Exploring the World of Anime, QC-Style
Anime-Zing! 2017, a three-day anime convention, was held July 14-16 at downtown Davenport’s RiverCenter. This was a gathering for all ages, celebrating common interests in anime, games, comic books, and other nerdy indulgences in a weekend full of geeking out. It was a weekend for costume wearing, making friends, and getting out of the harsh world of reality, away from work and family.
For those who don’t know, anime is a style of animation from Japan, known for its colorful graphics, lively characters, and incredible action. Organized and staffed by Animecon.org, Anime-Zing! celebrated its eighth successful year in the Quad Cities area, bringing in about 600 attendees. The convention’s activities included a video game room, board-game room, meetups from specific fandoms, guest panels and events, costume contests, a dealers room for fans and collectors, 13+ and 18+ panels, a formal ball, and more. At the ConSweet, free drinks and snacks were offered nonstop throughout the entire weekend.
Why do people attend Anime Conventions? Usually it’s to meet up with friends with similar interests. An example might be going to compete in a gaming competition. Others might go because of specific guests: voice-actors, YouTubers, and other celebrities from whom they can get photos or their autographs. Conventions are the best place to get these types of memorabilia.
Then there are the select few who dress up in costumes they made or bought, to show off their costume skills, pretend to be that character, or to meet up from characters from the same project (anime, cartoon, video game series, etc.). This act of dressing up as a fictional character is known as cosplaying. Cosplay occurs at all types of fan events, including anime, comic, and videogame conventions.
Cosplayers often participate in the masquerade – a contest in which con-goers compete against each other in a walk-on-stage manner, to show off costumes they’ve created themselves. The masquerade offers craftsmanship awards and more. Different levels within the masquerade separate the contestants in terms of experience, so they can be judged fairly. Levels of competition include Inexperienced, Experienced, and Masters, along with Best in Show.
Best in Show is awarded to an individual who may not have won in their category, but whom the judges felt was just as outstanding as those who did win in their categories, for whichever reason they decide upon. Often the award is a small prize, along with free admission to the convention the following year. Overall, the masquerade is a large part of the convention and one of the biggest, most popular events they hold.
Over the years, cosplay is becoming more mainstream, drawing in more and more who enjoy the hobby of dressing up as their favorite characters to express themselves. Anime Conventions not only allow for cosplayers to wear their costumes to an event, but also provides a safe place where individuals can look however they like for the duration of the weekend (with the convention’s rules in mind).
While Anime-Zing! 2017 is a small anime convention compared to AnimeCon.org’s other events in Chicago and Minneapolis, Zing holds a special place in the CEO’s heart. Ryan Kopf is the founder and CEO of AnimeCon.org and holds more than six Anime Conventions in the Midwest every year. While Anime-Zing! is not the biggest of the conventions, the Quad City area is home for many AnimeCon.org staff members.
For more information, visit:
AnimeCon.org Website: https://animecon.org/
Anime-Zing Website: https://qcanimezing.com/
Events and masquerade: https://qcanimezing.com/events
You can also follow the Anime-Zing! FaceBook page.