Anime Manga Enthusiasts attend Kami-Con in Birmingham on Valentine’s Day Weekend

Chase Robinson
Copy Editor

Members of Troy University’s Anime Manga Enthusiasts spent the weekend in Birmingham at a fan convention focused on Japanese animation and comics.
Kami-Con, now in its sixth year, is organized by the Bama SOS Brigade, a student organization from the University of Alabama.
“Kami-Con’s like a cultural melting pot made up exclusively of nerds, and the culture is each of their different fandoms,” said John Cleghorn, a junior small business major from Wetumpka and AME’s vice president.
Over 20 people from Troy took part in the trip.
“It has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day the pros definitely out weigh the cons. No pun intended,” Cleghorn said of going with such a large group. “It’s nice to go and be able to share an experience like that with people who share a common interest.”
“It was a lot better than just going by yourself or with just a couple of people,” said Tyler Russell, a sophomore business major from Mathews. “You get to experience it with a lot more people. They’re usually spread out in small groups so you have more options of what to do.”
Russell said that the best part of the convention was the “Cowboy Bebop” reunion.
“I don’t think that’s ever happened before,” Cleghorn said. “We’re talking about the godfather of the medium.
“’Cowboy Bebop’ is the work that fans unabashedly hold to as the defining piece in the medium, and to have the cast from that have their first full on reunion there was pretty incredible.”
“Cowboy Bebop” is an anime, a Japanese cartoon, by Shinichirō Watanabe.
“I went to the convention to see Steve Blum, Beau Billingslea, Wendee Lee and Melissa Fahn,” said Nik Knighten, a freshman computer science major from Troy and an executive committee member in AME.
Blum, Billingslea, Lee and Fahn voiced the four main characters of “Cowboy Bebop,” Spike, Jet, Faye and Ed.
“The best part was seeing all the different characters that were there,” said Josie Thrasher, a freshman mathematics education major from Roanoke and a member of AME.
The convention also hosted the 20th anniversary of “Sailor Moon.”
Voice actors Linda Ballantyne who voiced Sailor Moon, Katie Griffin who voiced Sailor Mars, Susan Roman who voiced Sailor Jupiter, and Toby Proctor who voiced Tuxedo Mask were at the convention.
The convention was also the venue for the wedding of convention chairs Chelsea Morrison and Rey Lenzner who became engaged at the convention three years ago.

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