A voice actor who’s a celebrity in the anime world returns this weekend to Kobe-Kon, a three-day convention that celebrates the Japanese animation style.
And this year’s event, starring Kirby Morrow, is free.
Now in its third year, Kobe-Kon is set for July 12–14 at the Everett Mall. There will be cosplay (costume play), an anime-themed Jeopardy-style game, improv skits, contests, dances, gaming, tournaments, merchandise and artwork.
Morrow, who voiced the character Goku on “Dragon Ball Z” from 2000 to 2003, is returning for the third year in a row to sign autographs, host a panel on how to get into voice acting and lead improv skits.
The owners of Anime World, a chain of mall stores with anime-themed apparel, toys, games and snacks, founded the event to bring fans of comics, gaming and anime together. The convention is named after Seattle’s sister city in Japan.
“It’s basically for the nerds to get together and have a good time without worry about a budget,” founder Jennifer Yuju Hua said.
Kobe-Kon is a more modest version of Sakura-Con in Seattle, which draws up to 25,000 in the spring. Organizers say the Everett event is perfect gateway for convention newbies.
And, with no ticket prices, people can easily stroll by to check things out.
“Other conventions can be really big and overwhelming,” said Bryce Hawkins, an employee at Anime World who helps run the event. “This is better for people who want to dip their feet in.”
The anime-themed Jeopardy game was the brainchild of Hawkins, 21, of Lynnwood. Held on the main stage, three random audience members at a time will have a chance to answer trivia questions about anime subjects such as shounen, a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels.
There will be cosplay contests Friday and Saturday, anime movies and television series showing in the Northwest Music Hall, and booths featuring artwork, merchandise and T-shirts. In addition, there will be card and video game tournaments all three days of the event.
Morrow, 45, of Vancouver, B.C., will lead improv skits based on popular anime lines. Players will write their favorite lines on paper, which they will randomly draw from and say out loud during their skit.
“It’s generally very, very funny,” he said. “It’s amazing when the lines fit with what you’re saying.”
Morrow often travels to anime conventions to sign autographs and chat with fans of “Dragon Ball Z,” a Japanese anime TV show that follows the adventures of Goku who, along with the Z Warriors, defends the Earth against evil.
Morrow said many of his fans are Goku cosplayers, who replicate his character’s spiked black hair and blue-and-orange jumpsuit, and shout his famous attack move — “Kamehameha!”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, email@example.com. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
Kobe-Kon, a three-day anime convention, will be held from noon to 9 p.m. July 12; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 13; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 14 at the Everett Mall, 1402 SE Everett Mall Way. See the event schedule at www.kobekon.com.