Anime Midwest 2015 RECAP: I will never learn

I keep saying I spend too many holidays at conventions. I keep saying the crowds at anime events make me feel old. I keep acting like I'm going to dial down the amount of events I cover. Then, I watch a new series. All at once, I'm PUMPED FOR ANIME AGAIN. This year, it was Puella Magi Madoka Magica. SO GOOD. I watched it, and was ready for Anime Midwest 2015.

Leading up to the event, I heard significant outcry over Midwest being a "Kopf Con." Con Chair Ryan Kopf runs a company called Chrono LLC, which hosts 8-or-so anime events nationwide. His reputation is spotty enough to earn an Encyclopedia Dramatica article. Some folks boycott his events. The controversy does not seem to stop everyone, though. Anime Midwest on Friday was just as full as ever. Saturday was quiet, but I'd blame that on the 4th of July before any drama.

I always enjoy the friends I see at Anime Midwest. The network I've built over almost 15 years keeps me coming back. Ever the social butterfly, I didn't get many Friday pics; I spent 2 hours catching up with art guest Trevor Mueller, instead. Saturday, I devoted just as much time to photographing my friends' Ouran High School Host Club costumes. I also left early to be with my family in the 'burbs for Independence Day. Yea, my Anime Midwest was pretty short.

Here's what I did see: The registration lines on Friday were atrocious. Twitter was abuzz with people stuck waiting for hours. The staff managing these lines was young and seemingly untrained. I watched 2 teen workers chat for 30 minutes (right next to the reg lines!!) before either attempted to help con-goers. At least they were nice. Something good happened overnight, thankfully; the lines were gone on Saturday.

I liked the Dealer's Room very much. The shops know what's hot in the anime world right now- tons of Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Madoka Magica, and Sailor Moon Crystal. I desperately hunted for Catherine statues and found none. I did, however, score a new Cowboy Bebop book.

The good was really, really good. The girls from the maid cafe were sweet. Some host club types addressed passers-by as "Your Majesty." The cosplay gatherings I witnessed- One Piece, Borderlands, and Five Nights at Freddy's- rocked.

This was also the first convention I've been to in AGES that I could truly call racially diverse. Inclusivity was not the case even a few years ago. We have a long way to go, but the progress geek culture has made toward being welcoming is clear.

The bad was pretty bad. Walking from the CTA to the Hyatt on Saturday, I was stopped by two people who literally flanked me and started screaming. They performed the Shia LeBeouf  "DO IT" monologue with much gusto. There was flexing. There was in-my-face shouting. It was not cute. I guess I'm supposed to like being included in the memes, but I just kind of felt assaulted.

...Also, the Dealer's Room smelled like unshowered bodies. I mentioned this phenomenon last year, then forgot about it.

Here is my humble cosplay gallery. Though it is smaller than 2014's, it is mighty. ;) Some of the cosplayers in this gallery are first-timers, so do encourage them in the comments!

Anime Midwest had its ups and downs, but the con always gets me excited for anime. The magical girls, the ramen, the K-pop and J-pop dancers- dozens of little moments built a feeling, a vibe. Anime thrills fans just as much as it did at my first con.

I always leave feeling a little old and SO OVER IT... but then I open my latest artbook and fall in love again. I never learn.

Did you go to Anime Midwest? What did you think? Post below!


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