By ANDREW OMRAN
Conventions offer fans the opportunity to dress up as their favourite characters while bringing elements of the industry to life.
This was the case Jan. 21 and 22 when an anime convention was held in Downtown Kitchener, giving residents reason to believe that the hobby is a growing trend in the area.
Anime is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of “animation.” In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons.
The earliest known Japanese animation dates to 1917 and many original Japanese cartoons were produced in the following decades. The characteristic anime style we know today was developed in the 1960s and became known outside Japan in the 1980s.
The oldest known anime in existence is from 1917. The two-minute clip is of a samurai trying to test a new sword on his target, only to suffer defeat.
The first feature-length animated film was released in 1945.
In the 1980s, anime became more accepted by the mainstream in Japan, resulting in more production.
Following a few successful adaptations of anime in overseas markets in the 1980s, anime gained increased acceptance in those markets in the 1990s and even more at the turn of the 21st century.
Today, anime has a large audience in Japan and is recognized throughout the world. Distributors can release anime via television broadcasts, directly to video or theatrically, as well as online.
Both hand-drawn and computer-animated anime exist. It is used in television series, films, video, video games, commercials and Internet-based releases, and represents most, if not all, genres of fiction.
Anime is currently popular in many different regions around the world.
The convention in Kitchener was the first of its kind to take place in Waterloo Region, but organizers feel that this may be the beginning of the next big annual event.
Some of the events at the convention included Smash Bros. tournaments, both Melee and Brawl, Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh! and Magic the Gathering CCG tournaments. Several anime where also shown including Star Driver, Digimon and Lil Pri.
About 300 gaming, anime and comic book fans came from across Ontario for the convention, but organizers are hoping to add horror and science fiction next year and turn the convention into a major event.
What does this mean for Kitchener?
The convention creates more revenue for the city through sponsors and souvenirs.
For families, a new, annual convention would create wholesome entertainment.
As with most forms of entertainment, anime can also be uncensored and thus, takes away from the “family” aspect of the event. If organizers consider this and handle it appropriately then there is no reason to believe that the result wouldn’t be a hit that fans remember for years.
Most importantly, the convention makes fans and citizens more aware of a trend that flies under the radar in this area while it booms elsewhere.