ACen FAQ

ACen Questions

  • What is Anime Central?
    • Anime Central is an event held in the state of Illinois dedicated to the appreciation, recognition, and enjoyment of Japanese animation and culture. It is an event which is attended by many and is an opportunity to meet and talk to people with similar interests.
  • When is Anime Central? How long is it?
    • Anime Central 2018 will be May 18th-20th, 2018. While there are slight variances in time, typically the convention will officially start on Friday around 10 am and end Sunday around 4pm. However, some things start earlier – such as Registration, Tabletop Gaming, and a few other departments which traditionally open on Thursday night.
  • Who runs this convention?
    • The convention is sponsored by a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization named MAPS (Midwest Animation Promotion Society). The convention is staffed by volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to putting on a fun and exciting convention event.
  • What are all these words I keep hearing: “ACen”? “Got Soap”? “Pocky”? “Dance”?
    • *ACen -Short for Anime Central, much like AX is short for Anime Expo, AWA is short for Anime Weekend Atlanta, etc.
    • *Got Soap – A parody on the “Got Milk?” commercials, Got Soap is Anime Central’s way of providing a reminder – for the sake of others around you, to please bathe, shower, and use soap during your stay.
    • *Pocky – A Japanese snack, basically a short, narrow wheat cracker dipped in chocolate or other material.
    • *Dance – Dance and music have become points of pride for the show, with our popular Soap Bubble (Saturday night dance) and Synergy (Friday night dance).
  • How many people typically attend?
    • Anime Central has seen an increasing number of attendees every year. In 2015 we had a Unique Attendance of 31,469 and a Gate Attendance of 88,927.
  • What is there to do at Anime Central?
    • All sorts of things! We have panels on favorite series, guest signings, a dealer’s room with anime/manga and Japanese culture merchandise, video rooms, special events such as the Masquerade, and more! And that’s not counting all the opportunities you get to hang out with people who like anime/manga too.
  • How long has Anime Central been around?
    • Anime Central started in 1998, but the planning for it began much earlier in 1996 at a local anime club. Ever since then, we’ve been going strong, and our exponential growth has put us among the top conventions in the United States.
  • Does Anime Central run “24 hours”?
    • From opening ceremonies to closing ceremonies, we never shut down completely—we have events that run all night, and typically, there’s a lot going on with our attendees, so you could consider us a 24-hour convention.
  • Where are all the events held? Is there a map of the convention?
    • Anime Central is held in the Hyatt O’Hare and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. The program guide will have all the specifics of when and where to go for each event.
  • Is there a limit to how many attendees can enter?
    • There is no limit to the amount of attendees that can attend Anime Central. Some events, such as the Masquerade, will have limited attendance due to fire code rules and space. For the event itself however, we have no membership cap. Please remember that because of the volume of individuals at the convention site, you should be mindful of congregating in one place where you can block the hallways and common areas that people need to get through.

Convention Questions

  • What is a convention?
    • A convention is an event, usually based around a theme, practice, or commonly appreciated medium. There are many different kinds of conventions, and Anime Central is the kind that is recreational in nature and based around a “theme” of anime/manga and general Japanese pop culture.
  • What can I expect at a convention?
    • You can expect pretty much anything, but aside from that, some specific things to expect are dependant on what kind of convention you attend. At ACen, you can expect to find cosplayers who dress up as their favorite Anime or Japanese culture characters, live events, concerts, dances, competitions, gaming, and individuals of all ages who appreciate different parts of the anime, manga, and Asian culture genres. We also hope you’ll find a fun and sociable atmosphere, and memories to cherish.
  • What is a “gofer”?
    • Gofers are a nickname for volunteers, who are not full staffers, but who offer their services at the convention to do grunt work such as making copies, assisting in setup, and other such tasks. The name “gofer” is a pun that comes from their function as “runners” for various needs – i.e. “go for some paper” or “go for this food” or “go for more program books.” Gofers are commonly some of the backbone behind some of the larger tasks of the convention.

Cosplay/Masquerade

  • What is cosplay?
    • Cosplay is short for “costume play,” where individuals create or have made costumes of their favorite anime characters and wear them to the convention. Cosplayers are creative and are proud of their work, and it’s common to see many of them walking the halls during an anime convention.
  • What is the Masquerade?
    • The Masquerade is one of the biggest events of the convention and it is an opportunity for cosplayers to show off their costumes, present skits, and if so desired, compete for prizes.

Guests

  • What determines which guests attend Anime Central?
    • There are a variety of factors, including availability, timing, popularity, and reputation. Usually, we’re open to suggestions unless we’ve said something about a specific guest, so head on over to the Guest Suggestions part of the Forums to let your voice be known!
  • What is the likelihood of getting [insert guest’s name here] to attend?
    • The short answer is that it varies from guest to guest. Certain guests are harder or even impossible to secure than others. Some may be much easier. A lot of it is dependent on factors which may or may not be in our control. All we can do is ask that you make your suggestions and be patient – and we might score that favorite guest for you.
  • What is the autograph policy at Anime Central?
    • This is usually printed in the program book you will get when you arrive at the convention. Typically, however, past autograph policies have limited individuals to one item or autograph per attendee per guest, and have used incentive such as panel attendance for autographs.

Miscellaneous

  • Why isn’t Pocky allowed to be sold at the convention center?
    • We have a stipulation in our contract with the convention center that says that outside food cannot be sold by any of our contracted vendors at Anime Central. However, the Convention Center’s concession stands sell a wide variety of food options.
  • Why is there a weapons policy?
    • It is our intent to provide a safe environment for everyone who attends the event. Therefore, we do not want to subject others to potential accidents with a weapon that is considered illegal to possess at the convention (such as a “sharpened steel” sword or other weapon). We are also concerned about Illinois/Chicago/City of Rosemont law and wish to comply fully with their regulations.
  • If I have feedback about Anime Central, where do I submit it to?
    • We have surveys that will be given out at con and online that you may fill out your thoughts on. Immediate concerns can also be conveyed to the Customer Service locations. Pre-convention complaints can be submitted to acenfeedback@acen.org.
  • If I have a complaint about unruly behavior in the hotel, what do I do?
    • The easiest way to get a response is to contact the hotel front desk. They will coordinate with our convention Incident Response Team members to resolve the behavior or problem. Remember, NEVER take matters into your own hands beyond asking politely for the behavior or horseplay to stop. Your program book will also have contact information for reporting emergencies or disruptive behavior.

Merchandise

  • What have you sold in the past?
    • We have sold convention t-shirts, but have also had other items such as pencil boards, baseball hats, cups, and even “clean kits” which included a bar of molded soap on a rope and a washcloth. We’re always open to new ideas, so please post your thoughts in the Merchandising section of the Forums!

Programming

  • Where’s the programming schedule, and when will it be finished?
    • The programming schedule is fluid depending on many factors, including but not limited to guest lineup, panel demand, new events, and time constraints. We want to put up the most accurate grid of events that we can, and not confuse our attendees with changing information. This is why we wait until the programming grid is final before we post it online. You can of course find the programming grid in the program book of your convention packet.
  • How will I know if there are changes to the schedule? How do I find out what went on at events I missed?
    • Anime Central’s Customer Service department exists to ensure that all schedule changes and items are communicated to attendees who ask. Find the stations at the convention and ask away! You can also check posted signage at the convention for scheduling changes, or consult our Guidebook program app. We will also strive to have a recap on the website for all of the events and panels for each year.

Rules

  • Can I sell food at the convention?
    • You may not sell food at the convention, however, bring your own food for yourself or your friends/roommates to consume. You also are not allowed to bring in food and distribute it, even if it is free samples.
  • What is the policy on room parties?
    • Room parties can be held so long as individuals running them are responsible and considerate of other individuals in the hotel. If alcoholic beverages are served, the room party planners are responsible for checking ID’s and ensuring no minors are involved in the party. Excessively unruly or other parties in violation of these and other rules shall be shut down by hotel staff and convention security.
  • Where can I find all the rules?
    • You can find most of them in your program book in your convention packet. Some you’ll see before the convention, in documents like this one!

Staffing/Volunteers

  • I want to staff or be a volunteer at Anime Central. Who should I contact?
    • You can email staffing@acen.org to get information from the Chief of Staff about being on staff for Anime Central. Alternatively, volunteers (“gofers”) can use volunteers@acen.org to get gofering information.
  • Do staff get paid?
    • No, staff does not get paid. We are a volunteer organization. All proceeds from Anime Central go straight into funding the next year’s convention.
  • What can you expect from being on staff?
    • You can expect a lot of work, time, and energy spent. You can also expect, depending on what department you’re in, to miss some or most of the convention. You can expect to be told to follow the orders of your assigned department and be respectful and courteous to our attendees. But most of all, you can expect to meet a great bunch of people that want to put on a neat event for others.
  • What is the time commitment for being on staff?
    • We usually hold monthly staff meetings, and your assigned department may also hold their own meetings from time to time. While there is no concrete time commitment pre-con, being at the convention will take up most of your time.
  • What kinds of tasks are expected from staff?
    • Skills needed range from a variety of things, from media production, publicity skills, customer service, technical knowledge, crowd control, and project planning. If you have a skill, more than likely we can place you in a department that can utilize and nurture that skill to the fullest.

Everything Else

  • What if my question wasn’t answered here?
    • Any other comments/concerns or questions can be directed to acenfeedback@acen.org – or visit our forums for extensive information on the convention and everything involved with it.