California: Los Angeles (WonderCon 2016)

The otaku culture (anime and manga fandom) is alive and well, not only in Japan but also overseas.  There are countless pop culture conventions held annually all over the world including Australia, India, UAE, Romania, Russia, the UK  and Brazil.  The largest and oldest gathering is held in San Diego, California under the banner of the “San Diego Comic-Con.”

The San Diego Comic-Con is a multi-genre entertainment and comic convention that originated in 1970. The four-day event takes place during the summer showcasing primarily comic books and science fiction/fantasy related film, television and similar popular arts. In recent years, the convention has expanded to include a larger range of pop culture and entertainment elements across virtually all genres, including horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, web comics and fantasy novels. With the San Diego Convention Center as its venue, the event draws well over 130,000 attendees annually.

This year, Los Angeles, California played host to yet another comic book, science fiction and motion picture convention called “WonderCon.” WonderCon originated in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1987 until it was relocated to Anaheim, California in 2012.  It has been a part of the Comic-Con International family since 2001 drawing an increasing number of attendees each year.  In 2016, the event took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 25-27 attracting a crowd of over 60,000 attendees and generating an income of $32 million over the three-day period.

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In the past, Los Angeles has hosted such shows as Comikaze, which is now partnered with Stan Lee’s POW Entertainment and the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention, but those shows do not attract the same level of crowds nor talent as does a Comic-Con event.

WonderCon kicked off on Friday at 12:00 PM featuring various game demos, exhibitors, dealer tables, tournaments, artists, author signings and star autograph booths where attendees had an opportunity to meet the likes of Lou Ferrigno, a former bodybuilder turned actor who stared in the Incredible Hulk and Richard Hatch known for his role as Captain Apollo on Battlestar Galactica. There were gatherings of various fan groups, panels and programs featuring various anime series and a children’s film festival.  The event concluded on Sunday at 5:00 PM.

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Almost as entertaining as the various people involved in the WonderCon industry were the various cos-players dressed in some of the most elaborate costumes you can find. These people are serious about anime and put a great deal of effort into selecting and creating their costumes.

If you missed WonderCon in Los Angeles, do not worry.  The event is returning to the Anaheim Convention Center on March 31-April 2 of 2017 and will certainly be bigger and better than in previous years!

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Web Page:         http://www.comic-con.org/wca

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