PADUCAH - Characters from Bleach, Naruto and Pokemon are just some of the popular manga and anime represented at the 5th Annual OMGcon.
OMGcon is a convention for fans of anime, manga and video games. Anime and manga are Japanese animation and comic books. The annual event generally takes place at the Julian Carroll Convention Center and Expo Center.
Fans can watch anime, check out merchandise from their favorite shows and play video games among other activities.
It's an event that's slowly been growing in western Kentucky. Staff member John Hayden said this is the biggest crowd he's seen in the four years he's been to the convention. Hayden added that the crowd was steady all weekend, numbering in the hundreds.
"It's just a very accepting community, a fun place to be," said Hayden.
That's part of the reason Christopher Ayres keeps coming back. Ayres is a special guest at this year's convention. He's a voice actor for FUNimation ENTERTAINMENT and an A.D.R. Director for AMUSEMENT PARK MEDIA, that's been in the anime industry for seven years.
"I'm so honored to be a part of something that brings people together, there's no ugliness, no real drama," Ayres said. "There's just people who have come together that enjoy, and are enjoying, being around other people who like the same things."
This is the third convention appearance for Ayres. He said the staff is incredible, the attendees are wonderful and he talks up this convention around the region.
He said the people he meet in Paducah are some of the most intelligent and creative he's ever known.
"A lot of people see the wild costumes, they don't know what to make of it," said Ayres. "They are into something not a lot of people know about. Anime is a very small niche industry."
He also likes the size of the convention and said he only sees great things in its future.
Josh Grelle, a voice actor for ADV Films, made his first appearance at OMGcon this weekend. The Clifton, Texas native said that Paducah reminded him a lot of his hometown and he would love to come back if organizers invite him.
Grelle started out as a fan before getting into the business about four years ago. He said that transition was interesting and humbling.
"To be able to love what these kids love and be able to also be a part of that but in two separate ways, both looking outside and being inside the industry, it's very eye-opening," Grelle said. "(It) makes me love it even more."
OMGcon wraps up Sunday, June 13 at 5 p.m.
For more information about Christopher Ayres, click here.
For more information about Josh Grelle, click here.