An anime convention is an event or gathering with a primary focus on anime, manga and Japanese culture. Commonly, anime conventions are multi-day events hosted at convention centers, hotels or college campuses. They feature a wide variety of activities and panels, with a larger number of attendees participating in cosplay than most other types of fan conventions. Anime conventions are also used as a vehicle for industry, in which studios, distributors, and publishers represent their anime related releases.
Anime conventions have a long and varied worldwide history. The original Comiket, mostly based on fan published manga called dōjinshi, started in 1975 with around 700 people in Tokyo.In recent years, Comiket has attracted over a half million people. Conventions in Japan are heavily sponsored by studios or publishing companies and are used as platforms for new releases. In addition to Japan, convention officials at venues such as AnimeJapan have been trying to reach out to overseas manga otaku. Anime conventions started showing up in the United States in the early 1980s. Project A-Kon first started in 1990, and is considered to be the first anime convention in the country, but this is disputed. It is also claimed that YamatoCon, a convention "devoted to Japanese animation" was first held in 1983 in Dallas Texas. Since then, multiple anime conventions have appeared in numerous states. Since the first anime convention which brought in a few hundred people, anime conventions have exploded in popularity. AnimeCon which was held in San Jose, California in 1991 is notable for being the first convention to break the 1,000 attendance mark. It was also the first convention to receive support from American and Japanese production studios. Anime Expo which has been held in California since 1992 is the largest anime convention in North America and attracted approximately 90,500 people in 2015. Anime conventions in other locations, such as Europe began to take off in the Mid-1990s. AUKcon was a one-day anime convention held in London, England in 1994, and was chaired by Helen McCarthy. Salón del Manga de Barcelona, first held in Barcelona, Spain in 1995 is also one of the largest European conventions. Japan Expo in Paris is the largest convention in Europe, and in the world outside Japan. Anime conventions later spread to Australia in the late 1990s with Manifest, first held in 1998. Many anime conventions were cancelled or postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anime conventions typically feature a guest list as part of their makeup. A guest can be an industry figure, some notable examples include director Hiroyuki Kanbe, author Tsukasa Fushimi, and Kazuma Miki from Ascii Media Works. In 2013 they screened for the first time the final three episodes from the second season of Oreimo .Guests can also include artists and performers, some notable examples of these include Kazuki Takahashi, creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! . An anime convention represents an opportunity to interact with such individuals that may not be possible outside the event.
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Anime conventions often have panels, which are open ended discussions involving some pre-determined topic, usually related in at least some way to anime.Panels usually come in two segments, the host puts on a presentation or does an interview with a guest, and then the fans are asked to give questions. The topic scope for panels is varied and can include things from manga to upcoming announcements by an industry. There are also workshops that are like panels but are more geared towards instructions through a major or specific task such as how to draw manga, make computer animation, or how to become a voice actor. Another event at most anime conventions include screenings of actual anime shows that can last through the day.
Anime conventions can also include contests. Contests can focus around costumes (or cosplay), art works (drawn, sculpted, painted), anime-related music videos, video games, dice games, card games, and many other activities. In some cases, tangible prizes have been offered as winnings in these contests. An Exhibit Hall or Dealers' Room is also popular at anime conventions. Publishing companies, distributors, and other proprietors often arrive to exhibit and/or sell their newest products to fans. Wares can include graphic novels, manga, anime media, action figures, apparel or pre-made costumes, music CDs, software, decorations, toys, art books, specialty foods, and many more.
There are also art shows at anime conventions. The shows are similar to those at a traditional museum or gallery. Artwork of all kind is put on display for inspection, and in some cases for purchase/auction bidding, by the viewer. Entry is usually only restricted by space available & registration with the convention. The artist can choose to be present to display, discuss, or take commission in a variation of the art show known as the Artists' Alley. Artists may also include crafts, drawn art, self-published books or video, fanzines, and more.
Cosplay, a portmanteau of the words "costume play", is an activity and performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture, and a broader use of the term "cosplay" applies to any costumed role-playing in venues apart from the stage. Any entity that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject. Favorite sources include anime, cartoons, comic books, manga, television series, and video games.
Otakon is an annual three-day anime convention held during July/August. From 1999 to 2016, it took place at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland's Inner Harbor district; in 2017, it moved to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The convention focuses on East Asian popular culture and its fandom. The name is a portmanteau derived from convention and the Japanese word otaku.
Anime Expo, abbreviated AX, is an American anime convention held in Los Angeles, California and organized by the non-profit Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA). The convention is traditionally held annually on the first weekend of July, spanning the course of four days. Anime Expo is regularly hosted at the Los Angeles Convention Center but has also been held in other cities such as Anaheim, San Jose, New York, and Tokyo. Anime Expo is currently the largest North American anime convention as of 2017.
Comic Market, more commonly known as Comiket and sometimes Comike, is a biannual dōjinshi fair in Tokyo, Japan. It is typically held at Tokyo Big Sight in August and December.
Anime Central (ACen) is an annual three-day anime convention held during May at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare & Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The convention is organized by the Midwest Animation Promotion Society (MAPS).
Kunicon was a series of anime conventions organized by Subarashii Nation and held throughout the United States from December 2004 through June 2005. Originally named "Otakucon", the convention was renamed to "Kunicon" after controversy erupted over the name being similar to Otakon, an anime convention held in Baltimore, Maryland. While Kunicon's original goal was to hold a convention in twelve major cities across the United States, these plans were cut short after 4 conventions as Kunicon continued to be plagued with controversy and cost overruns.
Anime Mid-Atlantic was an anime convention held in June at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, Virginia. The convention was previously held in Richmond, Virginia and Chesapeake, Virginia for several years.
Otakuthon is Quebec's largest anime convention promoting Japanese animation (anime), Japanese graphic novels (manga), related gaming and Japanese pop-culture. It is held annually for 3 days in downtown Montreal during a weekend in August. It is a non-profit, fan-run anime convention that was initiated by Concordia University's anime club, named Otaku Anime of Concordia University. The name "Otakuthon" is a portmanteau of the Japanese word "otaku" and "marathon". Otakuthon strives to be a bilingual event, having programming, the masquerade and the program book in both official languages. The first edition of Otakuthon was held in 2006 in mid-June, but later moved to early-mid August / late July from 2007 onward. Last year's edition, Otakuthon 2019, was held on August 16–18, 2019 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.
SacAnime is a semi-annual three day anime convention held at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California. The convention is the sister conventions to the Sacramento Comic, Toy and Anime Show (Sac-Con) and Bak-Anime.
Otaku USA is a bimonthly magazine published by Sovereign Media, which covers various elements of the "otaku" lifestyle from an American perspective. The issues were accompanied by a DVD featuring three anime episodes but as of 2009 the DVD feature was dropped and the double sided poster feature of the Magazine was also dropped starting with the February 2010 issue.
The World Cosplay Summit, also known as WCS, is an annual international cosplay event that promotes friendly international exchange through Japanese pop culture. In 2012, the WCS was incorporated as a company and until that year was organized by the events division of TV Aichi. It is supported by city organizations, businesses and the WCS student volunteer organization Omotenashi. The parade and championship are held in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan with several related events being held in the Kanto, Kansai and Tokai areas. A cosplay stage performance competition called the 'Cosplay Championship' was first held at Aichi Expo in 2005 and selection of national representatives for the event comes from preliminary and regional rounds held at partnering anime/manga events the respective countries of the participants.
Anime and manga fandom is a worldwide community of fans of anime and manga. Anime includes animated series, films and videos, while manga includes manga, graphic novels, drawings and related artwork.
QC Anime-zing! is an anime convention organized in the Quad Cities. The convention offers anime screenings, video games, a dealers room, guest panels, fan panels, cosplay competitions, and many other events typical of an anime convention. It was first held at The Lodge Hotel in Bettendorf, IA from June 18–20, 2010. Guests for the 2010 convention were Johnny Yong Bosch, Robert Axelrod, Spike Spencer, Eyeshine, and The Man Power. The 2011 convention will be held June 17–19, 2011 at The RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa.
AnimeNEXT (AN) is an annual three-day anime convention held at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The convention was previously held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, and the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, New Jersey.
EvilleCon is an annual three day anime convention held during March at the Old National Events Plaza in Evansville, Indiana.
Ninxa is a youth funded private organization in Bahrain founded to cater and promote the majority needs of Japanese animation (anime), Japanese graphic novels (manga), related gaming, as well as Japanese and Western pop-culture fans in the Kingdom of Bahrain and the surrounding region. Ninxa holds events annually during a Friday.
A doujinshi convention is a type of fan convention dedicated to the sale of doujinshi, or self-published works. Doujinshi conventions are usually referred to as sokubaikai or ibento. Thousands of doujinshi conventions take place in Japan every year, but doujinshi conventions are also held in other East Asian countries, and sometimes outside that region as well.
JAFAX is an annual three day anime convention held during June/July at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel & DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The convention's full name stands for Japanese Animation Film and Art Expo. JAFAX was previously a two-day event held at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan and was organized by the university's anime club and tabletop gaming club (AltReal).
Anime Conji is an annual three-day anime convention held during May/June at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley in San Diego, California.
Crunchyroll Expo (CRX) is an annual three-day anime convention held during August/September at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California over Labor Day weekend. The convention is organized by anime licensor Crunchyroll and Reedpop.
The entire sector known as 'live events,' which covers everything from anisong (anime theme song) concerts to the AnimeJapan trade fair and the Comic Market, a fan-art manga and anime convention better known as Comiket and attended by roughly half a million people, has been dormant since February, causing 2020 revenues to plummet for related merchandising businesses.
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