8th Annual Shenzhen Cartoon and Animation Festival

Cosplayers from a variety of series.
Two gorgeous maidens

Awesome weaponry!

Last week, a friend and I attended the last day of Shenzhen's 8th annual Cartoon and Animation Festival(第八深圳動漫節). The event spanned five days (July 21-25, 2016) and offered anime fans from Guangdong Province and beyond a chance to share their love of their favorite series and characters.

Edward Elric from
Fullmetal Alchemist
Kakashi from Naruto
From my childhood to my young adult years, I attended several anime conventions and have even donned costumes to attend these events as well. These day, I no longer make an effort to go to such events, but I though it be great fun to attend my first non-American anime convention!

The Shenzhen Cartoon and Animation Festival did not disappoint! Tickets were a fair 50RMB (about $7USD) and there were several impressive costumes, fun games, and cute things on sale to buy.

Costume Play

Costume + play = cosplay! Anime fans love to bring their beloved characters to life by dressing as them at conventions. Some buy their costumes, while other majorly talented fans create their own from scratch. Either way, it's entertaining to see them get into character, especially when they look eerily similar to their fictional counterparts!

Taking a Trip though Virtual Reality

Attendees play a virtual reality zombie fighting game.
China—informally known as the world's factory—is also at the forefront of technological innovation. Therefore, it wasn't much of a shock to see that several virtual reality games were available for attendees to play. For only a couple of dollars, visitors could transport themselves to another world and slay monsters or play sports. 

My friend and I tried out the machine above; it was definitely a memorable experience! The game simulates a walk through a haunted house with zombies and and wolves. Truly creepy, but entertaining nonetheless. The goggles were a little heavy and uncomfortable though. 

There was also a team online gaming competition at the festival. Two teams went head-to-head, their battle displayed on a large screen for everyone to enjoy. It reminded me of my middle school and high school days when I was obsessed with playing StarCraft against strangers online. 

A team of computer gamers participate
in a competition in front of an audience.

Rowing in an alternative universe.

Displaying Creativity

One artist's impressive collage.
By far one of my favorite aspects of the animation festival was the encouragement of creativity. Among the attendees were several young artists who were given a chance to draw whatever they wanted on two large white poster boards. They came equipped with pencils, pens, copic markers, and many other mediums. Several budding artists intelligently left their nicknames, email addresses, and web portfolio URLs next to their work.

I love to draw myself, but unfortunately I didn't have any tools with me!

Two girls hard at work under another
artist's mini comic.
A girl bringing her piece alive with
colored markers.

Although I suspect 75% of the attendees were younger than be, I thoroughly enjoyed the Shenzhen Cartoon and Animation Festival. It brought me back to my childhood, and more importantly, the event woke up my sleepy creative bone. Ever since I went, I've wanted to write and draw all day for the first time in years!

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