A new convention is expected to draw about 10,000 fans to Fort Worth this weekend, according to convention officials.
Anime Frontier began Friday at the Fort Worth Convention Center and will last through Sunday. Anime is a style of Japanese animation known for its distinct characters.
Marketing director Lauren Dabb said the convention brings together celebrity guests and “an authentic Japanese experience to Dallas-Fort Worth.” Their exhibit floor includes several shops and vendors, with the “Attack on Titan” gallery being one of their main attractions.
“The 'Attack on Titan' gallery celebrates the finale of one of the world’s most popular Japanese comic books. It’s in partnership with the book’s official publisher,” Dabb said.
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This is their first convention in Fort Worth, Dabb said. Initially, it was scheduled for May 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic.
“We work with a lot of Japanese publishers and they asked for Texas. They know there is an amazing fan base here. So, this is by their request,” Dabb said. “And then [in] Fort Worth is the ambiance, the hospitality.”
Several fans lined up outside the convention center about an hour before doors officially opened at 10 a.m. Friday and dressed up as various anime characters. Cori Adkins is from the Carrollton area.
“My favorite thing is to see people be so passionate about whatever show they’re into and how they take to get into character or characters,” Adkins said. “It’s one of my favorite things and that’s why I love anime in general because you have such a wholesome and respectful community.”
With thousands of fans in town, Dabbs said the convention is expected to be a boost for businesses like hotels and restaurants nearby along with the vendors participating in the convention.
Sierra Castleberry is co-owner of Todd’s Toys, which launched in February. The Arlington-based company sells collectibles ranging from anime to vintage items.
“It’s just exposure for us across the board like getting our name out there, our products out there,” Castleberry said. “Conventions have really just been like, 'Hey, we know you!' It’s been really cool to see people who have been like, 'We have seen you online….we’ve seen you on TikTok.' That sort of stuff makes my heart, so it’s been cool to be around.”
All Anime Frontier participants who are 12 years old or older are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result to attend. Attendees who are vaccinated may show proof of COVID-19 vaccination instead of proof of a negative test.
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