Before I even get started, I must extend a sincere "thank you" to my readers, old and new. My "5 Things You Should Never Say to a Cosplayer" article reached over 20,000 views. WOW!! The conversation it inspired has been a joy to participate in. I truly feel honored. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope those of you who just discovered Geek Girl Chicago will stay for more.
ANYWAY! Last weekend, I went to Anime Midwest in Rosemont with Jess. As one reader not-so-gently pointed out, the controversy surrounding the event's Chair was debunked. It didn't seem to affect convention attendance either way. Thousands of fans flooded the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. The halls were so crowded, in fact, that photography was difficult- I was always bumping in to someone! Anime Midwest must be extremely happy with the turnout. :)
The best part of AM was its price. Folks who preregistered only had to pay $30. Hotel rooms were a wonderful $99. For fans on a budget, this was easily the cheapest con of the season. The price DID mean a flood of young attendees, but Anime Midwest held both 18+ panels and a "Cleanest Room Contest" to keep things regulated.
The biggest highlight of the weekend was Steam Powered Giraffe. This futuristic band of Steampunk "singing robots" had people talking all weekend. Everything about this act was professional- tight harmonies, awesome makeup, and well-rehearsed physical comedy. Their melodies were reminiscent of Vaudeville acts. Best of all, their lyrics are family-friendly! Several cosplayers emulated the SPG style. ...The ladies liked them, too. ;)
Other AM favorites included popular voice actors, well-attended photoshoots, the video game room, and FREE RAMEN.
In terms of improvement, Anime Midwest needed more signage and staff. The volunteers seemed (rightfully) overwhelmed by the amount of people, which resulted in some (wrongfully) tense situations. A staffer sitting outside of Registration could not tell me where to get my Press badge. Many attendees were surprised by a charge for autographs after they'd waited an hour or more without cash. Lines of people were moved and altered, resulting in confusion. Many cosplayers told me about people grabbing, hugging, and otherwise invading personal space without permission. All of this could be solved with more enforcers present- a lesson I hope is learned from in 2014.
Anime Midwest has quickly become a Chicagoland staple. I had a great time exploring with friends and talking to attendees about their experiences. Below are cosplay photos taken by Jess and me. Interestingly, we saw a lot of "half" cosplay- people in just wigs, ears, etc. We kept this gallery to identifiable characters, but let me know if you want a wider spectrum of pics next time!
If you see yourself in the gallery, post below. I'd love to meet you all again. :)
I try to attend almost every Chicago convention. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for future coverage, and don't forget to subscribe! Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.