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Animethon brings cosplay, maid cafés and all things manga to Edmonton

By Cynthia Kwan, August 4 2016 —

The longest running annual anime convention in Canada will take place August 5–7 at MacEwan University in Edmonton. Partnering with the Telus World of Science and its Sherlock Holmes exhibit, this year’s Animethon features a theme of “mystery.”

From maid cafés to gaming tournaments and cosplay shows, Animethon aims to cover everything anime and manga.

The convention boasts a long list of international guests, including renowned fashion model AKIRA, Japanese rock band Another Story, Taiwanese cosplayer Misa Chiang and cross-dressing wrestler sensation Ladybeard.

“[Ladybeard is] an australian pro-wrestler who dresses up in maid’s costumes and plays in a rock band,” says Animethon director of public relations Vicki Lau. “He will be selling tote bags and art books as well.”

Fifty vendors will also be at the convention selling merchandise and artwork along with manga and anime collectables.

Animethon is run solely by volunteers. Started in 1994 by the Banzai Anime Klub of Alberta, the non-profit convention grew from a one day event to the popular three-day convention it is now.

“We all are volunteers that work here and we’re essentially fans who are making a convention for fans,” says Lau. “Because of our passion for the community and this type of pop culture, we help build each other and help build the community.”

This year, the popular cosplay contest will introduce the Cross-Play event. The contest will spotlight attendees cosplaying as a different gender.

Japanese model AKIRA will hold a fashion show featuring Japanese Lolita style and DJ Lotus Juice will play a concert on Friday night. The convention will also feature autograph and Q&A sessions with various guests.

“Besides the concerts and dances, there will also be a masquerade ballroom dance. We also have the anime music video contest. You can win prizes in different categories,” Lau says.

Gaming stations will be present at the convention, where patrons can compete and play popular video games in tournament settings. Lau says that the convention has sponsorships with gaming corporations like Microsoft and Bandai Namco. Pokemon Go will feature prominently, with eight Pokestops and two gyms in the area.

“I think it’s going to be really packed because everyone is crazy over Pokemon Go right now, including me. It really brings people together,” says Lau. “I’ve met so many people [through the game]. It’s really nice to have that interaction with other fans in the community to know you’re not alone. It used to be the geeky thing to do and it’s really satisfying to know that a fandom is growing”

Pre-registration tickets are sold out, but day passes to the convention can be purchased at the door. Daily tickets cost between $25 and $35.

For more information, visit animethon.org

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