Anime Matsuri XI has come and gone. Now, for many of us, it’s time to start counting down ’til next year’s convention. Not sure what Anime Matsuri is? Well ‘matsuri’ is a Japanese word meaning “festivals,” and Anime Matsuri is Houston’s largest anime and Japanese culture convention, held annually for three days. The con is usually held around the end of March or beginning of April, with last year being the exception due to the construction and renovations of the convention center. The attendance from last year’s con earned Anime Matsuri the ranking of 7th largest anime convention in North America. Even though the main focus of the con is Japanese culture, anime cosplays are joined with sci-fi, video game, and comic cosplayers alike.
For myself and several others, the convention started Thursday afternoon at George R. Brown Convention Center here in Houston, Texas. While I wasn’t quite able to finish getting my car ready for the show, the Veloster was still there without the Naruto vinyl on the side and some new parts awaiting install. As Anime Matsuri staff and vendors were setting up for the 3 day con, the approved cars owners — including myself, were setting up for the Reactor car show portion of the convention.
Reactor car show area
Welcome to Anime Matsuri
After helping with parking and layout, I went to detail my ride as much as possible. Once I was done, I went around the area to capture a photo of each ride before the crowds of people came to see them. This was also my first time seeing what cars were approved for this year’s show. After that, the other Spekture staff and myself went out for a late dinner before calling it a night… or morning. With Friday starting at noon, I went to work that morning while both Andrews from our staff went to check out how everything was going. I met with them later in the day once I arrived to the convention, starting in the Reactor car show area. This was the first year for the open concept of the exhibit hall with the car show and amusement hall all combined. We made our way around the artist alley and vendor booths seeing what was all out here, including the cosplayers. This is a collector’s heaven, so many different merchandise and artwork you can find featuring your favorite characters from Pikachu (Pokémon), Natsu (Fairy Tail), Naruto, or Vash the Stampede (Trigun) to name a few… ok well those are a few of my favorites. While walking around, I continually stopped cosplayers that didn’t seem too busy for a quick snap, some are very eager to stop for a photo.
Group of Spideys hanging out together
Reaper and Tracer from Blizzard’s Overwatch
Once I was done roaming the exhibit halls, we made our way out to the food trucks to grab some food. Oh the food trucks, it was great and many to choose from, with some of Houston’s best food trucks all lined up next to Discovery Green. Discovery Green is another great opportunity for many photographers and cosplayers to meet up for some photos. I pretty much continued roaming the halls afterward to take photos of the activities and cosplays that filled the halls of convention center. Some of the activities included LARPing, ice skating, arcades, RC drifting, inflatable bounce houses, and the backdrops for photo shoots. I didn’t bring any photography lighting, nor did I set up any shoots with the cosplayers here, so I didn’t really get to use the backdrops much besides a few quick shots when some were around them. The faux skating ring looked a bit hard for most of the skaters I saw, but I didn’t give it a try so I can’t say from personal experience whether it was or wasn’t… it was an interesting concept, nonetheless.
There was a few times I ventured to the other floors to check out some of the other activities, but was a bit impatient and didn’t want to wait in the lines, so I just headed back down and continued roaming around snapping photos. I missed out on the concerts, raves, panels and other activities this year and mostly focused on the exhibit hall. This was pretty much the same routine for the rest of convention, but I loved seeing the various cosplayers and their outfits. Day three of the con was a bit different: I still ran around the hall, but a good portion of that time was spent assisting the featured guest cosplayers over to the Reactor car show portion to pick their favorite rides for the guest awards. Hopefully, next year I am able to set up a few proper photo shoots at the con, check out more of the activities there, more video, and cosplay myself. The date is already set: March 30 through April 1, 2018. See you next year!
Reactor Car Show Cosplayer Guest Awards
Tae Yeon Award
Melting Mirror Award
Lightning Cosplay Award
Jennifer Van Damsel Award
Kaname / Astarohime Koyu Award
Aza Miyuko Award
Leon Chiro Award
Twin Cosplay Award
Enji Night Award