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It’s pretty rare to attend a convention that features programs on My Little Pony, how to write erotic fiction about cartoon characters and the etiquette of attending raves.

But then again, there are few events as unique as Q-C Anime-zing!

The fifth annual three-day festival celebrating Japanese anime and all related fandoms, communities and arts invades the Davenport RiverCenter this weekend. It opened Friday with an explosion of costumed characters, sci-fi and fantasy merchandise and imaginative diversions of the mind and body.

Autograph sessions, panels, workshops, concerts, social events, game tournaments, anime screenings and more were attended by fans with smiles on their faces, money in their hands and, more often than not, brilliant costumes on their bodies.

“I really like it here, it’s awesome!” said Katelynn Pickett, 14, of Bettendorf, who was dressed as Blue Pyro from the game Team Fortress 2.

“It’s a great environment, everyone’s friendly, everyone’s comfortable, and there are some really cute guys dressed up in really cool costumes,” said Eleia Lam, 19, of Galesburg, Ill., who was clad in a bright purple dress and silver anime wig.

“It’s really like being a big sports fan,” said David Dunwell, 24, of Dent, Minn. “They spend all their money on a ticket to one big game, and dress up in face paint and uniforms, and we dress in costumes and spend all our money on a three-day ticket to awesomeness.”

Some of the titles of featured seminars on Friday included “Vampires Don’t Sparkle,” “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Neo-Tokyo,” and on the adult side, “My Little Pony After Dark.”

There were rooms dedicated entirely to board games and video games, rooms dedicated to meet-and-greets and discussions of various topics of interest to sci-fi and fantasy fans, dance lessons, acting lessons, costuming lessons, and plenty of places to buy flashy stuff related to a variety of Japanese animation characters.

Fans, artists and vendors were equally pleased with the event.

“It’s a very chill atmosphere, it’s very open and welcome,” said artist Ty Smith, 33, of Omaha, Neb.

“It’s great, there was nothing like this when I was younger,” said artist Kevin Keil, 46, of Omaha. “It always surprises me how nice and polite all the kids are. You always hear about how teenagers are rude and snotty, but none of the kids at the cons are like that. They’re all really cool.”

“I’ve been doing this for years, but this is my first year here, and it’s really cool,” said Rebecca Rong, 23, of Ames, Iowa, running a booth for her shop, Combo Collectibles. “It’s always great to see all the different costumes.”

“I grew up in Japan and didn’t come to the U.S. until I was 18,” said Michelle Massarolo, 25, of East Moline. “So being here kind of makes me feel like I’m back home.”

“It’s really a place where everyone can just relax and dress up and have fun,” said Audra McConnell, 29, of Rock Island, who was dressed as a Kitsune, and wearing computerized fur ears that moved according to her brainwaves. “I’m proud to be a part of this community.”

“When it comes down to it,” said Maryanne Thelen, 17, of Davenport, “we’re really just one big, fun, dysfunctional family.”

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