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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


GALLERY: Anime Matsuri gives Houston dose of Japanese culture

The 9th largest anime convention in North America, Anime Matsuri, brought together over 19,000 aficionados of Japanese culture Friday through Sunday at George R. Brown Convention Center.

Panels on topics like sewing and voice acting occupied most of the schedule, and dedicated fans in costume (known as cosplay) competed in fashion contests to see whose outfits were the most beautiful and accurate, respectively.

A maid cafe on the third floor gave tired visitors a place to stop and chat with cordial maids and butlers. On the ground floor, artists and vendors sold themed art and merchandise, ranging from Pokémon stickers to fancy wigs. An arcade room hosted card game tournaments and Japanese arcade games, most of which were rhythm-themed.

Saturday featured a car show known as Ricebowl, which has been partnered with Anime Matsuri for eight years, and a midnight party featuring Japanese DJ TeddyLoid.

Attendees of any convention should expect to empty their wallets: passes can range from $60 to $180, parking nearby started at $10 and the cheapest items to buy were around $5. It’s easy to top $100 throughout the weekend with so many options of food and merchandise on multiple floors.

The convention center is huge, and the layout of each floor can make it easy to get lost, although staff is there to give directions. Of the events taking up the larger rooms, only the Ricebowl car show seemed to take up the whole room’s worth of space. As the event continues to grow, we’re sure it will fill in the convention center snugly — right now the event fills its venue like a foot a half size too small for its shoe.

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