THOUSANDS of fans brought their Japanese comic heroes to life when they descended on Sunderland at the weekend.
People from as far afield as America and Egypt made the trip to Wearside for the second annual SunnyCon event, a convention which brings together anime and manga fans.
Donna Yeoman, one of the organisers, said the weekend had been a huge success and they were delighted with the amount of people who attended.
She said: “It was a great event. We don’t have the exact numbers yet, but it will be at least 2,000 people overall, which we are really happy about.
“Last year was the first event and we had about 900 people, so it is a big jump in numbers.
“We knew there would be people from all over the country, but it is really exciting to know that someone is travelling all the way from America to come to your event, we didn’t expect that.
“It is surprising how popular anime is.”
Donna, who lives in the city, said the bitter weather did not stop visitors having a huge amount of fun.
SunnyCon was held at the Seaburn Centre over two days and Sunderland City Council supported the event by helping to provide a free overnight campsite for all attendees.
The site was set up next to the Seaburn Centre to accommodate visitors travelling a long distance.
Alongside the daytime segments of the convention, there were also party nights, which included the first ever fan-made Miku Hatsune concert. Miku is known as one of the most loved pop stars despite being completely computer generated, with a singing voice created using synthesizer software.
The animation convention also included talks by fantasy author Marisa Meyer and anime dub actors Vic Mignogna and Cristina Vee.
SunnyCon was launched by Michael Tuckwell as an extension of his online store, Tucky’s Anime, after spotting a gap in the North East market. He said: “SunnyCon is proof that anime events don’t have to take place in the likes of London and Manchester to be a success.
“Sunderland really is capable of playing alongside the big hitters.
“People are genuinely interested in seeing what the city has to offer and this event will do a great deal to enhance the city’s reputation as a leading place for software and technology.”