• 2015 Anime Milwaukee took place from February 13 to 15 at Milwaukee Hyatt Regency and Wisconsin Center. The three-day event is the largest anime convention in Wisconsin and drew more than 4500 anime fans last year. The convention marked the eighth year with more than 20 guests. They were voice actors Steve Blum, Bryce Papenbrook, Caitlin Glass, tabletop creator Jason Bulmahn, the Symphonic Anime Orchestra, and taiko group Hibiki, to name a few.
• The anime convention was full of programs, which included Masquerade, Cosplay Combat Chess, Video Gaming, Masked Charity Ball, Maid Café, and the Manga Library where the attendees enjoyed reading manga both in English and Japanese. One of the highlights was AMKE’s premier dance party “Love Shine” where Japanese DJ “DE DE MOUSE” from Koganei, Tokyo performed among other DJs. The Saturday-night party lasted until 3 a.m. Sunday morning.
• Japanese related events were also presented such as the screening of Tohoku Tomo, directed by Wesley Julian, basic Japanese language classes by the Wisconsin Association of Teachers of Japanese (WIATJ), lectures on manga translation/character names, how to draw manga, shogi and go-Japanese games and more. One of the highlights was a gallery exhibition by ero-pop artist Ayumi Tanaka. Her works tackle personal and world issues through the use of extreme hentai imagery. The Chicago based artist Tanaka said that she was invited to the convention. The word “hentai” has been becoming an English word such as Fuji Yama or geisha.
• According to Visit Milwaukee, Anime Milwaukee was initiated in 2007 by the Japanese Animation Association at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and now run by the Entertainment and Cultural Promotions Society.
• Patrick Gibbons, a member of the organizing
staff, said, “We have been one of the largest and fastest growing convention
in the country and definitely Wisconsin’s largest convention.”
• Jarred Maldonado called himself as
Street Magician Raven. He has performed magic as his hobby and said, “I
love going cons and doing it because it is so much fun. You never know
where you are going to find people, who are going to be interested in
it, and just stop by and watch.”
• Diana Manhoff, who attended the convention from Illinois, was in a beautiful costume of Princess Bubblegum. She said that she had made it with her friend and took a month to complete it. She said, “I went to Anime Central when I was 14 years old and saw cool people. I was, like, I wanted to do that and did it.” She was quickly drawn to anime when she first saw Naruto.
• A young lady, who didn’t mention her name, was a Milwaukee resident and enjoyed cosplay for the first time. She ordered her costume “Chii from Chobits” through online and made some parts by herself. She has watched anime since she was very young, and the first anime she saw was Sailor Moon. She said, “It is a lot of fun. There is a lot of stuff you can’t find at regular stores, so I’m really having a happy time. I spent a lot of money but I saved it, so it’s O.K.”
• Megth Bienkowski from a Milwaukee suburb
was wearing a costume of Katsuma (cat). His friend Jacob Bcker was in
the costume of Rayquaza.
• Andrea Fetingis of Kenosha said that she wanted to dress up with her favorite characters, so she learned how to sew from her friend. “I started sewing and creating this awesome costume of Mituna Captor.” She has been watching anime since she was in the first grade. In regard to cosplay, she said, “It means fun, making new friends, improving my skills as a seamstress, and getting to show off my awesome talent and work.”
• Cosplayers were trying on kimonos
at the booth of Tangerine Mountain Imports and Designs. The price of a
kimono started at $30. If someone bought an expensive one, obi belt would
come with it.
Diana Manhoff (L)
Megth Bienkowski (R) and Jacob Bcker
Andrea Fetingis (C)