My younger sister, an anime, manga and video game fan, has unwittingly introduced me to one of the strangest and most fantastical treasures Sacramento offers. Before she got her driver’s license, either our parents or I were in charge of chauffeuring her to and from SacAnime, our region’s largest anime, manga, video game, and comic book convention. Just driving up to the convention is a spectacle. Teenagers dressed as Final Fantasy characters dance next to adults costumed from head to toe as Pokemon. Girls in skimpy bikinis, neon pink wigs and fairy wings pose for pictures. Half the crowd is dressed up in costumes so detailed and otherworldly that they make Halloween look boring in comparison.

The cosplay (con-friendly language for “costume play”) is only part of the fun. There’s a Japanese fashion show, a maid and butler cafe, a formal dance and a late-night dance, art and karaoke contests, live concerts, product vendors, workshops, swap meets and panels with industry insiders. And that’s just what I’ve gleaned from my sister’s experience. For the Japanophiles in Sacramento, SacAnime is an absolute must. Find more information here.

What: SacAnime
When: Aug. 30­–Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Where: Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St., Sacramento
Cost: $20–$40