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Cosplay on display at SeaGate

Glass City Con offers celebration of anime, manga, games

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    Toledoans Nikki Amborski, 10, 2nd from left, and Jessika Letson, 13, pose with characters during the Glass City Con 5 at SeaGate Convention Center in Toledo, Ohio.

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    Professional cosplayers Laura VanArendonk Baugh and Alena Van Arendonk will be among those displaying at Glass City Con.


On Saturday and Sunday, art will spring to life at the SeaGate Convention Center.

Around 1,800 convention-goers will descend on the center for the seventh annual Glass City Con, a celebration of anime, manga, games, and everything nerdy.

The convention will feature an array of panels, performances, and screenings.

The musical offerings entail everything from acoustic covers of anime soundtracks — a genre of animation originating in Japan — to the “nerdcore” rap stylings of 2d6, a Youngstown, Ohio-based group. Nerdcore songs tend to focus on themes considered nerdy, like sci-fi, video games, and tabletop games — the group is named after the “2 six-sided dice” used in Dungeons and Dragons.

The presentations cover some similar ground, with anime soundtrack trivia contests and presentations on specific animes, like Yuri on Ice, an anime about ice-skating. But they also offer a broader range of topics, like aikido, a Japanese martial art, and a historically based panel on Nintendo’s first game, released in 1896.

And the gaming hall will offer everything from retro, cartridge-based game consoles to the modern Xbox One.

But for many convention-goers, the main draw is something they do themselves: cosplay. Cosplay is practice of creating outfits that replicate characters from video games, anime, manga, or other media.

The convention has a cosplay contest, but for many cosplayers, winning isn’t the point.

“My favorite thing is going to conventions is seeing all the people in costumes,” said Preshes Mclemore of Toledo, who was the convention’s official artist in 2016.

Bigger conventions attract professional cosplayers, and some of those might be at Glass City, but most will be amateurs.

Melissa Fleig, cosplay alias Nrrd Grrl Cosplay, of Toledo has been to several Glass City Cons in the past, though she won’t be attending this year.

“It ranges from your more casual ones up to people wearing armor and bigger pieces,” she said. “You don’t really see anything super professional, but people get into it.”

... And Sewing is Half the Battle, a three-person professional cosplay group based in Indianapolis, Indiana, will be presenting several panels, all focusing on teaching the craft of cosplay.

“When you get someone who’s brand new into the community and they’re working on their first costume and they get it and they’re excited, that is one of the coolest things for me,” said Laura VanArendonk Baugh, one of the group’s members.

“It’s a great con, so check it out and support something local,” Fleig said. “If you’re just slightly into something nerdy — it’s a great place to start.”

Contact Victorio Cabrera at vcabrera@theblade.com419-724-6050 or on Twitter @vomcabrera.

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