Kobe-Kon is newest Northwest anime convention at Everett Mall

Kirby Morrow

The Everett Mall will be a draw for die-hard anime fans this weekend.

A new Northwest anime convention all about the popular style of Japanese film and television animation is July 7-9 at the mall. Yes, it’s being held in a mall.

Kobe-Kon — named after Seattle’s sister city in Japan — will feature anime celebrities, cosplay (costume play), dances, gaming, merchandise, contests and tournaments.

The convention was founded by the owners of Anime World, a chain of mall stores in Washington state that offer anime-themed apparel, toys, games and snacks.

“Traditionally, when you go to a convention, it would be in a convention center or hotel,” said founder Jennifer Yu Juhua, who is Chinese. “After going to so many conventions, that can tend to get stale. We are mixing things up this time.”

Seventeen years ago, Juhua opened an Asian pop culture store in Alderwood mall. Her customers introduced her to the world of anime.

“I got a lot of customers who like anime,” she said. “I had no idea what they were talking about, so I went to an anime convention in Seattle. I said, ‘Oh my Lord, this is different.’ Everyone was dressed up like Japanese characters. It was like they were in their own world. They were so happy, so innocent, and having a great time.

“That’s how I got involved in anime. After that, we changed our direction into anime culture, instead of Asian culture. We just dropped into a totally new world. We opened our first store in Everett and just expanded from there.”

Several anime celebrities will be there to pose for pictures and sign autographs for fans, including:

Kirby Morrow, a Canadian actor, voice actor, writer and comedian. He is known for his voices as Miroku on “InuYasha: The Final Act,” Teru Mikami on “Death Note” and Goku on “Dragon Ball Z.”

Katie Stuart, a Canadian actress who is best known for her roles as Cassandra on “Stargate SG-1,” Maria in “She’s the Man” and as Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat in “X2: X-Men United.”

Sage Brocklebank, a Canadian actor and producer. He is known for his role as Buzz McNam on “Psych” and appearances on “Smallville,” “The 4400” and “Supernatural.”

Alex Zahara, a Canadian actor, director and producer who is known for his voice work in “Gintama” as Shinsuke Takasugi and in the “Gundam” series as Lockon Stratos. He also co-starred in “Once Upon A Time” as King Midas.

Mall access won’t be restricted due to the convention.

If you go

The three-day anime convention will be held noon to 9 p.m. July 7; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 8; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 9 at the Everett Mall, 1402 SE Everett Mall Way. There will be plenty to do at Kobe-Kon.

An opening ceremony with a traditional Chinese dragon dance is noon on Friday. A closing ceremony is 2 p.m. Sunday.

Contests and tournaments include kids cosplay, adult cosplay, anime skits, Name That Anime, Final Fantasy-style fights and trading card games.

Arcade, video and tabletop (card and board) games will be available to play in various gaming rooms. Cosplay chess will be played on a lifesize board from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday.

A Mascarade Ball will be held 9:30 p.m. to midnight and a K-pop Till You Drop Concert will be held 7 to 11 p.m. Friday. The concert will feature performances by K-pop (Korean pop) artists Nomtom, Joe Lee/Metoo, Konsoul and Loki. A Skylight Anime Dance is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

Events with celebrities include a question-and-answer session (10 a.m. to noon) followed by time for autographs and photos (1 to 4 p.m.) and a VIP dinner (6 to 8 p.m.) with fans Saturday. The catered dinner is $50 per seat. There also will be time to meet with celebrities from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

A manga (Japanese graphic novel) library will be open all weekend. An Artist Alley and Vendor Hall will offer anime-themed art, apparel, toys, games, gifts and more.

Three-day passes to Kobe-Kon are $20 or $30 for VIP in advance. Prices go up to $30 or $80 for VIP after July 6. Kids 5 and younger get in free with a registered adult. Buy passes online or at the door.

For more information about the “Konvention in the Mall,” go to www.kobekon.com.

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