Hello readers! It’s Brandi back with another convention review! Despite growing up attending large-scale conventions like WonderCon and L.A. Comic-Con, ANIME Impulse was an entirely new beast I was unfamiliar with. Still, it was recommended by a friend who had routinely attended since its debut in 2016, so I decided to give ANIME Impulse a chance, especially since it was ending its con tour in my neck of the woods. 

Kat couldn’t attend this time, so I was on my way. Once I arrived on site, I was initially worried I wouldn’t get parking and ended up parking on the top floor of the official convention center parking structure. But I snagged one of the last spots up top and went to the main entrance. To my surprise, A.I. did not require press or attendees to wear badges and instead stamped our wrists. Walking around without a badge was weird, but I was good as long as I got through the door. 

Spotting something cute straight away, I stopped by my first booth, run by Maintaining Mediocrity. She had fun pins and accessories that reflected Pokémon, Disney, and Adventure Time. I loved her art style, and I bought her Stabby Mouse enamel pin because I knew (out of everything) it suited my style best and paired nicely with my at-home pin collection. 

Then, I spotted a line for free caricatures sponsored by McDonald’s. I waited in line, talked with the caricaturist while he drew me, and was pretty happy with how my parody turned out! I was wearing my classic Ash Ketchum costume, so he drew me wearing the outfit, and it felt like a perfect start to the A.I. journey. 

Surprisingly, only a quarter of the attendees were in costume. Costumes I recognized included Yamato from One Piece, Moroha from InuYasha, Frieza from Dragon Ball Z, and Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but amongst my favorites were Juliet Starling and Swan from Lolipop Chainsaw and Ciel Phantomhive (cross-dressing) from Black Butler. I even saw an entire group cosplaying at the Marine Admirals from One Piece, and it was incredible watching them muscle their way through the crowd and act out their characters. As always, I love seeing the detail put into every costume. Cosplayers are the coolest. 

At one point, I am positive I walked past YouTuber and cosplay influencer Hamu Cotton, waltzing around in her shark costume. I recognized her cosplay from her social media posts but didn’t have the chance to confirm since it felt weird approaching her and saying hi, so I just kept walking. What would YOU have done? 

While strolling through Artist Alley and Vendor Hall, I recognized the artist and cosplayer ChaiBee and got a sticker reflecting her super cute original character, Miss Witch! Next, I commissioned illustrator A.O. to draw Adora as She-Ra from the Princesses of Power, which turned out so cute! I love seeing how different artists draw some of my favorite characters! Commissioning artists is one of the best ways to support small-time and large-scale artists alike!

Then, I stopped by the Animoo Candles booth. I recognized them from previous conventions and wanted a whiff of their fandom candles. I’m a sucker for peach, so I bought their Sleeping Demon Sister and California Barbie candles. If you’re like me and have a knack for collecting candles, Animoo Candles is perfect for any nerd or weeb out there! They have so many scents that will appeal to any nose!

Eventually, I found the Special Guests section of the convention and got in line to meet YouTubers Emirichu and Daidus. I admit I attended ANIME Impulse partially to meet Emirichu and Daidus. Since I am a massive fan of both of their works, I loved that ANIME Impulse provided this opportunity. After waiting in line and chatting with fellow fans, it came to my turn, and I admit I wanted to say more than “Thank you for the content,” but I started to stutter (out of excitement) and came off as a total fangirl. Leave a comment below if you’ve ever experienced one of those moments when meeting your animator idols. Ultimately, I got my autograph and even took a photo with them. I was delighted!

Emirichu (left), Brandi (center), and Daidus (right).

Afterward, I went to the A.I. Stage, where Daidus was scheduled to host his Japanese Snacks panel. As part of the panel, Daidus purchased an array of snacks (possibly) only found in Japan and brought them to ANIME Impulse to taste test in front of an audience. It was my first time attending a live taste test, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once Daidus started tossing spare snacks in the crowd, things got interesting fast. Members of the crowd were sketching their arms high and scrabbling for any snacks that fell in between the cracks of the crowd, and it was kind of fun to watch. 

Within an hour, Daidus tried and rated various snacks from Japan, including sake-flavored Kit Kat, Kirby-themed gummies, and grape jelly bombs. I was hoping to catch one of the Kirby gummies but ended up with one of the grape jelly bombs instead, and, frankly, the only reason I caught it was because it bounced off another attendee and landed in my hands. It was hilarious how it happened!

I even got to learn some things about Daidus. His favorite Pokémon is the fire-type Magmar; he doesn’t like spicy foods but enjoys wasabi with his sushi, and one of his favorite desserts is cheesecake. He also implied a new project was in the works, so stay tuned to his channel! Do you have anything in common with Daidus? Tell us in the comments!

At one point, Emirichu (dressed as Maid Mew Ichigo) started passing out some snacks to the crowd, including some sticks of dried squid. I was one row away from the front, so I could smell it when she came around with the squid, and I was NOT a fan, haha! But the crowd was hyped all the same! 

After Daidus’ snack panel, it was time for Emirichu’s Anime Cafes in Japan panel. Everyone was delighted to see Emirichu take center stage and discuss her experiences exploring themed cafes in Japan. She may not speak Japanese formally, but she’s an expert in Japan’s anime-themed restaurants, and I was eager to learn from her. I may never have the time or money to visit Japan, but I loved her enthusiasm, and it was great seeing how engaged the audience was. Her panel even became a brief language lesson when Emirichu gave tips and tricks on exactly HOW to order from an authentic Japanese cafe. 

She even provided a sneak peek at her latest upcoming video, and it made me so happy to see the rough footage. I will give no spoilers, but I will tell you that Emirichu visits a highly requested themed cafe, so stay tuned to her channel and keep your eyes peeled for anything new! Based on the rough footage, her next video will make plenty of folks happy!

My only complaint with ANIME Impulse panels was that there were no seats. You had to stand continuously, and if you are prone to back pain like me, standing through a single panel can be a painful process. Ultimately, both panels made me want to travel to Japan and try these various snacks and cafes. 

By the end of the day, I had attended panels, watched a few anime-inspired dance routines, used the free arcade options, and watched cosplays and other attendees kill it on Dance Dance Revolution. Taking my time, I explored all the Artist Alley and Vendor Hall had to offer and chatted with some other attendees within six to seven hours. ANIME Impulse was relatively small compared to the large-scale conventions I’ve become accustomed to, so there wasn’t much more for me to explore. However, attending a convention on such a smaller scale was oddly refreshing. Any place where people can walk around in costume, carrying swords and body pillows, is a place for me! I will happily attend ANIME Impulse next year!

Photo Source: Brandi Ortiz of The Game of Nerds.

Overall, ANIME Impulse may be a two-day event, but you can easily explore, inspect, and enjoy it all in one day. Will you attend ANIME Impulse next year? Tell us in the comments!