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  • Serah Florendo-Iboshi

Kawaii Kon wrapped: fashion, Esports, music & more

Kawaii Kon is one of Hawai'i's biggest events of the year that celebrates Japanese manga (comics), anime, and culture. However, the event isn't only for manga or anime lovers, it's also a place where other groups such as superhero comic or cartoon fans can gather and enjoy the atmosphere. There were a range of events to take part in such as cosplaying, cardboard mega brawls, live concerts, and more! Although there were a ton of fun activities to cover at Kawaii Kon, this is a wrap up of some of the most unique and best events that Kawaii Kon 2024 had to offer! 

Fashion & Art

In addition to the crowds of amazing cosplays, there was also a distinct fashion scene at the convention: lolita. Lolita, which also has its counterpart Gothic Lolita, is a Victorian influenced Japanese fashion subculture characterized by intricate dresswork and layers of lacy frills and ruffles. The dresses go for high prices due to the quality material and craftsmanship. 

The Atelier Pierrot fashion show at Kawaii Kon featured these beautiful lolita dresses in action. Models walked down the aisle mesmerizing the audience as whimsical music played in the background. Globally known Japanese artist Minori attended and collaborated with the Atelier Pierrot show, providing the accessories from her brand Luxmira. If you haven’t seen Minori before, you can think of her as living art. She is known for her stunning pure white face makeup and elegant, nature inspired fashion looks. She had a mini-gallery to sell and showcased some for her artwork at the event.

If you're not much into fashion, but very much into art, anime, or spending lots of money, taking a walk down the Artist Alley can be a financially dangerous road. The Artist Alley is a huge room featuring a diverse array of local artists selling your EVERY anime-related or kawaii merch need. 

The Artist Alley also had somewhat of a car scene too! There were flashy cars wrapped in anime characters from shows such as Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Naruto. If you were to turn your attention downwards, there were even some miniature cars drag racing along the floor of the alley as well. 


Kawaii Kon is becoming a hub for Hawai'i's Esports/gaming scene. The University Of Hawai'i and Kawaii Kon hosted its second “Smash Tournament” where 7 UH Esports teams faced off in a heated game of Super Smash Bros. Teams such as our very own Leeward Community College IM LeeGaming, UH-West O'ahu's Pueo Gaming, and Kaua'i Community College's Kaua'i Gaming Club competed in the tournament.

Our LCC gaming team consisting of 5 amazing students made it to 3rd place on the first day of the tournament, advancing to the second day! There were a lot of big moments and close calls during the tournament. Although we did not win, IM LeeGaming President Iazyiah Goze has positive takeaways from the event and believes it benefits Hawai'i's Esports industry. Goze says, “It helps build relationships and stronger bonds not only between the UH campuses involved, but also with the sponsors and businesses that support us”. Great game IM LeeGaming!! We’ll see you next year!  

Cosplay Cafe

In the midst of the action, my coworker Angel and I wanted to cool down and relax. We found a cute little room called the Cosplay Cafe. Here, servers which included savvy butlers, adorable maids, and other anime characters provided a cafe experience like no other! When we first entered the cafe, it felt like we were entering an anime world where we were the main characters. Our waiter did a very good job staying in character as a proper, but mysterious butler who catered to our every need. 

Although they only served brownies and a choice of 3 different beverages, it was all about the experience that came with the service! As you dine in and enjoy your meal, you get a range of entertainment such as kpop dance routines done by the cafe staff and the option to challenge your waiter for a prize. 

We saw our fellow Ka Mana'o coworker, Pascal, volunteering at the cafe and had the option to request him for a challenge! So, we played a game of Crocodile Roulette. The game consists of a crocodile head with a mouth wide open full of teeth which you press one by one in hopes that it doesn't chomp down on you. In the end, I have very bad luck and made us lose twice. However, we had a really great time and enjoyed the experience nonetheless! I would recommend this to anyone who wants to have a fun and unique Kawaii Kon experience next year. 

Close the Distance

To end off the weekend, hundreds of fans gathered to rock out to locally loved band, Close the Distance. Close the Distance is an alternative-pop band featuring Kira Santos (lead guitar/vocals), Ezri Santos (bass/vocals), and Peyton Sekigawa (drums). The band has had the hearts of many local fans since the early 2000s back when they were known as EMKE. They made their shiny new debut as Close The Distance in 2018 and the fans have admired them just as much. Their genuine and energizing stage presence along with their amazing musical talent captured everyone in the room.

They sang a medley of anime covers including Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man as well as their classic, original songs! Vocalist and bassist Ezri Santos says, “We love Kawaii Kon because we get to connect with so many amazing people. It’s always nice to be surrounded by those who aren’t afraid to express themselves creatively! Kawaii Kon is the one place where we feel truly accepted.” Santos, like many others truly feels and appreciates the welcoming and creative spirit of Kawaii Kon.

Well, that wraps up Kawaii Kon 2024. We had a blast and we hope that you did too! If you haven't checked out our Kawaii Kon social media content yet, please check out our Instagram page @ka_manao and stay updated with next year's Kawaii Kon announcements @kawaiikonofficial . 


bai bai! 

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