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First Impressions AX 2008
Writen by LadyPSerenity
Posted on July 08, 2008 at 06:41:27 pm

Anime Expo 2008 began on Thursday July 3rd and ended Sunday July 6th a slight change from previous years where the last day was a Monday rather than Sunday. This year the convention was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) and on day one I took the opportunity to talk to some of the congoers on their first impressions of the convention.

In previous years (the past three) the convention had been held at three different cities. Once in Anaheim, once in Long Beach and this year in Los Angeles. (Sooner or later if we keep going north we'll be having the con in Oregon. This was the first year in which the con had to provide a shuttle service to and from the convention centre to most of the outlying hotels, of course some congoers still walked from their hotels during the day or early evening.

The general overall feelings were mixed at first, many found the shuttle service to be an inconvenience and wished that they could have walked claiming it would have been easier and less damaging to their cosplay costumes, and others found them a pleasant break from the consistent walk everywhere or rent a car.

"It seems as though there are less people than last year." One con goer mentioned. Though Anime Expo does report record numbers on their website, the con did seem less in numbers, but the convention center was larger than the previous center and so the feeling wasn't as condensed.

An eager Sakura smiled as she told me, "I like how it's not a maze to get everywhere you want to be. And you're not sweating outside as you walk outside and around the center just to get to another part of the convention." 

I had to agree with this, thankfully the walk between venues was indoors and well air conditioned. Though I did find it to be a bit of a maze at first it didn't take long to adjust and become familiar with the way to get around.

One of the key things that was noted this year was the artist Alley. Sponsored this year by DeviantArt the artist alley actually took residence in a room beside the dealer hall rather than a crowded hallway. In the years before I myself had never really spent much time in Artist Alley it was always out of the way or too crowded with people shoving others out of the way that I found it was simply easier to keep on walking through. This year however I managed to slide in and take a look around and talk to a few more of the congoers. There was an overwhelming response from people whom enjoyed being able to find their favourite webcomic artist or deviant artist in this fashion.

The opening of the dealer hall on day one was rather interesting as the line spanned just over a city block everyone eagerly awaiting entry to the anime goodies they wanted to buy.

As per usual there were many of big names in Anime, all attempting to draw people in quickly, attracting them to their merchandise and free giveaways.

A neat twist by Blizzard was their subtle advertisement of their World of Warcraft Game. Two people walked around the convention with giant exclamation points held up by a clear rod from their backpack. For those whom don't play the game, the giant yellow exclamation point means that the person has a quest you can get. And sure enough these two had quests. The quests themed around the con were to be completed and then turned in for Candy and experience. Xyplex and I managed to complete one of our questions of chasing a Shinigami from the con and received our reward and our next quest, which sadly didn't get completed.

It was a neat experience and judging by the crowds of people often found around the quest givers it was enjoyed by many of the congoers.

Also a rather interesting feature of this years convention was the scavenger hunt. It was a great way to get congoers to get to know other congoers. They were rushing around trying to find various items on their list take a picture of them and then return in order to receive a prize when their list was complete. There were a lot of smiles to be had as people walked up to complete strangers and asked if they could take a picture of their weapon, hat or even car keys.

First day impressions were overall positive and by the end of the con they seemed on the same path.

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