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Anime Expo

What's your fantasy?

Posted: June 10, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Updated: June 10, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Anime Expo comes to town July 1 - 4.

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Anime Expo, a celebration of all forms of anime and manga, is North America's largest anime and manga convention.

Held annually in downtown Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Anime Expo gives fans the rare opportunity to meet and hear from some of the most famous anime, manga and musical artists from Japan and participate in costume play, karaoke and video competitions.

In addition, Anime Expo features exclusive screenings, nonstop video gaming competitions and the popular Masquerade, where attendees transform themselves into their favorite characters.

This year's event will be held July 1 - 4.

Unlike the sold-out Comic Con in San Diego, tickets are still available to Anime Expo.

Among the highlights at this year's convention will be the U.S. debut concert of Maon Kurosaki, the latest singing and dancing pop star to break out from Tokyo's Akihabara scene. She will be performing live on Sunday, July 3 at Club Nokia. In addition, Kurosaki will be a guest of honor participating in a meet-and-greet, autograph signing and focus panel at Anime Expo.

Kurosaki joins the roster of Anime Expo 2011 guests of honor that include Japanese pop trio Kalafina, Japanese TV Host and blogger Danny Choo, voice actress and singer Miyuki Sawashiro, voice actor Vic Mignogna, stars of the Power Rangers series and movies, video game developer Sohei Niikawa and Crypton Future Media CEO Hiroyuki Itoh and Producer Wataru Sasaki.

In addition, Hatsune Miku will be Anime Expo's first ever virtual guest of honor. Themed the "Year of the Fan," Anime Expo 2011 will immerse guests in the world of Japanese animation, manga (comic books), music and fashion.

Another highlight of this year's Anime Expo will be the world premiere of "LASTEXILE-Fam, The Silver Wing," the new chapter in the hit anime series.

Cosplay (costume play for the uninitiated) is a huge part of Anime Expo, where nearly everyone dresses up in elaborate costumes, with equally elaborate weapons and accessories.

Cosplayers who participate in Masquerade will be eligible for a share of $25,000 in cash and prizes offered at this year's convention.

One of the highest-attended events held at Anime Expo is the Anime Music Video competition.

This year, contestants will compete for a $2,500 Best of Show prize and $1,500 individual category prizes by editing scenes of animation from Japanese television, movies, OVAs and video games to the music selection of their choice. The creations are screened to an audience of more than 4,500 fans who vote for their favorites.

New this year will be the Laser Light Spectacular show, which will begin at 8:30 p.m. on July 1, 2 and 3 at the Nokia Plaza L.A. Live.

Attendees will witness a show that includes pulsating music, dance routines, fun Anime Expo video and an interactive laser light show. The laser show features traditional laser sequences and anime-style laser graphics.

Fans will also have the chance to get in on the action by rocking out with their own colored light sticks. Before the show begins, the Laser Light Spectacular host and dancers will teach the crowd a simple choreographed dance that will allow fans to take part in the show.

Four-day adult ticket packages to Anime Expo are $70 through June 14. Prices rise to $75 on June 15. Two-day packages are $60 now, rising to $65 on June 15. One day passes are $50.

To register or for more information, visit www.anime-expo.org.

Cassie Buttelman is on assignment as Escape's official reporter for Anime Expo and Comic-Con. She heads the Manga Club at Barnes and Noble held 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month in the community room at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. (661) 254-6604.

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