Anime, video games and Japanese pop culture came to life Sunday at IKKiCON. The three-day convention drew more than 7,000 people to the downtown Hilton.
"I love being at conventions, it's where I feel at home honestly. If the other Naruto characters were around me, we might actually be acting out parts of the story," Mike Ennis said.
Those real world "meet-ups" give cosplayers the most satisfaction. The term cosplayer is used to describe people who dress up as their favorite character.
"Here we feel normal and we don't feel ostracized by communities simply for enjoying our hobbies," Ennis said.
As an adult, Ennis has that freedom, but it's much harder for teenagers to get their parents on board. Lola Monaghan says supportive parents are rare. In her four years at the convention, she says there's only a couple dozen parents in a group of 1,000 kids.
"Mostly you see parents drop their kids off, barely slow down, kick them out of the car, they don't understand what their kids are into, they make fun of them, my daughter has friends and her parents make fun of them and they aren't accepting of what they like," Monaghan said.
IKKiCON started in Austin in 2007. In 2009, it moved to the Hilton to accommodate a larger crowd.