Barbados’ biggest cosplay festival Anime-Kon is back with a bang, creating opportunities for the island in anime-tourism.
On Saturday anime lovers flocked to the hallowed halls of Harrison College, at Crumpton Street, for Anime-Kon.
Vendors and cosplayers told Barbado TODAY that they could not wait to be outside again, especially for the resurgence of Anime-Kon.
Co-0wner Omar Kennedy told members of the media that with Anime-Kon contributing largely to the pop culture economy, he wanted to continue to build out the potential for Barbados.
“The pop culture industry is one of the largest industries in the world. It encapsulates Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood, the sports that people watch – all of that falls under pop culture and is one of the largest industries in the entire world and we want to create a pop culture hub right here in Barbados for the Caribbean and further beyond,” the 2022 delegate to E-Sports Insider said.
He said they were simply excited to be back.
“We are happy that the restrictions are lifted that things are getting better, that we can hold something for the fans because the fans have really been clamoring for it,” Kennedy said while speaking from a classroom.
He explained why they decided to move Anime-Kon to Harrison College as opposed to its last location, which was Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in 2019.
“The last thing we want to cause is a super spreader by being in an enclosed location so we do love LESC, they are fantastic but this time we are going to try something different but in the open air,” he said.
Meanwhile, Marc Gibson of All-Uh-Wi Comics, which is a platform that allows comic readers to read authentic Caribbean comic books from a mobile device, said that he was simply glad to return.
“It’s amazing to be back at Anime-Kon, it’s amazing to see so many vendors, so many creators, fans, geeks, coming through to see this experience. I’m super happy to see that Anime-Kon is back, so credit to Omar Kennedy and his entire team for making this happen after such a long wait,” he said.
Fan of Naruto, 16-year-old Eva Medford depicted the character Itachi from the popular anime.
“I love coming to say hi to others who have the same interests as me and that makes me happy,” she said.
She added that she’s ecstatic that she can express her creative side without judgement.
Keva Griffith who portrayed Yumeko Jabami from Kakegurui said that there was no doubt she had to play that character from the popular animation, which she explained is about rich children who gamble at school for fun.
Griffith said that she couldn’t wait to be back to cosplay.
“I’m very happy and very delighted that I get to be who I want to be again. I feel like if you suppress ones creation and their abilities it will have a very bad long term effect. You should let people be who they want to be – it doesn’t injure anybody – let them be,” she said.
Meanwhile, organisers of Anime-Kon have been exercising their corporate social responsibility through donating passes for persons who had it hard because of the ongoing pandemic, as founder Kendall explained.
“There were some exhibitors and some patrons who just could not afford to come this year as well, so Anime-Kon offered some grants and just gave a few free passes to persons who have been with us from the beginning,” he said.
“Those who we know have fallen on hard times because after people have supported us for so long we want to give back and to develop the industry. We are not just here to have an event and just make money, we want to develop the industry,” he added. (MR)