Anime convention turned into real world dollars

Laura Dux
Laura Dux
Joyce Shinoyama
Joyce Shinoyama
Sean Akita
Sean Akita

By Paul Drewes bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Thousands gathered in Honolulu for an anime convention, that gave them a chance to enter an entirely different made up world.

While Kawaii Kon convention-goers lost themselves in their fantasy films and comics, in the real world, local anime retailers are dealing with the reality of the recession.

Fans came dressed as their favorite anime alter-ego.

"You can act like them and it feels like you are someone else, sometimes," said Mililani resident, Laura Dux.

"People like to have their favorite characters and dress up like them. It is another art form," added Kawaii Kon Chairman, Stan Dahlin.

Art is what this convention was all about.

From art on paper, to characters acting out art in real life.

Japanese animation or anime, along with manga or japanese comics, are drawing in more and more people to these art forms.

Not just by looking, but gathering together to share their passion.

"There are a lot of asians that live here and they connect with anime. It's a really fun thing to get into," said Joyce Shinoyama, of Honolulu.

Tiny anime drawings are turning into big business for many local retailers.

But the recession has also reached into this fantasy world.

"From about September of last year, we've seen sales drop," said Sean Akita, the owner of Mechahawaii.

People are still buying, but now they are looking for less expensive items from their favorite shows.

"The business as a whole is suffering like everyone else," said Dahlin.

That is why, some may see this as a chance for fans of anime to gather and share with each other, but retailers also saw this convention as a big boost to sales.

"It helped any retail establishment to be here. The convention catered to a specific crowd, it was right up our alley, and it helped a lot," said Akita.

At Kawaii Kon, fans were happy to have a place where they feel right at home, no matter "who" they wanted to be.

The anime convention is an annual event held in Honolulu, and has grown every year. Even though this one has just ended, next year's is already being planned - and held in April of 2010.