Kawaii Kon 2012 – Hawaii’s Latest Pop Culture Takes Cartoons & Dress Up to a New Level
The Anime Club at Kealakehe High School attended the Animation Convention in Oahu called Kawaii Kon, or Cute Convention (translated in Japanese). It’s a new pop culture, or a fusion of many urban cultures, mixed with Costume Play or Cosplay and the Imagination. This event has become the new Halloween for these youngsters (Ages 6 months to 85 yrs. & thousands in attendance), and the funnest part about it is it’s far from scary!
Costume Play a.k.a. “Cosplay” – The New Halloween For Anime Fans
Walking the halls of the convention center was like walking through Disneyland without rides. The participants dressed in costumes and posed for cameras and interviews, and you could even take pictures with these famous Anime characters and critters from different cartoons and Japanese animation episodes. Characters from cartoons and anime like Pokemon, Adventure Time, Naruto, Dragon BallZ, Star Wars, and more were all in attendance!
The Dealer’s Room – A Merchandising and Marketing “Happy Room” for Kawaii Kon Fans
While standing in line to get into the Dealer’s Room at the convention, I met a lady who is a member of the Anime Club at the University of Hawaii. She had ordered a $300 Cosplay and it hadn’t arrived in time for the convention. This showed me how serious the fans are that join Anime Clubs and attend Kawaii Kon.
The Dealer’s Room is a fun place to purchase Anime Cosplay, plushy toys, jackets with hooded ears, DVD’s, trinkets, and so much more! They only let a certain amount of people in at a time, so the line to get in was quite long…but worth the wait!
These are just some of the Cosplay sold – they were also selling tales, wigs, masks, corsets, gowns, and other types of costumes that you might see in the Anime xxx-holic, Naruto, and more! Even Angry Byrds merchandise was available! Anything that had to do with entertaining a kid was available for sale!
Also in the Dealers Room they were shooting Live broadcasts of interviews with NicoNico and Cosplay characters, as they interacted with the Live audience in Japan!
Merchandising and marketing is a key component to sales success at Kawaii Kon. Kids like to touch, feel, test, hug, and try on their merchandise before buying. Most of these items are not sold in stores, so this is your chance to get something cute, cuddly, and special!
Artist’s Gallery – Amazing Anime Art and Creations
The Artist’s Gallery was also a place where you could buy creative merchandise, but at many of these booths were the artists who made them. They offered to do commissioned art from Charicatures, to designing special Anime characters, and there was even a booth where you could take a picture with a certain background, and make it an ID card…so fun for the people who dressed up in Cosplay!
Jinny Liang (pictured below) was my favorite artist at Kawaii Kon. Her art was fun and bright, and I loved the Pokemon pictures that she drew! Each picture was priced between $10-$20 and people were buying them up like crazy!
Jinny draws Pokemon so beautifully! It was like having a cherished piece of your favorite cartoon on the wall…the colors of art made me feel so happy!
Jinny’s boyfriend, Kevin Yan, was in the booth behind her and he also had amazing art (pictured below). They were both from Canada, and their art had so much energy in it with the colors and anime poses…they were the highlight of my experience in this room!
Gaming and Video Room – Suited For Kids of All Ages!
I saw kids of all ages playing in the video and game room at Kawaii Kon! This place was packed with adults (mostly male) playing all kinds of games from this war-game, to Yu-Gi-Oh card games, to all kinds of video games!
We had a blast at Kawaii Kon and the kids went to as many events as possible! They had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe with some of the voice actors, then went to the event called “Ask an Anime,” which was an interactive Q&A with the voice actors from some popular anime, and we all attended the Butishake Dance…that was super fun!
Here we are dancing to funny Japanese videos at the Butishake (pictured below) – with hamsters singing songs and foreign boy bands from Korea, China, and Japan…they even had a Conga line going a few times! The positive energy with all the kids being there having fun really made the event a huge success!
Interested in Kawaii Kon 2013?
We hope you get to go next year to Kawaii Kon 2013! Angel Rumbaoa, Administrator for the event, said that he may add more fun events like a Cosplay Parade and more, which would be super fun for all to enjoy!
You can visit www.kawaii-kon.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-register for the next big event! Hope to see you next year at Kawaii Kon!