My weekend started early when I got to chat with Anime Matsuri’s security director, Elias Romero. He had some really interesting things to say about the on going updates at this year’s convention. This premiere anime event will take place April 10th-12th in Woodlands, Texas and is one of the largest conventions in southern part of the US.
Q: First can you introduce yourself to our Readers and tell me your staff title?
Hello Everyone! My name is Elias Romero and I’m the Security Director for Anime Matsuri 09.
Q: Can you give me a brief history of what you do for Anime Matsuri?
Sure thing, lets see…where to start. I had been volunteering from the very beginning and offered to help on any project that I could be of use to. I made these awful art stands that were going to be for the art gallery and they really were of no use and I just begged Deneice to destroy them lol. Over time, I would go along and support AM with pre-reg, speaking with con goers about AM and how far it has come, and just helping out whenever I’m needed. It really has given me an opportunity to see what the anime crowd wants and what Anime Matsuri can do to make it the best.
Q: Thinking about convention safety issues, what issues do security see at anime events like this time goes on?
Safety issues hmmm…Well, the most important is a secure environment not just for the con goers but also for our guests. We want everyone to feel safe and know that everyone is here to have fun. Enjoy the convention without the Chaos. So in order to minimize the ‘chaos’ that inevitably comes with every con, its important to have good crowd control, check badges, weapons checks, and laying down the rules and guidelines in an effective but non-confrontational way.
Q: Do elaborate Cosplay outfits cause security issues such as scantily clad people or realistic looking weapons?
Being a bad fan of cosplay myself, I can appreciate how much detail everyone puts into their alts, but as much as I enjoy the realistic weapons or ‘snug’ outfits many people don’t share the same views. Anime Matsuri has always strived to uphold a very family friendly environment and oftentimes a revealing cosplay or realistic weapon isn’t conducive to that environment. So, yes it can cause many security issues not only for general attendees but for the cosplayers themselves as well. Be it liability from accidentally injuring someone with the weapons or even being harassed due to a revealing outfit.
Q: Are their any rules about cosplaying with real weapons?
Yes , The Marriott and the local law enforcement are still not accustomed to this so to keep in good standing and to ease everyone we’ve agreed to no live steel or any metal weapons.
Q: Are there any restrictions to asking guests for autographs or photos?
Sorry to say, but yes there are rules for guest photos and autographs. There are designated areas and times for our attendees to get autographs and take photos with their favorite guests. Even though its not a popular rule it is for the safety of both the attendees as well as the guests.
Q: What Rules shoud Anime Matsuri goers know first?
First and foremost, No Real Weapons! Other than that, just be sure to have your badge on you at all times and be respectful of your fellow attendees. A little respect will go a long way and most importantly, just have fun.
Q: What is the best part of working on Anime Matsuri?
The best part is definitely meeting all the people that I can now proudly call my friends. Call me weird, but its really awesome seeing how everything comes together behind the scenes and watching a raw idea transform and mesh into a full fledge convention.
Q: Do you consider yourself an Anime connoisseur?
Oh noos, I will be looked down upon from the anime community! Haha! In all seriousness though, I absolutely love anime but I have a hard time remembering all the names of episodes and who made it, so I’m not really a connisseur , I enjoy it all.
Q: What was your first experience with Japanese Animation and how did it Change you?
Wow that’s a good question, I’d have to say it was Akiria that made me realize how much I love art and anime. For years after that I would take art class whenever I could.
I viewed anime almost as a living breathing work of art…be it good or bad, lol. I always felt that it had the power to control your emotions…happy, sad, excited, enraged, you name it and it does it.
Right now, its probably One Piece ,Bleach and Naruto but I always seem to find a new interest. Before it used to be Ranma ½ , Love Hina , Fruit Basket and Maison Ikkoku
Q: Do you see this part of imported Japanese popculture continuing to influence the American market?
Very much so, it has become a living breathing thing and it is overwhelming how fast it has spread. I’m grateful to see this huge thing happen in my lifetime.
Q: Could you give us a little bit more on what we can all to look forward to at the Anime Matsuri? Like what should we look out for?
Of course, the few key things that any attendee can see are:
1. Miyavi Concert – a no brainer
2. Cosplay Contest
3. Showdown Championships – nothing like seeing 2 world class gamers battle it out
4. Import Reactor – check out one of the most popular elements of Japanese pop culture…car tuning and styling (due to public demand, now a 2 day show)
Theres also a few more things that are planned, but if I say anything it might just ruin the surprise ;)
Close to the best thing you will ever see, I say close because next year will be even better, haha! Every year I see first hand how the staff puts their hearts and souls into this convention, not for any personal gain, but to help further the community. Anime Matsuri has definitely pulled out quite a few stops for 2009 and since our 2010 dates have already been announced, everyone has to come back next year and see what else we can pull out of the hat!
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