Another Veteran's Day weekend, another Pacific Media Expo (PMX) has passed by, with this one being the 10th anniversary of the convention. Returning once more to the Hilton Los Angeles Airport (LAX), PMX brings back its wide range of events, panels, workshops, and other activities that cover many areas of East Asian and Pacific Islander popular culture. PMX continues its tradition of catering to a variety of interests from anime and manga to East Asian music, lolita fashion, and martial arts. For veteran attendees of the convention, it should not be a surprise that a panel showcasing voice actors of an anime series would happen simultaneously as a workshop on taiko drumming.
With its location in the LAX area, PMX attendees have quite the variety of dining options that accommodate all budget levels along with the choice of walking a good mile or two for access to 24-hour convenience stores, banks, and more (because sometimes you just happened to have forgotten some key essentials). As for the hotel rooms, they are well equipped with proper furnishings and such to allow for a comfortable stay during the event. In regards to the actual venue, PMX decided to go for the lower 4 floors from the basement to the third floor this time around. As mentioned in my previous reviews of this convention, the interior of the Hilton LAX does not work too well due to lighting issues, but luckily, the third floor gardens and pool area are open to attendees for the purpose of cosplay photoshoots and gatherings. Instead of ani.me like in previous years, PMX has decided to take on the task of maintaining a photobooth as an option for photoshoots this time around with its own team of volunteer photographers (Photos can be found over here.).
In the span of the 3 days it occupied the Hilton LAX, PMX offered a wide range of events and activities in the areas it was held in. PMX hosted overseas guests like manga artist Matsumoto Izumi and Japanese band BACK-ON alongside domestic guests like voice actor Michael Sinterniklaas and Internet celebrity Martin "LittleKuriboh" Billany. PMX also featured its usual decently sized Dealer's Hall along with an Artist's Alley for people to purchase a variety of items, whether officially licensed or fanmade. A Swap Meet was also held for 2 out of the 3 days of the convention for a few attendees to find better homes for some of their goods. This time around, PMX allocated space for 3 fashion boutiques selling lolita fashion clothing and accessories. For those who like their games, the Gaming Room in the basement should be able to satisfy those urges with a wide range of video and tabletop games along with a Pump-It-Up tournament as its main attraction of the weekend. A Cosplay Lounge has also been implemented with a repair station alongside consultations with the Masquerade judges. As with last year, a Pocky Room continues to offer a variety of products of the titular brand of covered biscuits along with Ramune and little trinkets. The Maid Cafe has been moved down from its previous location on the top floor to accommodate con attendees better and to lessen elevator delays. Panels, concerts/live performances, workshops, and nightly dances are offered as staple events.
Panels ran into little trouble if any, showing a steady improvement from when I first attended 2 years ago. There were still times when panels would run past their allocated time slot as typical of most conventions, but these were not too much of a nuisance. As if learning from mistakes made with the scheduling of the main attractions in previous years, PMX has decided to spread them out in such a way that would prevent time conflicts with the BACK-ON and Synthesized Reality Productions (SRP; an international organization of Vocaloid producers including NeutrinoP of Vocalekt Visions who was behind last year's Vocaloid concert) Vocaloid concerts held during time slots away from the Cosplay Masquerade. It definitely helps that these main events were held in the same room, and I for one welcome this change.
With the time reorgnaization of main events, PMX has done away with one of its major problems of its programming and its ability to accommodate its audience. However, PMX is still tainted with some flaws. Being a hotel convention and having to use up a total of 4 floors, elevator traffic definitely saw delays especially nearing the time of larger events. Another thing to note is the implementation of Cosplay Red Zones and Cosplay Green Zones, the former of which intended to make non-con hotel guests feel secure in the lobby and other marked areas as cosplayers are not allowed in those areas with weapon props and full-faced masks. With that said, although it does not seem to be happening soon, PMX should look into getting back into a convention center style venue as its attendee count is definitely on the rise and main events have shown to reach full capacity on a consistent basis for the past few years.
Maintaining its tradition of catering to such a wide variety of interests, PMX continues to provide with its entertaining events, panels hosted by both members of the industry and fans alike, and its various workshops, fashion boutiques, and other special purpose rooms. PMX also upholds its intention to strengthen the bond between fans/consumers and industry with a diverse guest line-up as per usual. If you are an avid fan of any part of East Asian or Pacific Islander popular culture, PMX definitely has something for you to enjoy. A good first convention for those who have yet to get their feet wet and an enjoyable convention worthy of checking out for veterans, PMX is definitely a convention to check out especially if you wish to know about what takes place inside the industry of animation, manga, fashion, music, and more.
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