After their last convention in the summer of 2012 at the DoubleTree Hotel, Bak-Anime returned Jan. 20, at their new location: Bakersfield Marriott hotel, downtown by the convention center.
This year, the event was held for over 1,400 attendees; most of them dressed as characters from an anime or from popular internet culture.
The attendees who dressed up at the conventions call themselves Cosplayers. Cosplayers comes from the word Cosplay, which is short for costume play.
“It’s kind of nice,” stated Katlyn Ghagan, 16, a student from Centennial High School, “Didn’t think everyone would dress up.” Like many of those who cosplayed for the convention, Ghagan was dressed up as a character named “Feferi” from an internet story called “Homestuck.” She stated that one of the perks of coming to the convention was getting to know people who share the same interest as she does.
“Everyone is really friendly and really accepting, especially when you are in costume,” stated Hannah Witthans, 16, a student from Valley Oaks High School. She stated that this was her fourth attendance at Bak-Anime convention. She was cosplaying as the character “Jack Frost” from the recent Dreamworks movie “Rise of the Guardians.”
Witthans stated that the convention’s attendance has grown in number and that their new location is much more spacious and less crowded than their previous one. She also stated that she saw other attendees from the last year’s convention and that it was really fun seeing them again.
This year at Bak-Anime, the special guest to attend was Roger Craig Smith, the voice actor who voiced Sonic the Hedgehog and Ezio Auditore Da Firenze from the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Fans and admirers stood in line in order to meet and receive autographs from Smith.
From nearby vendors at the convention, they were able to purchase posters and other prints, which had characters Smith voiced, so that they were able to have a proper souvenir autographed by the voice actor himself.
A little after the signing, like previous years, Bak-Anime held a costume contest before the end of the convention. It is where a cosplayer or a group of cosplayers get on the stage and are able to promote the costume they handmade. They also have the chance to perform various acts such as dances, skits, or just simply posing.
Koi Koi Cosplay, a group which is composed of: Corinna Roy (18), Miranda Roy (17) and Elizabeth Nagle (17), won the “Best Performance” at the convention this year. The three were cosplaying as characters from a popular anime titled “Axis Power Hetalia.” This was their second time winning the “Best Performance” at Bak-Anime. They won their awards by dancing to Japanese pop music, taken from the Internet.
Steve Wyatt, the man who plans the Bakersfield Comic Con and Bak-Anime, stated that they would hold their next Bak-Anime once again in the Marriott Hotel. The next convention will last for two days, instead of the traditional one day. Wyatt stated that there is going to be a dance and even more programming than currently scheduled for Bak-Anime.
“People are going to expect a lot more,” Wyatt explained when questioned about the two day long Bak-Anime conventions. He stated that the attendance price will increase,and will make sure that the future events and programs will worth the price they are paying. The current prices for both days are yet to be revealed.
Bak-Anime has a Facebook and is promoted through local newspapers. Through their promotions and with attendees spreading the word, Wyatt stated that they gained a couple hundred more from their last convention. Their next convention will be held from Nov. 2-3 at the Marriott Hotel.