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Published: Thursday, 10/25/2007

Japanese animation to draw enthusiasts to Bedford library


TEMPERANCE - They're international stars of television, video games, and the movies, and can pull off the spiked neon hair look better than any rock musician.

The bug-eyed characters of Japanese anime, a genre and style of cartoon animation, have amounted to a growing cultural phenomenon in the United States during the last two decades.

In recent years they also have become a fail-safe way to draw a couple hundred youths and young adults to the Bedford Library on a weekend afternoon.

The library's Anime Club will host its biannual convention Saturday in a six-hour celebration of Japanese culture, video games, novels, cartoons, and all things anime.

Anime Harvest 2007 will run from 4 to 10 p.m. and feature demonstrations of Japanese cooking, martial arts, anime character drawing, as well as anime-themed video games and movies.

Author and illustrator Mark Crilley of Novi, Mich., who has created dozens of anime-inspired cartoon books and novels, is scheduled to give a presentation.

"We're trying to do more Japanese culture classes this time," said librarian Heidi Neil.

Now in their third year, the anime conventions are the library anime club's marque projects, routinely attracting as many as 200 visitors from throughout southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.

The Bedford branch of the Monroe Public Library is located at 8575 Jackman Rd. in Bedford Township.

Club members range in age from 13 to 28, and most are in high school or are recent graduates.

They hold their regular meeting the fourth Friday of the month at the library, during which they watch anime movies, play video games, and hold quiz competitions, Mrs. Neil said.

The meetings are often centered around themes, with members dressing up as anime characters.

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