Published Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008 | 11:55 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008 | 10:15 a.m.
Attention Las Vegas people-watchers: You thought the costumed crowds at the Star Trek and Cher fan conventions were good stuff? Make sure to hang around the Renaissance Hotel this weekend -- here come the anime fans, gathering for the fifth annual three-day Anime Vegas Convention Saturday through Monday. Anime Vegas describes itself as "a nonprofit organization to promote awareness of Japanese culture and entertainment in Las Vegas, providing a public forum for those, who share an interest in anime, a subculture of Japanese animation fans."
Aside from the usual meet-ups and seminars -- and the Saturday and Sunday night rave dances -- the main point of anime gatherings is "cosplay," short for costume play, a sort of performance art with participants outfitting themselves in elaborate costumes and accessories in homage to a favorate character from anime, manga, comic books, graphic novels, video games, fantasy movies and more. It's big in Japan.
Contestants at Anime Vegas may compete for top prize in three categories, action, drama, or comedy. Top prize in this case includes: three assorted DVDs, one assorted T-shirt, a "Tales Of Vesperia" videogame for Xbox 360 and matching collector’s edition poster.
Seminars include "Super Studs of Anime," with "a wall-to-wall invasion of voice actors: Justin Cook, Jerry Jewell, Lex Lang and Travis Willingham"; "Celebrity J-Bingo," with all the numbers called out in Japanese and English; "Starting Your Own Hobby Store," with Derrick Taylor of the Comic Oasis in Las Vegas; "Cruel Angel Dance Thesis" and an adults-only "Gamer Girls Panel."
Poolside events on Saturday include "Splashdance Para Para Poolside" at 9:30 a.m. (proper swimsuit required, otherwise you may dance on the patio"; "Karaoke Idol" at 10:30 a.m.; and the "Zatoichi Blind Swordsman Ramen-Eating Contest" at noon.
It all sounds like fun, and the rules for this convention are particularly amusing:
Anime Vegas strives to be a family-friendly event. Please keep all costumes PG-13. If you are not sure your costume is appropriate, please contact the Masquerade Directors.
Hall costumes are just that: costumes meant to be worn in the halls. Please consider other convention attendees before you decide to wear 6-foot wings or carry around gigantic props while in high-traffic areas.
All live steel, firearms, open flame and paddles are prohibited. If it's real, it's not allowed! Wooden practice swords are ok, but may be subject to peace bonding.
No play-fighting or drama at the dance. Offenders will be escorted out of the dance and may face having their badges TAKEN AWAY.