Anime Matsuri Returns to Houston and It's Bigger Than Ever

Anime Maturi, the convention that anime fans of all ages love, returns from Friday April 3 through Sunday, April 5. It's now in its ninth year and there are several new features for 2015. The show has grown so large it will take up all of the first floor of the George R. Brown convention center and two-thirds of the third floor.

Deneice Leigh, who co-founded Anime Matsuri along with her husband, John, is excited about the additions. "This year, we have so many exciting new things for the convention!" she says. "For one, we've lined up one of the biggest Japanese names in rock music, Anna Tsuchiya, who will be our headliner for the live concert on Saturday. There are also several artists, voice actors and actresses from studio TRIGGER, one of the biggest Japanese animation studios."

Also new for this year is the Ricebowl Street Spirit Modified Car Show, a joint effort between Anime Matsuri and Mayday Garage. It's on Saturday April 4 from 2 to 8 p.m. and those who don't have convention passes can buy tickets online just for the show for $10. Leigh says, "Whether you're into import or domestic cars, you'll find this interesting. It's a new style of car show we've created and we're expecting over 4,000 people just for this part of the show.

Special cosplay guests include nationally-known cosplayer Linda Le, also known as Vampy Bit Me, Reika, Olivia of Chubear Cosplay, Goldy and Kaname.

Cosplayer and burlesque performer Stella Chuu will perform in the Nerdlesque burlesque show. Joining her are Houston-based dancers Minxie Molotov, Vivienne Vermuth and Molly Macabre. The sexy homage to nerd culture is hosted by MT Molotov.

There's a fashion show, cosplay contests (including a Marvel vs DC one for the comics cosplay community), artist alley, maid café and much more.

If it's your first time attending, Leigh has a lot of useful advice. "Be physically prepared. Pack light. You'll do a lot of walking. Check the web site to make sure you have the schedule and information that you need. You won't be able to see everything at the show, so go into the customizable schedule online and pick what you're most interested in. Also, have an open mind, especially about the attendees. Eighty-percent will be in costume and may be acting or roleplaying their characters. Finally, have funds available! We have a huge exhibitor hall this year."

The exhibit hall is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Online registration has ended, but tickets are available at the door. Tickets are $65 for age 13 and up, $35 kids 6 to 12 and kids 5 and under are free.

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Phaedra Cook
Contact: Phaedra Cook