July is quite a time to be a fan. Not only is Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) inching closer and closer, but in just a few days Anime Expo (AX) will kick off in Los Angeles.

The largest anime event held in North America, this year AX will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 4-7, including a special Pre-Show Night on July 3. Now in it’s 28th year, the event is expected to draw more than 350,000 attendees, all converging to check out the newest anime films, TV series, fashion, video games, manga, dance, music concerts, exhibitors and exclusive convention merchandise.

“We are super excited with the AX 2019 lineup and know our fans will find plenty of events and activities to entertain and keep them engaged throughout the four-day show,” says Ray Chiang, CEO of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA). “From the exclusive screening of Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution and the impressive works from world-renowned composer Yoshihiro Ike to crowd favorites like the Fashion Show and all of the fabulous cosplay, we encourage AX 2019 attendees to sample it all — creating many amazing and lasting memories.”

AX will feature more than 400 exhibitors, 19 premieres, more than 50 artists, and hundreds of hours of programming, along with a slate of interactive events and appearances from more than 100 industry insiders. Fans can keep track of it all using the new Anime Expo 2019 Mobile App, which features a virtual tour guide, turning a phone into a digital companion to guide fans along on their journey throughout AX.

Below are some of the must-see events. For more info, visit anime-expo.org.

4DX Anime Film Fest (July 3-4, Regal LA Live Theater)

Fans can experience exclusive screenings of Detective Conan: Zero The Enforcer, Mobile Suit Gundam NT (Narrative), and Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the MOVIE – A Wakening of the Trailblazer — each enhanced with immersive, multi-sensory 4DX motion and environmental effects. To celebrate the series’ 40th anniversary, a 30-minute Q&A panel with the screenwriter and cast will follow the Mobile Suit Gundam NT (Narrative) screening.

Yoshihiro Ike: Anime Soundtrack World (July 7, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Hall B)

This international debut concert by composer and musician Yoshihiro Ike will awe the audience. Ike is one of the most-recognized music composers in Japan, having worked on more than 100 titles in the last 20 years. Click here for ticketing info.

Aquors

Members of Aqours

Aqours (July 5, 7 p.m. & July 6, 1 p.m.; The Novo)

Aqours (pronounced “aqua”) is the school idol group formed in Uchiura, Shizuoka, for the multimedia project “Love Live! Sunshine!!” For ticketing info, click here.

Artist Alley (Kentia Hall)

No matter which con you’re attending, Artist Alley is a must-see. At AX, the Alley will include more than 500 artists showcasing a variety of handmade creations, including original artwork, prints, crafts, clothing, and comic collections. This year’s featured artists are Shinnosuke Uchida, the world’s only wall-manga live paint artist, and LA-based pop culture artist Jared Yamahata.

Fashion Show (July 5, 12:30-3 p.m., Petree Hall)

This year, AX is hosting Michelle Nguyen Bradley to MC the Fashion Show. Designers include h. Naoto, Acryl Candy, Hypland, amnesiA&paramenesiA, Metamorphose, and Hot Topic. Plus, attendees will be able to meet — and get an autograph or photo from — the designers and models and shop each brand’s offerings.

Charity Auction (July 7, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 408 AB)

AX encourages fans to stop by its charity auction benefitting Terasaki Budokan, a local organization with a mission to provide a facility in Downtown Los Angeles for youth, families, and seniors that offers sports, community activities, and opportunities to connect visitors to Japanese American culture and a vibrant, sustainable Little Tokyo. Last year’s Charity Auction raised nearly $18,000.

Anime Expo

Masquerade & World Cosplay Summit US Finals (July 6, 8-11 p.m., Hall B)

AX encourages and embraces cosplay and the AX Masquerade is a celebration of cosplay and performance competition steeped in history of more than 20 years. AX is excited to welcome all of the performers who are hoping to win the U.S. preliminary for World Cosplay Summit.

Gaming (Entertainment Hall)

Alas, what would an anime expo be without gaming?! With more than 200 gaming stations, including e-gaming and esports arenas and tabletop, mobile, and arcade games, AX fans will be exposed to the latest from Dream League, PUBG, Konami, Fate/Grand Order, and others. With tournaments, learn-to-play, and free-play sessions, there’s something for everyone at all skill levels in the tabletop games section. Fans can compete with Xbox, Nintendo, and PlayStation consoles, plus an arcade section to compete with others or just have fun solo.

Attendees who can’t fit everything into their schedule can connect to the Anime Expo Livestream channel to watch events in LP1/Petree Hall and catch exclusive interviews.

Photos: Anime Expo