Anime conference Karoshi-Con caters to gamers

By Arthur Aumann & Sabreena Saleem

The fifth Karoshi-Con will feature 11 panels, including voice actor Lucas Schuneman’s revamped presentation on anime and video games.

The convention is run by the Anime Association, is 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday in the Holmes Student Center. The 11 panels will take place 10:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., with some panels overlapping others.

Alumnus Schuneman said he has been involved with Karoshi-Con since 2010, though he wasn’t able to attend last year’s. His panel used to be called “Who Wants To Be a Voice Actor?” and was divided into sections for anime and video game fans. The panel is now called “Wait A Sec…! You Do VOICES?!,” and it will cater to anime and video game fans at the same time, he said.

“The video game audience is very different from the anime audience, I’ve found over the years,” Schuneman said. “Not gender, not age, not cosplay or not — just a completely different audience. I’ve found they have different questions.”

Karoshi-Con will also feature a video game room with tournaments featuring games like “Super Smash Bros.” and “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” with prizes for the winners. Tournaments for card games like “Magic: The Gathering” will also be hosted.

There are 18 scheduled vendors who will be selling art, stuffed animals and apparel from anime and video games, which aren’t too expensive, said Jasmine Cannon, Anime Club president and senior hospitality major.

Karoshi-Con organizers will collaborate with music competition Battle of the Bands. The events will share the Holmes Student Center, with doors opening for the battle at 4 p.m.

“This year we are also trying to coordinate with Battle of the Bands to try and get some live music for the convention,” Cannon said.

Karoshi-con also features a cosplay contest where people dress up as their favorite character from a video game, anime, manga or movie and compete to see who has the best costume. Lay Chau, junior public health major, is in charge of the cosplay competition and said participants are judged on quality, creativity and sometimes their ability to improv.

The convention isn’t exclusively for die-hard anime fans as “it’s a convention for nerds” and the goal is to bring together people with the same hobbies, Cannon said.

“Even if I wasn’t working it I’d go,” said Nicholas Bimmerle, junior computer science major. “It’s hard to find people with similar interests and this is something that brings them together.”

Karoshi-con attendance has grown every year, with about 400 people attending last year, Cannon said. She said the convention may become a weekend-long event.

“I’d encourage people to give it a try,” Bimmerle said. “Worst case is you lose a few hours, the best case is you meet some new friends.”