Anime Expo kicked off this year’s convention with something a little different: an evening of official pre-show events. Ticketed at $20 for the evening, the pre-show had a number of different options to keep the early arrivals entertained until the show properly started: there were a couple of Funimation panels on what to expect from Funimation this weekend, an event at which your very own Mithrandiel won himself a fancy Golden Funimation Coin. What I can do with it, I’m still not entirely certain.
Folllowing the “Yo dawg I heard you like panels so we got a panel on our upcoming panels” event, Funimation hosted the 15th anniversary celebration of Full Metal Panic! I’m going to assume it was awesome – as I found myself distracted and wandering to another event entirely (more on that later), There was also an Anisong World Matsuri festival featuring talented vocal groups Aqours, The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, Wake Up, Girls! & Walküre. The lines to get in were already forming in the early afternoon as I was sitting down to enjoy some lunch – a popular event indeed!
There was also a fair share of nightlife to enjoy at the pre-show: a 16+ dance starting at 6 PM, changing to an 18+ dance at 10 PM. Probably the most dynamic and engaging entertainment of the evening, however, took place in the fabled “Lounge 21” – an adults-only venue that serves up fresh drinks, offers plenty of comfortable lounge furniture, and showcases a wide variety of talent; from magic shows and dancers to stand up comedians and, of course, talented DJ’s.
The official Anime Expo kick-off party was hosted by Bernie Bregman, owner of the production and marketing company known as “Nerds Like Us”. He specializes in hosting parties and events targeting a specific demographic: nerds. From the Anime Expo kick-off event to Stan Lee’s upcoming birthday party in Los Angeles, Bernie (also known as “The Geek Gatsby”) deftly hosted the night’s events, welcoming hesitant dancers to the floor, sharing all of the exciting content that Lounge 21 had in store, and plugging some upcoming events that were sure to pique the interest of the Lounge’s nerdy patrons. I hope to snag Bernie for an interview at some point in the not too distant future to learn more about his business!
After spending a considerable part of the evening dancing the night away and snapping a few photos, I turned in for the night. I’m excited to begin the convention properly tomorrow. Full day ahead, but it will be a blast!