Fans dressed up as their favourite characters gather in the hall during the third TwinCon in Islamabad on Sunday. — Dawn
Fans dressed up as their favourite characters gather in the hall during the third TwinCon in Islamabad on Sunday. — Dawn

ISLAMABAD: The third TwinCon, a convention for comic book fans and those of animations, books, movies and video games, was hosted at the Ibex Club on Sunday.

The convention also featured cosplay where fans had dressed up as their favourite characters.

TwinCon was started by three students in 2014 who had wanted to provide a platform to comic book lovers, and anime, manga and gaming enthusiasts in Pakistan to come together at an animated art convention.

The event was recognised as the largest gathering of film and animated art enthusiasts in the country when in April of last year Unicorn Black, the team behind the award winning Burka Avenger series, and Gogi Studios led by Pakistan’s first cartoonist Nigar Nazar attended the event as celebrity guests.

TwinCon 2016 was attended by young people, with many of them accompanied by parents who watched on as their children enjoyed dressing up.

One mother, Mrs Muyassair Khan, said: “I brought my son because he likes [anime].”

Young people could be seen walking the halls dressed as characters from popular fiction and many were wearing colourful wigs.

A participant, Momina Rektza, said: “I dressed up as Hermoine Granger but I did not participate in the competitions. I met with the managing team and they introduced me to other cosplayers, who were very nice. I think it was just as good as anime conventions in other counties.”

Another participant, Yousuf Noor, said it was his second time at the TwinCon and had been part of the organising team.

“The first time I came when my cousin suggested I do so. I had the best time ever. This year was even better. It is something I will look forward to attending every year. I met so many people with interests similar to mine,” he said.

Though she said it was not as good as conventions she had attended in other countries, Amina Raza, yet another participant, said she had enjoyed herself.

“I suppose it is the people that make an event good or bad and the people here are so welcoming and friendly. You can tell they had worked hard on their costumes. I was overwhelmed and it is an unforgettable experience,” she said.

Anime fan Raheela Saleem said more events like these should be organised so the world knows that art is a part of Pakistani culture as well.

“My experience at TwinCon was great and I enjoyed the costumes. Most people had put a lot of effort into dressing up as their favourite characters. Everyone was really friendly and I could see participants were having a great time,” she said.

Not everyone was happy with this year’s convention though, as Fatima Sajjad, a young anime fan, said: “There weren’t enough stalls and merchandise. Also the food was not as interesting as last time they also had a stall for Japanese food. The organisers did not stick to the theme and the halls were empty as there were hardly any artists”.

Such conventions are also held in other parts of the world, including Comic-Con and Katsucon in the US and UK where enthusiasts gather for various activities like cosplay which is costume role playing, anime discussions, drawing and gaming competitions.

Published in Dawn, February 29th, 2016