As the saying goes “Everything’s bigger in Texas”, Anime Matsuri is the biggest anime convention in Lone Star state. Started in 2007 with 4,000 attendees, it’s grown to an attendance level of almost 25,000 in 2015. Many considered 2013 to be their breakout year with the convention cracking the list of AnimeCons.com’s Top 10 highest attendance that year & being featured on the Syfy reality series “Heroes of Cosplay”. By the looks of the different videos we have seen, the cosplay community comes out to this convention and takes advantage of the amazing scenery & have a million places to shoot.

Just note: we haven’t personally attended this convention, but it’s on the bucket list for the future. We don’t judge until we have seen it for ourselves.

Check out this cosplay music video from Deekstalker Pictures from the 2015 edition of Anime Matsuri.

From what we read as well, the convention has been in a cloud of controversy & unhappy attendees & guests. There’s been long lines, cancellations, unprofessionalism from some high-ranking staff, and a sexual harassment case against the conventions manager. Some of the controversy got so bad, that some prominent voice actors refuse to be guests at the convention after their appearance. There’s a lot to forward to for the 2016 edition, and here are 3 headlines to look forward to for this year’s edition of Anime Matsuri.

1. With the history of disorganization in the past, will the convention be organized this year?
– From what we read in the different reviews of past years, the convention has been a disorganized mess since it started. There are stories of voice actors being asked to host events that they weren’t contracted nor paid to do beforehand, along with autograph sessions being chaotic. The disorganization not only goes to the guests, but also to the attendees with panels cancelled, long lines, & broken promises. One blogger called it “Disneyland on day one: all the attractions malfunctioning and a lot of long lines”. Even staff are subjected to disorganization. A majority of the core staff resigned by 2012 citing “disorganization of the convention” being the reason. I’m sure that some people are crossing their fingers in hoping that the convention would be organized, however we won’t know until afterwards. Until we attend the convention see for ourselves, we really can’t fully judge.

2. With the sexual harassment against one of the core members of staff, will attendance be affected?
– By the sounds of it and its history with controversy, the numbers are only going to up. This convention grew faster from start to finish than any other convention we have seen. With being held in Houston, Texas, it’s not exactly the easiest sell for guests, vendors, & attendees. With the city getting a bad rep from a Star Trek convention in 1982, it wasn’t really attracting the big names. With this convention, they were able to attract big names from not only the US but also Japan to attend. However with the recent sexual harassment accusations against one of the core members of their staff, John Leigh, some of the community maybe hesitant to come to the convention. The majority of the Lolita community have distance themselves from the convention. When you see their guest list from the Lolita community, it’s just one guest with a pretty much generic description of the Maid Cafe. Personally, I think the numbers will go up because other aspects that attract the attendees, such as the spectacular cosplays & just hanging out with friends.

3. Will the convention please the fan experience?
– You can only hope from what we read in the past. To quote one anonymous internet poster summed up the negative feelings of Anime Matsuri written in 2014:

“This is the Matsuri cycle: Make a lot of promises, throw in a few big names, and make people pay out the [expletive] for everything. Lock down the convention center to make sure everyone pays for a badge. At this point, you have all handed your money over and they have no reason to keep any of their promises or deliver anything of quality because time and time again, people go back, despite being treated like crap. The sooner people get a clue and stop paying up, the sooner Houston can get a quality convention that actually functions for something more paying off outstanding debts.”

We hope that the convention is going to start going up for the fan experience, because that’s what’s going to be the deciding factor for the convention’s future. You can attract the big names & big events, but if once the fans have had enough, they won’t show up at the end.

For more information on Anime Matsuri, you can visit their Website. You can follow them on social media. They have a Facebook Page, Twitter, and a YouTube Channel.

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