EDMONTON - Comic book characters come to life at the 22nd annual Animethon this weekend.
The Japanese Animation or anime themed convention runs August 7-9 at MacEwan University’s City Centre Campus.
The longest running anime convention in Canada features more than 80 live programs, panel discussions on a variety of topics, video game tournaments, special guest appearances by voice actors, improvisation groups, and a performance by the popular Japanese rock band Flow.
“Edmonton has a very passionate cosplay and anime community that keeps growing with each year,” said Vicky Lau, director of public relations for Animethon.
With more than 8,400 people attending last year’s event, organizers hope to see 9,000 guests come through the doors this year.
The average age of attendees is 14 to 25, Lau said.
Amanda Botelho, 16, and her two friends, Rowan Atchison, 16, and Kira Yany, 17 have been attending Animethon for the past two years.
“We just come for the love of anime,” Amanda said. “I grew up watching it because my grandma would go and buy me Sailor Moon, and I just really loved it, and still do.”
Over the weekend cosplayers will be seen walking through the halls of MacEwan and on the streets of downtown Edmonton.
“Those who come to the convention don’t have to dress up, but it’s a lot of fun to dress up as your favourite characters,” Lau said.
Attendees spend weeks if not months preparing for conventions like this. Spending hours upon hours perfecting their character’s look.
“I spent about three days and 60 hours making my costume,” Rowan said.
Organizers have noted changing trends in Japanese pop culture and try to keep up with it.
“You’re always meeting new people, and making new friends. You bond over the common interest,” Rowan said.