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The 15 Best Anime Conventions For Diehard Otaku, Ranked

Updated September 23, 2021 1.8k votes 462 voters 16.1k views15 items

List RulesVote up the conventions that excel at celebrating anime.

Anime conventions bring together fans from all over the world to celebrate anime, manga, and other aspects of Otaku culture. Cons often go out of their way to highlight both Japanese and local cultural practices, but fans can also count on a plethora of cosplay, raves, screenings, and special industry guests. 

Countless anime conventions take place around the world, but only a select few can be considered the best of the best. If a fan is looking for a massive convention with over 500,000t attendees, they may want to check out the first anime convention ever, Tokyo's Comiket—it makes Anime Expo look subdued.

Someone looking for a smaller, more personal experience should try Katsucon, a Baltimore-based anime convention that hosts around 17,000 attendees a year. Even if Otaku are into all things geeky, there's plenty of anime on display at major Comic Cons in San Diego and New York City.

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    Anime Boston

    Anime Boston has been around since 2003, and since then it's been providing a solid experience for con-goers. It features a masquerade ball, an AMV contest, an artist's alley, and plenty of amazing guests.

    In 2013, the event attracted Shinichiro Watanabe, the legendary director of Cowboy Bebop. It's hard to top that, but regardless of when a fan chooses to attend this convention, they're sure to have a good time. 

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  • Photo: Romer Jed Medina / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Anime NYC

    New York City has had a troubled history with anime conventions. Despite the area's dense population, many conventions have had trouble turning a profit, including Big Apple Anime Fest, which folded after only two years. Likewise, New York Anime Fest was subsumed into New York Comic Con.

    In 2017, Crunchyroll started an NYC-based convention called Anime NYC. The first year offered a laid-back environment while still bringing in big-name guests like singer Chihiro Yonekura.

    The future of the convention looks bright—in 2018, pop idol supergroup Morning Musume is on the books, and new events like AMV contests were added to the lineup.  

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    Anime Expo

    If a fan is looking to see big name guests like CLAMP, Yuki Kaji, Go Nagai, and more, they need to go to Anime Expo, a four-day-long anime extravaganza in Los Angeles, CA.

    It's a relatively short trip from other LA tourist activities – it's possible to do Anime EXPO and Disneyland in a single visit – but it's difficult to leave the convention center before seeing everything it has to offer.

    The only drawback to this massive event is the crowds. With an approximate attendance of 107,658 in 2017, it's the biggest convention in North America, so plan on waiting in a lot of lines. Luckily, there's tons of amazing cosplay to check out while waiting to get in, so even that's not the worst. 

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    Anime Central

    Though it sometimes fells like US anime conventions are all concentrated on the coasts, there are some seriously awesome ones in the Midwest too. One great example is Anime Central, which is held every year in Rosemont, IL.

    The event was created in 1998 with the intention of bringing anime culture to the area. It features a full range of fun activities, including panels, a rave party, a well-stocked dealer's room, and more. 

    Is this convention fun?