Skip to main content

'It's a really great feeling': Anime fans mix and mingle at 25th annual Otafest

It’s been 25 years of celebrating Japanese anime, art and culture at the annual Otafest convention.

Thousands filled the Telus Convention Centre over the May long weekend dressed up as their favourite anime characters and cosplay artists.

The event focuses on welcoming everybody who is new to the scene or are passionate fans of the convention, that repeatedly sees more than 9,000 people attend every year.

There are dozens of vendors, hundreds of artists and a masquerade ball.

“It's a weekend of fun it's a weekend of inclusion,” said Behfar Lotfizadeh, vice chair of experiences at Otafest.

“We are primarily a Japanese pop culture and anime festival.”

Lotfizadeh says there are lots of cosplay contests for attendees to participate in.

“They will be given prizes this year. It's our 25th anniversary so we got some glass nice glass trophies for them to take home as as part of the winning package,” he said.

“They can come shopping see artists from around the country a lot of local artists as well.”

For cosplayers like Arc, he says the convention is a place where anyone can meet.

“Normally you don't get the chance to meet people who have the exact same interest to you,” said Arc.

“So it's a really great feeling when you have a room full of those people with like 100 people who all know what you're talking about and like the same thing as you do.”

Arc says other event goers know who he is by how he is dressed.

“I'm wearing a Persona 3 cosplay here, and people will immediately shout the name of the game, of the character that I am dressed up as,” said Arc.

“And then we can easily have a conversation”

Tickets are already on sale for the festival in 2024.