SEWELL Rowan College at Gloucester County will sponsor its sixth annual KotoriCon - what it bills as "the little anime con with a big heart" - next month.

Hosted by the Japanese Anime Guild, a student club, the convention celebrates Asian, and particularly Japanese, culture.

KotoriCon will feature screenings of recently dubbed animes, standup comedy, live music, gaming tournaments, panel discussions, and opportunities to meet popular voice actors.

Kicking off the "con" will be a professional wrestling "cosplay" (costume play). Starting Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center, trained athletes will dress up as characters from various anime series and comic books.

Named for Kotori, a teen girl hero in Japanese anime, or illustrated action stories, this year's festivities are to take place Jan. 9 and 10. The theme is space exploration, with Kotori embarking on an intergalactic adventure.

Ted Williams of the Rittenhouse Astronomical Society and Ray Villard of the Space Telescope Science Institute will lead panel discussions on the possibility of life on other planets and findings made by the Hubble Space Telescope.

There will be a karaoke contest on Jan. 10. That day's festivities are to begin at 10 a.m. with a performance by the Kyo Daiko Taiko drummers of Philadelphia. Other musical guests will include the New York-based Japanese punk bands the Asterplace and the Ricecookers, and local musicians One Night Stand and High Council.

One panel discussion will feature voice actors for such animated shows as Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Tekken.

Author Danielle Ackley-McPhail will share her experiences in the publishing industry during the C.J. Henderson Memorial writers' roundtable. Additional writers are being added to the schedule in memory of Henderson, who sold his books at KotoriCon for many years.

Tickets are $30 for those 9 and older, and free for those younger. Participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Proceeds from the charity auction, vendors' fees, and ticket sales are to benefit Doctors Without Borders, Liberty in North Korea, Able Gamers, and Pets for Vets.

Tickets are on sale at kotoricon.org.

Additional information is available at the Office of Student Life at 856-415-2236, or at kotoricon.org, or by e-mailing contact@kotoricon.org.

The campus is located at 1400 Tanyard Rd., Sewell. - David O'Reilly