Anime is no longer limited to a small niche of geeks. Japanese animation has gone mainstream, and with it opportunities to feed your obsession. In the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, a large anime fan population supports a number of stores and events. From “Bleach” to “Space Battleship Yamato,” DFW anime fans will be able to get their fill.
A-Kon. The oldest continually-running anime convention in North America, A-Kon should be at the top of any DFW anime fan’s list. Held every year in early summer, A-Kon features screenings, anime creators and voice actors, artists, panels and gaming. There’s a large dealer room and a “J-pop” room, where a DJ plays Japanese music and videos. A-Kon also emphasizes a strong social component, so everyone is guaranteed a fun weekend. A-Kon also holds “mini-cons” at different locations.
AnimeFest. About 5,000 people attend AnimeFest, held every Labor Day weekend in Dallas. Cosplay is big here, as is the dealer room, which has just about anything a true anime fan could want. Gaming and celebrity guests. Even though it is a large convention, it is well-organized, so fans always feel like they come first.
YuleCon. Usually held in November in Ft. Worth or the mid-cities, YuleCon is a smaller con, but no less fun. Cosplay is a major attraction for attendees, the costumes elaborate, representing every major anime title, as well as featuring a number of steampunk costumes. Panels and anime voice actors are often hosted, and the dealer room provides a nice merchandising fix.
Where to Shop
While there are plenty of local places to buy anime items, there is one store that specializes in it. AnimePop (4151 Belt Line Road, Ste. 106) is just outside the Dallas city limits in Addison, but no matter where you live in the area, it is worth the drive. Featuring thousands of anime products, AnimePop is also a video rental store, with more than 3,500 DVDs. It also carries a wide selection of Japanese snacks and sodas.
Most local comic stores carry at least a limited selection of anime items. Keith’s Comics (multiple Dallas-area locations) and Lone Star Comics (ditto) are always good choices, while Zeus Comics (4411 Lemmon Ave., Dallas) carries a nice selection of anime, too.
Local Fan Groups
Anyone looking for some new friends who share a love of anime have a few options. The ANIMEtroplex is a local Meetup group that gathers to watch all manner of anime. For those interested in the cosplay scene, the Texas Metroplex Cosplay Coalition helps fans create and display top-of-the-line costumes.