AM2012 through the eyes of the Director

It seems Anime Matsuri 2012 just ended and this is the time to take a break, spend some time with my family and celebrate another successful year. We have crossed the 10k mark of attendees. 10,422 people to be precise populated The Woodlands Marriott on April 6-8. However I find myself on the phone with guests from Japan for Anime Matsuri 2013.

I have many pictures and memories from this event and while I realize it is impossible to share everything, here are some of my favorite photos and expressions.

What is it about the convention that makes it so hard to stay away from?…for me at least? I have asked myself this question many times and I’m still not sure what the answer is.

This year we featured many new events and concepts. Among these was the idea of bringing a Fashion event that would do the Lolita community justice.

After several visits to Baby, The Stars Shine bright in Tokyo we knew we had the right designer. Besides the JFashion Show, we had several Lolita related panels and the awesome Lolita tea party.

The emphasis on traditional Japanese panels was evident this year. Japanese Sensei, Kumiya Fujimoto teaching the curious fans about the Shamisen.

The echoes from the Kaminari Taiko drummers could be heard from far away.

Our main band was FLOW and I must say, they rocked the building. The reactions on the fans faces are a testament of how much energy was in the room. I got to hang out quite a bit with the guys and they are some of the coolest guys you’ll every meet. We shared pictures of our families saved on our phones, challenged ourselves to some crazy Japanese games, and even pushed a few of them into the Marriott pool.

This is FLOW’s 10th Anniversary year, and their best concert hosted in USA to date. Nothing short of stunning.

A Jrock Band, Lolita Fashion Designers, a Japanese model, a Game Designer, a Samurai, a koto player and a Shimasen Sensei. That’s original.

I’m not a cosplayer. I guess I should try it sometime. I can never find the time for me, because I’m too busy worrying about our attendees. However I admire cosplayers. If Anime Matsuri was a manga, the color on the pages are cosplayers.

I’m very happy to be among talented people. Some of which spend countless hours making costumes and props to do bring their favorite characters to life.

What would a Cosplay Contest be without some acting? The skits were very entertaining to say the least.

How many people love watching the contest? The answer is a full 19k sq foot room .

A fun convention like this means things happening everywhere. Here on the rooftop of the parking structure is Import Reactor, a Japanese themed car show.

Yes, thats a real batmobile. Yes it drives. I know this because I drove it around for a bit. My friends Erin and Kaelin as 2 one eyed cyborgs amazed fans in the hallways with their cosplay.

#1 Japanese Tuner ‘Top Secret’ had their car on display. It was sent here from Japan just for this event. Thank you, Smoky!

The Artists Alley, full for smiles and happy people. A lot of people.

The gorgeous Yaya Han selling her signature cat ears in the Dealer’s Room.

The guys from Fallout Houston had a very interesting booth.

Taking a break? Resting? or just posing for the camera?…perhaps all of the above.

I cannot imagine Anime Matsuri without the gorgeous maids and handsome butlers of Maid Cafe.

DJ Miki Taka before Club AM.

Great music, awesome dj, thousands of glowsticks and enough energy to power the room until 4am. This Club AM.

Victorious Secret, a dj duo with computer monitor heads, completely hiding their true identities.

The beaming faces of Luci Christian, Mike McFarland and Alexis Tipton. Some talents who have given so much to our industry.

I realize the answer to my question is the smiles and happiness of the fans. No matter how tired I am and how much there is to do, seeing the everyone happy is the force that drives me. It never gets old. It never ceases to inspire and amaze me. It is powerful.

Thank you everyone for the opportunity to serve you. 2013 cannot come soon enough.

- John Leigh, Director