Honestly, probly abadoning AX all together. Went this past AX and the year before. Theres just wayyyy to many people to actually be able to get into anything good. waste of money imo. Never again. Cons with 50,000 ppl max are my limit now.
I had fun when I went to AX back in 2013. I can’t be bothered with it too big, crowded, expensive. Better cons elsewhere.
At this point its only really worth going if you are able to afford and obtain a premier badge, and even then it is getting increasingly difficult to do things with one. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a new badge tier listing from them soon since there were some panels that capped out before even all premier pass holders could get into the rooms last year.
So, I have met quite a few people at a recent con who intend to go to Katsucon or RTX instead of AX because it is cheaper to fly out of state and stay 4 days :/
Went this past AX, and while yes it was incredibly crowded, I was able to get through and do what I originally planned to do c: already got my ticket for next year!
I don't care about crowd as Japan's Comiket is about five times the crowd size than Anime Expo and it's held on humid summer and frigid winter.
I stopped going to Anime Expo 10 years ago because I don't feel like spending money on trip and lodging to LA just for anime related activity.
Plus Crunchyroll Expo in SF Bay Area is doing just as well as AX when it comes to showcasing upcoming latest shows, Japanese guests, and legit merchandises.
Speaking of panel, I went to Anime Japan in Tokyo back in 2017 and I had this incredible experience of attending animation workshop held by former Studio Ghibli animator, Hitomi Tateno. I had to draw 5 inbetween frames of Sosuke from Ponyo within an hour.
I stopped care about fan panels in the US as anyone can gather info from interweb and spew out whatever stuffs that people wants to hear. I never consider myself as an expert, but I'm skeptical about credential of fan panelist(s) as some of them have dubious reason to masquerade their "lectures" as a party space.