Anime Impulse LA 2023 Review: The Rain Can’t Keep it Down

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ve probably seen me mention Anime Impulse at least once and with nothing but the utmost praise. That’s because I consider this to be my absolute favorite event so I was overjoyed to be able to go to it once again. Now last time I went it was part of a three-event experience my wife and I did for our honeymoon and it also featured the largest collection of Fire Emblem actors I’ve ever seen. With this in mind I was very interested in seeing what my experiences would be without those two conditions and to answer the question of whether this event can maintain the status of my favorite in spite of that.

First things first, I’ll talk about the guest list. Wow, what an impressive list of over 30 voice actors spanning all kinds of franchises, but what I love most about the roster is that it included a lot of people that I have either never seen attend another event or have never seen at an event anywhere near me. So this really gave me an opportunity to meet people that frankly, I wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise. That’s actually one of the things that I like a lot about this convention because it has truly been an incredible help to the autograph collections I have worked hard to make. Frankly, you’d be hard-pressed to take a fan of anime or video games and not find someone at this convention they would be excited to meet. You have the voices of popular characters from My Hero Academia, Bleach, Genshin Impact, and Demon Slayer it really is impressive. Anime Impulse also featured a huge lineup of Vtuber guests but where that’s not my area of expertise I can only say so much about them. With how happy the fans were it looked like this was an incredible experience for those who are avid fans. Now the lines to meet these actors there were some pros and cons to that. The pros were that where most of the guests signed almost the entire event there were a lot of people that were really easy to line up and meet; however, a handful of actors who only signed either one day or less of the event had lines that stayed long for awhile and where the venue had a very limited amount of room these lines really bogged up the walkways and made for some confusion. I often didn’t know where I was supposed to go but thankfully staff was really diligent in helping with that and easy to find so I felt like the convention did a lot to really overcome this struggle. Thanks to their help I and a friend of mine were able to meet a ton of people over the course of the weekend.

Now the line issues, I believe, were caused by two factors that cannot be attributed to the convention in any way. The first is the increasing popularity of Funko scalpers who will have as many as five to 10 times the number of items to sign as the average fan because they plan to resell all of them. One of my longest waits was actually near the front of a short line that had one of these individuals and I just stood and waited for all the items to be signed. I believe in having item limits because the same amount of time for other fans would have really caused a line to move significantly. The second issue was the rain. Anime Impulse is part of an event called the Asian American Expo and a lot of the event is held outside so naturally the entire collaboration of events is dependent on outdoor space which could not be used that well because it was pouring rain outside. I mean roofs leaking, standing water in outdoor walkways it was a lot of rain. Obviously, who could predict rain in California this was just some bad luck but the convention staff really worked hard to adjust to that as much as possible given the very extreme circumstances. So while it was frustrating there also wasn’t really anything more they could have done because on a typical day, more fans and even parts of the long lines could have been outside like what I saw in 2020 and that would have prevented a lot of the issues.

The convention also had a lot of vendors, even more than the last time I went. I wound up buying some new Fire Emblem prints and a Dimitri stand for my office and they look amazing. I got to see a lot of artists that I either rarely or have never seen so I really appreciated being able to look around at all the stuff I wasn’t familiar with. I love how the event has grown from one building in the LA County Fair to three and it really needed it as they had a wide variety of stuff to look at. It was one of the few times I found enough stuff that interested me that I had to pick and choose which items to buy in order to save money. For example, I found a beautiful Snorlax statue that I really wanted to get but I already spent that money on art and autographs. The convention merch was also great and I made sure to pick up a couple of the new convention pins. One thing I really like is how the event has its own themed meals and drinks. I got an Anime Impulse bento box from Okamoto Kitchen and it was delicious. I didn’t try any of their drinks themed after the Vtubers but they looked really good, I was too full on punch from Okamoto Kitchen. The space was well used and while sometimes it was cramped it was never bad enough that I just couldn’t shop. They also added a very large maid cafe and an arcade this time and it featured a lot of incredibly fun games to play. I was honestly more focused on other things at the convention but it was cool to see Anime Impulse add more things you could do during the day.

As for the panels, like most events, this was the lowest priority for me but I still managed to attend the live music they had on the main stage and their Genshin Impact panel. The music was good and the lack of seats made some open space which was great for dancing but it was a bit counterproductive for panels as you just feel more inclined to sit down during interview panels. Plus parts of the floor were wet due to the rain so sitting down anyways wasn’t a comfortable option. Plus I honestly couldn’t get a good picture due to how the crowd swarmed the front and blocked my view so overall great but if your legs are sore panels don’t help and mine were by the time I decided to attend them from all the standing in line and walking.

This convention also had a far greater number of food vendors than most conventions due to the Asian American Expo so knowing this ahead of time I made sure to budget to try a variety of new foods and wow was it fun to try new things. I even tried some deserts and I’m not really a desert kind of person. Plus you really get your money’s worth of food it’s one of the few times I will encourage my readers to get food at the convention because normally at these events the price to portion ration is atrocious and even the high price of delivery is better but here $20 can buy a meal that would satisfy two people easily with something that you probably can’t get at home, at least that was the case for me.

So overall Anime Impulse offered one of the most impressive rosters of voice actors I’ve ever seen, vendors that featured a beautiful array of merchandise, and a lot of activities to do on the side. However, the weather really made for one huge obstacle due to this convention’s dependence on outdoor space. This led to incredibly cramped spaces, water everywhere, and ultimately made things harder for everyone. I will commend the convention staff for doing what they could to manage the crowd as best as they could and ultimately I think they created the best-case scenario out of the situation. So to answer the question is this convention still my favorite. The answer is an absolute yes. Anime Impulse is now happening four times a year which is baffling to think of all the work involved with that but while I want to do one of the other three events I really don’t know if I can yet but I am going to try.

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