By Melissa Reis, Pony Express
In the past decade, conventions for popular culture have started popping up everywhere, for everything. While Comicon may be more widely know, here in Minnesota, Anime Detour is the bigger hit.
Anime is a type of Japanese animation, and Anime Detour is an annual event held in the Twin Cities over March and April. This is the second year the annual anime/manga convention has been held at the Doubletree by Hilton Bloomington. The convention’s popularity has been growing exponentially since it was created in 2004, and this year a few students from Stillwater were lucky enough to attend.
With the growing popularity of the convention, tickets were sold out by the middle of January for the 2014 event. The hotel where the convention was hosted was not nearly big enough to accommodate all of the attendees, so many people had to stay in nearby hotels and take busses or walk to and from the convention.
“This year was amazing when it came to Detour, although we had to stay in a satellite hotel, but it didn’t end up to be that big of a deal because we had a shuttle that we just rode back and forth from the satellite hotel to the hotel that the convention was at,” explained Stillwater Area High School Senior Preston Potthast.
There are also a variety of charity opportunities at Anime Detour. Fundraisers for guest voice actors or other causes close to the heart of a beloved conventioneer often get a lot of attention at these events.
“There is always a cause we focus on,” Junior Emma Bliven said. “Like last year we helped a voice actress named Carrie Savage with a medical problem, and a year or so before that it was towards tsunami relief.”
The convention itself consists of a variety of events, including gaming tournaments, a StarCraft competition, premieres of anime music videos and, of course, FanFiction contests. Another common and celebrated tradition of Anime Detour is “cosplay,” in which people dress up as a character. Cosplayer Competitions are one of the biggest events of the convention, second only — and barely — to the masquerade ball.
“This was my second time attending Anime Detour and I really suggest to anyone who hasn’t done anything like that to try to make it to Anime Detour,” Junior Ben Reeves said. “There is plenty to do there from the amazing panels to the just general hanging out of the people at the (conference). The first day I went as a the boulder from ‘Avatar,’ and the second day I went as Equius from ‘Homestuck.’”
This piece is brought to you by Hoof Prints, a partnership between The Gazette and “The Pony Express,” Stillwater Area High School’s student newspaper.