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West Jordan Journal

Anime Convention Brings Cosplay Teens Out in Droves

Aug 23, 2016 04:51PM ● By Mylinda LeGrande

Teens dressed in cosplay show off their costumes –Mylinda LeGrande

By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]
The Viridian Event Center was filled to the brim with teens from near and far dressed up in cosplay. Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
The fourth annual ToshoCON event was held on July 29-30. The word Tosho means book in Japanese. 
“We originally chose Sukoshicon because it means small-con [in Japanese] until we got an email from a convention in Georgia, who emailed us that they already were using the same name, so we changed it,” said Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, senior librarian over teen services, for Salt Lake County Library. “We really do encourage literacy and reading throughout the events. A lot of these characters are based on a book.”
Luke Roberts, from Park City, came with his friend to ToshoCON. 
“I found out about this event from a summer camp I went to,” he said. “We probably will just go to all the panels. I just found out about this event 36 hours ago.”
Kayla Hayles was dressed as web comic, Eridan Ampora.
“My cousin went to this event last year, and cosplay is a thing I really like so I said, let’s go, why not, and it’s free anyway,” she said.
On Friday, July 29, the biggest event was a contest where teens edited and made their own videos. Teens could also make anime crafts, including buttons to wear and yarn characters.  There was an anime art contest set up in the lobby. Teens posed for cosplay pics in a DIY photo booth.
Another option was to attend the teen-hosted panels, of popular comic books. Some of the panels included dressed up characters from comics “Undertales,” “Mystery Shack in Back” and “RWBY,”  and “Iwatobi Swim Club,” a popular anime group, hosted a pajama party.
Upstairs, video gaming was hosted by Utah Games Guild. Josh Sutphin and Christopher Hart hosted the games. 
“I’m working on this game, part of a showcase put on by Utah Games Guild. They worked with the library to bring this to this event,” Sutphin said.We try to get local game developers out at events like this where they have contact with the public to test their games.”
Saturday, July 30, featured a costume contest, a karaoke lounge and snack bar, and manga giveaway. Manga is a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels.
Teens enjoyed more panels from their favorite comics including “SAO: Nights of the Blood Oath,” “Miraculous Ladybug,” “Attack on Titan” and “Ouran High School Host Club.”
Viewing rooms were provided to watch popular anime videos including “Haikyuu!!,” “My Hero Academia,” “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” “Ouran High School Host Club,” “RWBY,” “Free! Iwatobi Swim Club,” “Assassination Classroom,” “Your Lie in April,” “Sword Art Online,” “Fairy Tail” and “Attack on Titan.”
If that wasn’t enough to occupy the participants, a huge marketplace featured commercial and teen artists and sellers of all things anime. Brynnlin Smith, anime artist, sold commissions of favorite characters.
“I learned how to draw myself. I have a few art teachers, but I’ve always loved to draw,” she said. “People can tell me a character they want and I can draw it for them. I can do head, bust or full body shots.”
A parent’s lounge was provided after library open hours so parents could relax and wait for their teens.