Delaware Anime Society’s Mini-Con to draw a crowd at library

Hundreds of anime enthusiasts attended last year’s Delaware Anime Society Mini-Con at the Dover Public Library. This year’s event is set for Saturday. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Are you a hard-core fan of Japanese culture, someone who’s seen every episode of “Naruto” and read every volume of “One Piece”? Or are you someone who’s wondered what all the fuss about anime is but has never really looked into it?

No matter your level of fandom, the Delaware Anime Society’s Halloween Mini-Con promises plenty of entertainment.

An annual event, the convention has been held at the Dover Public Library since 2014. In many ways it’s a much smaller version of the Dover Comic-Con, an August celebration of all things geek that drew 10,000 people in 2016, just its third year in existence.

The Halloween Mini-Con takes place this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the library’s lobby, multi-purpose rooms and teen loft and will feature a costume contest, panels, video games, crafts and anime. Admission is free.

Anime, or Japanese animation, features a distinct art style. It has grown in popularity overseas in recent decades, and anime-centric conventions like Otakon in Washington (formerly in Baltimore) draw thousands or even tens of thousands of fans.

The expected crowd for the Dover Halloween Mini-Con is much smaller — several hundred people — but the fans are no less passionate.

Unlike the Dover Comic-Con, the Halloween Mini-Con is designed for a certain age group. Specifically, it’s set up for those 13 and older because of the slightly more mature themes present in some of the chosen anime.

“We don’t turn anyone away, but we always put the disclaimer out there,” said Kerri Hollyday, a library assistant who’s helping organize the event.

The Delaware Anime Society hosted several minicons at different venues around the state before adopting the Dover Library as a location. During Comic-Con, the group holds anime exhibits and events in the teen loft, making the fan club and the library a perfect match for the annual Halloween Mini-Con.

Saturday’s event includes a pumpkin carving contest at noon, a costume contest at 12:30 p.m. and a “Soulcalibur V” tournament on PlayStation 3 at 1.

In the spirit of Halloween, there will be screenings of anime featuring ghosts, witches and demons throughout the day in the teen loft. Parents are advised not to bring young children, as some of the shows may be frightening.

The teen loft will also have a craft table, where attendees can make bookmarks, paper dolls and headbands.

Of course, a convention is nothing without its moderated discussions, and so there will be panels as well, held in multi-purpose room B throughout the day.

Speakers will look at the anime “Voltron,” which features a giant robot controlled by humans; the impact of Japanese Navy on anime; how Disney’s purchase of “Star Wars” altered decades of established in-universe continuity (no, “Star Wars” isn’t anime, but its popularity among anime fans means it won’t be out of place at the convention); and Asian ball-jointed dolls.

Additionally, “We have some goodies from Comic-Con that will be given away,” Ms. Hollyday said.

The Delaware Anime Society has chapters in Dover, Wilmington and Philadelphia and hosts several events a year. For more information, visit http://www.delawareanimesociety.com/.

 

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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