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Tsubasacon draws anime enthusiasts

Sep. 28, 2008 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Hundreds of anime fans came to the Riverfront Ballroom and Conference Center at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena Saturday dressed in garb that might have raised some eyebrows.

But for those that were there, the costumes are well-known for being in Japanese-animated cartoons and video games.

Zack Brumfield and Lauren Riddle, both of Huntington, went all out to portray video game characters Vincent Valentine of "Final Fantasy VII" and Midna of "The Legend of Zelda." The two also said they've been to all five Tsubasacon events, the Mountain State's three-day celebration of Japanese animation.

"It started with video games and has grown to anime," Riddle said. "I'm very interested in Japanese culture. (Anime) is just so different than American cartoons."

Jerad Bailey, head of the publications department for Tsubasacon, said it's grown every year, and the turnout for the weekend was looking strong.

"Friday was our most successful by far," Bailey said. "So far, our numbers are really high."

He said the event, which is touted as the first and only in West Virginia, has grown in popularity since it started in Charleston five years ago. This year's is the third straight in Huntington.

Those at the event had a chance to meet Robert Axelrod, a successful voice actor who is best known as the voice of Lord Zedd from "The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" movies and "Digimon" series.

There also are rooms showing anime television shows and movies, a CosPlay masquerade Saturday night and a video gaming tournament.

The event concludes today, with hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission today is $15, but many people bought three-day passes for $40. For more information, visit www.Tsubascon.org.

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