>Anime Expo – My version of heaven

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The Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center is the place for anime lovers to find every anime-related item they’ll ever need.

If anyone has at least enjoyed Pokemon or any anime show at all, then they are bound to love the Anime Expo. The show has all the Japanese animation-related gear that anyone will ever want. If you always wanted a hat, a messenger bag or an import anime soundtrack CD, Anime Expo has it. I bought plenty of hot anime-related gear, such as a “Soul Eater” wallet and T-shirt.

The $35 entrance fee this year was a tad pricey, but it was well worth it. I found great deals on manga and anime DVDs. The best values involved grab bags, where collectors grab manga to throw into a small paper bag for a low price.

Some exhibit hall vendors also sell the rare anime-related products. People will find yaoi (male gay) and yuri (female gay) anime and manga. Cosplayers will find everything from swords to wigs.

Even dating game fans will find booths that sell the infamous dating simulation games in Japan. Although I’ve usually steered away from these games because of some of their naughty, titillating content, it is a fascinating genre. There’s no other game that lets you engage in a deep romantic conversation with an anime character.

If anime fanatics run out of money, then they can spend their time watching the educational panels, or watching anime in the six or seven screening rooms around the convention center. The center even premieres popular anime shows and series. My favorite this year was the screening of the first episodes of Black Lagoon, season three. The show had all the action I ever wanted, with snappy dialogue, gun-toting maids and lots of explosions.

The Anime Expo is also one of the best places for anime geeks to catch up with all the shows they missed in the last five or six years. I caught the first few episodes of “Murder Princess” and “Fate/Stay Night.” My favorite new series is “Rental Magica,” a fast-paced action series involving teenagers who are saving other people from spiritual evil.

I still haven’t seen everything that I could possibly see at this anime convention. I wasn’t able to catch workshops or the anime studio panels this year. However, next year I will definitely try to catch more of the events at the Anime Expo.

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