Anime convention brings out character

Lennon Nguyen (23), of Dunedin (front) is watched by (from left) Greg Henderson (19), of Auckland...
Lennon Nguyen (23), of Dunedin (front) is watched by (from left) Greg Henderson (19), of Auckland, Lucy Morris (19), of Dunedin, Angela Nicol (25), of Christchurch, Jessica Woodward (19), of Auckland, Steph Musson (19), of Christchurch, Matt Foster (19), of Dunedin, Amanda Robinson (19), of Christchurch, Alice Peng (18), of Auckland, and Kelly Simpson (20), of Christchurch. Photo by Craig Baxter.
You have read the comics, watched the cartoons, bought the toy characters, traded the cards, played the video game and seen the movie - so what's left?Dress up as your favourite fictional character, that's what.

And that is exactly what hundreds of people did as part of first anime (Japanese animation) convention, which was held at the University of Otago campus in Dunedin this weekend.

As part of the convention, anime fans were encouraged to make and wear costumes (cosplay) based on their favourite characters - and they didn't disappoint.

Fluorescent wigs, wooden sandals, fans, imitation swords, and parasols were all on display, and behind the scenes safety pins held some of the last-minute touches to the costumes together.

"Safety pins are our best friend," Alice Peng (18), of Auckland, said.

Asked just what the attraction in anime was, Matt Foster (19), of Dunedin, could not have provided a better answer.

"It is like a parasite - once it gets in, it can't get out."

More than 500 anime fans from as far afield as Auckland attended the conference, with the organiser hoping it will turn into an annual event on the Dunedin calendar.

"The response has been great; the energy has been great," Bill Geradts, of Christchurch, said.

"We will definitely be back."

Mr Geradts, who also runs the New Zealand Armageddon Expo, said anime was growing in popularity every year and attracted a passionate type of fan.

In addition to dressing up as their favourite character, conference participants were given tips on costuming by a panel of experts, took part in a quiz, sang karaoke and turned heads on North Dunedin streets.

A drawcard of the conference was the appearance of American voice-over artist Johnny Bosch, as well as stall-holders selling a diverse range of goods from toy characters to imitation swords.

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