The popular Tsukino-Con anime convention has returned to Greater Victoria after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
The convention, which first launched more than 10 years ago, previously saw thousands of attendees, many of whom dressed up as characters from shows and books, known as cosplay or cosplaying.
This year’s event is taking place at the Esquimalt Gorge Park Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday.
Only limited tickets were available, and all of them were sold out in just a matter of weeks.
Fans come to the convention from across the island and beyond.
“We’ve had people come from Alberta, from the [U.S.], a couple people who moved to London come back,” said Tsukino-Con spokesperson Sammi Wessels.
Organizers say there’s still reason to swing by the venue even if you don’t have tickets, however, since many attendees and visitors drop by to show off their costumes and mingle with other anime fans outside of the venue.
There are also stalls and displays set up on the grounds.
“We’re so excited,” said Wessels. “It’s a not-for-profit, it’s been very hard for us over the past few years.”
Wessels says the pandemic put a halt to large events, and the convention has needed to find a new venue.
Previous conventions were held at the University of Victoria, with the first official Tsukino-Con being hosted by the UVic anime club in 2010.
By 2019, the convention grew to about 2,000 attendees, and the university told organizers it was no longer comfortable hosting the large event.
There were also some issues with costumes and props, according to Wessels.
“Some students didn’t realize cardboard guns weren’t real guns,” she noted.
On Saturday afternoon, the convention will host its “cosplay contest,” and on Sunday its popular talent show will take place.
Besides cosplay, the event includes panels from local artists, crafters and educators, including Hitomi Harana, an expert on kimonos and Japanese culture and history.
Wessels says organizers were thrilled to see the convention return and for tickets to sell out so quickly.
However, the future of the convention is still uncertain, and Wessels says organizers may look for sponsors for future events.
“As a not-for-profit we tend to run at a deficit,” said Wessels. Previously, UVic also hosted the event for free, she noted.
“So moving forward, if we’re not at UVic, we’re going to have to pay for a venue,” said Wessels.
Organizers hope the event returns, however, noting that it’s the only anime convention on southern Vancouver Island, and possibly all of the Island.