Day 1 of Anime Expo 2017 in LA saw the event's official opening and a workshop featuring some special anime-themed kimono.
While Day 0 of Anime Expo 2017 was relatively lax and easy to get around, I was caught off guard on Day 1 when I saw throng of cosplayers wearing their intricate costumes, gathered and waiting in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center. The excitement was palpable and it was a struggle to work my way through the crowd and present my press badge. First up for Maya (friend and colleague) and I was to get a photograph of Lemon and Sugar, mascots for Lemona Design’s sour lemonade candy, posing as Anime Expo 2017 was preparing to open for the public.
Backed by the sounds of taiko drums, Mark Manansala, CEO of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), along with Akira Himekawa, manga creator of The Legend of Zelda, and Lemon and Sugar cut the ribbon, thus officially opening Anime Expo 2017 and setting off a stampede of cosplayers and otaku who marched their way up the stairs and into the expo’s exhibit hall.
Day 1 of Anime Expo 2017 saw many amazing cosplayers each of whose cosplays revealed how much effort had been invested to capture the spirit of their characters.
Shortly after the official opening, Maya and I went around the expo to explore and find things to pique the interest. We entered the Entertainment Hall where the Blizzard panel showcased several figurines available for purchase.
The same area was host to a gaming section where visitors to the expo were free to play video games, as well as take in different types of automobiles emblazoned with iconic characters from such anime favorites as Dragonball.
To conclude the day, I attended a special workshop at Anime Expo - “How to Wear a Traditional Japanese Outfit: Kimono and Hakama”. To my amazement, there was a long line from the entrance to Room 403B that reached around the other side of the room. Such is the privilege of being with the press though I was able to skip the line and had the advantage of getting a seat at the front. It was a wonderful workshop. While everyone knows what a kimono and hakama might look like, how these things are prepared and set-up is a completely different matter, loaded with so many complexities and nuances. Demonstrations were courtesy of Ritsuko Sawai, Kimono Coordinator and Japanese Pattern Meister (left, below).
The hakama setup was just as complex and nuanced as that of the kimono.
Wardrobe for the workshop was provided by Kimono Factory Assistar, coming out of Hiroshima, Japan, whose goal is to take kimono culture into the next generation while maintaining a focus on Japanese style production. Styling and fashion instruction was featured by Hiroshima Kimono Asobi, another Hiroshima-based company delivering Japanese cultural experiences through kimono.
The end of the workshop saw the introduction of two special kimono the first of which was the "Evangelion Kimono" which came replete with the characters from the anime.
This kimono design is only available in a limited quantity with differing interpretations of the Evangelion Kimono on display at Booth 3700 in the expo’s South Hall.
Next up, the "Manga Kimono” featuring a design based on the works of Shinji Hiramatsu, whose major credits include “Black Angels” and “Ricky Typhoon.” The Manga Kimono was designed by AiP (Anything is Possible), a team that aims to add more freedom and fun to the traditional kimono.
For more images from Day 1 of Anime Expo 2017 head over to Kawaii Kakkoi Sugoi