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UW-Eau Claire hosts third annual No Brand Con

Brightly costumed people carrying giant foam weapons filled the upper level of Davies Center Friday through Sunday for the third annual No Brand Con.

No Brand Con is a convention for people interested in anime, role-play games and video games. Attendees traveled from all over Wisconsin, Minnesota and other places in the Midwest.

The convention was coordinated by the Anime Appreciation Society, a UW-Eau Claire student organization.


“The initial reason for founding the club was to have a convention.”
-Brandon Nienow
Sophomore

“The initial reason for founding the club was to have a convention,” said sophomore Brandon Nienow, a member of the organization.

The name No Brand Con is derived from the ending theme of an anime series called, “Here is Greenwood.” The organization’s theme is printed on the back of every T-shirt sold.

Topher Marohl, a Chippewa Valley Technical College student, has been involved in the organization since 2000. He said projected attendance this year was 500. As of 2 p.m. Saturday, sophomore Alex Garcia said the attendance was about 220. This, he said, surpassed attendance from last year.

Though tournaments and contests ran throughout the entire weekend, the big event Saturday was the costume contest.

Attendees dressed up as their favorite anime or video game characters for judging, which began at 7 p.m.

Hosting the event was the No Brand Con mascot, Duct Tape Boy, whose identity remained anonymous.

Covered from head to toe in duct tape, he wore a costume that had been in the works for many years. Nienow said the first-year Duct Tape Boy’s costume was placed directly onto his skin and was very painful to remove.

Meaghan Jass, a UW-Madison student, won this year’s costume contest dressed as Belldandy, the main female character of Kosuke Fujishima’s “Oh My Goddess” series.

Jass and Marohl joined the contestants, who showed off their costumes and yelled their characters’ tagline.

Several contestants carried props, including giant weaponry.

Another popular attraction was Dance Dance Revolution, where players had to step on arrows coordinated by what the game screen told them. Senior Scott Thorgaard said the game is becoming more popular in the United States, but its popularity in Japan is declining.

Panel rooms were available to discuss topics ranging from Japanese music videos to Web comics. Guest panelists included actor, writer and director Brazil J. Grisaffi, voice actress Monica Rial and Rob Giffen, manager of Games Workshop store in Chicago.

Foam weaponry was available for purchase, but Marohl said rules were created for safety reasons. Vendors carried other items such as gaming equipment, anime DVDs and costumes.

The convention in Davies Center ended at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, but continued at the Holiday Inn, where anyone could watch anime films until the early hours of the morning.

A role-playing game and closing ceremonies wrapped up the event Sunday.

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