ACEN ACEN 2015

ACEN 2015: Convention Highlights

Tuesday, June 02, 2015 Pearl

ACEN (also known as Anime Central) celebrated its 18th year of being a convention this year. Being both Chicago's and the Midwest's largest anime, manga, and Japanese culture convention, the people in charge of the planning always go all out. This year was no exception. The ACEN staff brought their all into making this year's convention bigger and better than ever before and their efforts definitely showed!



ACEN has grown exponentially since it first began in 1998. This year had the highest attendance rate ever, the attendance rate being over 29,000 people. This just goes to show how much the anime and manga subculture has spread and become embraced throughout the years.

Just like in the past years, the convention took place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center at Rosemont, Illinois on May 15-17. To accommodate the enormous amount of the attendees (literally the thousands of people who come from all over the US to attend ACEN) the convention also partnered up with the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Rosemont Theatre. The convention center was mainly used as a place for shopping. Half of the room was set up for the many talented artists to display and sell their artwork in the Artist Alley. The other half was for the vendors to sell their merchandise in the Exhibit Hall. The space in the Hyatt was used for gaming rooms and panels while the theatre was used for concerts. So much happens during the three convention days of ACEN. It's no surprise that the convention needs to get all the space they can get. 



This year was my eighth time attending ACEN so you might think that I'm pretty familiar with the convention, but to be honest, I feel more and more lost every year. That's a good thing though! ACEN continuous to change each year, making every convention feel new. Every convention presents new guests, musical acts, panels, artists, and vendors.

Some highlights from this year's ACEN include the SCANDAL (an all-girl Japanese rock band) concert, the Final Fantasy: A New World orchestra performance, the Noragami English dub anime premiere, The Masquerade (a fashion show and skit performance event), and the Soap Bubble (a rave with international guest DJs live mixing music). These changes and additions to each new ACEN make me want to come back to the con every year. I'm sure that many ACEN attendees can agree.
The American voice cast of the Noragami




In addition the the events that take place at the con, another one of my favorite parts of ACEN is getting to see and photograph all of the extremely talented and creative cosplayers. It's incredible to see the cosplays that people wear to the convention. Whether they bought the costume or made it by hand, their effort and passion for their cosplays really show in the final results.
My friend Ala dressed up as a character from Deadman Wonderland
Cosplayers from the Attack on Titan group meet-up
Mangoe (one of my favorite cosplayers) as Mikasa from Attach on Titan
My friend Jazzi as Bayonetta
Sophie and Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle


Out of all of the years that I've attended Anime Central, this year's convention was truly my most memorable experience. I really had fun going to the panels, talking to the cosplayers, and shopping at the Artist Alley and Exhibit Hall. You might think that the growing number of attendees might make the convention feel a bit stifling, but it's actually the opposite for me. Every year, the amount of people who attend ACEN increase in number. Because of that, I get to meet new people, create new friendships, and get to spend time with like-minded con-goers who love anime as much as I do. What more can a girl ask for? To sum things up, ACEN 2015 was an incredible experience and I loved every second of it. I can't wait to go back to the con next year and see what ACEN 2016 has in store!

If you want to keep up to date with information about ACEN 2016, definitely check out the official Anime Central website. If you're suffering from post-con withdrawal, you might want to look into Anime Midwest, a smaller convention that also takes place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the first weekend of July. If you're a fan of anime, Attack on Titan, or just cosplay in general, check out Mangoe's facebook page for updates on her convention plans as well as more pictures of her amazing cosplays!

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