In its ninth year, Animekon, Barbados’ sole pop culture convention has gotten bigger and better.
More than 4, 300 patrons came out for the four-day exhibition, themed World of Wonder, which featured cosplay, games, comics, movies and more. There was fervour and excitement in the air as children and adults gathered for the annual event to also get a glimpse of actors such as Kevin McNally, famously known for his role in Pirates of the Caribbean, Olivia Olsen from Adventure Time and Manu Benett who is a familiar face in the CW television serious Arrow as Deathstroke.
Patrons immersed themselves in the culture, eager for a purchase of Japanese Ramen or sushi, while small pockets of girl groups were at the sidelines dancing to Korean pop tunes by Hyuna or BTS, or huddled around exhibits eager to purchase character pins or t-shirts. Famous characters such as Harley Quinn, Sailor Moon, Goku, Black Panther and Arrow could be see wandering the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre halls.
Co-founder of AnimeKon Inc. Omar Kennedy told Barbados TODAY that they were extremely pleased with the record numbers in attendance in this year. He recognized that as the convention neared a decade there has been a growing interest from Barbadians and those throughout the region. The exhibition was not solely attracting anime fans but a new type of enthusiast.
“We are now finding persons who are not typically purely into the pop culture but they watch the movies. [Although] they might not read the comics or the video games, they are coming out as well,” Kennedy said.
He stressed that the pop culture extravaganza needed to be incorporated in the national events calendar, as participation and interest grew annually with groups from countries such as Trinidad, St Lucia and the United States stopping in Barbados to attend.
“On the annual calendar for Barbados, you have the Reggae Festival, you have Crop Over, you have all these different things going on. It would be wonderful to have AnimeKon as a national event where it would be pushed from a Governmental level. Not just Barbadians but people outside will come to Barbados because AnimeKon is the biggest and best pop culture convention in the region,” Kennedy remarked. (KK)