Animé Fest bounds into Bayview Cash Store

Aubrie Keegan performs cosplay

Who knew Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy and Happy would have an influence on modern Japanese animation?

But they did.

Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese artist, animator and producer who worked prolifically throughout the 1960s and ’70s and was greatly influenced by Walt Disney’s work.

Tezuka is best known as the creative mind behind the form of animation called “manga” and as the creator of “Astro Boy” and “Kimba the White Lion.”

And Tezuka is mainly responsible for planting the seed that would blossom into the surge of popularity that Japanese animé has seen in 21st century America.

The spirit of both Tezuka and Disney will color the Bayview Cash Store at the “Animé Fest” from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 25.

If you’ve fallen behind on your knowledge of contemporary Japanese culture, the Animé Fest will be a good time to brush up.

This free, open-house evening will be filled with a bevy of Japanese animated films, video games, comic books and culinary delights.

Animé Fest is hosted by Clinton animé fan Aubrie Keegan and has Goosefoot as its sponsor.

The 19-year-old Keegan will participate with cosplay — short for costume play — donning the costume of her favorite manga character, Inu Yasha, a practice often seen when animé fans gather for events.

“This cosplay was my first ever and was made especially for me,” Keegan said.

“I wore it to Sakura-Con 2005 and have worn it each year ever since then.”

Sakura-Con is one of the best-known events in the Northwest centered around Japanese animation. It’s an annual two-day affair that revels in cosplay and Japanese animé culture at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle in April.

Keegan said the next convention she plans to attend is “PAX,” or the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle in August.

PAX she said is a table-top, console and computer-based gamers convention which also takes place at the convention center.

“I think I might cosplay for that convention as either Judy Nails from ‘Guitar Hero 3,’ Bellossom from ‘Pokemon,’ or Link from ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,’” Keegan said.

It’s no surprise that Sakura-Con and other animé events are well-attended each year as a huge subculture and industry has grown up around what basically started as drawings of Japanese characters for film.

Japanese animation is widely known throughout the world for its advanced use of animation technologies, character development and a high degree of stylization.

Genres of animé include comedy, fantasy, horror, romance, Mecca Sci-Fi and action adventure.

All ages are welcome to this introduction of the world of animé, which will start with shorts from popular Japanese television shows on view in the Front Room between 5 to 9 p.m.

Visitors will also have a chance to see an extensive private collection of manga, or Japanese comics, and play some Japanese-style video games.

Rock Band and Guitar Hero and a select few older animé games will be available on gaming consoles as well in the Front Room.

Age groups will be monitored, as some animé is less appropriate for younger crowds.

A snack bar will feature such imported treats as multi-flavored pocky, Hello Kitty lollipops, Ramune sodas and Kasugai gummies.

The full-length PG feature, “Detective Conan: The Time-Bombed Skyscraper,” will be shown outside at 9:30 p.m.

The movie is a mystery with the idea that people try to figure out “who done it,” Keegan said.

The movie will be stopped at a certain point before the culprit is revealed and anyone participating can cast their vote for who they think it is. The correct answers will be drawn and three people will win prizes.

Popcorn, soft drinks and Whidbey Island Ice Cream will be available for sale along with a special a la carte menu of shrimp and vegetable tempura, Japanese ginger calamari and sake from the Basil Café.

Admission is free, but regular costs apply to food and beverages.

Guests are free to bring a picnic dinner and lawn chairs for the outdoor movie. Folding chairs will be provided. The film is 95 minutes in length.

Call Goosefoot at 321-4145 for information or visit www.goosefoot.org.

Patricia Duff can be reached at 221-5300 or pduff@southwhidbeyrecord.com.