May 3, 2005 > A magnum of Manga
A magnum of Manga
by Lance Dwyer
Artists, vendors, anime fans and manga art enthusiasts helped transform the Fremont Teen Center into a different world Saturday. Hundreds of teenagers and adults attended the Manga, Art and Graphic Novel Expo in order to enjoy the beauty of Japanese culture in its various forms.
A walk through the Expo was a feast for the senses. Vendors lined the teen center, tables packed with comic books, Japanese toys, clothing and artwork. Some of the more die-hard enthusiasts came dressed in Japanese anime inspired costume. Outside, attendees had the opportunity to paint murals designed by high school students from the art club of Washington High School.
Laura Ramie, a member of the Washington High art club, was one of the talented artists who designed the four murals made available for people to color.
Ramie was very pleased with the Expo. "I think it's great to have an event like this in Fremont. It has so much stuff and it's basically put on by teens," said Ramie.
Ramie said that while developing her artistic style in high school, interest in Japanese anime and manga art influenced her work. Of particular interest are the unique comic book characters, storylines and the hand-drawn artwork.
Near the mural station an acoustic band, Paper Plain was performing contemporary Japanese-style rock songs. Later the day, a DJ played pop Japanese music for attendees.
A unique aspect of the Expo was that it offered everyone the opportunity to actively participate and learn about Japanese culture. One room offered a chance to play Dance Dance Revolution, a popular virtual dance competition that originated in Japan. In another room, volunteers taught attendees how to draw manga art, fold origami, and learn Japanese characters and words. For aspiring artists, an art school representative was in attendance as well as professional manga artists offering insights into the business.
Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to snack on various Japanese and Asian style food from Cafˇ#233; Anime, a snack bar sponsored by Tapioca Express.
For Rena Dein, recreation supervisor for the Teen Center, the Expo's first annual debut was a huge success. "I am very happy with [the Expo], it's exactly what we were hoping for-a lot of people of different ages and interests," said Dein.
More than 250 people had pre-registered for the event, according to Dein, and she expected the center to be in full capacity throughout the day. In order to accommodate the overwhelming interests for the Expo, there were two 4-hour sessions.
Judging by the response to the event, it is clear that the Manga, Art and Graphic Novel Expo will be a welcome addition to Fremont's event calendar for years to come.