By Skylar Smith
Daily Titan Staff Writer
Thousands of cosplayers (short for costume role-play), lolitas, otaku and fans of Asian culture in general took over the LAX Hilton Nov. 6 â€“ 8 for Pacific Media Expo, â€œAmericaâ€™s first major trade show dedicated to Asian-Pacific popular culture and entertainment media.â€ Attendees along with several guests of honor showed off the amazing culture they fell in love with, and surprised hotel guests who did not know about the convention.
Lolita fashion, which is inspired by the Victorian eraâ€™s style of clothing in Britain, allows women, young and old alike, to dress up like princesses in public; and for sweet lolitas that usually means all pink.
A booth in the dealer hall was full of sweet lolita-specificÂ accessories and clothes run by the owner of a lolita shop in Los Angeles. As usual, there was a booth with a massive DVD collection where buyers could find any anime series or bit of Asian cinema they were looking for. Even convention regular Jones Bones was there, selling his massive collection of swords and weapons from popular animes, manga and movies. PMX even hosted a Filipino martial arts sparring tournament that drew quite a crowd and sold sparring equipment and traditional Filipino weapons.
Part of the fun in attending these conventions is seeing all the amazing cosplay, which covered several aspects of video game and anime culture, wowing many of the hotel guests. Some familiar cosplay at the convention were characters from the popular fighting games â€œStreet Fighterâ€ and â€œGuilty Gear,â€ characters from anime series such as â€œNaruto,â€ â€œBleachâ€ and â€œGurren Lagann,â€ and even a few characters from comic books such as Joker, Two-Face and Scarecrow.
Lolita fashion was also a big hit at this yearâ€™s PMX as chief designers of Angelic Pretty, a popular sweet lolita designer brand, Maki and Asuka, were guests of honor at the expo. They held several panels to discuss their designs and even joined in on the lolita tea party to give away gift bags.
â€œI like the way it looks,â€ said David Klinebeil, a tea party attendee. â€œI can dress like I walked out from 200 years ago but with the flair of today.â€
The second floor of the hotel held a lot of the video rooms, panel rooms, the arcade, karaoke room and the ever-popular artist alley. The artist alley at PMX was small compared to Anime Expo, but it was full of great artists trying to get their work out to other fans like them.
Tiffany Ho was one of the many artists selling her work, including dozens of pins, prints and bookmarks.
â€œThis is a very small con, but Iâ€™ve been doing a lot better than I thought I would at this con,â€ Ho said. â€œI like the fact that you can come in and set up whenever you want, and you make your own hours.â€
The thing that most attendees agreed on was PMXâ€™s laid back and incredibly friendly atmosphere. â€œItâ€™s really chill and you talk to a lot of people, so itâ€™s really cool in that aspect,â€ Ho said.
â€œ(Anime Expo), hands down, awesome and the best, but itâ€™s nice to come to the little cons because we have more time to hang out â€¦ itâ€™s been fun here,â€ said Jessica Nichols, who came to the convention dressed as Cammy from â€œStreet Fighter.â€
The most interesting part about the convention, however, was the intimacy of the panels. Because the convention was so small, it was a great chance for fans to meet, chat with and take several photos of their favorite big-name stars in anime, manga, Korean and Japanese music scene and the lolita fashion industry.
The guests of honor included Shinichi â€œNabeshinâ€ Watanabe, famous maverick anime director, voice actor and producer, who was dressed up as his own creation â€œNabeshinâ€ that appears in several of his animes; Aoi Kidokoro a popular manga artist and idol singer; the creator of the Hangry & Angry merchandise and comics Gashikon; the incredibly eccentric and hyper music group NOIZ, and many more.
If you are into anything remotely related to Japanese, Korean or any other Asian culture, do not hesitate to spend at least one day at PMX. Although it does not have the grandeur and impact of Anime Expo or Comic-Con, it is certainly a great place for fans of anime, lolita and just about any aspect of Asian culture to hang out for a weekend and have fun. You will see me there next year for sure, possibly in a cosplay of my own favorite anime character, and I recommend you come and join.