Anime Convention Cosplays' Conroe

By: Ruben Borjas, Jr., Columnist, Montgomery County News
| Published 06/04/2024


CONROE, TX -- Light Yagami, Killua Zoldyck, Yuno Gasai, and Sailor Moon. What do all have in common? They are all famous anime characters. And they were all represented by attendees at the recent KimoKawaii: Anime Experience and Convention, or Anime Conroe 2024, held at the Lonestar Convention Center in Conroe this past weekend. The beloved Japanese art form where fans of all ages love to dress up as their favorite characters, showed up for the 3rd annual convention in Montgomery County. Fans traveled from all parts of Southeast Texas for the weekend convention, as well as Louisiana, North and Central Texas, Arkansas, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi. With anime fans, it’s all about coming to a big party in cool costumes and strutting your stuff.

Anime is a Japanese style of animation which many convention goers emulate in their costumes. Cosplay, or ‘costume play,’ is a big part of convention which is a performance art in which participants wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent specific characters from fiction especially those from manga, animation, and science fiction. Most buy, but some make their own costumes, and for a lucky few, can make a healthy living off the costumes they produce.

The Saturday evening fashion show featured many cosplayers, from Geisha Girls to some characters who didn't have official names. Following the show, many fans hung around to take pictures with the fashion participants, with fans asking questions about their characters, or costumes. Anime Conroe 2024, was an experience of all things anime, from shopping to live concerts, special guest interviews, and playing video games. It’s a place where fans can connect and show their love for anime. Some may be shy, but even then they will eventually break out of their shell and become energetic and outgoing.

“It is all about celebrating culture and creativity,” said convention goer Kimberley Binning. “It takes months to plan out outfits.’

The convention owner and Montgomery County resident, Chris Carson, a direct-descendant of Kit Carson, enjoys putting on events for those who are into Anime and Cosplay. Carson was a professional artist who toured to events all across the country, before turning to his current work.

“I started my conventions three years ago,” said Carson. “We also have a horror convention and terrorfest in Conroe, as well as KimoKawaii.”

Montgomery County’s own, Princess TeaAnn, a Montgomery County resident who goes by Taylor when not in costume, is known for her creative design, and cosplay posing. In everyday life the Princess goes by Taylor, and she actively encourages and supports cosplayers of all ages. Princess TeaAnn served as one of the judges for the all important cosplay contest, which evaluates the expertise and passion of the participants for the art form.

“I have more outfits than I’d like to admit,” said Taylor, who is a mother to a one year boy. “I save all of my outfits, and use bits and pieces to make new creations.”

Cosplay is a different world than most people are used to, but for a small niche of people, it’s their own universe that is fun and necessary to escape the reality of everyday life. Houston is a regional mecca for Cosplay video production, and notable cosplay enthusiasts like Princess TeaAnn, and other Special Guests of the convention, like Jade Kelly and Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld, who do voice acting work for productions. Alyson is the voice behind ‘Bonnie & Sophocles,’ and ‘Polly Pocket & Strawberry Shortcake’.

"Everyone here has a shared interest, you can just strike up a conversation with almost anyone," said Harry Champion, an anime convention-goer. "It just kind of shows the passion that people have.”

At a convention, cosplayers can be dressed to the nines on the first day with all sorts of wigs, makeup, and costumes, and on the next day, you might not even recognize them as the same person. Anime Conroe 2024, was filled with vendors of all sorts, from video games, to plush pillows, t-shirts, swords, hats, stickers, and even a window sales booth.

“I’ve been cosplaying since middle school,“ said The Woodlands resident Skye, 20, who cosplayed as Rogue from ‘X-Men ‘97.’ “I didn’t take it seriously until high school.”

Not everyone was into cosplay, but some like Montgomery County resident Nina Woodson, 24, attended the convention solely for the anime angle and making a few purchases. “I appreciate the costumes,” said Nina, “and am interested in the art and culture.”

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