Ani-Me Con 2017 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

March 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Ani-Me Con 2017, March 18-19th @ the Big Fresno Fairgrounds in Fresno California.

For my latest convention report for 2017, I traveled to Fresno, California for this year’s Ani-Me Con.

Attendance was just over 7,000 for the weekend, making this year their biggest convention yet.

Some of the things you would have found at Ani-Me Con this year included the live action role playing of “Terras Wars”. As well as Ani-Me standards such as the collector card game tournaments, comedy acts, band performances, panels, dance crews and a rave on Saturday night. And also a cosplay contest that took place on both days plus a fashion show.

Special guests include voice talent Erik Kimerer, Sarah Annie Williams and Erika Harlacher and on Saturday there were panels on voice acting, experiences in the industry and autograph signings.

Band performances by “Coast in the clouds” and “Light of mine” and on Sunday a performance by the band “For the record”. Artist panel was by Hyperbooster studio who displayed his talents including drawing manga and also there was a comedy act by Vanna Vandal.

There were three different dance crews on Saturday which include “Empire Dance Crew”, “Royal T”, “Corps Dance Crew” with their hip-hop sailors scouts routine, which was a lot of fun to watch.

On Sunday we had singing and dancing performances by “Lovely Rushers”, who I think did a fantastic job, even though they were not the last act onstage on Sunday, they were a hard act to follow.

On Saturday and Sunday, Ani-Me hosted a cosplay contest. I am really impressed with the level cosplay that’s happening in the Central Valley. From beginner to advance, people are putting a lot of effort and a lot of thought into the costumes of their making. This year they had a fashion show on Sunday, featuring the designs of Miss Alphabet. Very colorful, very fun and the presentation was done very well, quite impressive.

Overall, Ani-Me has definitely grown compared to last year. I have lightly touched, on a lot of the different things that was available at Ani-Me Con.

I haven’t talked about what was on the main floor all the different items that were for sale at reasonably market prices. Like items from Japan, PVC figures, hoodies, games, card games and etc.

The convention had an artists alley with very talented artists. Cosplayers had tables where they had on display items from their different costumes. On display were props, where they could talk about how they made it and the process of what they went through and also giving tips to other people that are interested in making props and costumes.

It was a pleasure to return to Ani-ME Con this year. It will be interesting to see what they do with next year’s event.

Photos By Derek Orchard

Visit the Ani-Me Con 2017 Photos Gallery

Bak-Anime 2017 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

March 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Bak-Anime 2017 February 25 and 26 at the Kern County Fairground in Bakersfield, CA

The 9th annual Bak-Anime, Bakersfield’s one and only Anime convention was held in the final week of February 2017.

In previous years, the event has been held in a much smaller venue which they had outgrown. I have gone to other events where they had changed locations and the new locations were really too big for the event.

From my personal perspective, it was a smart choice for the convention to make the move, as there were plenty of dealers and plenty of attendees.

In fact, Bak-Anime had a record attendances with over 3,500 attendees.

The dealers room was not too crowded and t was really easy to shop around and find deals if you are looking for something special. And for those who were hungry, a Okamoto Kitchen Japanese comfort food truck and Pappa John’s Pizza were there on hand.

Bak-Anime 2017 had a returning favorite, Actor/voice actor/composer/singer/producer Vic Mignogna. And new to Bak-anime, Actress/voice actress/Producer Cherami Leigh and Voice actress/gamer, Danielle McRae.

On Saturday only, David Yost, Karan Ashley and Walter Jones from the “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” were special guests at the event.

All the guest had panels and were available for signings.

All the lines seem to move pretty fast, I thought everyone was having a good time.

Pro Lab gaming was there at Bak-Anime for the video game tournaments, Paladins Game Castle and the Gaming spot sponsored the collector card games, demos and other hobby games.

They also had their 4th annual swap meet which is an event only for fans. On Saturday night, they had their late night electric dance party open for all ages. And on Sunday, the event had an art contest.

There was plenty a Cosplay to be seen throughout Bak-Anime 2017.

There were plenty of people walking around in different costumes from anime, comics, video games and movies. On Saturday afternoon, Bak-Anime 2017 had an adult cosplay contest, where just about everyone had skit or a dance routine that they did. And I actually think there was an actual marriage proposal that happened during the contest.

On Sunday, they had another cosplay contest which was for the kids only. Even though the kids had help sometimes, it is really amazing to see all the talent that is out there. People with the skills to make these elaborate and awesome costumes.

I have personally been really impressed with how Bak-Anime has continued to grow and has been so well supported by the community out there in Bakersfield.

I really do think it is a show that is worth your the time , even if it is just for one day.

If you’ve never been to a “Anime con” or a “Comic-Con” this would be a great first time show to get a taste of the con experience.

More Photos By Derek orchard

J!-ENT SPECIAL & PICTORIAL FEATURE: Ani-Jam 2011 by Dennis A. Amith (Interviews with Hannah Minx, DJ Jinnai, Sheik Chan, Elliet and Garrett Jost + Pictorial)

October 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We tend to cover a lot of major events all over the world and I know that most of the time, these are metropolitan-based events.  But I have been asked if I would cover smaller events and would I cover an anime or sci-fi convention.  Well, because these major conventions take a lot of our time, we rarely have the time in our schedule to cover anything else.

But I decided that I needed to give these smaller events a try.  Our staff members have covered smaller comic-book conventions, Bot-con to other entertainment events… But there was one event happening near where I grew up.  Where I went to college and where a lot of my friends live.  The event is ANI-JAM in Fresno, California.

I went to this event thinking, maybe I’ll stop by for an hour, meet a few people and take off (that is if the event was not happening).  But I was captivated by the people I met…there is a lot of kindess at Ani-Jam.  They were welcoming and the coolest people I’ve met at an event and while I was take pictures of people in costume (cosplayers), people were coming up to me and asking for photos (which is the opposite at major events).  And people were kindly waiting and being very respectful.

How awesome is that?  So, I had to contemplate how I was going to write about this event.  I was planning to do a blog post but I thought how unfortunate that these smaller events, they never really get covered.  Maybe by local media, but that’s it.

So, I decided that I wanted to do something different this time around.  Do a special feature and pictorial for Ani-Jam.  Give a smaller event a chance to be in the spotlight and possibly continue this and check out other events around the country or the world and give them the spotlight.  Yes, I know it’s difficult with so many major events happening but for this small event in Fresno, California… I had a lot of fun.  It may not be a perfect con or have the clout of its medium and larger sized counterparts, but it was a fun event.

So, this special feature is Japanese animation and cosplay related.  It’s a bit different from what we are used to covering on J!-ENT but if you are fan, I hope you enjoy this special feature.  It features YouTube star Hannah Minx, DJ Jinnai, cosplayers Sheik Chan, Elliet and Garrett Jost and also other anime related topics.

I hope you enjoy this special feature.  Click here to download our coverage of ANI-JAM 2011.