Anime Los Angeles (January 10-13) was yet another hit this year with brand new costumes, content, and special guests.

Anime Los Angeles was my first convention when I attended for the first back in 2010. At this time I was cosplaying my favorite character at the time, Sakura from Naruto. I saw it turn from a smaller hotel con to one with a full on hotel block and con center to go with it. As I go every year, what the staff comes up with never ceases to amaze me.

This was the first ALA I attended in where I attended panels and became more social, making friends and becoming acquainted with people in the industry. Popular voice actors such as Joe Ochman and Todd Haberkorn were two of which I had the pleasure of meeting.

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This year especially had a lot good vendors in both the dealers hall and artist alley! Tons of ribbons made up of various jokes including mine, “My Husband Doesn’t Exist” were gathered and collected. One person even collected so much, their trail touched the floor from the second story! Ribbon collecting is a classic Anime Los Angeles tradition and I hope they carry it on to other cons in the future.

I managed to snag me some good deals from the vendors I bought from. In one of my grab bags I got some super cute clothes and even little charms. Supporting some very talented artists is another thing I look forward to at these cons; I picked up a cook book that carries recipes to recreate actual dishes seen in Breath of the Wild. Here’s some of my loot.

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Anime Los Angeles has never failed to impress, but unfortunately there were a few minor setbacks this year.

Some panels and events were unclear or just didn’t happen at all. One of which was Hentai Voice Acting With Cosplay Deviants, an 18+ panel many were looking forward to attending. This, and the fact that the main hotel venue changed to the Double Tree didn’t help matters either. Some schedules for the shows and panels remained unclear and inaccurate in regards to location.

While not the convention’s fault, a very unfortunate incident occurred when one attendee set fire to another’s car. Luckily no individuals were harmed and buildings remained untouched, but many were left without cars to go back home. In spite of that, many attendees and Artists took it upon themselves to donate some of their earnings and offer car rides to those who were affected. It’s important to remember to help one’s peers in times of need, and the aftermath of the incident allowed for everyone to come together to prove the effectiveness of just that. The individual responsible for the arson is currently serving their time and the victim is safe and sound.

An unfortunate occurrence, but that didn’t deter attendees from coming to con the next day, and enjoying what Anime Los Angeles is made of! What’s more, famous cosplayer, Suzu Momoi took the spotlight once again in the Dealer’s Hall as a representative of both Takumi Armory and heart stealer.

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As a mentioned previously, I became acquainted with Joe Ochman and Todd Haberkorn. The former was normal – I met him while I was in line and we started talking. Though I can’t say the same thing about meeting Todd.

I was going to attend a panel with one of my friends but got the directions mixed up; I ended walking into the wrong panel. While fun, I ended up leaving early to go to the correct one. However, those few minutes of people in there, I got quite a treat. On the panel stage, a man who sounded familiar was making humorous commentary and asking us where we were from. I need new glasses, as I couldn’t see his face clearly so I just assumed he was a con staff member. He asked us where each of were from and I raised my hand, saying I was from Sugar Land, Texas. He replied he was familiar with the location and has lived in the state at one point. Though needless to say he had a lot of fun with my answer. Throwing jokes at each other was a lot of fun!

My first thought was “whoa, this guy’s pretty cool. He’s lived into Texas too!” The whole time I stayed and even after I left, he continued making references to “Sugar Land” (which became my nickname). I later on found this out and I thought to myself “who IS this guy?” I was so sure I had walked into the right panel so I was curious which one I ended up going to. Some research through the guide later, and I found out I was talking to Todd Haberkorn himself. The next day I went to his meet-and-greet and we talked more. Throughout the con I kept running into him and now I suppose “Sugar Land” is one of my new nicknames, next to “Bree” and “Breezy”.

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“Sugar Land” holding a sweet treat

This year’s ALA was arguably the best for me in terms of content and execution. Yes, there was a bit of confusion with events and some miscommunication, but the overall con itself was still spectacular!

About The Author

Associate Author/Anime and Cosplay Extraordinaire

Brianna Barboza is a college student, currently majoring in Arts and Technology. Having played video games and watched anime at a young age, she works towards pursuing her passion. Her ultimate goal is to work in Japan as a creative director.

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