Los Angeles Prepares for 23rd Annual Running of the Nerds


LOS ANGELES, CA — The sun hangs higher and hotter in the sky. An ill wind breezes by. The time for the Running of the Nerds is nigh.

“Oh my god, is it that time of year already?” said Jesse Schwartzman, looking around nervously. “Oh god, it is, isn’t it? Oh no. I’m not ready, I’m not ready, I’m not ready.”

Every Fourth of July weekend causes Los Angeles citizens to tense up. They walk the streets in fear, always on the lookout for the black horde. For one four-day weekend a year, the streets get taken over, and there’s nothing the denizens of Los Angeles can do about it.

There’s a nickname for it around these parts: The Running of the Nerds.

It’s the colloquial title for Anime Expo, a four-day celebration of Japanese animation, comics, and costume play — or “cosplay” — that begins Thursday. During this hallowed four-day weekend, nerds of every stripe take over the streets of Los Angeles, overflowing the sidewalks and scaring the locals with their outlandish, skin-baring costumes.

“It’s absolutely frightening,” said Jennifer Peters, who refused to come out of her home while being interviewed. “I can’t walk a few steps without seeing someone dressed like a cartoon character. It’s the worst thing in the world!”

Tens of thousands of teenagers and adults who watches children’s entertainment will visit Los Angeles to celebrate their empty consumerism and defile the land of our lord.

Some say this infusion of nerds is a nuisance because the city shuts down for days to accommodate them. One year Anime Expo ran at the same time the X-Games came to town — with predictably disastrous results. Whole streets were blocked off, paths between hotels became convoluted mazes, and the weekend was a maelstrom of noise. It was all the fault of those invading nerds, locals say.

“Yeah, I didn’t really visit L.A. that weekend because I was out of town, but it’s totally their fault,” said a man who wishes to remain anonymous and skateboarded away after our interview.

Local and visiting nerds say they’re not monsters looking to ruin one of America’s most precious cities. Indeed, they say they remain respectful while they’re in town.

“Dude, I just want to look at my shit in peace,” said Max Jordan, who is planning on visiting the convention all four days. “I’m so deep into this stuff that I’ve shunned every facet of society. I don’t bother anyone as long as they don’t bother me. I keep my head down.”

Not all those who let their geek flag fly are so unassuming, however. These creatures of the night often gather en masse to indulge in their narcissism by taking photos of each other in costume and uploading the pictures to the Internet for others to share. They screech and travel in packs and engage in the very worst behaviors of our society. They must be stopped.

Anime Expo will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from Thursday to Sunday. Passes are available for purchase at the convention center. The staff at Anime Maru will be covering the event live, click here to see more details on Anime Maru’s exclusive Meet & Greet.

About the author

Emerging from the ultraviolent urban sprawl of the 1980s, Shinmaru is the Angel Cop, the 34th Mad Bull, the Wing of Garzey, and The Almighty King of the Street. His taste is total trash. Twitter: @Shinmaru