Anime voice actors entertained enthusiastic fans at the third annual Rose City Anime Festival
An estimated 200 attendees were treated to a casual and intimate environment to meet with the stars behind some of their favourite anime characters.
Fans of all ages spent the day meeting voice actors, competing for cash prizes in both gaming and cosplay, and watching a variety of anime series up on the big projector at the Rose City Anime Festival at the Bailey Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 16 hosted by Anime Hypercubed.
Anime Hypercubed owner Grace Hope’s favourite part of the festival was the guests. Unlike at busier events, fans have the opportunity to interact with the guests without having to wait in lines all day. It is a much more personal and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Hope commented that in previous years’ guests have had a great festival experience: “The guests love Camrose because they’re not being mobbed. They can just be people.”
This year was no different. “I think there’s pluses to the smaller conventions, much less crowding, and first dibs at all the merchandise,” said guest speaker Sean Chiplock.
Chiplock enjoyed the opportunity to entertain over the course of the day by working off the enthusiasm of the fans.
Being able to get to know guests on a personal level in a more casual and intimate setting is something a smaller event could offer fans that is much more difficult to achieve at larger events said Chiplock.
“It’s one thing to sit and listen to someone talk for an hour and a half, it’s another thing to be able to ask the questions that maybe you weren’t comfortable asking in a more public setting.”
The benefits of the festival are not exclusive to fans. Guest speaker Kira Buckland said that small conventions with only a handful of guests allows you to better expose your work to new fans who may have never heard of you before.
“To have a con [convention] actually come to me and be like ‘we are specifically interested in having you’, that was a huge honour for me,” said Buckland. “Just for the fact that everyone that we’ve dealt with during the whole process has been so nice and so accommodating. That can be kind of rare.”
Chiplock agreed that their experience working with the organizing staff was very special. “They are so nice and kind and it makes me feel like a jerk in comparison.”
They’re just disgustingly good at what they do and I would never ever not come back.”
The anime festival started in 2014 when Anime Hypercubed store owner Grace Hope heard a radio ad about the Bailey Theatre being available for events.
“I tried to convince the Bailey Theatre people to organize one,” said Hope. “and they said, ‘well why don’t you do it’.”
Hope organizes the festival every year with the assistance from her two daughters and continued support from the community. Keeping the festival family friendly and making sure that guests and attendees have a fun experience are Hope’s main priorities.
The Bailey Theatre has worked well as a venue for the event and has proved to be a convenient and safe environment for families. Hope said parents do not need to worry about dropping their kids off for a day of fun. And the festival has the advantage of being within walking distance from the Augustana campus.
In future years, the festival may move out of the Bailey Theatre to the Lougheed Centre if attendance continues to grow. Hope said she feels that it is very important for the festival to stay local to the community of Camrose and surrounding towns.