Entertainment Corner: Anime California Attracts over 3,000

  • (photos by Lucia Flores)
  • (photos by Lucia Flores)
  • (photos by Lucia Flores)

by Lorena Flores and Lucia Flores
September 3, 2014 • 292 views

Orange County

Anime California 2014 debuted with a crowd of over 3,000 attendees for its first year. The convention was held at the Hyatt Regency in Orange County from August 22-24, 2014. This was the inaugural year for the brand new convention that brought together thousands of anime fans, cosplayers, gamers, and industry guests to celebrate Japanese animation and pop culture.

During the convention, several main events took place. One such event was the Team Lift XMA: World of Weapons: Stage Fighting presentation. Guest of Honor Team Lift XMA demonstrated weapons of combat used on stage and in movies.  Safety was of a high priority and the panelists displayed the proper way to handle each weapon (so as to avoid injury). Additionally, the audience was also shown how they could apply such skill during real-life emergency situations.

Another popular main event that took place that weekend was the Voice Actors’ Roundtable.  This panel featured prominent industry voice actors Todd Haberkorn, Christina Vee, Natalie Hoover, Kira Buckland, and Cherami Leigh. Important topics of discussion included the pros and cons of voice-acting, insight into the auditioning process, and the challenges of working in the industry.

One of the most popular main events that weekend was The Masquerade. Contestants enter the Masquerade and show off their cosplay and sometimes perform skits for the audience.  Anime California’s first Masquerade featured 21 entries (both individual and group) and highlighted some of the best cosplays that weekend. The Masquerade easily posted the highest attendance of the convention.

AMV Contest, or Anime Music Video contest, highlighted the talents of editors who cut scenes from their favorite anime to music. The art of editing these AMVs requires skill in timing and storytelling. There were several genres in which participants could enter their videos. Those categories included comedy, horror, action, drama, and parody. The winners were announced during the Masquerade event.

Of the Industry and Fan panels that took place during the convention, one of the most noteworthy panels was conducted by cosplay group Chocolate Covered Cosplay. In their “Diversity in Cosplay” panel, they spoke about the issues of race and gender in regards to cosplay. They also discussed the issue of cosplayers being discouraged to dress up as their favorite character because of what others may say.  The members of Chocolate Covered Cosplay all agreed that cosplay brings people together; all forms of beauty should be celebrated, not judged.

Another popular draw was the Cosplay Industry Discussion Panel. Cosplay is the act of dressing up as ones favorite character and often involves fully replicating the outfit of the character you are portraying. The discussion featured well-known cosplayers Missyeru, Maridah, Okageo, Shawshank, Space Pizza, and Dustbunny. The panelists gave advice on how to turn a cosplay hobby into a business and spoke of the legalities surrounding costume and image rights. They also mentioned the importance of not underselling oneself and spoke of their previous experience in working with big companies and what they learned so far during their time cosplaying and working as professionals in the industry.

Overall, the offering of a variety of panels, workshops, and events proved to make Anime California’s inaugural year a success. With the potential to grow and expand its offerings, Anime California is sure to return next year with even more gusto. For more information on Anime California, visit www.animecalifornia.com.

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