On Friday, Feb, 26, the doors to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston gladly opened its doors to masses of anime loves, cosplayers, and Lolitas. People flooded the convention floor donned in intricate costumes, holding plushies and merchandise, and ready to celebrate the tenth year of Anime Matsuri.
I was able to attend Anime Matsuri X and celebrate alongside everyone and this year did not disappoint. From beautiful costumes to vendors selling everything I could ever want, Anime Matsuri X was a weekend I would never forget.
The first Anime Matsuri was held in 2007 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Since that first convention it has moved around to a couple of other event centers and even some hotels around Houston before finally solidifying its spot at the convention center in 2013. The convention showcases famous cosplayers, voice actors, and various other events to celebrate the Japanese pop culture that is so beloved among its attendees.
Attendance has climbed in numbers, and this year, they boasted attendance numbers upwards of 30,000, the most the convention has ever seen. Although the convention has faced some controversy and critique from many, Anime Matsuri continues to move up the list of most popular anime conventions in America.
Anime Matsuri has greatly expanded. Instead of being confined to just part of the convention center floors, the convention spanned across all floors leaving more room for panels, events, vendors, gaming, and even a car show. I felt the diversity in the vendors and found it hard to not buy all the plushies and figures I wanted since there was such a large selection. The expanded vendor room also allowed for price checking and shopping around for certain items, which may have ended up saving some people a few dollars here and there.
The expansion also helped to cater to a larger audience. My boyfriend, who is not the biggest anime fan, benefitted from the expansion due to more vendors offering Monster Hunter figures and plushies. It was hard to not find something that someone could enjoy while walking around that large conventions center floors. I benefitted because so many vendors were selling Himouto! Umaru-Chan merch, which allowed me to feed my addiction of the girl in the orange hamster hood.
Anime Matsuri also hosted many voice actors and cosplayers that many have grown to love. I will be the first to shamelessly admit (okay, maybe just a little bit shameful) that I love Soul Eater, so I was ecstatic to meet Chuck Huber, the English voice actor for Dr. Stein. He did the voice and I basically melted into a puddle on the floor. I’m okay now, but at that moment I was truly happy.
I was also happy to see the amazing Japanese cosplayer, Goldy. who decided to wear his Alphonse costume that left my boyfriend and I (and probably everyone else) drooling at the perfection that was his costume. Other famous attendees included Morning Musume, Stella Chuu, and Reika.
Despite complaints of disorganization and running out of badges leaving people to receive flimsy plastic bracelets, Anime Matsuri was well worth the money. I, among many other attendees, had a blast meeting new people, taking pictures with cosplayers, and simply having a weekend to let our nerd flags fly. They’re already talking about what Anime Matsuri will be like next year, and I can assure you that I’m already making plans to attend and have another weekend of anime, Japanese pop culture, and fun.