Anime Expo is the world's largest gathering place for fans and professionals in the anime and manga industry. Hosted by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), nearly 18,000 attendees were at the 11th annual event for anime enthusiasts at the Long Beach Convention Center.

The Expo attracted a very diverse crowd, with attendees coming from 49 of the 50 states as well as from places like Japan and Europe. Half of the attendees were women, showing the wide appeal that anime has achieved.

Anime Expo 2002 included a console video gaming room, a tabletop card gaming room, an anime screening room, dance and karaoke rooms, and more. Attendees lined up for hours to get into the "dealer's room," where the latest DVDs, collectibles, artwork, and manga from dealers around the globe could be purchased. Anime Expo featured panel disucssions with some of the top artists and directors in the Japanese Anime scene, as well as autograph sessions. Other highlights included the Music Video Competition and the Masquerade, which featured "cosplay" (costume play) performances from fifty-two individuals and groups.

For those who weren't able to attend the Expo, the AsianConnections.com Team went behind the scenes to bring you these images from the expo. The four days of the Expo went by in a blink of an eye, but here's looking forward to next year!

The AsianConnections.com Team

AsianConnections.com Team Members covering the expo
L to R: Dexter Lee, Paul Lee, Mike Kai, Charles Min
AsianConnections.com Team Member Jo Hauser

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