“Worst” anime convention ever goes viral on TikTok for being a “disaster”

Anthony McGlynn
Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z

A recent anime convention has left people with the wrong kind of memories, as attendees and vendors have been posting about Anime Nation Fest being a total “dumpster fire”.

Anime Nation Fest combined anime and tattooing for a weekend-long event running April 19 to 21 at the LA Convention Centre. Billed on the official site as an “anime extravaganza like no other”, the weekend has been the subject of criticism across TikTok and Reddit for poor attendance and organization, and allegedly misleading vendors.

One vendor, Ayime, posted a TikTok highlighting lacklustre advertising and signposting around the event. Signage putting out where to go within the venue was minimal, and the trade hall was “tucked into” one part of a much larger room within the centre.

Ayime mentions low footfall across the three days they were selling, showing clips with barely any attendees spread across the weekend. They mention that there was never a surge in people traffic — expected at certain hours throughout a convention between major panels and such — and lights on the Artist Alley went off for a period of time at one point.

“We were told to prepare for thousands of people, but I probably only saw like 500,” Ayime states towards the end. In a stitch on TikTok, another artist vending at the convention, Keyyahnuh, makes similar observations, adding that numbers were allegedly skewed by the parent company to attract sellers.

“Upon booking the event, they had told all the artist and vendors that they had sold 13,000 tickets, and they were expecting upwards of 30,000 attendees over the course of the three days,” Keyyahnuh says. “In day three, we were informed by somebody who was a private contractor for the company, who had worked with this coordinator for a long time, that these numbers were base don their best event they did in 2004.”

Anime Nation Fest is run by a company called Mega Show, a self-described “trailblazer” who’ve been running events for 30 years, according to their website. This convention, per the official blurb, “caters to the heart and soul of every anime lover”, and was the first of several tattoo and anime shows booked throughout the year, with events listed for Houston, San Jose, and Scottsdale across Mega Show’s sites.

Keyyahnuh brings up the cost of selling at these conventions, with independent artists and vendors having to pay for a stall over the course of the weekend, in addition to transport, accommodation, stock and more. Keyyahnuh states that artists paid upwards of $400 and vendors around $800, and mentions that even those prices carry the implication of getting access to a large audience.

“Any time you see a table with a fee this high, it’s associated with larger events, and we were promised that expectancy,” they add. “A lot of vendors came from out of state based on that expectancy, and they lost a lot of money.”

Anime Expo and LA Comic Con, massive pop culture conventions that run annually, take place at the same venue. The guest list for Anime Nation Fest included Kyle Hebert, DC Douglas, and Darius Marquis Johnson, typical names for this sort of event. Over on Reddit, similar criticisms emerged.

“It took me 20 minutes to see everything, and then I watched the cosplay contest… Unfortunately some categories had zero entries,” writes one user in a thread. “I spent about an hour total. At $35 plus fees, it’s definitely not worth it.”

Another user added a bullet-point list of issues, including long opening hours of 11am to 11pm, as well as poor accessibility for sellers bringing stock in and out. “No one from the coordinators were on site at all. It was all third party security, staff, etc,” they write. “The loading dock was locked until 7pm Sunday, so if you wanted to pack up and leave early you had to wheel your stuff very very far to your car.”

“After a disaster weekend at Anime Nation Fest, I’m glad to finally be home and not at that dumpster fire anymore,” a third user wrote.

So far, Mega Show hasn’t responded or acknowledged the criticisms. We’ve contacted Mega Show for a response, and will update if we hear back.

About The Author

Anthony is the Senior Anime Writer at Dexerto. He has over a decade's experience covering games and pop culture for outlets such as Variety, IGN, Den of Geek, PCGamesN, PCGamer, The Digital Fix, and many more. He loves horror, sci-fi, heavy metal, Studio Ghibli, and The Muppets. He enjoys pro wrestling too, but don't hold that against him. You can find him at: anthony.mcglynn@dexerto.com