Gaming fans share passions at Karoshi-con anime convention

By Josh Alfrey @TheMarshawn

Saturday’s Karoshi-con anime convention provided a stomping ground for students to share their love for Japanese culture and more.

Karoshi-con is a free convention run by the Anime Association of NIU. Seventeen vendors were in the convention main hall to sell their wares, which included handmade art from students.

A welcoming atmosphere made the event accessible to even the most casual anime fans.

“It’s a small event that allows people to dress up and come to a family-friendly convention without having to worry if they will fit in,” said Dillon Ford, freshman mechanical engineering major. “You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to come to it and have fun.”

Countless anime fans dressed up as characters from their favorite anime shows, mangas, video games and more.

“[My favorite part is] seeing all of the people coming together, sharing their passions,” said Jacob Crawford, junior at Rochelle Township High School.

Those who dressed up were able to participate in a masquerade and cosplay contests. The competitions showed who truly embraced and understood the characters they were dressed as. The masquerade focused on showing personality through a short skit performed for the crowd while the cosplay contest focused on the craftsmanship and look of participants’ costumes.

Creative and interactive panels were held in the Capitol Rooms, where attendees played games like Whose Line is it Anime? and Name That Tune. Panels like these brought together the students to talk about the stories they love so much.

Anime was by no means the only medium showcased at Karoshi-con, as half of the convention hall was dedicated to a world of gaming. Stations with Nintendo 64, PlayStation and Xbox consoles were set up so attendees could borrow and play games provided by the staff. “Rock Band 3” was one of the more popular games as attendees crowded around to see people in costumes while singing songs like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Along with the video game stations, Karoshi-con featured a handful of video and traditional gaming tournaments. Gamers lined up to get in on competitions in “Magic: The Gathering,” “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” and more.

“I could spend my whole time here playing the games that they have here,” said senior marketing major Alex Schwimmer. “They made this event interesting to people who aren’t totally into anime.”