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Key animator, voice actor attend convention – Kuwait’s anime, manga community gather at Plamo Con

KUWAIT: Yousef Fawzi Mustafa Karam, President of Plamo Con (left). — Photos by Joseph Shagra
KUWAIT: Yousef Fawzi Mustafa Karam, President of Plamo Con (left).
— Photos by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: Various Japanese arts including anime, manga, comics, and cosplay are in display at ‘Plamo Con,’ a convention and exhibition which kicked off at the Zain Tent near 360 Mall on Thursday evening. The three-day event is organized by Plamo Con, Kuwait’s first official home of Japanese animation characters. Plamo Con is hosting the seventh event in cooperation with the Japanese Embassy.

“When we first organized the event in 2012, I was really surprised to know that a lot of people in Kuwait really like Japanese anime and cosplay,” said Yousef Fawzi Mustafa Karam, President of Plamo Con. “Yhe excitement of our customers and participants has never demised ever since.”

Japan’s embassy officials lead by Ambassador Takashi Ashiki attended the event. “We consider this as a pop-culture event,” Ashiki said. “A lot of Kuwaiti young men and women were in attendance; many of them dressed as (anime and video games) characters that they like. We planned this event for them to come together under one roof.”

The event, which concludes today, also hosts a best cosplay contest and video game tournaments, held for the first time. Some of the winners selected will qualify to participate in competitions to be held in Japan in August 2016.

Celebrity guests
This year’s event also hosted a famous Japanese animator and Lebanese voice actor, who supervised a number of workshops and gave lectures at the venue. “The visit of Masami Suda, a celebrity guest from Japan, gives a lot of credence to the event,” Karam said, crediting the Japanese Ambassador’s help to facilitate the key animator’s arrival to Kuwait. Suda is credited for his work on Fist of the North Star, PokÈmon the Movie 2000, the Dragon Ball movies and Gatchaman, among others famous works.

In addition, the event’s organizers invited Jihad Al-Attrash, a famous voice actor from Lebanon. “His most famous work is doing the Arabic voiceover for ‘Duke Fleed,’ the main character in the famous anime Grendizer,” Karam said. A famous super-robot animation that debuted on Japanese television in 1975, Grendizer has maintained relevance in the Middle East for over thirty years ever since the Arabic-dubbed version was broadcasted in Arab countries.

Plamo Con visitors have the chance to meet Suda and Attrash and receive signed copies of animation character sketches from them. They are also participating as judges in the cosplay contest, Karam said.

The event has attracted visitors not only from Kuwait, but also from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Karam said. “We also have video terminals from various parts of the GCC,” he added.

By Ben Garcia

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