Animarathon returns Saturday

Paige Crawford and Paige Crawford

From 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. Saturday, March 22, one of the biggest conventions in Bowling Green is back.

More than 4,000 guests are expected to pack the Union for Animarathon XII this year compared to it’s 2,500 last year.

According to the Animarathon website, Animarathon celebrates any and all aspects of anime, related Japanese media, and the overall “nerd culture.”

Every year, Animarathon features an array of events and shows, including video game tournaments, anime screenings, informational panels, a raffle, cosplay competitions and a huge rave at the end of the night. The Dealers’ Room is open throughout the day with anime merchandise for sale.

Amanda King, a lover of anime since she was in 7th grade and a resident of Toledo, was one of the guests in attendance last year.

“Last year was my first year attending the convention but everything was wonderful,” she said. “Everybody was so nice and helpful.”

Senior University student Rachel Gast is the marketing director for Anime in Northwest Ohio [ANO] and member since her freshman year. Gast was in charge of making programs for the convention, securing ad sales, making all the signs, chalk sidewalks, updating social media and will help at registration lines.

“I wasn’t going to stay with ANO until they elected me in December, but I’m glad I did because it has been a very enjoyable experience,” Gast said.

ANO is the University’s only anime club. Membership is open to anyone and there are no dues to enter the club.

There are only nine board members, said Gast, so the other 150 members of the club are encouraged to step up and help out with this enormous convention.

Brennan Lowery, senior University student and member of ANO since 2006, was one of the members to take on a leadership role for the convention.

“I was involved with setting up things for pre-registration, tomorrow I will be setting up the room and tables for the dealers, and I’ll be there from 7 a.m. to midnight helping with anything else that needs to be done,” Lowery said.

This year’s convention will also include the reappearance of the Kawaii Kafé, where members dress up as maids and serve the guests, as well as performances by the Game and Anime Music Ensemble and Hayabusa Taiko.

The highlight of the day will be the special guest, “LittleKuriboh,” a YouTube personality famous for dubbing “Yu Gi Oh.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting LittleKuriboh and bringing my autograph book so I can add his to my collection,” King said.

Regular admission for Animarathon is $3 [includes students] and all children under 12 are free [guardian with child $2].

King hopes a lot of people who haven’t been to the convention before attend this year.

“The people at Animarathon make you feel comfortable. Whether you want to dress up or not, no one judges and is always friendly. It’s been nice to be around people with the same interests,” she said.