12 August 2023: Hannah Smith and her friends cosplay as Sailor Moon and her friends for Anime Matsuri.
12 August 2023: Hannah Smith and her friends cosplay as Sailor Moon and her friends for Anime Matsuri. Credit: Jimmie Aggison/Houston Defender

The Anime Matsuri convention invaded Houston and over 60,000 anime fans packed the George R. Brown Convention Center. Fans were on hand to buy merchandise, attend concerts, learn from panels and of course, cosplay.

Derick Maduka, a Houston native, was on hand enjoying his first anime convention.

“Location played a big factor. I’m born and raised in Houston, so having a convention here locally inspired me to come out today. Its been long overdue,” said Maduka.

Maduka was inspired to get into Anime after watching Naruto, a manga series about a kid who was abandoned by everyone, but was given the opportunity to prove himself and then ultimately became the greatest ninja in the village.

“Naruto is cool because it’s a comeback story,” said Maduka. “I’m currently doing a business dealing with fitness content and when I first started I was in the beginner phase and just trying to figure out how I can grow in the space. I had to prove my own worth, especially since I’m Nigerian, and culturally Nigerian parents want us to be lawyers, doctors and engineers. However, I’m doing something completely out of the norm. So, like Naruto, I have to raise my rank and prove I’m capable of doing something that changes a lot of people’s lives.”

Jada Brown came dressed as Sailor Jupiter with a group of her friends. Brown has cosplayed for five years.

“I’ve always liked anime, and at first I was kind of scared to cosplay, but then I went for it. Even though I’m not the actual skin color of the character, I enjoy cosplaying. It’s almost like Halloween in August,” said Brown.

Brown’s friend, Hannah Smith, was the mastermind behind having her friends come and support her ambition to cosplay as Sailor Moon.

“I started the show maybe a year ago and I just really loved the character because I can relate to her a lot. She’s always running away and I’m not strong at all, so I can kind of relate to this character. I also thought her outfit was so adorable,” said Smith.

Smith, a sophomore at Chapman University, is studying screenwriting with hopes of one day writing her own anime film.

While some purchased costumes, Megan Lawrence made her own.

“I have not named this character yet. I’m probably going to go around all day and anyone that compliments it, I’ll solicit name suggestions,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence first cosplayed as Bill Cipher in middle school. Growing up with her brother, she picked up the genre and never looked back.

“I like Miss Nagatoro because she has a lot more confidence than I do. I would never have the confidence to go up to someone older than me and then tease them for liking me. She’s so confident with herself,” said Lawrence.

Whether you’re an avid anime nerd or just a person who enjoys cosplaying, Anime Matsuri had enough excitement for everyone.

I’m originally from Kansas. I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in communication studies. Shortly after moving to Houston in 2007, I began doing photography. I covered cy fair sports...