Archive for May, 2013

Anime Central After Action Report

Whew! What a Convention! It’s almost hard to believe that we packed that much fun into a whole weekend! What’s that? How much fun did we pack into last weekend? How about some numbers?

We had 80 fascinating panels!

We had 127 amazing vendors!

We had 173 wonderful artists!

We had 28,692 attendees this year!

The Kalafina concert on Friday was awesome! They put on a mind-blowing show! Keiko, Wakana, and Hikaru’s vocals were magnificent!

Eric Maruscak spent hours creating one of his massive chalk murals. We’ll post a time lapse video of this year’s mural down the road!

Wow. That’s a lot of fun in one weekend, and we’re crazy enough to do it again next year and the year after that too! We’ve had lots of fun last weekend, but we should never lose sight of what Anime Central is about. It’s not just about anime, manga, or cosplay. When it comes down to it, Anime Central is about the fans: otaku who happen to have a shared love of all things anime. The Convention couldn’t have happened without a lot of people, and we’ve got a lot of folks to thank.

A big thanks goes to all our wonderful guests. The Convention would be a lot more boring without your unique industry insider perspectives! We hope the adoration of your fans will encourage you to come visit us again next year!

Thanks to all the artists and vendors who brought such wonderful items our Exhibit Hall. We hope that you had a fun (and profitable) time at your booth last weekend, enough to come back and do it again next year!

To all of our staff members and generous attendees who volunteered as Gophers at the Convention, thanks for taking the time out of your busy lives to help make a fun weekend happen for everyone! This year’s Convention may be over, but we’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us to make sure that next year’s Convention is even bigger and better than this year’s!

And to each and every one of our 28,692 attendees, thank you. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t even have a reason to have the Convention. May your love of all things anime bring you back to see us again next year and the many years after that.

The Exhibit Hall is empty, already swept clean. The hotel lobbies are quiet and tranquil once more. Guest, staff, and attendee alike have gone home with memories from last weekend that will last a lifetime.


But wait! Just because the Convention is over, doesn’t mean that the fun is over!

Anime Central isn’t just about anime and manga. We encourage everyone to explore the many cultural aspects of Japan and Asia. Keep an eye on this blog and we’ll continue to post on this blog about cultural topics and events, focusing on the Chicagoland area but with a broad eye for the rest of the world too! You’ll need to stay informed about next year’s Convention, so we’ll continually post news about next year’s Convention on the blog as well!

For news about next year’s Convention, you don’t have to follow just the website. Come find out in person! The ACen Road Show makes appearances at other fan conventions. We run games and contests, recruit staff, answer questions, and have a great time doing our very best to get the word out about our show. You can even get badges for next year’s Convention at the special Road Show pre-registration rate of $38.00! That’s the best rate you’ll find anywhere, lower than the earliest early-bird price! The Road Show rate is only available to attendees registered at the convention or event that the Road Show attends; we give this rate to show appreciation and support to other conventions. For our Road Show appearance schedule, visit

Now that the Convention is over, feel free tell us what you did and didn’t like. The best way to make Anime Central a better convention is with your feedback. After all, the whole point of this Convention is for you, the fans!  We don’t improve unless you tell us what needs improving. To give your feedback directly, visit

And so, with the deepest bow, and from the bottoms of our hearts, to everyone involved: Domo arigato gozaimasu! See you next year, Space Cowboy!

Last Minute Announcements and What to do when you get to the Convention

The Convention is coming up this weekend! We’re all so excited! Our staff is geared up and getting everything prepared for an awesome weekend. Are you ready?

You’re on your way to the Convention! What do you need to do when you get there?

If you’re driving to the Convention, make sure you have enough cash to park your car. Some lots accept credit cards, but many do not. We posted about the local parking rates on our previous post at!

If you’re staying at or near the Convention, check into your hotel room. Bring your luggage up and make sure your room is in good condition. If you have a costume, now might be a good time to put it on!

Go to Registration and get your badge (unless you already had it mailed to you). You can’t get into the Convention without your badge! Be sure to grab a copy of the Program Guide, or download the Guidebook app in advance at (link). Take the time to see what’s going on in the Program Guide, so you can plan out what to do while you’re there!

Before you leave home, are you fully packed for the Convention? Do you have everything you need, ready to go? Here’s what you’ll probably need in order of likely importance! Print off this handy checklist!


- Government issued identification

- Cash

- Credit cards

- Anime Central 2013 Badge (if you pre-registered and had it mailed to you)


- Important medications and medical equipment (ace wraps, blood testers, etc.)

- Bottle of water, with lanyard

- Snacks & munchies

-Chewing gum/breath mints


- Cellular telephone

- Laptop computer/tablet

- Music player

- Power/charging/data cables

Stuff to have autographed

- Books/movies/collectibles

- Autograph notebook

- Pen/marker/writing utensil


- Toothbrush & toothpaste (not optional!)

- Deodorant (also not optional!)

- Soap & shampoo (very much not optional!)

- Towel (are you a hoopy frood?)

- Feminine hygiene products (if needed)


- Cosplay costumes

- Warm & comfy clothes

- Shoes & socks (both comfy shoes and any costume shoes!)

- Clean underwear!

- Sleepwear

- Swimwear (for the hotel pool, if it has one!)

Anything else you can think of? Feel free to leave a comment!

Packing for the Convention

“What should I bring to the con with me?” Well, that all depends. What do you want to do? How long are you staying? There’s a lot to consider. It’s never good to bring too much or too little.

Whether you’re planning on coming for the day or staying the whole weekend, make sure to have all the essentials you can’t live without, and we’re not talking about just your smart phone. Don’t forget to bring any medication you might need. Bring a bottle of water, preferably a bottle with a lanyard, so you don’t have to hold it in your hand the whole time. Stay hydrated because Otakudom is thirsty work!  Be sure to bring your wallet, ID, and cash/credit cards. You’ll need to pay for your badge and any souvenirs you want to buy. The best things in life are free, but Otakudom isn’t cheap!

Don’t forget the appropriate cables and accessories for your phone, computer, or any other electronics you plan to bring too! At least make sure your phone is charged and ready for emergencies. There are emergency charging stations with a variety of different plugs in the Convention Center lobby, but they may be in use when you get there, especially during the busiest times of the Convention.

This may be your only chance to meet that celebrity you love so much, so bring all the things you want autographed with you too! Don’t bring too much to sign, as a celebrity may have limits to what they will sign. At the very least, they may make you go back to the end of the line after a certain limit. The full rules for autographs are posted in the program guide, but a celebrity may have addition rules beyond that.

If you are planning on staying more than one day, make sure you have all your toiletries with you. Your toothbrush and deodorant are not optional! The hotel you’re staying at will have complimentary soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and towels, but make sure there’s enough to go around if you are staying in a room with friends. Hoopy froods always knows where their towels are.

Don’t forget regular clothes too! Your costume may be too complicated to put on at a moment’s notice, or you might just want to relax in a t-shirt and comfy pants. Make sure you always wear clean underwear; you never know what might happen!

Odds are you’re coming to the Convention to buy stuff! If you’re just coming for one day to see a few panels and do a quick browse of the exhibit hall, all you need is enough backpack space to carry what you purchased, and enough room in your car to be able to take it home. Your friend probably wouldn’t appreciate having to hold 3 broadswords, 5 wall scrolls, and 7 boxes of manga in his lap the whole drive home. Even if you’re planning on staying for more than one day, and you’re getting a hotel room to have a place to sleep and somewhere to keep your stuff, make sure that you have enough room to take everything home with you after the con is over.

Are you planning on participating in the Masquerade, or do you have costumes you worked hard on and want to show off? How intricate are you costumes? How many parts do they have? How many costumes are you planning on bringing? The Convention is only for 3 days, so unless you’re looking to go through Lady Gaga amounts of costume changes, one costume per day is usually enough, but feel free to wear as many costumes as you like, as long as you’re having fun doing it!

On Friday, the Convention is usually starting; you’re excited for the con, and have a lot of energy. You might be tempted to wear your fancy (heavy), intricate (delicate), detailed (uncomfortable) costume on Friday, but most people aren’t getting to the Convention until later in the evening. Saturday is usually the best day to show off your costume because you’ll have the whole day and evening to show off your ensemble. Saturday is also the night of the Masquerade. If you’re going to wear a costume on Sunday (still highly recommended, as the fun still isn’t over yet), make sure that you don’t pack parts of your costume so deep in your suitcase that you can’t get them, and that when you do take it off to leave, you should still have room in your luggage and/or vehicle to take it with you! Sunday is Children’s day, so make sure your little ones join in on the fun and get to cosplay too!

For Friday and Sunday cosplay, a good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Dress as a character who wears a laid back or casual costume. Arthur Dent travelled the universe in nothing but his pajamas and bathrobe. If you’re coming from work on Friday you might even be coming to the con *in* your work clothes. Why not make your work clothes work for you? Many characters look dapper in a suit and tie which is always workplace office appropriate. If you’re lucky, Friday is casual day in your office anyway. If you can get away with it, just wear your costume to work! See how many people notice. You might discover a fellow otaku you previously did not know about.

What are your tips and tricks for packing for the Convention? Feel free to leave a comment!

Food at the Convention

If you’re coming to the Convention, you’re staying long enough to get hungry! “What is there to eat around here? Is there anything I’ll like?” Of course! There are lots to choose from, so if there isn’t anything you like, you probably don’t like food!

Located on the east side of the Convention Center is the Great Expoteria, an a la carte restaurant with a variety of fare. There are also concession stands throughout the Convention Center where you can get a quick snack or drink.

The Park at Rosemont entertainment district has many bar and restaurant choices (along with a movie theater, bowling alley, and comedy club), located on the west side of the Rosemont Public Parking Garage. It’s so new that they’re still adding more restaurants! For the most up to date info and restaurant specials visit their site at

If you’re going to leave the Convention to drive to a nearby restaurant, the parking lots may not have in and out privileges, unless you’re staying at the hotel and each hotel has different policies. Be sure to check with the front desk! For all the dining options in the city of Rosemont, visit their site at

If you’re staying at one of the many area hotels, room service is always excellent and makes you feel posh! Each hotel has many bar and restaurant choices within the hotel as well. Some hotels and restaurants may even have specials for our attendees, so don’t forget to mention ACen!

Optimally, cash and credit cards are much more portable, but bringing food with you can be an inexpensive alternative. If coming to the Convention is going to be a road trip for you, you may as well bring some meals, snacks, and munchies for the weekend. Remember that most hotel rooms don’t have microwaves or refrigerators, and depending on what kind of room you’re staying in, it might be against the fire code to have a hot plate or food warmer in your room. Be sure to check with the front desk!

If you’re just coming for the day, eat a good breakfast before you come to the Convention, treat yourself to one of the finer restaurants in the area for lunch, and then have a nice dinner after you leave.

Above all else, don’t forget to eat, and to eat properly! Otaku cannot live on Pocky alone! Don’t spend all your money on toys, t-shirts, and manga, forgetting that you have to eat for the rest of the time you’re at the Convention!

Where have you eaten at or around the Convention? Feel free to leave a comment!

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