By Amanda Gaines
For The Diamondback
Students dressed in Princess Peach gowns, rainbow-colored wigs — and at least one person in Darth Vader's armor — poured into Stamp Student Union's Colony Ballroom on Sunday.
The University of Maryland hosted its first annual anime and video game convention this weekend, bringing in about 300 people.
The Terrapin Anime Society organized the six-hour convention, called Kamecon. The club encourages the appreciation and discussion of anime and aims to bring a better awareness of anime to the general public.
"We just wanted to create an event that would bring together all ages, genders and races, no matter who you are," said junior government and politics and journalism major Myleah Lofland.
Most of the attendees partook in cosplay — the practice of dressing up as fictional characters.
"I love the anime culture," said freshman animal science major Kala McCaskill. "The fact that people can show their version of art — it can be cosplay or even video games. Everybody seems really happy when anime is involved."
Kamecon guests also walked through Artist Alley, a gallery of art and apparel from 13 local vendors, including Square City Comics, Cosmic Crown custom apparel, Blaze Firestorm Studio and Doro's Cute Crafts, which sold crocheted Pokémon balls and Pikachu plush toys.
"It's cool seeing the other artists here," said Doro's Cute Crafts vendor Dorothy Nguyen, a university alumna. "I know them from other cons, and it's nice seeing them every couple of months."
Kamecon also welcomed guests outside of the university community, including Kennedy Jackson, who came from Morganza, Maryland.
"This convention is a lot smaller and [more] cramped than other conventions I've been to, but it's still fun," Jackson said.
Jackson said she enjoyed Kamecon's maid and butler café, a mock cosplay restaurant in which the waiters and waitresses dressed up and put on a performance.
"It's a really fun experience to watch and take pictures with the maids and butlers," Jackson said.
Other Kamecon events included a cosplay costume contest, a performance from the J-Pop and K-Pop dance group, G-Girls and Wasabi Boyz, and a gaming room.
"We just want to bring people together around this thing we are all interested in, we all love, and we're all passionate about," Lofland said. "I think that's what it's really all about."