It will be Manga madness when 450 teens converge at Largo Public Library on Saturday for Tosho-Con, a gathering of anime fans, in its fourth year. • Expect heavy eye-liner and wildly colored hair. And don't let the kids in dark robes with fake swords scare you. It's all for fun. • Anime is another word for Japanese animation. Examples of the genre include Speed Racer, Sailor Moon and Pokemon cartoons. • "But it drives me crazy when people just think of Pokemon when they hear about anime,'' said Rory Stephens, from his perch in the teen room of the library on Sunday. "It is so much better. Anime is a great art and the stories are way more exciting than that.''
The name for the convention, coordinated by the teen library council, is a play on words. Toshokan is Japanese for library. Included in the activities will be an "Artist Alley'' — a display of works by local teens — a martial arts demonstration, a video game tournament, an anime viewers choice room and a cosplay contest (costume role playing competition).
Since the new library opened in 2005, the youth library program has included a large anime section. Hundreds of anime books line the shelves. The stories include action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama and comedy.
Mercedes Bleattler, youth services manager for the library, said the benefit of having the large anime section is that it might bring in individuals who would not be interested in traditional books.
"A lot of people who become lifelong readers, especially males, start out reading comic books,'' Bleattler said. "Even if anime and comic books are not in traditional book form, a love of reading is still developed.''