10 Largest Anime Conventions in the United States

Anime and Manga, or Japanese animation and comics, have drawn a huge number of fans from around the world. People just can’t get enough of the styles, characters, and fictitious worlds that Japanese media brings to life! Unsurprisingly, events that promote the celebration of fandoms and Japanese pop culture often draw in huge numbers of attendees who are eager to participate.

So, just how massive can the largest anime conventions get? Today we’ll be looking at the 10 largest anime cons in the United States and ranking them according to their recent yearly attendance. We’ll also learn some cool details about what makes each one unique!

  1. Anime NYC

Yearly Attendance: 20,000
Location: New York City, New York
Year Started: 2017
Average Ticket Price: $65 – $295

Anime NYC  Source:thevillager.com

This three-day anime convention gives participants the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in Japanese pop and cartoon culture. Many people who attend Anime NYC also choose to cosplay, or dress up as their favorite characters, which may involve using spectacular props. The atmosphere is kept family-friendly and welcomes people of just about any age.

Did you know? 

Strict security measures are kept in place to make sure that all weaponlike props are obviously just for show.

  1. Youmacon

Yearly Attendance: 22,142
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Year Started: 2005
Average Ticket Price: $60 – $155

Youmacon  Source: after5detroit.com

Youmacon is the largest anime and gaming convention in the state of Michigan, and advertises itself as being just the right size–not too big and not too small. This convention also has strict rules in place to help everyone make the most of the event, including regulations against public drunkenness and horseplay and a note encouraging attendees to shower daily. People who attend Youmacon can enjoy a series of live performances and various interactive activities alongside the great costumes.

Did you know? 

The 2020 installment of Youmacon will include a Charity Masquerade Ball.

  1. Otakon

Yearly Attendance: 24,894
Location: Washington, D. C.
Year Started: 1994
Average Ticket Price: $100

Otakon  Source: wikimedia.org

Otakon might have had humble beginnings with an attendance of approximately 300 people during its first year, but its numbers have climbed much higher since then! Otakorp Inc., which organizes Otakon each year, is an educational non-profit and includes educational elements throughout the event. The convention is entirely volunteer-run, and all proceeds are set aside to fund the following year’s event.

Did you know? 

A persistent vendor known as the Ice Cold Water Man has become a meme for returning to every con to sell water while calling out “I got that ice cold water, and it’s only one dollar.”

  1. Sakura-con

Yearly Attendance: 25,000
Location: Seattle, Washington
Year Started: 1998
Average Ticket Price: $50 – $80

Sakura-con  Source: psuvanguard.com

Sakura-con is traditionally held over the course of Easter weekend, and is put together by the Asia-Northwest Cultural Education Association (ANCEA). The organization runs programs and activities 24 hours a day for the duration of the three-day convention! Sakura-con also includes a number of fundraisers to support charities such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Did you know? 

A blood drive is usually held at Sakura-con amidst the other activities.

  1. Anime Boston

Yearly Attendance: 25,848
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Year Started: 2003
Average Ticket Price: $65 – $80

Anime Boston  Source: metro.us

This three-day event is organized and supervised by the New England Anime Society in order to celebrate Japanese music and fashion alongside anime and other more traditional themes. J-rock and J-pop guests are often present at Anime Boston right next to cosplaying comic enthusiasts and exhibits about Japanese culture and history in real life. The main goal behind the event is to help people learn the facts about Japanese culture while they enjoy related media.

Did you know? 

More than 350 different staff members work together to make Anime Boston a reality.

  1. Anime Central

Yearly Attendance: 30,221
Location: Rosemont, Illinois
Year Started: 1998
Average Ticket Price: $48 – $70

Anime Central  Source: chicagoshimpo.com

Anime Central is the largest anime convention in the American Midwest, and takes place in springtime each year. Guests from the Gaming and Manga industries and Japanese pop culture icons come to visit and meet fans at the convention, and other interactivities are available in between. The entire event is hosted with the intent of demonstrating how influential and valuable manga and anime are in the media industries.

Did you know? 

Anime Central was first started in order to fill the anime con gap in the Central United States.

  1. Anime Weekend Atlanta

Yearly Attendance: 31,500
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Year Started: 1995
Average Ticket Price: $100

Anime Weekend Atlanta  Source: lifestylepubs.com

This friendly, fan-run anime con offers everything from fan panels and tabletop games to cosplay galleries and concerts. Fans from all over the United States flock to this con for the wide range of activities and the festive, celebratory atmosphere. Like many other conventions, Anime Weekend Atlanta runs round-the-clock activities for the duration of the event.

Did you know? 

The con is very family-friendly and provides designated areas where overstimulated young children can go to decompress or take a break.

  1. A-Kon

Yearly Attendance: 33,102
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Year Started: 1990
Average Ticket Price: $55

A-Kon  Source: yattatachi.com

A-Kon is famous not only for its great size, but for the fact that it’s one of the longest-running North American events to focus on anime! The con hosts tons of activities, including exciting cosplay contests where attendees can get recognition for their outstanding costumes. Volunteers who agree to work the weekend at A-Kon are given free passes to enjoy the rest of the event during their time off.

Did you know? 

75% or more of a cosplayer’s costume must be created or altered by the contestant in order to be considered for a prize.

  1. Anime Matsuri

Yearly Attendance: 36,270
Location: Houston, Texas
Year Started: 2007
Average Ticket Price: $60 – $180

Anime Matsuri  Source: 2020.animematsuri.com

This four-day springtime convention invites all types of fans to enjoy anime and Japanese pop culture during the event. Unfortunately, while the activities themselves are generally well-received, there have been some controversies surrounding the con. These problems include the owners of Anime Matsuri failing to pay guests for their appearances or even provide them with food, requiring them to rely on fans for help.

Did you know? 

In 2017, attendees from 22 different countries were present for Anime Matsuri.

  1. Anime Expo

Yearly Attendance: 107,658
Location: Los Angeles, California
Year Started: 1991
Average Ticket Price: $80

Anime Expo  Source: discoverlosangeles.com

Anime Expo is the largest anime convention in the world by attendance. It was originally called “Anime Con” and it is known for bringing an increased number of western gaming elements into the event atmosphere alongside the celebration of Japanese culture and anime. Guest appearances include representatives from Counter Logic Gaming and Blizzard alongside reps from Japanese fashion brands. Cosplay events, concerts, and autograph sessions are also in the lineup!

Did you know? 

Each day at Anime Expo is opened and closed with formal ceremonies that feature daily announcements.

10 Tips to make your anime costume stand out

Dressing up for Anime-Cons is all about creativity and expression. Here are several ways you can make your anime outfit stand out and be unique:

  • Customized Accessories
    Elevate your costume with hand-made or customized accessories. These could include unique jewelry, headgear, custom enamel pins, or props that are characteristic of your chosen character.
    Tips: Use craft materials like beads, foam, or fabric to create accessories that bring an extra layer of authenticity and originality to your costume.
  • Layered Clothing
    Incorporating layers into your costume not only adds depth but allows for a richer and more detailed look. Think of adding coats, cloaks, or vests to your outfit.
    Tips: Experiment with different textures and fabrics to create a look that is both visually appealing and unique to your character.
  • LED Lights and Electronics
    Integrating LED lights or other electronic components can make your outfit stand out, especially in low-light settings.
    Tips: Consider adding lights to your costume’s eyes, weapons, or other accessories. Make sure to hide wires cleverly within your costume and ensure you have a power source.
  • Dramatic Makeup
    Makeup can significantly enhance your costume, giving you the chance to replicate the distinctive anime eye styles or adding dramatic facial markings.
    Tips: Use makeup to create exaggerated eyes, intricate facial markings, or even to contour your face to resemble your character more closely.
  • Unique Hairstyling or Wigs
    Hair is often a distinguishing feature in anime characters. Using wigs or styling your hair to match your character can add a unique touch.
    Tips: If you’re using a wig, consider adding extra wefts for volume or shaping it to create dynamic, anime-style hair.
  • Handcrafted Props
    Carrying props that are specific to your character can lend authenticity to your outfit.
    Tips: Use materials like foam, papier-mâché, or 3D printing to create detailed, lightweight props. Don’t forget to pay attention to the painting and finishing touches.
  • Incorporating Motion
    Incorporating elements of motion into your costume can make it stand out, be it mechanical wings, a tail, or other moving parts.
    Tips: Experiment with simple mechanics or robotics to create moving parts. Make sure to practice wearing your costume to ensure comfort and functionality.
  • Detailed Footwear
    Often overlooked, footwear can be a defining element of an anime character’s look. Customizing your footwear to match your outfit can make a big difference.
    Tips: Consider painting, adding fabric, or other decorations to shoes to match your character’s look.
  • Interactive Elements
    Adding interactive elements, like sound effects or voice modulators, can make your costume more engaging.
    Tips: Incorporate small speakers or voice changers into your costume to recreate your character’s distinctive sounds or speech patterns.
  • Character Accurate Poses
    Learning to pose like your character can add a layer of realism and authenticity to your outfit.
    Tips: Study your character’s poses from the anime and practice them to perfect your portrayal.

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