This year, the folks at Anime Expo wanted to bring even more to the fans. The Artist Alley not only housed independent artist booths, but offered booths featuring exclusive clothing only at the Expo. One such company was Anime Pls, a branch of Bioworld, who had a booth featured in the front of this year’s Artist Alley. The booth was selling exclusive shirts that were only available that weekend.

I had the opportunity to speak with Price, Bioworld’s Marketing Coordinator. He gave me the rundown of what Anime Pls is, where they’re going, and their presence at the Expo.

Price: “Anime Expo approached us and they wanted an exclusive experience; kind of a hub in their Artist Alley space. So they introduced the ANX, which is where we are now. It’s more experiential based merchandise and we want to create a space for all the fans to come and hang out in kind of a centralized location. So Anime Pls takes that mentality and pushes it in through our branding.

Our website is animepls.com and the reason we launched it is because Bioworld has been doing anime merchandise for five years but we’ve been selling to all of these retailers that we work with such as Hot Topic, Walmart and Spencer’s and the like. But there’s a lot of anime that they are slow on. They [say “a series] has to prove itself before we bring it into stock”. So we are wider and deeper than they are able to go because we are the manufacture, we can make something in larger quantities for us. We can have newer anime and we can have much deeper cuts of inside jokes that you can’t support a whole stock run in because, again, we manufacture it ourselves.

And so we’ve got 18 exclusive tees this weekend and after this weekend they will be retired and will not be available for sale anymore. All of the things under glass in these cases are for preorder.

The [All Might] backpack and socks arrive in August.  [This back pack] is an $80 backpack that you can take hiking, to school, wherever for years because it is really well put together. And that is another thing we bring to Anime Pls: we put together REALLY good product that fans are going to love without breaking the bank.”

Price gave us a tour of the booth. The booth is very spacious, with a red carpet leading to two step and repeats on the outside as you approach for fans to take photos in front of. Inside the booth, scaled cutouts of  Deku and a 7 foot tall All Might from Boku no Hero Academia and Vegeta from Dragonball Z stand in front of backdrops for more fan photo ops. On the other side were Tokyo Ghoul and Black Clover.

Current and unreleased merch such as exclusive All Might  themed products display in small curio cabinet as employees dressed in cosplay rang customers up. Even Retsuko from the Sanrio hit Aggretsuko was there, angrily posing with fans in front of her work desk. It is, to say the least, an otaku paradise.

Price: “We want to provide a place where the fans can kind of step into the anime they spend so much time enjoying. So step into that universe and take a photo with an anatomically correct All Might. He’s 7’2″ as stated in the manga.”

But why are they really here? The exclusives, if course. After our booth tour, I asked Price if he could give me the rundown on what sort of exclusive tees they had brought to Anime Expo.

Price: “So we have the VERY FIRST My Hero T-shirt on the market. And then we have All Might’s signature on a a black tee and it’s been very popular. And then we have Deku. You know the scene where he finds out that he is not going to have powers and he starts crying?  It’s upsetting but it’s really cute so we have him on the front and it says ‘Deku Deku Deku’ on the back; it’s been a huge hit. We’ve got a Dragonball Z tee, a Dragonball Super tee, some Attack on Titan. We’ve got some YuGiOh stuff [like] a really great Duel Disk Schematic, like all the blue prints for the Dual Disk. There’s some really great stuff over here.”

And finally, I inquire about the future from Anime Pls.

Price: “Our next step is, again, exclusive accessories and apparel and taking those exclusives all the way through and building entire product lines based on what the fans want. So we are going to take Anime Pls to more conventions; I can’t speak of which ones but we are in talks with a lot of the big conventions around the world. I will say that we are going to be at San Diego but not in the convention but Funimation is having a party and we will be there with exclusive merchandise.

We really want to be online and constantly be adding new stuff and fun stuff to the site and then we want to be at all of the big cons that we would go to anyway. If you look at the girls running the cash registers are in full cosplay head to toe. We are fans first and here to work second.”

Thank you so much to Price for speaking with me and sharing all the wonderful information about Anime Pls and Bioworld. Be sure to head over to their website to check out all the great anime merch!

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