When living in the United States, you’ll find no shortage of conventions — whether it’s for anime or all types of geek culture. Los Angeles Comic-Con, or LA Comic-Con for short, was one of those events, celebrating comics, gaming, sci-fi, and pop culture. Once known as Comikaze Expo, LA Comic-Con is organized and run by an LA-based organization called Comikaze Entertainment. While not as big as other, more popular events, LA Comic-Con still attracted an incredible number of people. At least 122,300+ people attended this three-day event on what was the most immersive and engaging convention in their 12-year history. This was the second year LA Comic-Con had a section specifically for anime and games. Although smaller than the other section filled with Western comics and movies, it was a fun section to visit, even if convention-goers could only make it for one day. We at Anime Corner had the opportunity to attend as press and take part in geek culture of all kinds.
LA Comic-Con 2023
The event took place between December 1-3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center where other conventions and events (such as Anime Expo) also take place. Many artists, exhibitors, streamers, and special guests from all parts of pop culture attended this event including actors/actresses from movies and TV shows, directors, producers, and even famous voice actors/actresses. The event took over the two buildings of the convention center and was separated into two sections, or halls: one for Western comics, movies, TV series, etc., and another for anime and games. In between these two halls was a place where fans could take photos with their favorite actors and actresses. Although we attended both halls, we will focus on the anime and gaming aspects of the convention.
The Anime and Games In West Hall
Inside the two halls, there were mixtures of vendors, exhibitors, and artists, each showcasing a variety of products and specialties. In the anime and gaming side, there was a section to meet your favorite English voice actors and actresses and obtain their signatures. There were many exhibitors in the anime and game halls that showcased mostly items from those popular anime and games.
We even found a booth from the Gundam Base Store. As a part of their U.S. Tour, the Gundam Base Store attended LA Comic-Con to showcase Gundam models and kits. Fans could purchase their favorite Gundam models or even create their own customizable Gundam to take home with them. This was a very popular exhibit in the anime and game section as their line was long and filled with fans waiting for their turn.
West Hall also featured 3 main zones: the Gaming Stage, the Stream Studio, and the Gaming Freeplay Zone. In the Freeplay Zone, fans could hang out and play new and old games with their family and friends such as Apex Legends and Team Fortress 2. The Gaming Stage was set up for streamers who were attending LA Comic-Con. Fans around the world were able to watch their favorite streamers live and in person. The Gaming Stage was right next to the stage where all the panels took place, but there weren’t any problems between the two stages regarding their audiences. From what we could catch, most of the people were there to watch the panels, so there wasn’t a big crowd for streamers.
Unlike other events or conventions like Anime Expo where the main panels/events get their own, individual rooms, the main panels/events in LA Comic-Con took place in the same area as the anime and games. There was a stage with a small section of seating, but it was an open stage so people were allowed to stand while they watched the panels. There were many different panels related to anime and games such as a panel for Street Fighter 6‘s music, a voice actor/actress spotlight panel, and an Attack on Titan panel.
We were able to catch the Attack on Titan panel that featured Bryce Papenbrook and Trina Nishimura, the English voice actors for Eren and Mikasa respectively. The two voice actors talked about their experience working on Attack on Titan over the years and voicing their iconic characters. It was interesting to hear the voice actors’ thoughts about the series and their feelings knowing that the series had ended.
New Games, Indie Games, and Slapping Game Galore
Additionally, there was an area that showcased a good handful of games. We weren’t able to try out all of them, but we were able to try one that was both funny and interesting called Rose & Camellia. Rose & Camellia is a Japanese game for the Nintendo Switch that takes place in what looks like a medieval European setting. Within the game, you slap your way to high society, literally. We only played the demo a little bit, but from what we saw the game follows a visual novel format while the actual gameplay was slapping your opponents by using a controller to mimic the actual slapping motion. Players not only slap their opponents but also have to avoid getting slapped themselves. It was a very interesting and funny concept when we first saw the game. This might even be the first game we heard of that is only a slapping game.
There was also an organization that came straight from Japan to the convention. The Tokyo Indie Game Summit came to LA Comic-Con to promote their indie games that were released or will be released in English worldwide, such as the Love Live! Sunshine game Yohane the Parhelion: Blaze in the Deep Blue (based on the official anime spin-off of the same name) and rock band L’Arc-en-Ciel’s new mobile game. We got the opportunity to play a couple of those games, including L’Arc Ciel’s, called Hyde Run.
The concept of the game is similar to games such as Temple Run. The game has a cute chibi figure of Hyde, L’Arc Ciel’s vocalist, and players help Hyde run across the map to collect points. You guide Hyde by swiping your phone or tablet left or right, sliding down holes by swiping down, or even jumping on obstacles by swiping up. You use the points you collected to decorate your room for chibi Hyde.
A Pretty Good Convention With Potential
Overall, we enjoyed our time in LA Comic-Con. The convention mostly focuses on the Western side of geek culture since that was where their roots were. So, the panels, exhibitors, special guests, and such on the Western side of geek culture were larger compared to the anime and game sides. They just included the anime and game hall two years ago, so there isn’t as much to do or see if you are solely there for anime and games. It’s best to attend the event for one day if you are there solely for anime and games. However, from what we could see, there is potential for the anime and games section to grow at the same size as its Western counterpart. We can’t wait to see that growth in the future!