Campus & Community

Stevens Hosts Largest Anime Convention to Date

Recently, Stevens welcomed a wide variety of anime fans as the Stevens Anime Club hosted its fifth annual Castle Point Anime Convention (CPAC).  The convention, which was held in several different venues on campus, consisted of 14 hours of nonstop card games, tournaments, video showings, game shows, karaoke and shopping. 

Divided into 17 rooms, there was never a time during the day that there weren’t at least seven events happening at once.  Upon arrival, guests were provided with their passes, schedules and additional information such as main attractions for the day and local restaurants in Hoboken.  An opening ceremony also supplied convention-goers with basic information on the day’s events.  As the day progressed, the campus was buzzing with costume-clad anime fans.

Topping the list for guest appearances was Uncle Yo, a unique stand-up comedian who often performs at conventions across the U.S. similar to CPAC.  Specializing in segments involving anime, comic books, video games, live action role playing games, Star Wars, role playing games, and manga, Uncle Yo is notorious for his panel discussions and game shows in addition to the stand-up.

Workshops and panels were held throughout the day as well.  One guest states that he comes to conventions because he is able to “get knowledge from the workshops that just isn’t available online.”  From Pokemon to Convention Etiquette 101 to Pronto Comics (a networking collective dedicated to helping independent creators to self-publish) the panels varied greatly to spark large amounts of interest. 

For competitive anime fans looking to battle or enter tournaments, hours of open gaming and tournaments were available the entire day.  Everything, including card games, board games, Pokemon battling, Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments, Magic Draft games, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl, had its place at the convention. 

Steve Chisolm, head of the card and board game room, explained that each tournament had about 20 people per round. 

“The number of entries nearly doubles that of last year,” he said.

The Cosplay Dating Game, sponsored by New York Anime Picnic, proved to be one of the more attractive events for guests.  The event was formatting like any typical dating game, where a bachelor or bachelorette asked questions to three bachelorettes or bachelors in order to choose a date.  However, at this game, all contestants and audience were dressed up as anime characters.  New York Anime Picnic, an organization that eventually hopes to have their own convention in New York City, “Big Apple Anime Convention,” hosted the event and entertained the lively crowd.

One of the most popular attractions at the convention, the Dealer’s Room and Artist’s Alley, was held in Stevens’ main gymnasium.  The gym was divided in half; on one side was the Dealer’s Room, where licensed dealers sold anime merchandise, such as clothing, costumes, videos, comic books, and Japanese concessions. 

Nancy D’Andrea, representative for Comic Café and Stevens alumnus, was one of the dealers. 

“Our company comes back to CPAC every year.  It’s a very family oriented environment, and the convention always holds up to our expectations,” she said. 

The Artist’s Alley occupied the other side of the gymnasium.  On this side, hand-crafted artwork—from drawings to stuffed animals to figurines—is available for purchase. 

Alexis More, who is in her second year of heading the sales portion of the convention, explained that sales is a major aspect of the day. 

“Our department sees almost every guest, and this year, we’ve seen an increase in our numbers,” she said. “Our Artist’s Alley section has doubled in size, and we have over 60 tables this year.”

The convention has seen a steady increase in visitors each year since its launch.  Initially, the events attract the crowd, but one guest said that it’s the people that keep him coming back.

“It’s a great convention, with lots of great people that come out,” he states.  “It’s an opportunity not worth passing up.”