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This Weekend: Sakura-Con, Anime Matsuri and Kawaii-Kon

By April 7, 2009

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In addition to the sunrise services, brunch with the relatives, bunnies and chocolate eggs, manga and anime fans will be flocking to the numerous conventions on tap for this weekend. Anime Matsuri will be the place to be in Houston, Texas. Strong pre-registration numbers will likely mean that Sakura-Con in Seattle will be hopping with cosplayers, J-Pop fans and anime lovers. Meanwhile, I'll be in Honolulu, Hawaii checking out Kawaii-Kon at the Hawaii State Convention Center.

Right on the heels of last weekend's Emerald City Comic-Con comes an event for anime faction of the Pacific Northwest's pop culture crowd, Sakura-Con. Earlier last month, Sakura-Con posted on their Twitter feed that their pre-registration attendance numbers were already beating last year's numbers by almost 65%. So much for that recession, huh?

And why shouldn't they attract a lot of fans? Sakura-Con has a full agenda of anime voice talent from the U.S. and Japan, a squee-worthy line-up of J-Pop and J-Rock musical acts including the U.S. debut of fashionable goth-cute cuties Hangry and Angry, rock band girugamesh and the return of Dance Dance Revolution faves Smile.dk. I checked out the show last year and was impressed by the high level of cosplay energy and fun to be had. Don't believe me? Check out my gallery from Sakura-Con 2008.

Meanwhile, down south a-ways, Anime Matsuri will kick off on Friday, April 10 at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center in The Woodlands, Texas. Guests on tap include a mix of J-Rock celebs like Miyavi, anime voice talents, including Quinton Flynn (Iruka from Naruto, Metal Gear Solid 2 and Kingdom Hearts II), Luci Christian (Azumanga Daioh , Samurai 7) and Crispin Freeman (Code Geass, Ghost Slayers Ayashi) and more. Three day passes go for $45, or $90 for what they call the "Super Pass," which'll get you VIP access to the concerts, signings as well as a t-shirt and a "special goodie bag." You can see all the details about registration on their official website.

And where will I be while all this is happening in Seattle and Houston? I'll be at the Hawaii State Convention Center in Honolulu checking out Kawaii-Kon. While a smaller and younger affair than Sakura-Con and Anime Matsuri, Kawaii-Kon is Hawaii's first and therefore largest (and maybe only) anime convention.

So what's it like? Just go to the Kawaii-Kon website to see a video featuring highlights from last year's event. You can also view the schedule of this weekend's events, including numerous appearances by anime voice talent Vic Mignola, Usagi Yojimbo creator (and Hawaii-native) Stan Sakai, Friday night's Moonlight Magic formal ball, and a Gothic and Lolita fashion show on Saturday.

Stick around this weekend, as I'll be posting photos and scene reports from Kawaii-Kon.

Image credit: © ANCEA / Sakura-Con, © Kawaii-Kon

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