Cedar Rapids To Host Anime Convention

Posted in: Iowa City Owl
This February, Cedar Rapids is going to see something pretty unique as anime characters will be coming to life as fans celebrate for a four-day convention.
Anime-SPARK! is an "anime convention" that is happening February 16-19, 2012 at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center in Southwest Cedar Rapids. The convention is a festival of events that all center around one thing: an appreciation for Japanese animated arts.

The central event of the convention is called cosplay, which is short for costumed roleplay. Fans of all ages will dress up in elaborate costumes, many of which were made by hand, to participate in events and compete for prizes. The best costumes are entered in the convention's costume contest, with the winner getting a gold medal and the title "Best in Show." Participants are also encouraged to act like their characters, with skits being a big part of the costume contest.

On the whole, however, the costuming is just one of over fifty events, according to convention representatives. Other events include anime showings, fan-lead discussions about specific shows, and video game tournaments.

Another big draw to the convention is the guest list, which includes two voice actors, two bands, and two special event guests. The voice actors have done voices from American shows like Timon and Pumba, Jonny Quest, Spiderman, TMNT, and Robot Chicken to Japanese animated tv series' including Dragon Ball Z and Bleach.

The convention just recently announced two bands who will be headlining a concert on Saturday night of the convention. Atlas On Strike is a new four-piece pop-punk band based in Minneapolis, and Cascade Nightmare is a local band that covers songs from anime shows.

Another big focus is the Formal Ball, with beginner's dance lessons held prior. There is a techno/electronic dance held both nights as well.

"There will be all kinds of people there, having a ton of fun," said organizer Jesse Larson.

Anime-SPARK! is one of only two local events centered on the fandom that surrounds Japanese animation, with AnimeIowa being the other held in late July in Coralville.

The event will be at the Clarion Hotel at 525 33rd Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids.

Attendance to the event costs $35 at the door for the entire weekend.

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