Anime Central 2018
Anime Central 2018

What to do at ACen? AnimeChicago Members Pick Their Favorites

Anime Central (better known as ACen) is little over a week away, so I decided to gauge people’s excitement. I talked with some AnimeChicago members at a recent mixer about their favorite things to do at Chicago’s premier anime convention.

One member, Sean, was looking forward to all the merch lining the many tables of the dealer’s room. I know I’ve spent more than I’m willing to admit at previous ACens. You can find a lot of things that you wouldn’t find elsewhere, from the new hotness straight from Japan, to older hard-to-find items, all without having to deal with sketchy eBay sellers.

Randy, an AnimeChicago veteran, has his sights on the game room – which just gets bigger and better each year. As with the dealer’s room, you can find a great mix of old favorites – both on consoles and as arcade machines – alongside modern Japanese classics. I’ve known people who’ve spent their entire weekend living in the game room, and they enjoyed every minute of it.

Another member, Ivan, is looking forward to Mitsuo Iso, creator of the underrated gem Dennou Coil, as well as the animator of some very memorable classic anime scenes. Guests are a huge part of conventions and the perfect opportunity to meet some community leaders. Check out the guest list at ACen’s website:

Attending the convention by yourself is a great time, but hanging with your friends at ACen can be better, as AnimeChicago member Elisha pointed out. Games, panels, and shopping the dealer’s room are all made better with good friends To take it a step further, another member, Alex, is looking forward to room parties. And while AnimeChicago won’t be hosting one, they aren’t too hard to find.

Some of our members have not been to ACen before, as they told me at the recent mixer. I’m somewhat jealous of them, being able to experience ACen for the first time. I know the first time I went was a revelation. I hope it is for them as well.

As for me, I’d say the panels. It feels like if you attend enough conventions, you’ll end up running at least one panel, as will I. AnimeChicago will be hosting a number of panels at ACen, and we’ll have more on that next week.