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Sunday, July 1, 2012
Anime Expo, X Games coexist downtown

By Lynn Hoppes

Anime
One of the biggest draws of the Anime Expo is characters from the major Japanese films.
LOS ANGELES -- Superfans Jose Diaz and Laura Vasquez love summers in the city as they always spend a few days at the largest anime convention in North America and the largest action sports event in the world.

What if those two events were on the same weekend?

That's exactly what happened this year as ESPN moved the Summer X Games from its normal slot at the end of July to the end of June to accommodate athletes and fans who are Olympics-bound in London.

So, this weekend, it was 100,000 people watching skateboarders, BMXers and Rallycross drivers at the 18th annual X Games, and right next door at the Los Angeles Convention Center, it was another 100,000 people dressing up as their favorite anime characters, listening to famous voice-over TV actors and buying the latest Japanese comic at the 21st annual Anime Expo 2012.

The crowds aren't so different, Diaz said. “I see a lot of people walking between the two conventions and they are enjoying their days. Our plan is to go to both.”

Anime
Thousands of anime fans love to dress up and have their photos taken at the convention.
Girlfriend Vasquez said: “How am I going to divide my time between these two passions? We're just coming from the anime convention and now I need to get my mind focused on the X Games!”

Anime isn't just about Japanese animation. The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, which first launched Anime Expo in 1991, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to popularize and educate the American public on Japanese animation and comics.

“People love to come to this convention because of the great storytelling in anime,” boardmember Cecilia Amo said. “People fall in love with the stories and characters and our fandom is from all over the place. It's not just Asians who are interested in anime."

And the thousands of attendees love dressing up. In fact, more than half -- so you’re talking about 50,000 people -- are dressing up as their favorite character from giant robots to magical girls to even characters from My Little Pony.

Diaz and his girlfriend will be heading back to the anime convention shortly after taking in a little skateboarding at X.

Diaz was carrying a blowup gun and sporting black shorts and a black shirt with a skeleton design on the front.

Is that from a movie or a comic book?

“No, this is just how I dress.”

Anime
Being outrageous is norm for the thousands of fans at the Anime Expo 2012.