The anime con scene has been thriving for well over a decade in Colorado, and after a casual conversation with a friend last year, Jinnie McManus — a longtime behind-the-scenes fest worker — was inspired to expand the scene even further, with another celebration of anime. When that friend later presented McManus with a potential financial sponsor, Colorado Anime Fest was born.
The first Colorado Anime Fest, a gathering for fans of Japanese animation and culture, is now slated for February 12-14, 2016, at the Denver Renaissance Hotel. Much smaller than Colorado’s Nan Desu Kan — the largest anime convention in the Rocky Mountain region — this celebration will focus on creating an intimate setting in which fans and stars of anime can gather. “We’re calling it a ‘baby con,’ and we’re really hoping the community will embrace it and we’ll grow together,” says McManus. (Update: McManus also lists Greg Fennell and Greg Hines as co-founders of the Fest.)
As a former public- and industry-relations manager for Nan Desu Kan; head of her own anime-con-focused booking agency, Point of Contact; and a veteran of cons all over the U.S., McManus had the tools and connections to start building Colorado Anime Fest from the ground up. To steer the massive undertaking, she set up an organization complete with a board of directors, on which she serves, and brought in the head of the very successful Anime Milwaukee, Corey Wood, as convention chair.
They’ve already secured some big-name guests. Christopher R. Sabat — known to multiple generations of anime fans as the voice of Dragon Ball Z’s Vegeta — will join Attack on Titan star Matthew Mercer here in February. Actress, cosplayer and industry expert Marisha Ray will be the Master of Ceremonies, a position not often held by women. In addition, conventioneers will get to peruse an array of vendors, join in workshops and discussions and, as always, show off their finest cosplay attire.
For more information and updates on the Colorado Anime Convention as it rolls out, visit the con's website.