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Pacific Media Expo

by Jonathan Mays,
Pacific Media Expo wasn't really an anime convention. Its organizers billed it as an "Asian entertainment" convention, and that sounds about right. Sure, there were several US anime companies in attendance, and anime filled a few video rooms, but it certainly wasn't the main attraction of PMX.

Without doubt, the best reason to attend PMX was for the T.M. Revolution & Nami Tamaki concert. It's not everyday you can see two professional Japanese pop stars perform in a California arena. The crowd of 4,000 or so certainly enjoyed themselves, and the PMX staff should be commended for making sure the concert started right on time.

Unfortunately, the concert was on Friday the 28th, while the convention itself ran from Saturday to Monday. Also, the cost of admission was separate for both events, so one could spend nearly $100 just to get in the door. As PMX founder Mike Tatsugawa noted in an interview after the convention, the concert and the convention were essentially two different events.

So if you set aside the excellent concert, PMX the convention was a pretty weak showing. For a con that used the same space as this year's Anime Expo (which had an attendance of over 25,000), two or three thousand attendees is a woeful turnout. The PMX staff has cited many excuses, among them a competing convention just north that was held the same weekend, but the simple fact is that PMX drastically overestimated the number of fans that would flock to an anime convention that wasn't really an anime convention. J-Pop and live action Asian films are a niche within a niche (for now, at least) and hardly developed enough in the US to support something as massive as PMX aimed to be. And then there's Japanese wrestling.

PMX will return in 2005, most likely over Labor Day weekend. They'll need a couple of good music guests, but expect them to look to a label like Avex, as it's unlikely that Tofu Records will participate again. Hopefully next year's edition will be more successful, but right now, it can go either way.

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Mike Tatsugawa, PMX founder
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