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All things anime: Convention draws together people who love the art style

“Maids” perform a choreographed dance for attendees of a Maid Cafe at a Con-Jikan Anime and Gaming Convention. (Courtesy of Joseph Shaul)

Con-Jikan was created to celebrate all things anime and video game and bring together the people who love them.

The anime and gaming convention celebrates its seventh year. It begins Friday, Nov. 22, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 24, at Embassy Suites. Many attendees of the Con-Jikan Anime and Gaming Convention show their love for intricate anime characters by dressing up like them as cosplay. Those interested can sign up to compete in the Cosplay Masquerade on Saturday, Nov. 23.

“They generally give us an audio file that they’ve prerecorded,” said Justin Brough, Con-Jikan founder and current chair. “Usually there will be a skit or some music on it and they will go on stage to whatever is on that audio file. In a way it can be like how wrestlers have theme music that they walk out to so it can have that element where they play music pertaining to the character they are cosplaying from or they may have pre-recorded a skit that they will act out in cosplay as the character. There’s a lot of fun stuff that goes on at the masquerade and at the end of it all we will give out prizes to the attendees we felt did the best work on their cosplay, were favorites of the audience, and put on a great performance.”

There were will be four professional cosplay artists in attendance as well as voice talents Cassandra Lee Morris of “Persona 5” and “Sword Art Online” and Faye Mata of “Konosuba” and “League of Legends.” Morris and Mata have done voices for a number of popular anime and video game properties.

Also holding panels will be Media Glitch and Anime Anonymous. Media Glitch is a local content creation team that has a show on public television and has its own YouTube channel. Anime Anonymous is a panel group from Arizona that does panels in and around the Southwest at different anime conventions. In addition to the panels there will be an exhibitors hall featuring 25 artists and about 15 different exhibitors. There will also be Cosplay Chess, video games, board games and Maid Cafes.

“You have cookies, you have other light food fare and each Maid gets assigned to a round table of patrons and there will be games where tables will compete against each other like, I think they have done a rock, paper, scissors before,” Brough said of the Maid Cafes. “In between the games and the drawings and stuff, the Maids will convene on the stage and they’ll perform choreographed dance routines to J-pop or K-pop. At the end of the cafe there are photo sessions where you can take pictures with the maids.”

The public can get a free preview of the convention from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22.

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