(photo/Itasha Alliance USA, @itashaalliance on Instagram)
By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting
Doors opened at 10 AM, and by then, the line had wrapped around past the length of the Ontario Convention Center. The line was filled with cosplayers and con-goers, new and old, each of whom were excited to see what the day would have in store.
(TAV photos/Peggy Sue Wood, Animanga 2021)
I was looking forward to finding a program as the convention website had promised a panel schedule “coming soon” leading up with no news even as the doors were opening.
Once inside, I picked up my badge and the complimentary Animanga event bag before asking around. This year–it’s all about the games! While tournaments went on through the day, the panels were limited to what was advertised on Instagram–a lot of meet and greets, gameplay, and nothing else in terms of panel programming. Not that I could complain–as this meant I could scope out the cosplays and shop at my leisure in the exhibitor hall and artist alley!
This, by the way, is the set up of the Exhibit Hall:
(graphic/ Animanga, source link)
One of the first things I did after my inquiries about panels was start shopping. I was able to find some of my favorites, including a Rimuru Tempest slime, mochi-plush keychain, a few Nyanko-Sensei plushies, and a Totodile! Of course, the vendors had a lot more to offer, like figurines, stickers, custom coffee cups, and masks. It was a delight to walk the halls and search out for the allusive Natsume Yuujinchou merchandise I crave, and I saw others on similar pursuits for their favorites.
(TAV photo/Peggy Sue Wood, Animanga 2021)
While in the vendor area, I met several awesome people. One stand that drew my attention was the Animé Los Angeles (ALA) group. They were there advertising the convention’s return next year, starting 6 January 2022 to 9 January 2022. Matthew Lewis from Promotions took some time to tell me about the event. It’s a small convention in the Southern California area that recently moved to the Long Beach Convention Center. You can check out more about it here: https://animelosangeles.org/.
One fun thing mentioned in our talk was the Ribbon Game, in which the convention staff and attendees create and share ribbons that can be attached to your badge. Each ribbon is unique to the event and panel, allowing people to collect different ribbons from other attendees and staff. The game includes getting as many ribbons as you can from different events, other goers, and so on. You can see a sample of one such ribbon below:
(TAV photo/Peggy Sue Wood, Animanga 2021 – Animé Los Angeles stand’s handouts)
After shopping around, it was time to see some cosplays! On day one, the most popular cosplays included My Hero Academia and Demon Slayer (no surprises there). Some of my favorites, though was the lone Yuuki from “Vampire Knight,” the infamous Zero from “Code Geass,” and Jaden from “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.”
Next I went to Artist Alley. There I got to meet some really talented artists and the coolest people. Two people I’d like to spotlight in today’s review are Autumn Dertadian (@akidereco) and Liz Widner (@lizwidnercreations)
They were very chill and offered both excellent conversations in addition to some unique and fun art. I personally fell in love with the shark purses offered by Dertadian despite it not being about to hold much more than a water bottle and Widner’s stand presented a fun mix of fandom works.
Tomorrow I’d like to spotlight some other favorites as I return to Artist Alley to pick up prints and, maybe, more stickers….
After that, I took a quick stop-off for lunch at about 12:30 before heading back to the Exhibitor Hall.
(TAV photo/Peggy Sue Wood, Animanga 2021)
When I returned to the Exhibit Hall, the place I went to was the Corn Maze that had been set up in the Cosplay area.
(TAV photo/Peggy Sue Wood, Animanga 2021 – Corn Maze)
It was a quick walk, especially once I figured out that the entrance and exit were the same. Finally, I checked out some games and made a few more purchases before heading home.
And that, my friends, concludes Day 1!
About the Event
Animanga 2021 is an annual 3-day anime, cosplay and gaming convention held at the awesome Ontario California Convention Center in Ontario, California.
Dates: 30 July 2021 – 1 August 2021
Link to our Day 1 Photoset: https://theanimeview.com/post/658211965833969664/tav-photopeggy-sue-wood-autumn-dertadian