Aiming to create a space for self-expression for Guyana’s “weeb” community, Sozos Art and Entertainment hosted a comic-con themed event which saw a massive turnout of anime, marvel, k-pop and videogame fans from even as far as Linden and Berbice.
Saturday evening’s Merch Anime Rave Spectacle (MARS) at Regency Suites was an out of this world experience for the more than 600 persons from across Guyana who turned up, decked out in cosplay of their favourite characters across the fictional universe.
The event was Guyana’s very own small-scale comic-con themed rave and mixer hosted by Sozos Art and Entertainment.
Co-founders and organisers of the event Marissa Ramnauth and George Jacobs were frustrated by the lack of events in Guyana where their fellow weebs could meet up and celebrate their love of anime, marvel, videogames, kpop and similar entertainment.
Jacobs said, “There isn’t a proper space for folks within the anime community to say okay let’s meet up, and let’s have a really good time, let’s do weeb things together that we can just enjoy and be ourselves at. And we don’t have a lot of those so I think that it’s a really important thing for everyone who wants to have that sense of identity, to fit in with whatever crowd they have.”
They aimed for the event to mimic comic conventions that are more popular overseas and managed to create a space where fans could also showcase art in the form of designing make up and costumes for cosplay.
“Those persons who would have gone the extra mile to try something new, to see if they can recreate a costume in an outfit or whatever it was to really capture whatever character the person who would have contracted them to do… I saw some really amazing outfits. A lot of them were made by Guyanese talents right over here and it was really amazing.”
MARS was also an opportunity to promote local businesses with over 30 vendors selling merch in attendance. Even the hotel Regency suites was fully booked out since attendees came from as far as Berbice and Linden for the event and needed a place to stay overnight.
There were prizes given for trivia and the best cosplays by event sponsors Kabisa and Bad Monkey.
Jacobs said, “We are super weebs. We love anime, manga, games, we love the whole works! And we were craving for an event of this nature because we’re looking at the comic-cons overseas and the anime expos and we were like, what if we have it here? What if we have something, of this nature, right here in Guyana.”
Anime is Japanese animation while Manga are graphic novels also originating in Japan. They are characterized by distinctive characters often with exaggerated features and behaviour.
While there have been similar events, like the recent Seishonen Summer Festival, Jacobs notes that there is a need for more avenues for people to meet and bond over their pop culture interests, adding that not only will MARS be an annual event, but we can also expect other smaller events coming soon.