Anime Salt Lake returns to SLCC

Kim Higley

Fans browse the offerings of many vendors at last year’s Anime Salt Lake.

On March 22 and 23, “Anime Salt Lake” returns to Salt Lake Community College for the convention’s sophomore year.

Anime Salt Lake takes place on March 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. through midnight. Tickets to the convention are $20 for a single day pass and $35 for a weekend pass.

Students who would like to know more about the convention can visit the official website at www.animesaltlake.com.

One of last year’s biggest SLCC club-hosted events, Anime Salt Lake brings fans of anime and other pop culture entertainment together to share their hobbies.

Attendees can visit fan discussion panels, buy import toys and clothing from vendors, see other visitors in outrageous costumes or even dress up themselves.

“Anime Salt Lake is a nerdfest for the masses,” said SLCC student Dana Graham, convention director of Anime Salt Lake.

Anime is a generic term for Japanese animation such as Dragon Ball Z or Sailor Moon. Even though anime is in the name of the convention, Anime Salt Lake has something to offer everyone.

“Everybody that has anything to do with comic books, anime and video games,” said Graham, “basically, Anime Salt Lake caters to all of that.”

Almost 1,200 people showed up to last year’s event

Graham considers this a great success and says that most first year conventions peak at around 300 attendees.

This year’s Anime Salt Lake offers a variety of events for people to attend, including discussion panels, gaming tournaments and interactive games.

COO-Interactive Entertainment, an Idaho based company, will host a popular zombie event called Dead Town.

“It’s surviving a zombie apocalypse, only you do it with a hundred people in the room,” said Graham.

Participants of Dead Town are given character cards at the beginning of the event. The character cards let the players know their role such as a “healer” or “weak child. Players then have to survive different scenarios to complete the game.

Voice actor Chris Rager is a guest at this year’s convention

Rager’s credentials include Borderlands 2’s Mister Torgue and Dragon Ball Z’s Hercule.

“He’s been in the industry for years,” said Graham. “He’s coming out and doing some panels and he’s helping with the Batsu Games, so you’ll see him making fun of people getting tortured.”

Batsu games are Japanese style torture games akin to MTV’s “Silent Library”. Contestants sign a waiver before playing and have to endure torturous challenges like popping a balloon in their shirt or eating several Oreo cookies filled with wasabi.

“This year we have several panels dedicated to an online web-comic called Homestuck,” said Chris Wilcox, event manager for Anime Salt Lake and SLCC student. “There’ll be a big meet up panel where all the panelists are the figures from the show.”

The convention is a marketplace for locals as well

“Sage Market is coming in and they’re going to be vending there, selling Japanese candy,” said Graham. “We have a huge artists’ alley this year, its two floors. All the artists are local.”

Anime Salt Lake was originally run by the SLCC Japanese Club, but the club dissolved in February of 2013 after their club advisor left the college.

SLCC then suggested that since they couldn’t do the convention as a regular club, the former members could do it as an independent company. Anime Salt Lake is now run by Verses Versus Productions with staff and volunteers, many of whom are SLCC students.

“We have about 30 people on staff,” said Graham. “All of the staff is dedicated to making this the biggest thing ever.”

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