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A Passion for Anime

Kelsey Hunter as the character Kyo Sohma from Fruits Basket

For Kelsey Hunter, a passion for anime may have sparked an idea for a career path.

“I love anime, manga, video games and pop culture,” Hunter said. “Anime STL is a great place to meet cool people who share my interests.”

It’s also a place for Kelsey to investigate a career path which interests her -- video game design.

“Visual art really appeals to me. I took a lot of art studio classes during high school, and have taken drawing and graphic design courses at STLCC," Hunter said. "Right now I’m taking general studies classes, but I have thought about possibly becoming a graphics art major when I transfer.”

During her Composition II class at STLCC this spring, Hunter was also able to participate in a webcam discussion with Geoffrey Card, a writer from Undead Labs for the video game, “State of Decay.” Card is the cousin of Timnah Gretencord, Hunter's instructor.

“That made me think about possibly going into video game design. It would be a dream job to be able to design characters and backgrounds.”

“Anime” is a term for a style of Japanese animation, and “manga” are Japanese comic books, which are a popular form of entertainment for adults as well as younger audiences.  The Anime St. Louis Convention was held at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Ill., in April and featured a Cosplay (costume play) masquerade, video and table top gaming, vendors and artists.

“Entire families go there together,” Hunter said. “I saw a father and daughter dressed as Mario and Princess Peach. It’s pretty common for families with children to come in costumes that are from the same game, story or cartoon.”

In fact, dressing up as a character is one of the highlights of the convention.

“You can be whoever you want from a video game, anime or pop culture. This year’s most popular costumes were Elsa and Anna from the hit Disney movie ‘Frozen,'" Hunter said. "You don’t have to follow a certain theme, but you want to make sure that your costume is good enough that you’re recognized.”

Hunter dressed up in three different costumes this year: Kyo Sohma from the animation “Fruits Basket,” Eve from the movie “Wall-E,” and the Cheshire Cat from the Alice in Wonderland video game, “Alice: Madness Returns.”

In addition to dressing up, one of Hunter's favorite parts of the conference is the panel discussions. The panels are made up of “super fans” who have a passion for a certain subject area. She attended one called "Anime Myth Busters," during which panelists discussed whether the fighting that is seen in anime could really happen.  Another was about how to use duct tape in your Cosplay (costume play). 

Someday, Hunter would like to host a panel discussion about either “RWBY," her favorite new web series that is set in the fictional city of Vale and was created by the Rooster Teeth company, or “Okami,” a Japanese art inspired video game.

“In the game, the controller turns into a brush and you draw with it. I just love it,” she said.

Hunter is already thinking about her costumes for next year’s convention. In the meantime, she’s continuing to take classes so she can turn her passion into her dream career.