Otaku and Proud
Festivals & Fairs / There’s only one place where you can hang with stormtroopers, ninjas and Naruto: Kawaii Kon. At this annual, three-day convention, it’s normal, if not expected, to dress up like your favorite anime character. Kawaii Kon had about 6,000 attendees last year, and the event keeps getting bigger and more hardcore. This year, senior administrator Roy Bann says the popular cosplay contest is going “pro-level,” which means every item of your costume must be handmade.
“It’s a place where people can be who they are without being afraid of being judged,” says Bann. “It’s like a safe haven for everyone to celebrate animation and other passions in a way where other people aren’t judging you.” Just ask one of the nine anime characters during the “Ask An Anime” panel. Characters will be on a screen, and they’ll actually talk back to you. It’s like a (Final) fantasy. (Okay, there are voice actors behind the screen.) Talk to famous voices such as Toshio Furukawa, who’s worked on Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, meet local manga artists or check out a Lolita fashion show. Because geek is cool here.