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For some, Darwin's first ever GeeCon (preferred pronunciation 'Geek-on') has been a long time coming.  

The festival of anime, manga, cosplay and video games is expected to attract upward of 2000 people to the Darwin Convention Centre, where fans will throw themselves into cosplay competitions, gaming tournaments and film screenings.

“I grew up when anime and video games were kind of booming,” says John Boholst, a GeeCon organiser.

“When I came back to Darwin I thought I’d check out the Darwin convention, but there wasn’t any up here. I thought, ‘I’ll see if we can change that’.”

The event is a fan-based festival, as opposed to a commercial convention like Comic-Con, where the stars of pop culture and comics are the focus.

“The main audience is people who like Japanese comics, which is manga and Japanese animation, which is anime, and video games, which we figured would be the biggest demographic in Darwin,” says Boholst.

Nevertheless, GeeCon has managed to woo two international stars of the anime and gaming world to the festival, flying over US voice actors Sarah Williams and Paul St. Peter.

Williams is famous for voicing the blue-haired, gleefully criminal Jinx in the video game League of Legends; while St. Peter has been voicing Japanese anime characters since the 1980s and is now a fixture in the video gaming world.

Cosplay, where fans dress up as a favourite character in costumes they’ve made themselves, is probably the biggest drawcard. Darwin’s cosplay Facebook page has been aflutter with costuming queries and pictures in the lead-up to the first major local competition.

“Like a lot of geeky stuff, you don’t really talk about it. It’s something you do on your own. It’s not really something to you do to start a conversation with other people,” says Boholst.

“But there are a lot of people into anime, even like my friends who are 30 to 40 years old, still reading comics and watching anime.”

The early excitement of Darwin’s first GeeCon has meant that the organisers have raised their expectations for next year’s event, planning for fans from the Territory and beyond to get their GeeCon. 

See the event listing.

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