Metro buses wrapped in anime art will signal the arrival of Anime Expo 2018 (AX 2018), one of America’s largest celebrations of Japanese pop culture, presented July 5 through 8 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St.
More than 100,000 anime enthusiasts, cosplayers, industry leaders and creators are expected to attend.
For the second consecutive year, Metro is helping to support local businesses by bringing AX 2018 attendees to and from Little Tokyo through a free shuttle service running every 30 minutes between 12 and 8 p.m. during the four-day event. Pick-up/drop-off points will be Miyako Hotel, 328 E. First St., and across from the Little Tokyo Galleria on the north side of Third Street just west of Alameda. (Look for the “Free Shuttle” sign.)
Discounts and other specials are offered to those who show their Anime Expo badge. The shuttle program is a collaboration between Metro, Little Tokyo Business Association, and the Little Tokyo Community Council/Community Arts Resources “Go Little Tokyo” project.
The Metro buses and shuttle stop signage feature the work of Bisuko Ezaki, the illustrator/manga writer behind a new genre of kawaii known as Yami-Kawaii or Menhera. Since introducing Menhera-chan in 2014, the character has developed a large fan base among high school girls who are Harajuku fans and is gradually gaining worldwide recognition.
Ezaki will participate in autograph sessions and make a special appearance during the AX 2018 Fashion Show. His participation was made possible by Anime Jungle, which was established by Tetsu Shiota as a single store in 2001 and since then has expanded into a multi-store complex in the Little Tokyo Mall.
AX 2018, which will also take place at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, 900 W. Olympic Blvd., will include the Maid Café, Butler Café, Late Comedy Showdown, AMV Competition, Community Stage, After Hours, World Cosplay Summit USA, concerts and contests.