Sakura-Con 2011by Carlo Santos,
When: April 22-24, 2011
Where: Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Seattle, Washington
2010 Attendance: 18,000+
In terms of population, the city of Seattle, Washington doesn't even crack the U.S. Top 20. But when it comes to anime convention geography, Sakura-Con is Top 5 material—outranked only by juggernauts like Anime Expo, Otakon, and Anime Central. With attendance numbers growing from 18,000 in 2010 to an estimated 19,000-plus in 2011, Sakura-Con looks like it will continue to hold onto its ranking for years to come.
One of the biggest draws for this convention is its diverse guest list, which goes beyond Japanese animation and dips into the many subcultures fans often branch out into. Straight-up anime and manga enthusiasts can look forward to hearing from "the voice of Sailor Moon," Kotono Mitsuishi, as well as manga-ka like Daisuke Moriyama and Atsushi Suzumi. The dub voice acting community also has a strong presence here, with Tiffany Grant, Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh, and Cristina Vee among many others making appearances. The vibrant world of Japanese fashion is highlighted by labels 6%DOKIDOKI and sixh. Lastly, the wide spectrum of Japanese music is encompassed by visual kei band exist†trace on one end and idol unit Berryz Kobo on the other.
What started out in the lobby of a Double Tree Inn in 1998 has clearly grown into a major phenomenon—a convention that is followed not just by the locals, but lovers of anime and Japanese culture across the nation.
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