Anime made its mark in Red Deer at TsuruCon 2014 held at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School on Saturday.
Shawn Hansen, president of the Otafest Film and Cultural Festival Planning Committee, a hugely popular Calgary anime convention, said the Red Deer event brought him back to his roots.
“This is very much reminiscent of how a lot of the bigger conventions started,” said Hansen on Saturday, who attended TsuruCon.
“It may seem like it’s not much now but give it time, and if you can be consistent with the event, then people start to find out about it.”
Word of mouth is key, not just social media, he said.
About 105 people attended TsuruCon that showcased movies and film in the style of character drawing used in Japanese graphic novels called manga.
Panel discussions, vendors, classes, a dance and of course a cosplay contest had anime fans strutting in costumes representing their favorite characters.
Grade 11 Lindsay Thurber student Brittanie Penner, one of the TsuruCon organizers, said she has made about 10 costumes as a professional cosplayer.
She said some misconceptions about people involved in anime persist.
“Adults look at us with that weird, ‘what are you doing with your lives sort of look.’ I don’t think they understand the community and the support that comes with liking anime and the culture behind it,” Penner said.
Grade 12 student Keziah Barnes Armstrong, said anime has that — anything is possible magic.
Having visited Japan on a student exchange, she experienced the popularity of anime in the country where it all began.
Amber Traynor, 19, of Red Deer, who was dressed as character Miku Hatsune, said she likes the detail required in anime, as well as the gore and fight scenes.
Brooke Traynor, 14, who attends school online through John Paul II Catholic Outreach School and was dressed as Rin Kagmine, said she’s drawn more to the magical girl anime.
Jei Wong, with Otafest special events staff, said anime isn’t a stranger to the big screen.
Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki won the Academy Award for the Best Animated Feature in 2003.
Disney distributed The Wind Rises, also by Miyazaki, last year.
“Obviously there’s recognition from Disney, which is a strong player in the animation scene. They realize the quality of the animation and the story line,” Wong said.