Anime Milwaukee 2019


Photo courtesy of Bethani Moore

Anime Milwaukee (AMKE) is back for another year and welcoming all sorts of creative and curious people. Several students from Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform) will be at the event to show off their talents, in addition to enjoying the convention.

AMKE is Milwaukee’s very own annual anime convention. The convention is on its eleventh year of production, and provides three days of activities to those in attendance.  “We celebrate and educate fans about anime, manga, Asian culture, music and gaming,” states the AMKE website. The event features lectures, lessons, demonstrations, games, vendors, and competitions. The convention is also home to a large number of cosplayers who come from all around the midwest and beyond to showcase what they have been working on. An example is Moderately Okay Cosplay (John), who came all the way from Florida to be a judge at this year’s competition.

Writing Focus senior, Maddy Burgireno, is one of the KM Perform students who went to the convention this year. “I worked on a character named Hawks from Boku No Hero Academia. He is a top tier super hero whose ‘superpower’ is a giant set of wings on his back that he can control each feather of telepathically,” said Burgireno. When asked about the skills she worked on this year, Burgireno said, “I relied on my building skills and planning skills for this project, especially when making the wings. I usually sew or work with foam, so this is a huge leap from what I’m comfortable with. Even so, with the advice from other cosplayers in KM Perform, I’ve been able to finish creating my project with ease.” When asked about what she’s learned from her experience with cosplaying and conventions, Burgerino noted, “I have learned that failing is inevitable. There is no such thing as a cosplay going exactly how you want it to. However, through these failures, you’ll learn more and know how to work with all kinds of materials.”

Another KM Perform student who made a costume for this event is Art Focus junior Bethani Moore. “I worked on Diane, the serpent sin of envy, from the Seven Deadly Sins. This version of her includes an orange dress, brown boots, blue armored gloves, a backpack, and a giant hammer,” said Moore. She explained, “I started cosplaying because I liked the characters. It’s kinda like Halloween: dressing up and becoming your creation. I also like making and constructing things. Additionally, I wanted to learn more about sewing and costume making.” Moore also adds that she has learned a lot about deadlines: “I took so long to finally complete this. If you are going to do a detailed cosplay, START EARLY.”

AMKE (and cosplaying) is not just for people with years of experience under their belt. Freshman Art Focus Amber Wendelberger made her way to her first convention. “The character I worked on this year is one of the later designs of Sakura Haruno from Naruto. She has pink hair, green eyes, a purple diamond tattooed on her forehead, and an overall basic look,” Wendelberger explained. “For me, I’m just trying to get some experience in cosplay itself, so I don’t have much skill right now other than past experiences in sewing or crafting with cardboard and a hot glue gun,” she added.

These students were at AMKE February 15th through 17th. Some entered their work in a competition, while others were just there for the food and games. Either way, AMKE is a perfect opportunity for people to create a character of their own and show it off. If you’re worried about coming up with an entire costume for next year’s event, don’t be. AMKE is not just about cosplay. You can just come to enjoy the events without a costume, support your peers, and learn a little bit more about Japanese and cosplay culture.