In a sea filled with hundreds of comic, game, movie and anime characters — and more than an acceptable amount of Kirito’s — there was me, dressed in nothing more than a t-shirt and jeans with a camera in hand.
This year was my first year attending Anime Matsuri out of cosplay. I went in as more of an observer than an exhibitionist, and allowed myself to become completely immersed in this convention.
Six hundred staff members and over a year’s worth of planning go into this event, the eighth largest anime convention in North America. For me, and plenty others in this community, hundreds of dollars and several hours usually go into preparing for this event.
This year was a drastic step up from last year’s convention (at least in my opinion), which was pushed two months early in February due to construction going on at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Being one of few conventions to utilize all three floors of space available at the center, Anime Matsuri included a bit of everything from music, cosplay, fashion, anime and art. Some of the highlighted events included its grand annual Japanese Fashion Show, live concerts, Club AM (Anime Matsuri’s 18+ dance party), a car show and the events’ recurring Maid Cafe.
Some of my personal favorite events included Sailor Moon Live, the J Fashion Show, Kyle Landry’s piano performance and a live drawing/Q&A with the people from Studio Trigger.
The main exhibition area was huge and overwhelming as usual, but this year I found that it was lacking the same number of independent artists I’ve seen at previous year’s conventions and instead had a lot more commercial merchandise, which left me feeling a bit disappointed because one of my favorite things to do at conventions is support local artists throughout the Houston community.
The guest list for this year’s convention was the smallest it’s been in two years as well, and while I usually don’t go to conventions for autographs, I can understand how that could definitely disappoint many fans.
However, this year, like every, was filled with plenty of amazing cosplay. I wasn’t able to capture many pictures though because every moment there was spent trying to do as many things as I could without the restrictions of my typical convention cosplay.
Going to this convention out of cosplay was definitely a different type of experience. While I did enjoy that I was able to do a lot more things and feel a lot less stressed out and save plenty of time and money, I did miss the smiles and conversations that my cosplaying led to. But overall, I think that the experience was great nonetheless. Whether you’re about cosplay or not, if you’re an anime fan then there’s something here for you.