Owens to host anime conventionWritten by Kristen Criswell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The second annual GarasuNoShiCon will take place July 17 and 18 at Owens Community College.
“It’s a great primer for people who can’t come to conventions or don’t go to conventions. You don’t get overwhelmed by this massive mob of people … you can come in and get a taste of the culture,” said Chris Zasada, convention organizer.
The event is free and open to the public, so it’s a great way to try a convention out, Zasada said.
“People can walk in the door and if they don’t like it they can leave. If they do like it they can try other conventions that are happening around the country,” Zasada said.
GarasuNoShiCon 2010, which translates from Japanese to Glass City Convention, will feature anime as well as other aspects of Japanese culture. The event features two days of anime screenings, video and tabletop games, cosplay, vendors, artists, Japanese snacks, special guests and panels.
The convention will feature screenings rooms both days to view anime. The screenings are designed to give convention attendees a sample of various anime, Zasada said.
“It’s always a Catch 22 — if you screen the popular stuff like ‘Dragon Ball Z,’ people have already seen it or can see it at home, but if you show people new stuff that they never heard of, they’re wary of it,” he said.
Many of the anime screenings feature the work of voice actors at the convention.
Some of the convention’s guests include voice actors Robert Axelrod, Cassandra Hodges and Julie Jensen.
Other guests are musical performers Gavin Goszka, tribute group The Salad Time Soldiers, comic artist Alex Heberling and kimono specialist Kerry Porter.
The convention will host cosplay, anime and manga costuming and role-playing competitions on July 17. Participants will be judged in two categories, costume craftsmanship and performance, said Amanda Cuprys, cosplay director.
Cosplayers often dress up as their favorite characters and perform skits, dances, songs or poems as their character, Cuprys said. The acts are typically funny because that’s what the audience likes, she said.
Dressing up is a fun part of conventions, Cuprys said.
“You meet lots of people who want to talk to you about your costume and want to take pictures with you,” she said. “It’s a fun way to be creative and meet creative people. It adds another dimension to going to the convention.”
Cosplay costume, skit and performance rules are posted on the convention’s website, www.glasscitycon.com. Those interested in performing must submit their skits ahead of time.
In addition to cosplay competitions, the convention will feature Cosplay Arena, an interactive role-playing game.
The game will be on one of the convention’s main stages and uses a projection screen backdrop. The game features two teams of three people on each side, with health statistics for each team featured on the screen.
“Teams select commands to attack, can cast magic and can use potions to heal people that have fallen,” said Aaron Auzins, head of gaming.
“People will be in cosplay outfits with extravagant weapons and they swing their weapons at the air to attack. There is also a magical creature summon option and players point to someone in the audience and they come onto stage.”
“It’s something that engrosses the entire room,” Auzins said.
Another interactive game featured at the convention is Eaten Alive. For a small fee, individuals “get to shoot zombies with Nerf guns.”
The game is a unique experience that can’t be duplicated at home, Zasada said. Individuals must complete a task during the game while zombies are trying to attack them, he said.
In addition to interactive games, the convention will feature a variety of video games. Video games featured will include special games from Japan that were never released in the United States, as well as “Mungyodance,” a dance game simulator, and “Rock Band.”
Nintendo DS competitions of “Jump Ultimate Superstars” and “Tetris” will take place for those who bring their personal Nintendo DS. Additionally, a tournament of “Super Street Fighter IV” for the Xbox 360 and “Rock Band” competitions will take place.
Doc Mack, of the independent gaming studio Galloping Ghost Productions, will bring a prototype of “Dark Presence” a new arcade release, Auzins said. Mack will also host a panel discussing video game production and showcase some of his equipment.
Additionally, panels by voice actors and about how to cosplay, anime censorship, video games and other anime related topics will take place.
Vendors and artists will also sell their products at the convention.
“[With anime DVDs] your best friend is online and online shopping and not everyone is comfortable with that. When you’re talking about collectibles, plushies and figures and that becomes even harder to find. Vendors are a godsend to these people,” Zasada said.
Artists offer one-of-a-kind pieces and will, for a small commission fee, construct characters of individuals own design, Auzins said.
“If you love anime, if you love Japanese culture, if you love video games, if you like any of the stuff involved you’ll want to come out because there will be a ton of it,” Auzins said. “If you’ve never experienced anything like this before, it’s a nice enlightening event, to come out and you see all these people running around in costumes and see all these vendor tables with all these extravagant Japanese items.”
The convention is 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 17 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 18 at Owens Community College’s Audio/Visual Classroom Center, Student Health and Activities Center, Math/Science Center and Center for Fine and Performing Arts.
The event is free, but some optional events require a small fee. The convention will also have a silent auction to benefit the American Red Cross.
For more information, visit www.glasscitycon.com. Program booklets, featuring in-depth schedules, will be handed out at convention check-in.