Anime Central is Chicago’s biggest Anime and Japanese pop culture convention. It is held every year at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. The event happened on May 20-22.
ACen brings fans closer to the anime, manga, gaming, cinema, and Asian culture personalities of both the American and Japanese industries.
One of the funniest things about ACen is the shopping. There are so many booths to buy art, (usually fanart because that sells best), anime, manga, jewelry, swords, clothes, bookmarks, pins, plushies, posters, CDs, and other trinkets. This year I didn’t catch the holy ghost of shopping, but others did. There is so much to buy ranging from giant Japanese fans to medieval dresses.
Though many of the items can be a bit expensive, they are items that you usually wouldn’t find anywhere else.
To show your love for whatever you love, you should do cosplay. Cosplaying is to dress up as a character from a show, animation, game, and whatever else (they do not have to be from Japanese media). This year Mario characters got the most love. In fact, my friends and I were female versions of Mario, Wario, Fireball Mario, Luigi, and Waluigi. There were a few other groups like us, but there were a lot more individual Marios and Waluigis. My group of friends and I were among the best of the Mario groups. We know this because we could hardly take more than three steps before someone would stop us to take our photograph. Someone even asked Wario for an autograph. Cosplay is serious fun.
On Fridays ACen has musical guests. This year the guest was Flow, a popular Japanese band. I personally arrived too late to attend the concert, but I now they did at least two encores. It was hot.
In 2004, Flow’s song “GO!!!” was the opening song for the hit anime Naruto (which was a success in both America and Japan). They create many songs for animes such as Eureka Seven and HEROMAN. In fact, on May 10th the released a new album Flow Anime Best which has ten of their anime songs from 2004 to 2009.
Every ACen there is a Friday night rave and a Saturday night rave. Friday night is better for dancing, while Saturday is better for having a good time and meeting people.
Friday: Hardcore Synergy
Friday night I had a great time. Th emusic was greatespecially the last two DJs. The second to last DJ was Bokusatsu Shoujo Koubou (BSK) who was fresh from Japan. He feels his music and feeds off the excitement in the crowd. At one point he had his (long) hair down, shirt off, and was standing on the table! Near the end of his stage time his music suddenly stopped. The Gameboy he made amazing music with died. That’s right, he used a Gameboy. Luckily he pulled out his laptop and finished strong. The last DJ was from the UK. He is a rookie and it showed. His music was great, but he was like a robot. He was so still! It was an odd change to go from BSK the beast to UK the robot. Still a good event.
Saturday: Soap Bubble
There are not any actual bubbles in the Soap Bubble, unless you bring your own. This is the rave everyone wants to go to. For me personally the Friday night raves always better, I’ve thought so for the last three years, I go because it’s fun regardless.
This year I couldn’t get into the music because it was mostly dubstep. I find that genre hard to dance to, but most of ACen didn’t care. We partied and we partied hard.
If you are in the Chicago land area you should definitely go to Acen.