SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Thousands of cosplayers will descend on Cal Expo this weekend for the biannual SacAnime convention.
“It’s an anime show, but it’s also a pop culture mecca,” toy collector Scott Zillner said. “Wherever you go, you’re going to find something you want, something you enjoy and something you can’t leave the show without.”
Everything from video game toys and memorabilia to ’80s action figures to original anime artwork filled dozens of vendor booths at Cal Expo.
“This is like a toy store for me. Back in the day, it used to be toys, now this,” attendee Chris Costin said. “A lot of the stores don’t even sell this stuff. This is the only place you can get it.”
But SacAnime, which has winter and summer events, is more than just a shopping experience. For many, it’s a chance to interact with cast members of their favorite shows.
“I’m here especially today to see my childhood heroes, Johnny Yong Bosch,” attendee Matthew Peterson said. “Most of you recognize him as the Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, Adam.”
For others, like Costin, it’s a chance to connect with people who have the same interests.
“I’m an introvert by nature, so a lot of us don’t really like to go out. But being here with a lot of people in costume, you realize these are your people, no one’s really judging you. They’re actually happy and supporting you,” he told FOX40.
And as streaming services like Netflix add more anime content, more people like Costin feel comfortable sharing their fandom.
“A lot of anime and comic book nerds, you know, we tend to always hide it because it’s not really popular. But now it’s becoming more popular, more people are coming to these events, these events are getting bigger,” Costin said. “And it’s honestly, just, it’s relieving to know that because something we used to hide and be worried about, now we can just say proudly, ‘I love anime.’ I just want to show people, there’s something for you here.”
SacAnime runs through Sunday. Click or tap here for more information.