Main Events

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Welcome to Main Programming! The place that hosts the big events that you love from Soap Bubble to Midnight Madness,  and Anime Hell to Concerts on the Main Stage. We’ve got the main events that you do not want to miss!

Main Events 2017 Events and Descriptions

Below is the list of all 2017 events and descriptions. All events are organized alphabetically by title. The guidebook app is coming soon where you can download our schedule and create your to-do plan for the weekend.


A New World: Intimate music from FINAL FANTASY

05/21/17; 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY performs at Anime Central in the Chicago area. We’re back at ACen with new repertoire and a new experience. Under the direction of conductor Eric Roth, and featuring the amazing skills of piano soloist Benyamin Nuss, the New World Players perform favorites and surprises by all of the FINAL FANTASY composers including Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, and Hitoshi Sakimoto from throughout the thirty year history of FINAL FANTASY.
Admissions is first come, first serve. You must have an ACen Badge to be in attendance. We allow attendees to line up prior to doors open up to an hour in advance. We expect seating to begin at about 12:30pm.


ACen Jeopardy

05/19/17; 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

What is the form of a question? Think you know Anime Central? Are you the Ruler of the Anime Trivia Universe? Come test your knowledge of Anime Central trivia past and present! A fun game where you can win prizes and test your anime knowledge against other attendees!


Anime Hell/Midnight Madness

05/19/17; 10:00 PM – 3:00 AM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Anime Hell celebrates the universe of weird, funny, and disturbing video. Since long before YouTube, Anime Hell and Midnight Madness has entertained (and confused immensely) anime convention attendees with its quick-paced, free flowing showcase of short clips of Japanese cartoons, commercials, movie trailers, education films, short animated films, pop culture detritus and brain-rending bizareness. The audience experience of Anime Hell and Midnight Madness cannot be recreated online or duplicated. There is…only one.


Anime Music Video Contest

05/21/17; 10:15 AM – 11:00 AM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Come see the best of the Anime Music Videos that have been submitted by your fellow con-goers, and see our picks for the winners of this year’s contest.


Cards Against Humanity with Samurai Dan 18+

05/20/17; 10:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Panel Room 1; Donald E. Stephens Convention Center

Samurai Dan and Jillian host this popular Apples To Apples spin-off, where the Otaku play the cards, and the guests judge the warped-ness of the answers and pick the most perverted…er, winners.


Deep Silver Volition Presents Agents of Mayhem

05/19/17; 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Deep Silver Volition will be discussing their new game “Agents of Mayhem” scheduled for launch August 15, 2017!


Formal Dance

05/20/17; 7:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Did you skip your prom to come to ACen? Do you enjoy getting dressed to the nines and dancing the night away? Come join us for the Anime Central Formal Dance! Music, food and fun for all! (Formal attire or formal cosplay required)



05/19/17; 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

IMERUAT is a prominent music group formed by composer Masashi Hamauzu and vocalist Mina. Known around the world for his compositions for popular video games, among them Final Fantasy series, Hamauzu has earned a reputation among contemporary Japanese musicians as a master of his craft. He is joined by Mina, whose training is reflected in her exceptional vocal style and research into her Ainu ancestry. Her knowledge of traditional instruments is informed by a deep respect for the culture of Japan’s indigenous peoples. After years of preparation, the duo’s collaboration has culminated in the creation of the music series IMERUAT. (In the Ainu language, the name carries the meaning “Flash of light.”) Already the unique combination of Hamauzu’s progressive compositional style and Mina’s vocals have impressed audiences during concerts taking place in Poland, France, United States, Switzerland Hong Kong and Japan, garnering recognition among international audiences.


JCC: Aikido Seminar

05/19/17; 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

The Japanese martial art of Aikido founded by Morihei Ueshiba in teh 20th century is a comprehensive system of throwing, joint-locking, striking and pinning techniques, coupled with training in traditional Japanese weapons such as the sword, staff and knife. Come and view a demonstration of this martial art.


JCC: Bujinkan Demonstration

05/20/17; 10:45 AM – 11:45 AM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

The Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, and Gikan Ryu represent some of the oldest teachings and base their strategies on shaping protective positions under adversity while undermining an opponent’s. The Shinden Fudo Ryu, Kukishinden Ryu, and Takagi Yoshin Ryuare of samurai decent and contain forms for striking, Jujutsu-type techniques, weapons, and utilizing armor. The Togakure Ryu, Kumogakure Ryu, and Gyokushin Ryu represent what are generally recognized as the only surviving schools of Ninpo, the art of the oft-misunderstood ninja. The ancient methods they perceived established warriorship not only as a path to martial ability, but a search for the moral-physical philosophy to activate it ethically. This demonstration of Bujinkan by the Japanese Cultural Center is not to be missed!


JCC: Iaido Demonstration

05/20/17; 10:45 AM – 11:45 AM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Mugai Shinden Mugai Ryu Iai Hyodo is a traditional, feudal-era style of swordsmanship founded by Tsuji Gettan Sukemochi in the year 1675. This demonstration will show the practical, combative sword techniques with an emphasis on zen and teh attainment of enlightenment through swordsmanship.


JCC: Shurikenjutsu Demonstration

05/20/17; 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Shurikenjutsu is a general term describing the traditional Japanese martial arts of throwing shuriken, which are small, hand-held weapons used primarily by the Samurai in feudal Japan, such as metal spikes bō shuriken, circular plates of metal known as hira shuriken, and knives. Come see a brilliant demonstration by the Japanese Cultural Center in this traditional martial art.


JCC: Zen Meditation

05/19/17; 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

“Zen is to transcend life and death (all dualism), to truly realize that the entire universe is the “true human body,” through the discipline of “min and body in oneness.” Come take a moment to find your inner peace with the Japanese Cultural Center’s Zen Meditation.


K-POP Dance Competition

05/20/17; 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Are you a big fan of Kpop? Do you feature a Kpop dance routine in your masquerade skits? Do you love to dance, period? The Kpop Battles event is right up your alley. Join us as we crown our first Midwest Kpop Battles Champion as a participant or spectator at Anime Central 2016.



05/20/17; 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Want to show off your costume on the big stage? Have a performance you’re dying to show your fellow con-goers? Interested in having a panel of judges review your costume as part of the masquerade? The Anime Central Masquerade is the premier showcase in the Midwest!


May’n Live

05/20/17; 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

MB Park Outdoor Stage

Don’t miss May’n live in concert at Anime Central! This is an outdoor concert at MB Financial Park, just 2 blocks west of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.


Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

05/21/17; 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

As Kobayashi sets off for another day at work, she opens her apartment door only to be met by an unusually frightening sight—the head of a dragon, staring at her from across the balcony. The dragon immediately transforms into a cute, busty, and energetic young girl dressed in a maid outfit, introducing herself as Tooru.


Ninja Olympics 2.1 with Samurai Dan

05/20/17; 12:45 PM – 2:15 PM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

The Ninja Clans want you! Come take part in the contest of the ages, where two teams of congoers compete for prizes, risking life and limb to show their ninja skills. Samurai Dan and Jillian show off the dark side of their training and teach you the ways of the ninja!


Opening Ceremonies: Welcome to Anime Central

05/19/17; 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Welcome back to Anime Central for our 20th year! Come start the convention off right with a preview of some of the amazing guests of honor, special entertainers, performers and musical guests that have joined with us to make this convention year the best yet!


Samurai Dan: History of Sharp, Shiny, Pointy Things

05/19/17; 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Samurai battlefield weaponry displayed, explained and demonstrated by Samurai Dan, an expert in 16th century Japanese combat. Lecture features stunning visual aids(blades from 1400-1800) and a question and answer session for attendees.


Samurai Dan: Samurai Sword Class

05/21/17; 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Not a boffer class! Real Samurai Sword moves and concepts taught by a professional swordsman to con-goers.


Samurai Dan: Tameshigiri Exhibition

05/19/17; 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Rosemont Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Most people envision the Samurai as men with razor sharp swords. Women rarely were elite warriors. Rarely. It DID happen, however. Samurai Jillian follows in the footsteps of Lady Genji and Tomoe Gozen, and demonstrates how lethal the ladies can be with a katana.



05/20/17; 10:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

The Soap Bubble is the oldest, longest running and most highly anticipated anime convention party in the United States with some of the best DJs from around the world coming to spin for all the fans that pack the Hyatt Regency’s Grand Ballroom on Saturday night! So crack Open some fresh glow sticks and come party like there’s no tomorrow!



05/19/17; 10:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Looking for a party this Friday night? Fear not, Anime Central has got you covered in the Grand Ballroom. Come dance to the best DJs Japan has to offer. Whatever your musical tastes, you’re going to find something that makes you dance and glow like a super star!


Tsukasa Taiko Performance

05/19/17; 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Grand Ballroom; Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Tsukasa Taiko is currently one of the largest and most active community taiko groups in the Chicagoland area. Despite being one of the younger organizations, Tsukasa has over 50 professional and community performances throughout the year. The last decade has seen Tsukasa become a strong pioneering force, leaving behind a legacy that changed and continues to change the standards of the community taiko group. Come witness a once in a life time performance!


Way of the Samurai Stage Show

05/19/17; 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Convention Stage, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center

The almost mystical martial arts of Japan’s greatest warriors, brought to life by professional martial artists. Watch us present the Way of the Samurai, mixing combat and comedy in a dizzying trip to 16th century Japan.