anime Anime Midwest

Anime Midwest 2015: Convention Highlights

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Pearl

Although I consider myself a veteran of the convention circuit, this was my first time attending the convention Anime Midwest. Though it is a fairly new convention, it has come a long way in its five-year duration. This convention took place at the same location of another popular anime convention that I've attended in the past: Anime Central (ACEN) in Rosemont, Illinois. The convention spanned throughout three days at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare as well as a small part of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. While Anime Midwest is a newer convention, it has proven that it is a fun up-and-coming con.

Danny and Sam from Danny Phantom

The first thing that I noticed about this convention was its unique atmosphere. Although Anime Midwest has only started five years ago, this year had over 10,000 people in attendance. With such a large amount of people at the convention, you would think that it would be busy and overwhelming. Surprisingly, it was quite the opposite. Even with that many people, the convention was very laid back and organized. There was enough space provided for people to wander around or rest. The panel rooms also had enough seats to accommodate everyone that wanted to go to it.

Five Nights at Freddy's cosplayers

Another thing that I noticed about Anime Midwest was its organization. The schedule for the panels and other events at the con were very well-structured. Con-goers, including myself, often feel stressed out when there are a lot of overlapping events happening at once, especially when we have to rush in and out of events or have to skip certain programs altogether. This convention made it so that the events are lengthy enough for people to enjoy themselves and also have enough time to make it to their next program.

The only downside to this was the quality of the panels. The quality of the panels varied depending on who was running it. Some panels were run by working professionals or experienced panelists while others were run by regular con-goers. One of the panels I went to ended up being run by random people in the audience because the original panelists didn't show up. It would have been really great if panels and events were a bit more closely monitored. But hey, everyone tried their best for the most part so I'm not complaining.

Emerald from RWBY

What stuck out to me the most about the convention was the care and attention that the con organizers and volunteers put into making Anime Midwest both successful and enjoyable for its attendees. Many attendees come from the Chicago-land area, but a lot of the attendees visit from out of state as well. After paying for badges, hotel accommodations, and transportation, the money really adds up. Paying for food, especially pricey hotel food, is always a concern. However, Anime Midwest had a solution for that. This convention offered its guests lots of free snacks (such as ramen and fried rice) and beverages which provided basic sustenance and helped cut the costs for food.

Additionally, the staff members were really friendly, patient, and helpful. Because this was my first time at the con, I had a lot of questions regarding panels, directions, etc. Every staff member and volunteer I approached with questions were more than happy to help. While being helpful is great, being nice and patient is even better!

Overall, Anime Midwest was an incredibly enjoyable and fun convention. I never expected to have such a great time at a small, relatively new convention. I'd love to go back next year and see what panels, events, and general awesomeness is in store.

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