About our Meetup Group

Meeting new people can be overwhelming. We’re a very laid back and down-to-earth group. Our event hosts start with introductions to ensure your first event is welcoming and enjoyable. Believe us, you’ll fit right in.

Thanks for joining, and we’re excited to meet you soon!

Make the most of your Membership

  1. Read our policies
  2. RSVP for our next Mixer
  3. Request Discord access
  4. Optimize your Meetup notifications
  5. Join our mailing list
  6. Update your RSVPs as plans change

Attending your first Meetup

Get Prepared

  • Read the event description!
  • Expect to socialize and contribute to the conversation.
  • Watch or read the chosen selection before any Discussion Circle.
  • Update your RSVP!

Check-in

  • Grab a name tag.
  • Say hello to the event host.
  • Get settled at your own pace.

Due to location limitations:

  • Seating is limited so RSVP only if you can make it!  
  • Coat and bag check is not available.
  • Unexpected guests will be turned away.
  • We cannot guarantee wheelchair-friendly access.
  • Please support our hosts by purchasing refreshments.

About our Meetup events

Anime Samplers

Join AnimeChicago as we watch first episodes of the upcoming anime season! It’s a theater, potluck, and social rolled into one. This event is suitable for both new and regular members with any level of anime knowledge or experience. The hope is that you leave with at least one new anime to watch.

  • Please follow standard theater etiquette to minimize disruptions.
  • Guests are not invited to this event due to limited seating.
  • Arrive and depart at your convenience.
  • Bring homemade food or purchase some snacks.
  • Leave a comment on the event if you’re bringing food.
  • We supplies plates, napkins, cups, and utensils.
  • Skip the chips and candy – we get too much of that.
  • Beer and cider is okay, and we reserve the right to card our attendees.

Discussion Circles

We have three small-format discussion groups: Anime Circle, Manga Circle, and Art Circle.

Anime Circle (3rd Sundays) and Manga Circle (2nd Sundays) are small-group conversations suitable for any level of knowledge or experience. No prior experience necessary! They function like traditional book clubs. Watch or read the selected title before we meet, then participate in the conversation. The best discussions usually happen with 4–14 people in the room. The moderator brakes the ice, guides the conversation, and helps newcomers get comfortable with the group. We discuss all types of discussion-worthy works in all categories and also reflect on the work’s production history, cultural relevance, and acclaim.

Art Circle is a weekly gathering where artists of all skill levels and avid learners are welcome to meet, discuss, and draw together. We focus on anime and anime-inspired works, but a completely open to anything you’re willing to share. We may cover broad topics such as color and figure drawing. Bring your favorite sketchbook, art materials and any pieces you’d like to share. Paper, pencils and other materials will be available for all to use. Everyone is welcome, even if you just want to observe.

Deep Dives

Watch some undiscovered or forgotten gems with us on our Discord server! Happens every Tuesday evening.

Social Meetups

These events are perfect for new members since there’s nothing you need to do before joining us. We have something for everyone at a variety of times during the week.

Member Mixers (1st Thursdays) are a fantastic opportunity to introduce yourself, meet the team, and chat with members. You’ll likely walk away with one new anime recommendation by the end of the night!

Informal Outings happen in a non-Covid world. We attend anime films in theaters, culturally-significant festivals and art shows, concerts featuring Japanese guests, and other events related to Japanese pop culture.

We attend two local conventions: Anime Central and C2E2. Members are invited to attend our panels, at-con meetups, and other collaborations we’re involved with over the weekend. We can also publicize your panel if you want! Join us on Discord for real-time updates and plans during convention outings.


Discovering Anime and Manga

Being a well-versed anime fan can be difficult, especially if you are new or if you’ve stepped away for a while. This guide was created to make your journey easier.

Try an Anime Sampler
We host a quarterly potluck and screen anime from the latest season. It’s a great way to meet our members and learn about new anime titles! RSVP for the next one.

Terminology
Wikipedia has a glossary but feel free to request a definition for any unfamiliar word.

Read “A Brief History of Anime and Manga”
We’ve compiled brief summary of anime and manga as well as its cultural significance so you have a solid foundation of the medium’s history.

Choose a Streaming Service
Accessing anime and manga has never been easier. Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu, Netflix, Viz, and Amazon are just a fraction of services where you can enjoy the material legally. Please support these services with a paid subscription, so they can keep producing and distributing more anime and manga.

Anime 101 Guide coming soon!


Our Meetup Policies

The policies below mostly apply to in-person events in a non-Covid world. But our global policies are in effect at every event and activity we hold. Read them!

No Shows
Meetup members who RSVP but do not attend an event are marked as “No Show.” Any member with three or more “No Show” marks are subject to expulsion without refund. This policy is in effect for all events and enforced at our discretion. We may alert a member when they “No Show” but we cannot guarantee such notices.

Attendance

  • Update your RSVP status 48-hours prior to the event
  • Message us if an urgent matter prevents you from attending
  • Arrive no more than 15 minutes early

Club events happen in private spaces that have very limited seating and cannot accommodate attendees who arrive too early. Please be respectful of others by minimizing cancellations, tardiness, and absenteeism. Meetup attendees with three “No Shows” are subject to expulsion without refund.

Guests
Do not bring unexpected guests. Due to limited seating, unexpected guests will not be allowed entrance. Invite your friends to sign-up for a 60-day free trial and RSVP on their own.

Outside Food
Please do not bring food or beverages to any restaurants, cafes, or bars unless we give notice otherwise. AnimeChicago or our host venues may ask you stow it away or leave the premises.

Dietary Concerns
Colored stickers may be used to highlight dietary concerns at our potlucks. Stickers are provided as a courtesy to our guests, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of such labels.

Substances
Alcoholic beverages are suitable icebreakers for meetups such as ours. Therefore, we may serve alcohol at events, entertain at venues where alcohol is served, or host BYOB parties where attendees supply drinks to share.

If you choose to drink alcohol, you will:

  • Consume alcohol responsibly and lawfully
  • Ask permission from the moderator before bringing alcohol to an event
  • Behave in accordance with our Anti-Harassment Policies
  • Arrive and depart safely

You will NOT:

  • Pressure others to drink alcohol
  • Arrive at events already intoxicated
  • Disrespect the opinions, privacy, or personal boundaries of others
  • Engage in behavior that puts your safety or the safety of others at risk
  • Violate state or federal laws regarding controlled substances

We reserve the right to:

  • Check ID at any time
  • Ask you to leave if you are intoxicated or behaving disruptively
  • Arrange transport if we believe you are unable to commute safely

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do you watch anime?
We watch anime every Tuesday evening at Deep Dives, every quarter at Anime Samplers, and at the occasional movie outing. The rest of our events are focused on discussion or socializing with members.

Is AnimeChicago a convention?
No. We’ve had academic panels at our Symposium Series, but our time is best spent hosting small local events.

Where are your events?
Our events happen in Chicago city limits, mostly in Lakeview, Bucktown, or Logan Square. We stick to venues that are close to public transit with ample parking and walk-friendly sidewalks. Some of our events are in private meeting rooms within co-working spaces. Other events happen at restaurants, bars, and cafes where things are a little more organic.

Who can join?
Meetup requires account holders be 18 years or older. Many of our members are in their 20s or 30s our discussions may contain adult material. We do not offer any programming for kids or teenagers.

Can I bring guests?
Your guests are welcome to attend Mixers and informal outings. Other events have limited seating so we’ll have to turn them away.

Can I bring my kids?
Sorry, we do not allow anyone younger than 18 years old at our events.

Where do dues go?
Our budget is allocated to Meetup.com fees, marketing materials, legal registration fees, and supplies for our events. No one gets paid for organizing or hosting AnimeChicago activities.

Can I get a refund?
As a tax-exempt nonprofit, any money collected by AnimeChicago staff is considered a donation to fund programs and keep the lights on.

How can I volunteer?
Message us for details!