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Otaku Flock to Anime USA

17 November 2011 One Comment

Photo by: KJ Mushung

By: Alan DeCorla-Souza
NOVA alum

Halloween isn’t the only time Northern Virginia residents let their imaginations run wild and dress up as their favorite characters. Anime fans (called Otaku) will be out in force for this year’s Anime USA convention.

Anime USA is a convention of anime and Japanese popular culture. The convention is being held Nov. 18 through Nov. 20 at the Hyatt Regency in Arlington. It is run as a non-profit organization and calls itself a convention “of fans, by fans, for fans.”

Members of the NOVA anime community participate every year both as attendees and as volunteers.

Anime conventions a have become increasingly popular, and many are held in and around the greater D.C. area. These conventions often feature appearances by American voice actors (or Seiyu) as well as concerts by bands from overseas. Common draws for conventions include the dealer’s rooms housing stalls from local comic, toy and video game retailers from all over the area and art shows where local artists come to put their work on display.

Con-goers bring themselves in fantastic cosplay (dresses as an anime character), to meet each other and take group photos of the entire assembled cast of their favorite animated show.

Other activities at Anime USA include a military cosplay Ball, a karaoke contest, video gaming rooms and screenings of the latest anime.

Even some uniquely Japanese experiences have found their way across the pond. The “Maid Café” and “Host Club” offer an interactive dining experience. The volunteer waiters and waitresses put on cute maid costumes and cheery personalities to make their guests feel special. Dining can be accompanied by dance performances, karaoke competitions and a round of your favorite board game with your maid or host.

Anime USA this year is more than entertainment. In light of the March 11 earthquake that shook Japan, this year’s theme is Service and Duty. The convention is facilitating the connection of con-goers to various charities. Anime USA additionally has plans for its own relief fund and a partnership with Katsucon, another local anime convention, as well as other groups to hold a charity event for the disaster.

Since its inception in 1999 with an attendance of 350, Anime USA has grown to over 3,600 attendees annually.

Jimmy Thomas, a sophomore at George Mason University said, “My favorite part of conventions is meeting new people.”

Thomas will be attending with 11 of his friends.

For more information, visit AnimeUSA.org.

By: NOVA Fortnightly Staff

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One Comment »

  • Rera said:

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