The forums have been abuzz since '07 with news of the Twin Cities' first anime convention, Kakkoicon ("cool con" in Japanese), and it has finally arrived, turning the Sheraton Bloomington into a three-day portal to Tokyo (or at least the fun, pop-culture parts of it). If you consider yourself otaku (a.k.a. a super-nerd), here you'll find a crowd of folks who'll appreciate your newly sewn Spike Spiegel costume or share your hatred of Yu-Gi-Oh! And if your only anime knowledge comes from reruns of Dragonball Z, there's plenty here to expand your horizons, from a parapara (a choreographed Japanese "line dance") competition, to a tea party celebrating Gothic Lolita, a Japanese youth fashion emphasizing lacy Victorian sensibilities. Vaeidos, a bilingual band with heavy J-rock sound and members from both L.A. and Kyoto, headline the musical entertainment. The background of any successful Con is its guest list, and for its inaugural year, Kakkoicon has assembled an impressive one: Yaya Han, a nationally successful costume designer and cosplay model; Michael McConnohie, writer of Samurai Pizza Cats; and ninjitsu master Major Carl Fury are but a few of the most intriguing. Smaller rooms host panel discussions about yaoi (manga or anime dealing with gay relationships), 3-D animation styles, survival horror games, and gender politics in Japanese pop culture. The biggest attraction, however, is the Kakkoicon 109 Fashion show, a judged costume competition sure to highlight the latest in sculpted hairstyles, improbably large swords, and teeny skirts. For more info visit kakkoicon.com.
Aug. 1-3, 2008

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