I make it no secret that Sporkrat and I live in Midwest America, and every year there is one anime convention that we try our hardest to attend- Anime Central. Known as “Acen” for short, it has been around entertaining the anime fandom for 16 years! Sporkrat and I met at Acen 10 years ago, and we have watched it grow up in this past decade. Now there are over 25,000 attendees with a great international and domestic guest line up of singers, voice actors, webcomic artists (YIPPIE!), animators, and internet celebrities.
Thanks to our GPS, we arrived at the convention a little later than planned (hour and a half later) but made it in time to check into the hotel and meet up with friends before heading off to the Kalafina concert at the Rosemont Theater. Sporkrat was really, really, excited to see Kalafina Live, I on the other hand had never heard of them except for the Madoka Magika closing theme that plays on my iPod. We have enjoyed the concerts Acen has hosted since Aural Vampire appeared in 2010, and it has become a staple of our convention experiences.
The photos below are our “highlight reel” of sorts for Anime Central. Like any other convention- a lot of stuff happens! But I will mention what I liked about the convention this year:
What I liked:
- So many cosplayers! There had been a noticeable lull in cosplayers the past few years, so I was happy to see so many people back at it again!
- Acen Staffers in the Hyatt elevators: sorry if you are a fan of elevator raves or mooning the rest of the convention, but I’m not. These staffers helped keep order in the elevators, which also kept any of the elevators from breaking down (unlike at the Hilton).
- Variety of vendors in the vendors room- unlike some other years where it was just plushie stall after plusie stall, there was some variety here! Steam punk, Lolita, gamer, Hentai, American Comics, Rave, you name it and it was represented here with at least two stalls.
- New convention guidebook app! Handy to keep your own personal panel and event schedule accesible. It even had reminders too!
What we hated:
- New convention guidebook app. The entire schedule was not included in the app, and it updated at random times we found. Every panel Sporkrat wanted to go to ended up being cancelled or moved, half of the time we were notified after arriving at the panel room. We also missed out on the Yukino concert because we couldn’t find it in EITHER SCHEDULE.
- The Smash Bros. Melee tournament was cancelled– after Sporkrat signed up. Apparently, whoever staffed the tournament forgot to bring the game with the unlocked characters. Then they suggested to play Smash Bros. Brawl- which is a different game. Sporkrat came back fuming! We quickly fed him cookies.
- Not so much variety in the artist alley: Yeah, it is a first come, first serve basis I believe- and Acen is one of the last conventions to use this model. Now a days cons make artists submit information about what they are going to sell to make sure that their artist alley has quality and variety. Acen- you need to do this. There were lots of GREAT artists out there, and I really wish I could have purchased stuff from you guys! But there were plenty of stalls there we couldn’t figure out why they were there besides good timing.
I’ll note that I never plan on being in the artist alley at Anime Central. Why? I enjoy the convention too much to be stuck behind a table all weekend. However, that can all change if I am ever a guest. （○゜ε＾○）~ wink wink
Also, a shout out to Trevor Mueller! A webcomic guest at this year’s Acen and a very, very interesting man to speak to. We went to both of his panels about breaking into comics and the business of webcomics- both were very interesting and if you are trying to become a popular webcomic artist yourself, definetly check him out.