Anime Impulse welcomed winter 2024 with several thousand attendees at the Pomona Fairplex. The anime convention is a part of the larger Asian American Expo, which houses K-Play Fest, Anime Impulse, Sneaker Expo, and the Asian American Expo. Each section of the event appeals to different groups, such that the entire family can find something they’re interested in. While everyone
This past Anime Impulse marks the first time the event has brought in Japanese voice actors: Kana Ueda, Mai Nakahara, and Show Hayami. Similar to other English voice actors, the trio’s autographs were for guests who paid an extra amount for it. However, their panels were available to the public and were allowed to ask questions. For an extension of a larger organization, Anime Impulse has attracted a loyal group of locals and out-of-towners. Since the introduction of Nijisanji’s virtual livers and the interactive opportunities with them, Vtuber fans have enthusiastically attended the convention for a chance to meet their oshis. With the addition of Japanese guests, the event has expanded its horizons into other ventures mirroring efforts made by another Southern California staple, Anime Los Angeles.
Yet, the overall feeling of the overarching expo is more of a festival where anime fans, K-pop fans, and their parents can blend into one place. Outside of the paid panels, none of the Vtuber programming is available with the price of admission, unlike other established conventions. The concerts also include a hefty cost, especially if you wanted to attend all of them in combination with the panels. Anime Impulse has created a system of a low cost of entry to the festival grounds, but attendees have to pay à la carte for each event they’d like to participate in. Even so, plenty are willing to pay to play.
There was an air of excitement specifically for this Anime Impulse as it felt like a culmination of the event’s past efforts to cultivate a loyal fanbase of attendees. Last year’s rainy weather dampened HopConcert 2023, which had a smaller group of fans. After the success of its expansion to four events a year, HopConcert 2024 was a grand finale for Nijisanji enthusiasts. Over 1,000 fans gathered into Expo Hall 10 to see both their oshis and support the Pomu Rainpuff’s graduation.
What differentiates Impulse is how it became a one-stop shop for Vtuber fans. This latest iteration not only involved almost all of the talent from Nijisanji’s EN branch, and also a new selection of livers from Hololive. Panels with the livers are a combination of standard chatting between a select few members and singing performances. Impulse has proven the success of tapping into the Vtuber fandom, and now, they are reaping the rewards of being the most well-known event to directly interact with digital characters.