Anime convention provides niche for students

Carlynn Hickenbotham

Asian American Culture, a Campus Events + Entertainment committee, hosted its first anime and comic book convention hybrid in the Tuesday night SAC second floor ballroom in order to offer anime lovers a chance to meet like-minded individuals on campus.

A free event open to all students, Attack on Comic Con featured Asian snacks, a photo booth and a cosplay contest, with a Pikachu onesie going to the first place winner. 

Business freshman Van-Anh Van-Dinh, the event coordinator for the student-run event, said she wanted to provide a space for students interested in these topics to meet and mingle. The name of the event is a play on the popular anime series “Attack on Titan.”

“I feel like a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to express their interests in anime or comics or sci-fi, and this is a way for them to just be themselves and to cosplay,” Van-Dinh said.

Landscape architecture graduate student Kevin Jeffery said he is new to Texas and was grateful for this event because he wanted to meet other anime fans.

“I am relatively new to the Austin area, but I’ve been going to cons in the D.C. Northeastern area for a really long time,” Jeffery said. “I really wanted to get involved in a local cosplay community, and I figured this would be a good opportunity to learn about what’s going on in Texas.”

Several members of AAC said they felt there is not enough open acceptance of anime and other similar interests for students. Jeffery said he did not talk about his cosplay habits with his friends.

“It’s kind of a dirty little secret,” Jeffery said. “But when I get [to the convention], I feel like these are my people, so I’m able to be more open.”

Anthony Israel, a recent UT graduate, said more anime conventions should happen on college campuses. 

Israel said it would give students who have left all of their friends in high school an opportunity to meet other nerds.

“It’s a good way for people to find other people like them, especially on college campuses,” Israel said. “I think it’s a pretty good thing to do, so students can start networking and start building a support base. In high school, you have friends you’ve made throughout the years, but then you get out of high school and you need to find friends, and I think it’s small college conventions like this that will help you do that.”