By Joelle Thompson

(Joelle Thompson is a 21-year-old college sophomore who’d like to become a cartoonist.}

There are a lot of conventions out there all across the globe, each one different from the other, having their own unique style. All of them are great ways for fans of all kinds and ages to get together and show their support in their own way; however, the closest convention here in Gloucester County, New Jersey, is Kotori Con, held at Rowan College at Gloucester County.

This family-friendly anime con had all the enjoyment for all anime lovers and fans on January 9th and the 10th with lots food, games, shops, and great entertainment for all ages. In fact, the best part about the con, in many people’s opinion, would have to be meeting their favorite celebrity in person at the convention, such as Uncle Yo, Greg Cipes, Sonny Strait, Chuck Huber, Michele Knots, Lisle Wilkerson, and many more.

The history is interesting. According to the first J.A.G. (Japanese Anime Guild) club president, A. “AJ” Melora, it was started one day when the JAG club wanted to get more people to learn about the culture of Japan and have fun while doing so. And thus Kotori Con was born, bringing more and more people into the con every year, both in volunteers and in visitors, having a good time.

Don’t believe it? Well, we took some people to the side and asked them what they think about this year’s Kotori Con. Here are some quotes from some of the attendees:

“I’ve been going to Kotori Con for four years with my friends and I like it. It’s local and it’s fun,” said Shannon C., a cosplayer.

“Great place for people to get together and talk about interest that they don’t normally talk about,”said Sarah Jowett, Special Media Coordinator for J.A.G.

“I’ve been coming here with my friends for four years and because I’m their ‘Con Mom.’ I make sure that my friends stay hydrated and don’t get in trouble,” said John Goldberg.

“It’s a great way for people to be their selves without being judged,” said Lauren P. Carian, President of J.A.G.

“Love it. It’s my favorite con. I like how organic it is and how it has a great positive vive here,” said Greg Cipes, who is a voice actor.

This year’s entertainment was quite the experience. On the 9th, the Con had a Cosplay Wrestling Competition, which was packed with great humor and action. Another popular event included video game tournaments such as Pokemon, Super Smash Brothers Brawl 4, and many more.

On the 10th, the Con not only had a video game room, but they also had a card room and an arcade room. The Con also held a remarkable Charity Auction that raised more than $1,600 for charities such as L.I.N.K. (Liberty In North Korea), Pets of Vets, and Doctors Without Borders. They also had a karaoke room where people would sing their hearts out to their favorite songs at the mini-center. Speaking of singing, for the first time, there was a competition referred to as “Kotori no Koe”, where attendees performed at the Fine Arts Center. They did a solo performance of a song of their choice.

For those who wish to get involved in this excitement, be sure to volunteer in the planning committee and purchase your tickets online when they are available for next year’s Kotori Con.