UPDATE: This post is from Calhoun County Insight. Learn more at: https://calhouncountyinsight.com/
The 7th annual AnniCon will bring cosplay competitions, martial arts demonstrations, anime trivia, special guests, and so much more to downtown Anniston. The twelve hour event is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am on February 24 at the Anniston Meeting Center. This one-day celebration of Asian cultures is fun for all ages and is free to attend.
AnniCon is a non-profit event hosted by the Spirit of Anniston, according to AnniCon founder Kim Westbrooks. “The event has grown so much over the years, from a library event to a community-wide festival, it would not be possible without the hardwork and dedication of the AnniCon Planning Committee volunteers,” she says. “We are hoping to have crowds exceeding 3,000 this year,” Westbrooks says. AnniCon has continued to grow in popularity and attendance since the first event was held at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County in 2012. This year, you can expect more than 45 vendors at Annicon including new and returning vendors. “There will be leather jewelry, anime art, and many unique Asian-inspired creations that can only be found at AnniCon,” says Westbrooks. Local and regional food vendors will also be on hand.
Vendors and the main stage will be set up in the Anniston Hall (the large meeting space at the Anniston Meeting Center), and three other meeting rooms will be open for other attractions. In the Annicon Gaming Room you will find popular Japanese video games including a Pokemon League Challenge. “Other collectible card games, board games, and video games will be freely available throughout the event,” says Westbrooks. The anime room is the place to find a constant stream of anime shows.
Westbrooks says, “The anime room will be streaming new and beloved episodes of anime all day, thanks to the free Crunchyroll streaming service for conventions.” One of the most popular events at Annicon returns this year, the Cosplay Contest. There are multiple categories for different age groups and different types of costumes. Cosplay is the art of dressing as an anime, manga, or comic book character. Martial Arts demonstrations, provided by Ted Turgeon’s Taekwondo Studio, JSU Judo Club, and Heflin Taekwondo, will also be presented on the main stage.
Special guest Jennifer Cihi, the voice of Sailor Moon, will be at Annicon to speak to attendees about breaking into the acting industry and give out autographs. Learn about the Chinese language from JSU Librarian and Professor, Hanrong Wang, and have your name written in Chinese. Other historical and educational opportunities will be available. “History and education abound with real relics and information from the Berman Museum, and action-packed history lessons from JSU History Professor Dr. Llew Cook and JSU Asian History Professor Dr. Helen Kaibara,” says Westbrooks. Yoga, belly dancing, and origami will all be found at AnniCon 2018.
You can also expect live music. “Musical groups include Guardian of Troy, a metal band performing a tribute to anime and video game music, and The KBK, an Asian-inspired apocalyptic surf punk band,” says Westbrooks. “JSU educators, the Berman Museum, library professionals throughout Calhoun County, and many avid anime fans have volunteered their time to give AnniCon attendees an opportunity to have fun and expand their world through educational, immersive experiences, Westbrooks says. In fact, an anonymous underwriter has covered the cost of the Anniston Meeting Center for the event.
AnniCon Gaming Room
The AnniCon Gaming Room will be set up and accessible in a meeting room outside of the main meeting space. “The AnniCon Gaming Room is ran by the JSU Tabletop and CCG Club, organized by James King,” says Kim Westbrooks, AnniCon founder and Chair of the AnniCon Planning Committee. “Popular Japanese video games will be featured, including a Pokemon League Challenge” Westbrooks says, “Other collectible card games, board games, and video games will be freely available throughout the event.”
Pokémon League Challenge / What You’ll Need:
- Copy of Ultra Sun or Ultra Moon
A total of 8 gyms leaders must be beaten to access the Elite Four. Gym leaders can be challenged with any team, any number of times. Gym leaders will then give you a symbol of your victory. After obtaining 8 symbols, you may challenge the Elite Four. The Elite Four must be beaten with the SAME team of six, or your challenge must start over with them. They too can be challenged as much as you need. Matches will be set as singles and at level 50. One certain gym leader, however, may require you to team up with another trainer to beat them.
- Banned Moves: Double Team, Minimize, Fissure, Guillotine, Horn Drill, Sheer Cold. OU bans Baton Pass, but it is allowed here.
- Banned items: Blazikenite, Gengarite, Kangaskhanite, Lucarionite, Metagrossite, and Salamencite
- Banned Abilities: Power Construct, Shadow Tag, and Moody
- Banned Pokémon: Aegislash, Arceus, Blaziken (normal and mega), Darkrai, Deoxys (all forms), Mega Gengar, Giratina (both forms), Groudon (Primal and normal), Ho-oh, Mega Kangaskhan, Kyogre (Primal and normal), White Kyurem, Landorus, Mega Lucario, Lugia, Marshadow, Metagross, Mewtwo (normal and mega), Naganadel, Necrozma (Dawn, Dusk, and Ultra forms), Palkia, Pheromosa, Rayquaza (normal and mega), Reshiram, Mega Salamence, Shaymin (Sky Form), Solgaleo, Xerneas, Yveltal, Zekrom, Zygarde (complete form).
Anime Viewing Room
The Viewing Room at AnniCon will be located in a smaller meeting room off of the main room. Kim Westbrooks, AnniCon founder and Chair of the AnniCon Planning Committee says, “The anime room will be streaming new and beloved episodes anime all day, thanks to the free Crunchyroll streaming service for conventions.”
Shows that will play throughout the day in the AnniCon Viewing Room:
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Sailor Moon Crystal
- Black Clover
- Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
- Black Butler
- Soul Eater
- Food Wars! the 3rd Plate
- RWBY Season 5
- DragonBall Super
- Juni Taisen: Zodiac War
- Attack on Titan season 2
Cosplay is a fun way to celebrate anime by dressing as your favorite anime, manga, or comic book character. Participants have a lot of fun with this event by competing for prizes in their category.
- Group – made up of two or more contestants wishing to be judged together* Teen Group (ages 13- 17)*
- Adult Group (ages 18 and up)*
Youth – Ages 12 and under (youth groups will remain under this category)*
Teen Closet Cosplay – Ages 13 to 17, 50% or more altered clothes, purchased pieces, and props (i.e. what we call a “closet cosplay”)*
Teen Crafter – Ages 13 to 17, 50% or more hand stitch/handcrafted. (i.e. using a bolt of fabric, patterns to create a costume from raw materials, or creating a prop from raw materials)*
Adult Closet Cosplay – Ages 18 and up, 50% or more altered clothes, purchased pieces, and props (i.e. what we call a “closet cosplay”)*
Adult Crafter – Ages 18 and up, 50% or more hand stitch/handcrafted. (i.e. using a bolt of fabric, patterns to create a costume from raw materials, or creating a prop from raw materials)*
Exhibition – Exhibition is any pre-made purchased costume, or any costume to be presented without being judged. Any age may enter. No prizes will be given to exhibition. This category includes personal character designs (i.e. Original characters)
*Judges have the ability, based on their assessment of your costume, to move you up or down in categories as they see fit.*
- Prizes will be given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category, except Exhibition.
- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Overall
- Judges Choice, one for each judge.
About Jennifer Cihi
Jennifer Cihi has been performing since she was a young girl in San Jose, California. Before reaching her teen years, she landed the role of Pepper in the National Tour of Annie. After establishing herself as a Broadway performer, she moved to Los Angeles, where she honed her skills as a professional singer. Without skipping a beat, Jennifer made the transition from stage to screen playing the lead singer on Nickelodeon’s hit TV show Roundhouse. When not belting out ballads on the small screen, she was performing openings with legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith at the Hollywood Bowl. Some of her most recognizable recordings have been the famed Hot Pockets national jingle as well as national jingles for TV’s Third Rock from the Sun and Suddenly Susan.
While in L.A., Jennifer landed the coveted title role of the English dub singing voice for the hit anime series, Sailor Moon. Her songs quickly became popular and cultivated a huge fan base. To this day, she is still being invited regularly to perform at national anime conventions. Just over a decade ago, Jennifer said goodbye to Hollywood and made her home in Nashville, Tennessee where she is still singing. She has done extensive studio work here in Music City and performs with corporate party bands, where she was introduced to renowned musician/songwriter Tommy Sims. She was invited to work with Donna Summer as a backup vocalist. Jennifer’s creative soul and compassionate heart extends beyond the stage. Between gigs, Jennifer can be seen volunteering, working as a personal chef, and creating her own jewelry line. Whether on stage, screen or serving others, Jennifer continues to rock her career as a professional singer!