Friday, July 7, 2023

Anime Expo 2023: Entertainment Hall & Ichiban Market

 By Jonathan Bilski

Truly Anime Expo seems like it's gotten bigger this year as Entertainment Hall is now running out of space. Filled with cosplay backgrounds, booths for streaming sites and game companies, the front of that hall has changed from a community atmosphere to more of an extended main hall.

You see, you have many booths that might have been on the main exhibit hall take over some major space. In no way is it a problem, it just makes everything a little more spread out. 

It does shove more of the community stuff to the back. I soon think gaming in the form of card battles or console PC battles we'll have to find hotel space nearby. They're running out of rooms at the convention center to hold everything. 

Having a giant summon from Final Fantasy doesn't hurt anyone though. So, I can't wait to see how much can fill up this Hall.

Disgaea from NIS America has moved over from the main hall to here, it's nice to be able to try out demos from them and those who wandered the booth could play a stamp rally earning a huge charm from Disgaea 7. Always fun to see them and think about celebrating Red Moon Day at AX, a special event where you grab the red moon shirt and head to a specific location (usually their panel) earning a pin for your trouble.
Bandai Namco had a strong presence by showing off the beloved Taiko Drum Master or you might know by the lame name (Taiko no Tatsujin)  Word is there's supposed to be a English localized machine coming out for arcades like Dave & Buster's, here's hoping. They are also behind Gashapon, the machines where you can get special little toys from your favorite anime.

Bandai Namco also had booths for Demon Slayers and Ghibli as the hold the licenses for North American distribution. And, the below Mega Cat Diner, which turns multiple anime characters into cats.

Oh, and a ton of Kirby merch too. It was a bit overwhelming, how much they have there and that's only the entertainment hall

It's hard not to get lost in the many different booths like Hulu and what not sharing their anime shows or anime related merch.

And, there was a huge section of PC gaming with a number of other booths that would keep you entertained for hours. The place lives up to its name.

The Ichiban Market not so much, living up to it's name. It was overpriced, but in my attempt to leave AX and grab food outside I think I paid even more for less.

Past the food trucks there was a place with a lot of  shorter lines selling Japanese cuisine. It was the new Ichiban Market. Was it all overpriced. Oh...oh, yeah, but it had a nice atmosphere. Frankly, if they got more booths and more seating with shade I think it would really help alleviate people sitting on the floor inside.

The convention center and the people behind AX have had this problems for years and just don't want to deal with the added cost of renting chairs or tables. It's nice to give people some human dignity and have place for them to sit.

If you want me to go over the food, too bad, everything looked fine, I just didn't want to grab anything there. I'll probably do it next year unless I really just Uber to a nice restaurant somewhere else. 

As I have written continually, LA Live sucks for food.

I'll simply say this, went to Little Tokyo and grabbed much cheaper eats from their Japanese supermarkets and restaurants after going here later that day. But if you're stuck at the convention center it's not a bad option compared to the cafeteria and other overpriced food.