Anime Club Room
Anime Club Room

2013 Annual Report: Just the Beginning

It’s been 365 days since our 2012 annual report, and gee… way too much has happened since. AnimeChicago’s 7th anniversary was met with renewed enthusiasm by all of our members. Round Table discussions are going strong. A few board members have retired. New ones have joined the team. Quarterly board meetings have evolved into serious planning sessions and goofy parties. We now meet at a dedicated office space in West Lakeview.

AnimeChicago has become its own Eden of the East.

On the Web
It all started with a simple static website seven years ago. Now, runs on WordPress and sees a thousand visits a month. Visitors spend an average of 1:30 checking out the site. A number of improvements and more frequent updates in 2014 will increase these numbers. Our newest ninja Grace has been a phenomenal addition to the team as Editor. And we’re currently seeking a content creator to assist with the posting of event information, Spotlight interviews and a new Opinion column. So if you know someone who’d love to help, send them our way!

Of course, we’re active on Twitter and regularly retweet reminders and promotions from industry leaders and convention reps. Twitter is the best way to follow AnimeChicago’s breaking news. Facebook is still our preferred event service, but Fan Pages leave much to be desired in regards to engaging conversation.

Convention Presence
2013 was a busy year for Chicago anime conventions. A number of us have reviews to post on past conventions, but personally, I’m not blown away. We’re seeing an emergence of a younger con crowd who could care less about quality programming. So AnimeChicago joined the fray and created a new panel: The Past, Present and Future of Chicago’s Anime Scene. More quality presentations are slated for 2014, so keep an eye out.

Manga Jam Discussions
Recurring success with monthly Round Table discussions led to an inevitable request: can we discuss manga, too? Exploring a graphic novel is somewhat different, so we launched Manga Jam in October and Neil scheduled the first nine titles. Follow Manga Jam updates and join us at our next meeting!

Film Screening
FUNimation and invited fans to host local screenings of Mamoru Hosoda’s Wolf Children and we were proud to bring one to Chicago. We had twelve days to meet a threshold of 79 ticket sales – we sold all 93 tickets within 10 days! The screening was a huge success and the discussion afterwards was insightful for both anime fans and cinephiles alike. Thanks to all who helped make it happen.

Team Momentum
The formation of weekly team meetings is easily our greatest achievement of 2013. Since early September, Jeremy, Neil, Brent, Ruben, Gabe and myself have been discussing, planning, and researching ways we can advance the culture and celebration of Chicago’s anime scene. Together with our team of Ninjas, there are now ten active volunteers.

I now have the pleasure of announcing our next big pursuit: AnimeChicago is applying as a nonprofit with the State of Illinois! This move enables us to seek funding, collaborate with more established organizations, and consider tax-exempt status so we may better serve the anime fans of Chicagoland. Stay tuned for updates!

Plans for 2014

  • Film Series – The success of our Wolf Children screening was overwhelming. Many attendees expressed interest in seeing more anime films, new and classics, on the big screen regularly. We are investigating ways to make it happen.
  • Meetups – Expect an announcement next week about our first 2014 social event.
  • Educational Series – We’ll be collaborating with local organizations and leaders to provide quality discussions, panels, and study groups. Stay tuned for more details.

Thanks to all the volunteers and believers in our cause. We couldn’t have succeeded without your help and encouragement. I look forward to reporting the amazing work we achieve in the next 365 days.

Jamie Sanchez
Founder and Chief