The Anime Takeover of the RGV

Words by Abigail Vela

Dragon Ball Z. Sailor Moon. Naruto. Attack on Titan. One Piece. Jujutsu Kaisen. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. My Hero Academia. All the Studio Ghibli films. These are but a few of the top favorite anime that have touched the hearts of anime fans in the RGV.

 

I had the privilege to attend the annual Poke Fest on Sunday, July 9th, at the McAllen Convention Center, for the very first time. A long winding line greeted us as we waited to enter the venue. My friend commented, “There’s was never a line this long before!” When we finally made it into the venue, it was packed. I watched as community members walked around in their favorite anime shirts, cosplaying their favorite anime characters, and holding on to their noodle Pikachu plushies. 

 

It is obvious that the 956’s anime community has grown throughout the years, with more and more people falling in love with Japan’s pop culture and anime.

Illustration by Josue Ramirez @raw_mirez

Latinx’s Influence on Anime’s Growth

According to Comic Book Resources, Anime was introduced “in the West in the 1960s… [and] would gain greater prominence in the country with shows like Robotech, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and more in the ’80s and ’90s.” America’s broadcasts of anime often competed with their regular programming. However, with Latin America’s lack of “homegrown” content, “it became common to buy the rights for Japanese anime to fill the time slots.” Anime gained an increasing popularity amongst Latin American countries, with Dragon Ball becoming a huge hit in the 90s— soon making an impact in the US and other countries. 


It can be said that the correlation between anime and its Latin America’s fans is what allowed for anime to boom in the RGV as well, since a large majority of our population comprises of generations of Latinx. As Joey, Myth Adventure’s manager and part-owner, mentioned in our interview below, when he was a child in the late 90s and early 2000s, the most popular anime series in the RGV were Dragon Ball Z and Inuyasha. These were but a few shows that hooked a young generation of Latinx kids to anime, later introducing them to a world of endless imaginative stories.

Get Your Anime Fix at 956’s Local Shops

Today, we find the Valley has various comic book and anime shops, with Myth Adventures being one of many that now fill the cities in the 956. It’s fortunate to note that many comic book shops carry a variety of manga, anime figures, and anime merch for everyone to enjoy.

A few (out of many) local shops to check out include:

Popular Anime Events in the RGV

Japanese pop culture and anime has spread widely throughout the nation. In fact, the largest anime convention, Anime Expo just took place over four days from July 1st through the 4th, with an estimated 160,000 attendees. While the RGV has not reached those numbers, the passion is growing. 

 

Besides Poke Fest, South Texas Comic Con is another local annual convention that typically lands earlier in the year, which comprises of mostly comic book-related events, but also partakes in inviting guest speakers such as voice actors from popular anime.

 

Currently, local anime fans are gearing up to attend Anime Fiesta, which will take place over the span of three days from September 8th to September 10th at the McAllen Convention Center. The event features guests such as:

 

  • Sean Schemmel (Goku from Dragon Ball Z, Luccario from Pokemon)
  • Cristina Vee (Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon, Killua from Hunter x Hunter)
  • Colleen Clinkenbeard (Luffy from One Piece, Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail, Momo Yaoyorozu from My Hero Academia),
  • and so many more!

 

It’s clear to see that the love for anime continues to grow each and every year in the 956. Perhaps one day, the RGV will be home to the second largest anime convention in the nation. Until then, sit back, relax, and browse through your favorite anime on Crunchyroll, support your local comic book and anime shops, and “believe it!”

Illustration by Josue Ramirez @raw_mirez

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