The parties, Omake and cosplay masquerade are the the focal point of most conventions, and Amecon is no exception.  The convention hosts probably the biggest cosplay masquerade in the UK, giving cosplayers a perfect chance to show off their costumes to a large audience.  This year's event lasted for two hours and was watched by over 500 people, with a huge amount of cosplayers strutting their stuff.  Our own writer Ami-chan cosplayed as her near namesake and Amecon mascot Ame-Chan at this year's event, and you can read her report here.

The Omake parade is an event at which cosplayers can act out short scenes or comedy skits in character, often in groups and with pre-prepared soundtrack or occasionally video.  These skits often used to take place during the masquerade but the growing popularity of cosplay has lead to it increasingly being separated out in recent years because of time constraints.  The Omake at this year's Amecon lasted for around three hours, so once again it was probably the biggest and longest of these events held in the UK to date.  The Omake and Masquerade is joined by a dedicated Cosplay Competition, again separated out from the Masquerade because of time constraints and to recognise that not everyone in the masquerade wants to enter.  All of these cosplay events, coupled with the workshops, makes the Student Union the Cosplay hub of the convention, and the building also offers cloakroom and changing facilities.

Gothika, a bit like Gackt

  In the evening the building becomes the party capital of Leicester, and this year there were several parties and events to enjoy at night.  There was an epic live performance from the Japanese electro band Gothika on the first evening that was immediately followed by an AMV disco which saw a everyone rock out to a host of classic rock and party tunes whilst anime music videos played on big screens.  The second night saw J-Pop and J-Rock parties run side by side in the Mirage and Oasis bars, providing a huge variety of Japanese music peppered with a host of anime theme tunes.  There's also karaoke for those who want to show off their singing skills, or simply have a

laugh.  However, the build up was to the final day when the Closing ceremony is followed by a serene Cosplay Ball.  After that is the not-so-serene final party which saw more AMVs and a couple of anime themes to send the crowd off in style.  For more about the parties click here!

Numerous anime screenings also take place at the convention in the Ken Edwards building just behind the Student Union, ranging from the latest series and films to the classics.  The screenings take place throughout the day in three rooms simultaneously, giving a large amount of choice and the unique opportunity to see some of the series in a more cinematic setting.  Also on offer is an AMV showcase, allowing you to see the latest works of various anime music video creators.  The Ken Edwards building also hosted a Chinese animation retrospective this year, which included screenings of rarely screened films, including one from 1956 and the premiere of StormRiders: Clash of Evils.  There was also a special screening of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away complete with an exclusive talk by Andrew Osmond, author of a recent book on the film.

There are also a handful of events featuring special guests, including voice actress Kari Wahlgren and Japanese cultural instructor Akemi Solloway in the Charles Wilson building.  Akemi's various panels and workshops cover everything from Kimono wearing to calligraphy and Japan's native religion Shinto, and give you the opportunity to participate in demonstrations and join in group activities.  There are also numerous fun games throughout the weekend, such as Mecha Bingo (pun of the week!) and anime Name That Tune!  There's also dance classes for the Cosplay Ball, and demonstrations of Japanese Para Para dancing, as well as several impromptu

Outside the Student Union Bar

events such as parties in the accommodation area and a Yuri panel, as well as frisbee and football in the park behind the Charles Wilson building!

  For the sheer amount of activities, screenings and events Amecon 2008 is by far the biggest dedicated anime event the UK has ever seen.  Numerous events are also the biggest of their kind in the UK, such as the masquerade and omake.  Even this overview doesn't cover everything that is there and as always any opportunity to get together with fellow anime fans and have a good time is truly unmissable.  For more information on the various events and panels that took place, click here to return to the article's menu.  It is worth noting that there isn't going to be an Amecon next year as the organisers are taking a year off, but their absence will see the return of the fondly remembered Ayacon convention in Warwick.  Keep an eye on our news section for more details about this convention as and when they become available.