Kigacon comes to CNU

Take an inside look at the biggest anime event of the year in Hampton Roads

Anime. Everyone has an opinion about it. From indifferent to truly passionate, anime has fans around the world.

Kigacon, which was held here at CNU from March 15-17 was a testament to how influential the world of anime is on its fans.

From vendors to speakers, to shows and cosplayers, there was something for everyone this year at Kigacon 2019.

I consider myself a casual anime fan. I’m not so gung-ho that I’ve researched all the ways to dress myself as my favorite characters, but I definitely know one or two phrases in Japanese from shows that I watch that I’m known to use sometimes out of frustration.

Going to a convention like this was a first for me, as I’ve never attended any kind of entertainment convention before. 

One of the highlights that I missed attending was the different vendors and artists selling their wares throughout the weekend. From costume pieces to collector’s edition items, there was something for everyone at this convention.

The best part about it all was that the items on sale weren’t strictly related to anime. There were some video games represented, and even some that had no relation to anything! There were tails and ears for those who wanted to dress like their inner furry, or other options for your personal brand of cosplaying.

A sleeper event that shocked me was the AMV showcase. For those who aren’t aware, an AMV is short for “Anime Music Video”. In essence, an AMV is when an editor takes clips from any amount of anime and puts either music or sound effects to create a trailer-like 3-4 minute video. The quality of each video varies, but the ones displayed for the attendees were very high quality.

From an inspirational mix-up of the Marvel’s Infinity War and the anime My Hero Academia, to a somber yet motivational collection of sport anime moments set to the sound track of a Japanese rock song, the videos did not disappoint.

My personal favorite was a song of Bob Ross quotes set to scenes of anime where they themselves were drawing anime. Very meta. The only thing that any of these had in common were that they all gave me goose bumps at one point during their runtime. 

One of the staples of anime conventions, or just of conventions in general, is the presence of cosplayers.

Kigacon definitely had its fair share of cosplayers, and my only regret is I didn’t interview all of them.

I saw characters from Final Fantasy and My Hero Academia, to just some steampunk costume someone spent hours creating. The difference between my usual classmates and their costumed personas was truly staggering. Cosplaying allows some of us to become the version of ourselves we see in our fictional role models. Someone who might be incredibly quiet in your math class may find themselves dressing up as the explosively loud and aggressive Vegeta from Dragon Ball, or that cute girl in your English class may dress up as a grotesque demon from Devilman Crybaby. Cosplaying was out in full force this convention, and in the competition between cosplayers. 

The amount of events at the convention were truly staggering. There were Q&A’s with American voice actors, autograph signings, even a rap concert with an artist who specializes in songs about video games and anime. 

With regards to all the students who didn’t know or go to the convention, the organizer Lauren Lee said, “People, if they come, will realize that there’s so much diversity at this convention. You don’t need to watch all the episodes of Black Butler in order to go to a comedy show here.”

From aforementioned rap concerts to panels featuring well known anime voices, there’s always something available for fans to get involved with, or for people to discover a genre of entertainment they never knew about.

I definitely plan on attending next year as a participant, and definitely not to write a review about activities I would much rather be a part of. And who knows? Maybe there’s a latent cosplayer within me just waiting to be set free.

~Tony Sabia, Staff Writer~

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