|Anime Expo, the Largest Anime Convention in North America|
Without further ado, here are the California Anime Conventions worth visiting (in calendar order).
Anime Los Angeles
Month: Early January
Location: Los Angeles Airport Mariott
Anime Los Angeles is a small to medium-sized anime convention held in the beginning of the year. The convention is well-known because it has a passionate, energetic attendee base that will bring the smile of anyone from age 7 to age 100. It is one of my personal favorite anime conventions because of the great staff team behind it and the wonderful passionate fans who frequent it.
Month: Early January, September
Location: Radisson Hotel Sacramento
Sac-Anime is a well known small anime convention held in Sacramento twice a year. The convention was started in 2005 and since then has grown with the large Northern California market. It has the distinction of being one of the rare anime convention that is held semi-annually as opposed to the annual tradition used by most anime conventions.
Location: Town and Country Resort Hotel
Anime Conji is billed as San Diego's first local anime convention. Conji is small local anime convention that was recently started. It has a great venue and a great team of staff who are leading it. The convention has close ties with the people who run Anime Los Angeles. As a cosplay photographer it is one of the most photographic venues. I believe that this convention has lots of potential for the future.
Location: San Jose Convention Center
FanimeCon is one of the ten largest anime conventions in the United States and it is the largest anime convention in Northern California. It is a large convention with a great team of staff behind it. The convention attracts a large number of cosplayers and attendees. Fanime has a great list of guests of honor and many of its attendees and staff do both Fanime and Anime Expo.
Month: Early July
Location: Los Angeles Convention Center
Anime Expo is the largest anime convention in the United States. It is considered to be a "destination convention" for many attendees due to its massive size, guests of honor, and the sheer number of programming available. As one of the oldest conventions in the United States, Anime Expo has a rich history. There are many passionate staffers who run the convention. The convention is a great destination for old and new anime fans alike.
Month: Late October
Location: San Francisco Airport Marriott
Yaoi-con is the longest running convention in the West that is dedicated to Yaoi (Boys Love). Due to the content of the convention, it is limited to an audience that is 18+. The convention also has a disproportionate number of female attendees compared to a normal anime convention.
Pacific Media Expo
Location: LAX Hilton
Pacific Media Expo is a small convention that was founded by former Anime Expo CEO Mike Tastugawa. It focuses on Asian culture, with an emphasis on Korean and Japanese works. It is a great small convention to visit and network. It is also located close to where Anime Los Angeles is held at. It is also currently the last anime convention of the year to attend in California.
All these conventions are great events to socialize and interact with fellow fans of the anime and manga hobby. Each one provides a unique and rewarding experience for the fans. I personally attend four of these conventions: Anime Los Angeles, Anime Conji, Anime Expo, and Pacific Media Expo and I can attest to how great each of these events are. If a certain event moved their convention to a more convenient date I would likely be attending five conventions as part of my convention circuit.
PS: I don't want any "convention wars" and I will use a zero tolerance rule for anyone disparaging any anime convention.