Lily’s Take: AMKE 2020

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Last weekend was the thirteenth annual year of Anime Milwaukee (better known as AMKE), and I had the chance to attend the third and final day of the con. This year’s theme was AMKE the 13th, and it had a total of 11,011 attendees for the weekend. Anime Milwaukee is not only a place for cosplayers and anime enthusiasts, it is a place filled with Japanese and Asian culture, games, food, music, and is a great place to meet new people and have a great time. This is my first year attending, and I have never been to a con quite like it. I have been wanting to go ever since I heard about the event from several friends who are frequent attendees and said that they absolutely loved it. There were so many nice people hosting booths, and fellow fanatics. I am so grateful to have been a part of such an awesome event. 

One of my favorite parts of the con was definitely the people I met and the immense collection of diverse and intricate cosplay that they wore. Although I am not a diehard anime fan, I can appreciate and admire the endless hours and creativity that went into each and every cosplay to showcase their love of different fandoms. I had the chance to see a large variety of different characters from Kermit the frog to inflatable multicolored dinosaurs. Some of the most popular cosplays on the con floor included, but are not limited to, Naruto, My Hero Academia, and original characters. Attendees and booth holders alike got in on the action and were in full cosplay for all three days. Even though the event is centered around anime, Anime Milwaukee and other cons are a great place to let loose and meet some people who share your interests. 

Anime Milwaukee is more than just anime. They hosted a variety of different panels, raves, music, games and other events. With something for just about everyone from kids, teens, adults and more, AMKE is a place that everyone can enjoy. Some spend their days playing games, hanging out in the vendor hall, attending panels, or taking part in different demonstrations of Japanese culture. A great example of this could be found on Saturday when there was a lineup of different events and demonstrations such as Aikido, where people learned and were able to take part in the ancient martial art. Those who had vouchers also were able to visit and enjoy different Milwaukee restaurants and eateries surrounding the Wisconsin Convention Center. There were plenty of guests and opportunities for meet and greets. The gaming hall was a popular choice among many attendees in between the different guests and activities. There was music from many talented artists including singer AIMI, a new guest of Anime Milwaukee, who performed for a very large crowd of anime lovers over the weekend. You can find out more about this year’s event on their website I listed here

As an artist, I always love seeing the amount of incredible talent come to life in the artist alley and vendor hall. Any time I go to a con, I make it a priority to go to as many booths as possible to see the immense talent and to support independent artists. Most of the vendors I had not heard of before, and it was super cool to be introduced to even more awesome people. I ended up getting a lot of stickers, pins, and plushies from different vendors this year. 

I wish I could showcase all of them, but I am going to highlight a few of my favorites. One of the booths that I have visited previously was one of my favorite t shirt companies, TeeTurtle. You can find their info and products here. I always love their kind service, original designs, and awesome products, and it is always fun to see them in person at cons. I of course had to get something from them, so I got one of their newer products, a reversible plushie. 

A vendor that I kept coming back to was Sorbet Jungle. They were so friendly and beyond accommodating. Their designs might have been some of the cutest things I have ever seen and I got a limited edition plushie for one of my friends and a charm for myself. I hope to see them at future cons and I highly recommend that you check them out here.

I absolutely love independent artists who get out to conventions and sell their art when it means something more to them. The final artist I would like to highlight is Anderson Thompson. He creates truly beautiful designs and different pieces of art that each have their own personal story. He was nice enough to share the story of one of his pieces and explained that all of his works represent something more. I thought that sharing the meaning behind his art is such a cool and memorable way to put it out there. If you want to check him out his website is linked here

I don’t always have time to fully enjoy the cons that I go to, but I was able to really take my time and appreciate everything AMKE and its people had to offer. Even though I didn’t know what everyone was dressed as and I was unfamiliar with a lot of the booths and the convention center, most of the fun I had was discovering those things and more as I went through the day. I would like to thank friends old and new who ventured the con floors with me and really made the con epic. I would also like to thank all of the cosplayers and awesome people I met along the way who make this convention possible each year. 

Everywhere I went, I was greeted with a smile and was able to geek out and get some awesome merch and mind blowing art from the dedicated vendors. You don’t need to be a weeb to have fun and be a part of the experience. AMKE was by far the most fun con I have ever been a part of, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store! 

Check out the link to my photos and more con coverage here. Check them out next year when Anime Milwaukee returns! 

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