Otaku USA Magazine
Here’s What We’re Looking Forward to When Anime Conventions Return

Anime conventions are coming back... ish? Here's what we're happy to see again.

Over the last year and a bit, anime conventions have gone online to abide by lockdown rules. While some are already opening up, others are playing it safe still. But we do know that Anime Expo, at least, will be live and in person next year!

As much as we love knowing that cons can survive online, there’s nothing quite like the personal experience. Here are a few of the things we’re looking forward to when the con is on again… as they say.


In-Person Cosplay

Animegataris cosplay

Cosplay is a major part of con-going, and online anime conventions have been doing a great job of keeping that tradition going. Digital cosplay contests let us show off our creations even when we can’t leave home. But there’s nothing quite like walking down the hall and bumping into your favorite character. Some of us have even made lifelong friends at photo shoots.

Plus, we miss live masquerades! Whether cosplayers are simply walking the catwalk or doing a fully-realized skit, cosplay contests are a fun evening out. Sitting in on a masquerade again will be amazing.


Panels on Niche Topics

Kona and Kagami talk about things

As anime conventions have grown in size and popularity, so have their events. Now you can attend panels held by major voice actors, or press conferences from your favorite studios. But for our money, the best events are the fan-run ones: small lectures or roundtables about the most niche of topics.

Studying one specific anime character’s personality? Reviewing the best 90s anime openings? Discussion the entire history of giant robot anime? All this and more is waiting, courtesy of fellow fans. And we’re looking forward to being right there in the room again when their enthusiasm shows through. (And maybe doing some panels of our own!)


Socializing Just Outside the Convention

A Certain Magical Index - snackin'

Does it make sense to say one of the best things about anime conventions is stepping away from them? Not because we don’t like the cons themselves, but because they’re a rare opportunity to socialize with far-off friends. Even in our digital age, cons still serve as meeting places for friends separated by long distances. And with malls and restaurants in the area, it’s easy to slip out between events and grab a completely normal lunch and afternoon out with our long-distance buddies.

Plus, there’s the added joy of going out to a mundane lunch in full cosplay. Not to get stared at — but because you’ll find a lot of people out and about who think what you’re doing is super-cool, even if they don’t know the character.

Anime Expo will be back on Independence Day weekend in 2022.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. Beyond the world of anime, she's a writer for Doctor Who expanded universe series including Iris Wildthyme and the City of the Saved, as well as an editor for the critically-acclaimed Black Archive series.