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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Karoshi-Con a blast for anime fans

Jonathan Shelby
A group of people stand, looking at booths at Karoshi-Con. Karoshi-Con is the NIU Anime Association’s annual convention and was held on Saturday. (Jonathan Shelby | Northern Star)

The halls of Holmes Student Center are normally quiet on a sunny, Saturday evening. 

However, a huge crowd of colorfully dressed, costumed visitors wandered through the halls, rather than the occasional student or faculty member, to explore the huge, long-awaited event, the 15th annual Karoshi-Con.

Hosted by the NIU Anime Association with other groups and businesses, Karoshi-Con was a one-day anime convention where visitors explored several vendors and activities inspired by popular anime and cartoon shows. 

This year’s Karoshi-Con was held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday across the main floor of Holmes Student Center. 

The three main attractions of the convention were Artist’s Alley, the video game room and the board game room. 

Taking place in the Duke Ellington Ballroom, Artist’s Alley was the heart of the convention. 

Various artists and businesses, some of which sponsored the convention, offered different trinkets and treasures that would have made the eyes of any anime fan sparkle. 

Several stalls were filled with jaw-dropping artwork and huggable plushies of characters from series such as “Pokémon,” “Elden Ring,” “Hello Kitty,” “One Piece,” “Demon Slayer,” “Star Wars,” “Dragon Ball Z,” “Minecraft” and many more. 

One to three people managed each stall with some of them even joining in on the fun and cosplaying as some of their favorite characters as well.

Martin Astter, president of the NIU Anime Association and co-director of Karoshi-Con, is working hard to see the convention grow bigger and better than it already has. 

“We are, basically, slowly evolving more and more,” Astter said. “At the very beginning, we were small, and we had like three to seven vendors in two to three rooms so nothing big. Now, we are expanding throughout the entire second floor and have made deals with NIU Dining and the Asian American Resource Center.”

For visitors who wanted to take a break from the ever-increasing waves of visitors exploring “Artist’s Alley,” they could visit either the video game room or the board game room. 

Held in the Regency Room, the video game room had games and consoles provided by NIU Esports for visitors to enjoy. 

There were consoles such as the “Nintendo Wii” and “Nintendo Switch” visitors could enjoy competing against their friends in a game of “Mario Kart 8,” “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” “Hero Mania” and other familiar games. 

As for the board game room, it was held in Ellington’s restaurant and invited visitors to enjoy some old-school card and board games. 

Some of the games available to play were “Monopoly,” “The Game of Life,” “Uno,” “Operation,” “Clue,” “Trouble” and the “Pokémon Trading Card Game.” 

Philip Henrikson, owner of “There’s Fun In Store” and a sponsor of Karoshi-Con, said he was ecstatic to be involved in Karoshi-Con once again. 

“One day here, it’s just like Christmas,” Henrikson said. “I can’t wait until next year. We always find a way to one-up ourselves and our partnership with Karoshi-Con, so there’s more fun in store.” 

At 7 p.m., once every vendor had left for home after a long day at the convention, any remaining visitors were invited to watch a performance by Imagine, NIU’s idol group, an anime cosplay contest and participate in some difficult anime trivia. 

The characters cosplayed in the contest were from different series such as “Demon Slayer,” “Hazbin Hotel,” “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners,” “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Legend of Zelda,” “Arcane,” “Spy Family,” “Death Note” and more. 

The Karoshi-Con is a huge opportunity for anime fans that also helps to prepare for other, bigger conventions in the future. One can only imagine how it will improve as time goes on. 

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