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New Anime convention comes to the region

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 23 2013 05:16:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 23 2013 05:56:13 PM CDT

The names may not sound familiar to you.

UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. -

The names may not sound familiar to you.

"I'm dressed up as Uncle Iroh from the Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon," said Jerry Glose.

"I'm Flame Princess from Adventure Time," Anna Fogler added.

But to the fans who invaded the Holiday Inn in Breinigsville, they know all about it. This is SaikouCon, the Lehigh Valley's first Anime convention. Anime covers a wide range of Japanese pop culture including comics, animated films and TV shows.

"There is not really a lack of anime conventions in Pennsylvania, but in there is in this part of PA," explained SaikouCon Founder Michael Meade. "We saw a need, we filled it."

SaikouCon means "best convention" in Japanese. Enthusiasts dressed-up in colorfully wild costumes like blue-haired heroines, and red-eyed vampires. Costumed and non-costumed fans get to check out anime, manga and Japanese culture at the convention. Workshops, panels and presentations with voice actors and artists are planned throughout the weekend. There is also a cosplay masquerade ball Saturday night.

"I got into this with my daughter and her friend several years ago, they wanted me to go along, I wanted to make sure she was okay," shared Glose. "They told me if I didn't dress up in a costume that I would be the one that is out of place."

Organizers hope to make SaikouCon an annual convention. They expect about 700 people over the inaugural three day event.

"I came out to come dress up and meet new people who are into Anime and sort of the same interests I have," described Delaney Dunlap.

"Just to dress up and have fun," Keith Esslinger said. "But I know allot of people come here to buy the artwork and get some pillows or whatever they have."

"It just lets me be myself," smiled Fogler. "It just let's me express my inner nerd."

SaikouCon runs through Sunday.