Anime Milwaukee Takes Over

Milwaukee’s own ‘geek convention’ slams the Hyatt and Airlines Center with nearly 5,000 attendees

By: Madeleine Long

Over the past month, the city of Milwaukee has found itself overrun by the Midwest’s local ‘geek’ population. With The Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses in late January, Distant Worlds concert on Valentine’s Day, and The Walking Dead live the next evening, geeks of all types are swarming their way out of the woodwork.

Anime Milwaukee is the finale of the geek season in Wisconsin, bringing together followers of all fandoms; including anime, manga, video games, sci-fi, fantasy, BBC, and other various emerging genres.

Radio ads, advertisement spots at large-scale events, and vast networking presence has brought Anime Milwaukee a whole new social status; what used to be a gathering of dedicated fans has now become a major social hotspot and an anticipated yearly activity.

With concerts, screenings, panels, and famous guests, Anime Milwaukee reels in people of all ages and origins. The convention prides itself in the celebration of Asian pop culture, and spans its every style and interest.

Famed guests included popular anime and video game voice actors Alexis Tipton, Todd Haberkorn, Chris Cason, and Ian Sinclair, webcomic creators Trevor Mueller and Alan Evans, musical guests The Pillowcases and Arc Impulse, Midwest Karaoke Madness, and reigning

Attendees at Anime Milwaukee enjoy the rave. Photo Credit: Ronald "SoulCrash" Ladao

Attendees at Anime Milwaukee enjoy the rave. Photo Credit: Ronald “SoulCrash” Ladao

king special guest Nobuo Uematsu, world-renowned composer of the Final Fantasy video game soundtracks.

Uematsu traveled all the way from his home in Japan as “guest composer of the Distant Worlds concert, occurring the day before Anime Milwaukee, on Thursday, February 14th. Pre-registered Milwaukee attendees were offered a discount to the show,” read a press release on Anime News Network.

“The guests and the panels are all cool, but the costumes are the best part!” exclaimed Dominican freshman Carolyn Long.

Attendees of the Anime Milwaukee convention, and other conventions alike, are all encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters, enter contests, and make connections with the public.

A masquerade ball was held on Friday, with $5 admission per person going towards the Milwaukee Children’s Orchestra, and the five-hour long rave dance was Saturday night, lasting until three in the morning.

The rave at Anime Milwaukee is one of the biggest events of the weekend. It features music performed by several DJs to a massive crowd of fans covered in black-light paint and glowsticks, under a mesmerizing array of colorful lights moving with the beat of the music. The extreme dance party is so attractive that even hotel guests who were not part of the convention tried to enter, but to their disappointment were not allowed in without a convention badge.

Attendance reached an all-time high of about 4,800, and next year is planned to boom even more, considering the amount of reaction that rising levels of advertising has brought the convention. The total next year is planned to rival even that of Anime Central, the biggest anime convention in the Midwest, and one of the largest in the country.

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