This past weekend, May 27th and May 28th, anime fans from all over Southern California filled Downtown to attend “Anime Riverside,” a convention dedicated to anime, cartoons, and all things nerdy, making it one of the largest “Cons” held in Riverside.
Families attended in droves sporting casual wear, propped up costumes, and “D.I.Y” made ensembles paying homage to their favorite cartoon and videogame characters.
The event was held at the Riverside Convention Center in junction with the Marriott Hotel, where extra activities were hosted, but the convention took full advantage of some of Riverside’s most popular spots, such as an after-party at the Food Lab.
Aside from dressing up as your favorite ninja, pirate, or centuries-old dragon warlock, fans were treated to open panels hosted by convention staff. Some panels included tips on how to create your props for “cosplay” effectively, and some were hosted by voice actors from popular t.v shows on how to break into the voice-acting industry.
On all the potential activities of the event, local Riverside resident Ryan Jarmon mentioned that “it’s really versatile. You can hang out and talk to other cosplayers. You can mind your business and enjoy the food trucks. You can go waste your money on all the cool figurines. There’s something for everyone”.
A major attraction was the myriad of voice actor guests from a wide array of familiar cartoon and television shows.
Guests were treated to the opportunity to meet voice actors such as Brian Donovon, who voiced the character of “Davis Motomiya” from the second season of the “Digimon” series, and “Rock Lee” from the “Naruto” franchise.
On what it was like getting to meet fans who grew up on his voice acting, Donovon said, “It’s amazing; it’s my favorite thing about cons. Everyone is so gracious, so appreciative, and so awesome and what I really love are the stories they [fans] tell me about a moment where Rock Lee inspired them or maybe a moment where it got them over a rough patch in their life. It means the world to me”.
On the goals and hopes for the second-year run for Anime Riverside, Marketing Director Colin Bass shared that the city of Riverside has synergized with the convention.
“We’ve expanded more than we thought. We’re right next to the night market. The Marriott was accommodating for exhibits we wanted to host and little shops offered discounts for people who had their [Anime Riverside attendee] badges. The city really believed in us.”
2022 was the first year of Anime Riverside, and the idea started solely on Bass’s boss driving through the city and being bewildered by the Convention Center.
“He was driving through the city for a meeting and was in awe over the convention center. After the success of Anime Pasadena he thought Riverside would be the next best spot”.
“People ran out of food, we brought so many people in. Just seeing everyone look so happy makes me believe we’re gonna be back for a third time and I hope the city of Riverside is ready for us to expand and do more together”, Bass stated.
Fans can expect to reunite with their favorite voice actors and more at Anime Riverside 2024.