According to Anime Expo's Press Contact, Calvin Fleming, the expectation at this year's show, held July 2nd-July 5th in Anaheim, California, was to at least match the steady 15% annual increase in attendance the show has been averaging.
Last year's attendance was in the 17,000 range, with an educated guess by Fleming, as this year's show was starting, that this year would at least hit 20,000, and possibly get into the 22-25,000 total for the four days.
ICv2 attended the show and conversations with exhibitors indicated that this year's consumer turnout seemed lower than last year, with a greater number of booths offering goods. But at the same time, sales were reported to be 'really good,' indicating higher dollar sales per customer, leaving retailers and publishers happy with the results.
The exhibit room was spacious, with some pathways congested at times. The noise level, when publishers were running contests, made talking at normal levels difficult. Viz, for example, had an Ultimate Muscle game, similar to those at county fairs, as well as a Manga Money booth, where winds whipped 'Viz money' around and the person inside had a limited amount of time to grab as much as possible to use at the Viz booth.
As in past years (see 'Anime Cons Continue to Grow'), cos-play was a highlight of the show, with a wide range of characters to be seen, including one woman dressed up as a male, complete with moustache, and one exceedingly hairy man in costume, complete with thong.
Lines for signings were very long, as fans waited to spend a few moments with creators.
Although some publishers/manufacturers held major announcements for the upcoming San Diego ComiCon in two weeks, plenty of new licenses were announced at Anime Expo. ICv2 coverage in other articles today and in the coming days.