Concerns at Anime Expo 2022: cosplay, crowds and COVID

Anime Expo 2022 drew tens of thousands of attendees to the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday and, as has happened many times before, drew the attention of fire marshals working to keep the crowd safe.

“For the safety of all attendees, the LAFD requested the hosts to open a portion of the convention center to alleviate the crowds who congregated in the street,” LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said in a statement, according to KTLA.

With spillover events like Tune in Tokyo and Mari Iijima concerts in the Novo, the expo’s crowds led to its reputation as a superspreader event. Video showing the crowds gathered and packed halls inside the convention center (following Comic-Con’s lead?) from the Anime News Network made the rounds on social media, and despite the organization reinstating vaccine requirements, complaints about the expo’s overcrowding and racism continued, along with calls for greater accountability.

Attendees were, of course, undeterred. In-booth dance parties, video game trailers and demos, TV show reveals and activities centered on celebrating Japanese pop culture all went on inside the convention center as excited patrons bought clothing, toys, jewelry, movies, manga, original art, posters and knick-knacks from the hundreds of booths and artist displays.

Nothing, though, is as big and colorful and as much of a draw as cosplay. Often smart, relatable costumes are just as fulfilling as the elaborate constructions, huge foam weapons and engineering feats that roam the halls. Posing for photos or video is a must, and we’ve assembled a few of our favorites.

@garrzpika, aka #thepikachuguy, during day two of the Anime Expo 2022 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A gif of a person wearing a kimono and a wooden helmet and face mask with puffed-out cheeks

Sam Galloro as Hotaru Haganezuka from “Demon Slayer.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A gif of a cosplayer with two large bladed weapons.

Logan Bulnes (@loganspacecowboy) cosplaying as Tengen Uzui from “Demon Slayer.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A gif of a woman in an orange turtleneck holding up a magnifying glass.

Varsana (@varsenex) cosplaying as Velma from “Scooby-Doo.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

Four people cosplaying with white faces and red and black costumes.

Jennie Zuniga (@krispycake53_) as Husk, left, two unnamed attendees and Danielle Bradford (@countess_samhain) as Angel Dust from “Hazbin Hotel.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A woman with long straight dark hair holds a giant sword over her head.

Nicole Perkins (@nickynicole44) cosplaying as Akame from “Akame Ga Kill.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A gif of a sci-fi creature aiming a glowing weapon at the viewer.

Daniel (@foldingchair130) as a Shinra security officer from “Final Fantasy VII.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

Six men and women wearing baseball uniforms with the word "Jujutsu" written on the front.

Aya (@aya.party) as Maki Zen’in, left, Kumi (@sidewayscat) as Nobara Kugisaki, Ernesto (@ernest_falsegreatness) as Yuji Itadori, Will (@f_used) as Toge Inumaki, Jonathon (@isaiahjonathon) as Yuta Okkotsu and Donavan as Baseball Choso from “Jujutsu Kaisen.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A person in black, with a black face mask and visible skin dyed blue.

Alex Uceda (@alexp1xis) cosplaying as Muffet from “Undertale.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A gif of a woman holding a green weapon in one hand.

Stella (@im.stella.cn) as Hatsune Miku from “Vocaloid.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A woman in a white blouse and patterned skirt wears a black headdress.

At Anime Expo 2022, Bella Drawson (@whatthepeck_) models an original costume she made.

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

Two smiling girls, one with yellow hair and one with blue hair.

Jessie (@hywy227) as Kagamine Rin, left, and Stella (@im.Stella.cn) as Hatsune Miku from “Vocaloid.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A person wearing a blond wig, green goggles, a spotted tie, and a light jacket over a blue shirt.

Rashad Jamison (@otakuhooper) as Kento Nanami from “Jujutsu Kaisen.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A person wearing a blond wig and cat's ears holds a fake decapitated head also with blond hair.

Whitney Nguyen (@whit_san) cosplaying as Neferpitou from “Hunter x Hunter.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A cosplay blue monster with big bat ears and large pointy teeth.

Burlap (@burlapped) cosplaying as “Monstrosity Stitch.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A person in a blond horned wig reaches one hand out toward the viewer; the other holds a plush monster as if to throw it.

@all_the_way_cosplay cosplaying as Arataki Itto from “Genshin impact.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A gif of a person with longish heir weilding a bow.

Roberto Vergara (@kurztkoffin) cosplaying as “This is just something I bought today.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

A gif of a person in a Jujutsu baseball uniform, tossing a baseball.

Ernesto (@ernest_falsegreatness) as Yuji Itadori from “Jujutsu Kaisen.”

(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)