The girl would like you to know that Anime Expo is like Comic Con, which is now happening in San Diego. Fans dress up like their favorite characters There is lots of merchandising. There are panels with Anime voice actors, Japanese bands, lots of artists and illustrators and seminars on things like "How to Write Amazing Fan Fiction."
But while Comic Con is often criticized for it gropers and misogyny, the girl says that Anime is a much more female-centric space. It is her believe that a majority of convention goers are women, and a quick glance around supports that conclusion. This is true even though Anime itself is full of scantily-clad, large-bosomed, tiny-voiced female characters. But there are also lots of bad-ass warrior women and women engineers and scientists in Anime, and I think that appeals to a lot young American women who are trying to figure out who they want to be.
Although the men without costumes seem creepily intent on taking pictures of the scantily-clad women. (Their poor mothers. I meant that for both sides of that equation.)
Still, for the most part, it is a nice crowd, and it seems like a safe space to parade your inner spirt/dragon slayer/mermaid.