview: FEMM
Live Report: BRATS
Interview: BRATS
Interview: Japanese Lunchtime Rush

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