The event is very similar to other anime cons, with a variety of panels, dealers room/artists alley, dances, karaoke and other familiar sights. When you look closer,

the differences that give the show its unique identity become evident.


Several panels are directly instructional with subjects including how to dress in a kimono as well as the garment's importance, wear, and etiquette; an overview of studying abroad in Japan; Japanese food, and the best local places to get it and how to start, maintain and improve an anime club. Even some that seem superficial like "Ninja - Believe It!" explores how the popular series "Naruto" reflects folklore and history.


"You have to keep in mind that it is an all ages event at all times. You also have to keep in mind that you want a lot of educational events, but it has to remain fun too," said Milwid. "We work hard to keep the balance. We also have to make sure our guest fits in with our educational theme."


This year's guest is Kent Williams, who in addition to voicing popular characters such as Dr. Gero, Kibito Kai, Elder Kai in "Dragonball Z," Sid in "Soul Eater" and Hatori Sohma in "Fruits Basket," certainly fits the show's theme, having "logged 22 years of classroom instruction introducing K-12 students to such fine arts disciplines as marionette puppetry, stage stunt work and Japanese kabuki theater and is finishing out a 3-year project with the U.S. Dept. of Education and Dallas ISD."


Even the event's location reflects the theme, as the Boyd Community Center is a converted school that still maintains a full library. "The venue definitely worked to our advantage," Milwid said. "What better a place to have a school festival than at an old elementary school?"


While the holiday weekend may not seem the ideal time to have a convention, Milwid thinks the timing could benefit the show. "Thanksgiving Weekend was one of a few options for this year. It actually was the best choice out of the choices we had. I think it will bring in a lot of people that don't normally attend the KuroKiiro Festival," she said. "People are home and visiting their families. I think they will come and bring their cousins and other family members who are in town this weekend."


Another distinct aspect of the event is KuroKiiro Cafe, a maid cafe modeled after the popular Japanese specialty cafes. The group was inaugurated at last year's show, and will perform at opening and closing ceremonies as well as host cafes on Saturday and Sunday morning


"We've also added an audience participation improv comedy event. There are about double the number of educational panels run by attendees this year as well," said Milwid. "I'm looking forward to the game show and the improv event the most. I'm heavily involved in planning them and I really think they'll turn out great!"


A weekend pass is available for $25 at the door, and in keeping with the festival's family-friendly nature, children under 6 are admitted for free with paid accompanying adult and children aged 7 to 11 get discountedadmission, with adult. Individual day passes are also available, and allprices can be found at www.kurokiiro.com

 

Kent Williams