Anime is not just for geeks anymore. In fact, what was once a esoteric cult of Anime and Manga fans has become more mainstream than many people realize. Anime began as a Japanese influenced form of animation with hard to track down videos and dvds. It is now everywhere, supported by a huge, enthusiastic and diverse assemblage of incredibly imaginative fans and fanatics.
Anime is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of “animation.” In English-speaking countries, anime refers to a style of animation originating in Japan, characterized by colorful graphics, sometimes with adult themes. This writer thinks that the popularity is due to the rich and fantastic stories and characters anime utilizes, which are invariably far from the mundane and coarse offerings of commercial television and movies. Survivor and Big Brother may be “reality” television, but those shows are tepid amusements compared to the places Anime shorts and Manga comic books can take you.
“Comic and anime conventions are like a sleeping giant,” says Jon Wynn, Berkshire Anime organizer and owner of MediaCrash, one of the main sponsors of the convention. “There’s always been a subculture that is interested in comics and animation, but it has really exploded in the past few years.”
In Japan, people of all ages read manga, a form of comic books. The medium includes works in a broad range of genres: action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business/commerce, among others.
Some 400 people are expected to attend the region’s first large-scale comic, gaming and pop culture gathering set for May 4-6 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield. The hotel is rolling out the red carpet, and has priced rooms at a reasonable $99 a night for out of state participants.
The convention will feature creators of anime and manga, artists, vendors and exhibits, panels, workshops and gaming. The events will showcase comics, costumes and animation with a focus on all aspects of Japanese anime, manga and pop-culture. Costume contests and art shows will be open to all.
There was a time when geek appeal was something to be avoided, but today, nerd culture is the epitome of high style. With huge turnouts attending comic conventions like Comic-Con in San Diego and New York City, Berkshire County will no longer be left behind.
The Berkshire Anime & Manga Club, a local group devoted to Japanese comic books and animation, are hosting this first ever local convention over the May 4-6, 2012 weekend. The gathering, called BamCon – is shorthand for the Berkshire Anime and Manga Convention.
Alex Sorensen, one of Berkshire Anime’s founding members,remarks, “Anime and pop-culture conventions are happening worldwide and growing in popularity; we hope that the first annual BamCon is no exception.”
Tickets and Logistics
Advance ticket prices are $30 for a three-day pass, $20 for Saturday only, and $15 for Friday or Sunday only. Half-price tickets are available for children under 10 (must be accompanied by an adult); and children under 5 are admitted for free. There is also a 15% group rate discount for groups of 5 or more who buy tickets together. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.bam-con.com. Tickets will be $5 more at the door. The Crowne Plaza is offering a discount hotel room rate of $99 per room per night for convention attendees.
There is a growing list of special guests who will take part in BamCom including:
Rob “Lord Zedd” Axelrod
Robert Axelrod has carved a career in show business that runs the gamut. He has appeared in over thirty feature films including four with Charles Bronson, the Sci-Fi hit remake “The Blob” with Kevin Dillon and many others. Television appearances include guest star roles on “Amazing Stories”, “Star Trek Voyager”, “Tim And Eric’s Awesome Show”, and “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Mr. Axelrod is also a busy voice over artist. He is the voice of Lord Zedd and Finster on the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”. The Lord Zedd voice is one of the most recognizable character voices around. He voiced Armadillomon and Wizardmon on “Digimon, Microchip, The Punisher’s sidekick, on “Spiderman”, Rico on “Robotech”, and has voiced countless Anime features including “Akira”, “The Big O”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Brain Scratch”, et al. As Lord Zedd, he starred in both the first Power Rangers feature film and the wildly popular live show that toured the country. He was a regular character on Saban Entertainment’s “Wowser” series (as Ratso Catso), “Journey To The Heart of the World” (as Scarface), “Hallo Spencer” (as Elmer), and more. He just finished narrating the mockumentary “Safety First: The Rise of Women and voicing four Anime series, “Gaiking”, “Danguard Ace”, “Captain Horlock”, “The Adventures of Nadja”, and “Fist of the North Star”.
Stephanie Yanez is an American Jpop singer, Virtual Idol of Japanese anime avatar site TinierMe.com, and Anime Expo’s AX Idol. She has toured all over the States and in Japan. She has been seen on T.V. as the Tokyo Reporter for Anime Select’s Comcast On Demand documentary “Crazy Sexy Tokyo”. Miss Yanez has released numerous CD’S and singles which are all on iTunes, Amazon,etc. She has worked with Crypton Future Media, Gcrest, Aniplex USA, I’VE Sound, Geneon USA, Victor Entertainment, and Broccoli on numerous projects. She has opened up and shared the same stage with Kotoko, Yousei Teikoku, and Nikka Costa.
+2 Comedy is a unique comedy trio unlike anything currently in the stand-up comedy world. This original form of stand-up comedy is created solely for nerds. Their comedy is on such topics as Star Wars, video games, comic books, Anime, D&D and the like. Their show, which can run from 30-90 minutes, consists of stand-up comedy as well as a Q&A with the audience where they answer questions like, “Could Boba Fett take the Cloverfield monster in a fight?” “Who is the best character to use Virtual Fighter?” and “What is the greatest movie trilogy of all time?” +2 comedy has reformed at the VGXPO in Philly as part of Wikicon, in Ohio at Anime Punch’s Armageddicon, in Baltimore for Otakon, Kotoricon, Sangawa Project, Anime Syracuse, GKE and Zenkaikon as well as clubs across the country, so don’t be left out!
The Chibi Project
The Chibi Project will be on hand for BAMCon 2012! Come meet this intrepid team of scientists and check out their latest experiments and attempts at chibi destruction. The Chibi Project will also be hosting Anime Unscripted at this year’s BAMCon.
Live Action Sailor Moon the Movie
The Live Action Sailor Moon Movie cast and crew will be appearing at BAMCon 2012. Come meet the creators and cast of this amazing film project.
In just three short years, Droo has taken literally thousands and thousands of photos of cosplayers from all over the world. He is a feature photographer and advisor for cosplay culture magazine Super Kawaii. He has attended many conventions and continues to win the admiration of cosplayers and costumers with every click of his camera. His passion and love for what he does shines thorough in his photos. Look out for his “funtography” booth at conventions everywhere. His work can be seen on his Facebook account or on deviantART. Get ready to be “shot by Droo”!
Greggo’s Game Shows
Greg “Greggo” Wicker produces and hosts game shows for anime conventions across North America, and now we have him at BAMCon 2012! Try your luck at Anime Password, Anime Joker’s Wild, Anime Knockout and more!. Come test your anime knowledge and join the fun!
The D20 Girls Project
200+ active girls in over 70% of the United States, 400+ geek girls across 100% of the US including Alaska and Hawaii, The D20 Girls Project is a volunteer-run, community-based, community-driven, grass roots project, eager to bring about a more prominent, positive, realistic female presence in gaming communities, including the horror community. They will be on site at BAMCon.