Discover our Scene
We're 10-year veterans to Chicago's anime underground, and we're excited to share our knowledge with you. Check out upcoming events and resource links below.
Studio Ghibli Fest
Fathom Events is screening six of Studio Ghibli’s classics in theaters across America. We’re waiting to see if Chicago’s on that list!
“Japan’s biggest box office hit of 2016, YOUR NAME enhances the rising-star status of anime director Shinkai (JOURNEY TO AGARTHA), widely considered to be the artistic heir to Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki.” “In Japanese with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)”
“G-FEST is a family-oriented convention which caters to a wide variety of interests within the kaiju genre. G-FEST features presentations and Q & A sessions by actors and crew from the Japanese Godzilla films, fan presentations on topics of interest, contests and gaming, new and classic kaiju movies, the western world’s largest kaiju-oriented dealers room, and lots of fun and camaraderie.”
SoyCon 2017 – The Finale
“SoyCon is a large social gathering event ran by hard working fans to bring together a community of cosplayers, anime watchers, manga readers, video gamers, and the alike to share their appreciation, passion, and love of their desired fandom.”
Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds 2017
“2017 is the 30th anniversary of FINAL FANTASY. This year, Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY presents a new series of orchestral concerts: FINAL FANTASY 30th Anniversary – JIRITSU. Starting this July in Australia and continuing in North America, Europe, Asia, including Tokyo and Osaka in December, this tour celebrates the 30th Anniversary of FINAL FANTASY and its music. This concert is not to be missed.”
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses
“Celebrating 30 years of stirring virtual adventure and memorable soundtracks with live orchestral renditions directly approved by franchise producer Eiji Aonuma, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses brings the Zelda franchise to life with a 66-piece orchestra, 24-person choir, and a reimagined score that includes new movements from more recently released Zelda games such as Skyward Sword and the highly anticipated Breath of the Wild, while still paying homage to classic installments like Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past.”
As one of the world’s largest snack food franchises, Aji Ichiban offers a wide array and samples of exquisite snacks such as Pocky, Kasugai Gummies, bean cakes, mango slices, chili olives, wasabi peas, and fried squid.
American Science & Surplus
Do you like SCIENCE? This store is full of science supplies, electronic parts, mechanical gears, and more kitsch than you can shake a stick at for all your random cosplay needs.
The Animatrix Network is an anime & manga fan club formed in 1995. They meet on the second Saturday of each month at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, from noon to 8:00 pm. Meetings are free and open to the public.
Anime Movie Night
Crunchyroll presents a quarterly series of theatrical screenings, and Chicago theaters are participating!
AnimeStuffStore.com is committed to bringing you a wide selection of Anime and Manga Character goods online and at conventions. And they’re based locally in Joliet, Illinois!
Affordable, high-quality, heat-resistant costume wigs, from a company run by local artisans!
Asian Pop-Up Cinema
A new organization for the promotion and screening of Asian Films. Showing at the Wilmette Theatre and AMC River East 21.
Challengers Comics + Conversation
Located in between Bucktown and Logan Square, Challengers offers comic books, graphic novels and a small selection of manga.
Chicago Area Mahjong Players
This Mahjong group is strictly for people that play Riichi Mahjong of all levels, from beginner to expert. This group’s purpose is to spread the Japanese version of Mahjong to those who don’t know, or don’t understand it.
Chicago Dance Video Games Meetup
Chicago Goth Lolita Group
ChiGothLoli is a community dedicated to unique Japanese fashion trends. They hold meetups frequently around Chicago for crafts, concerts, and socializing.
Chicago Japanese Language Meetup Group
Practicing speaking Japanese, finding out more about the culture or just hanging out and trading travel stories from Japan.
Chicago Taiko Meetup
This is fundamentally a drum class program through the Chicago Park District instructed by John Yost.
Chicago’s Hometown Anime Otaku Society (CHAOS)
Facebook Group forum for fellow Chicagoans and suburbanites for posting information, discussions, meet-ups on anime/manga, cosplay, gaming, music, movies, and more.
Chicagoland Games: Dice Dojo
This is the forum for Ball Jointed Dolls (BJD) fans in the Chicago area since 2005.
City of Osaka, Chicago Office
Chicago and Osaka have been sister cities since 1973. The Chicago Office serves as a bridge between Osaka and North America, and dedicate their efforts to mutual understanding, in building friendships and exchange opportunities.
CoD Cosplay Club
The College of Dupage Cosplay Club meets on Tuesdays to craft costumes and host sewing/wig/prop tutorials. Non-students welcome.
Columbia’s Japanese Anime Manga Club
This is the official anime club that is scheduled to meet Tuesdays from 7pm-10pm at the Ferguson Theatre. However, many new attendees claim J.A.M. lacks strong leadership and community.
Cooking Classes: Mochi, Takoyaki, and more!
Yuzu is an anime-friendly sushi restaurant that’s hosting regular cooking classes throughout 2017.
DePaul Comic and Manga Club
Emporium Arcade Bar
24 craft beers on tap constantly rotating, a very big whiskey selection and 37 arcade games from the 80’s and 90’s to keep you entertained. Games take one token per play. $1 gets you 4 tokens.
This gigantic store in Portage Park is open year-round for any kind of costume need. The props and bagged costumes are flimsy, but the makeup, fake appendage, mask and wig selections are worth the trip.
Galloping Ghost Arcade
Located in Brookfield, Galloping Ghost charges $15 for entry to a full free-play arcade featuring over 250 games.
Schaumburg’s Gameworks boasts a two-level arcade with two bars, pool tables, and tons of shooters, racers, fighters and rhythm games. They feature DDR SuperNova, X, and X2: three song rounds and typically no wait. 21+ after 9pm.
Gunpla Builders of Chicago
Founded in 2003, Ignite Network is a unique gaming establishment with a large library of popular titles, fast systems, console lounges, a dedicated Rock Band 2 rental room and miscellaneous computer services.
Japan Information Center
JIC provides educational materials, pamphlets, cultural presentations, library resources, events and more to residents in the Midwest through the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago. They also sponsor Chicago’s JET Program.
Japanese American Service Committee
JASC offers Japanese culture introductory courses for Chicagoans who are interested in calligraphy, cooking, language, and much more.
Japanese Audio Visual Cultural Association at UIC
University of Illinois at Chicago’s anime club formed in late October 2008. The Japanese Audio Visual Culture Association meets once a week on Mondays at 4pm for anime showing and community gaming.
Japanese Culture Center
The Japanese Culture Center makes the arts, crafts, and philosophical riches of Japan available to the general public. This includes martial arts, language courses, flower arrangement and tea ceremony.
Japanese Media Appreciation Club of DePaul
JMAC is an active community exposing DePaul students to anime and Japanese Culture. They meet Monday evenings, plan outings over breaks and host special events like Mr. JMAC contests, spring banquet and annually host a guest speaking voice actor.
Magazine and community featuring rare and modified cars from the Chicagoland/Midwest area, with a slant towards Japanese culture.
JETAA: Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association of Chicago
A nonprofit organization with diverse membership of more than 600 people, all with the shared experience of living and working in Japan on the JET Program.
University of Chicago’s new taiko group meets three times a week, and will be collaborating with other taiko groups in the Chicagoland area.
Loyola Anime Club
A wholesome anime club that meets on Fridays at Loyola’s Lakeshore Campus. Non-members have been known to attend on an intermittent basis. LUCAnime also boasts student games and activities beyond regular anime screenings.
Malott Japanese Garden
Seasoned Chicagoland anime fans love this supermarket mini-mall. There are aisles of Pocky, Ramune, Calpis, Gummies and other snacks in the grocery store. The food court has sushi, ramen, udon and more. Don’t forget the bakery, gift shop and liquor store.
Monster Island Toys
Known as “The Godzilla Superstore,” MIT carries a selection of Japanese vinyls and American movie character collectibles from superheroes to horror films that every fan will enjoy.
Murasaki Sake Lounge
Known for playing anime videos around the lounge, Murasaki offers an eclectic assortment of Japanese sake and spirits late into the night. Get dressy for date night or bring your entourage to the private karaoke room.
NEIU Anime Club
NU Anime Club
Founded in Fall 2012, the NU Anime Club meets Friday during the semester. They view and discuss anime and Japanese pop culture.
Indiana convention super close to Chicago. 2017 dates not yet announced.
Rick’s Cosplay Meetups
A Midwest photographer hosts free monthly cosplay photo shoots in unusual locations.
Rotofugi is a local designer gallery and toy store for a wide selection of something new. The walls are lined with every kind of neat toy you can imagine, inspired by Japan’s hottest trends and beautiful simplistic designs.
Round 1 Entertainment
This Japanese bowling and arcade chain is in Bloomingdale! They have a number of rhythm games, fighters, and redemption games straight from Japan.
SAIC Anime Club
The School of the Art Institute anime club meets Thursday afternoons. The group shows anime that focuses on current trends, but also highlights up-and-coming artists and series. Students only.
Annual cosplay get-together known as SoyCon offers photoshoots, contests, barbecue, and more.
Street-Level Anime Club
Street-Level Youth Media is a Bucktown nonprofit educating youth about media, technology and artistic expression. Students run their own anime club on Friday evenings.
Fans of sushi should try Sushi Station. Different types of sushi, maki, nigiri and desserts from $1-6 travel the refrigerated conveyor belt, which diners pick from at their leisure. Fantastic place for experimenting with Japanese cuisine.
Check out this anime-friendly sushi restaurant in River West. It’s an intimate place that’s part movie theater, part gallery, and all delicious.
Textile Discount Outlet
Looking for large fabric selections on a budget? This is a good place to start, but you need to dig around three floors of inventory to find what you want.
A premium freelance photography studio based out of the Chicago suburbs, specializing in cosplay event services.
The Garden of the Phoenix
Osaka Gardens, a public park built in Hyde Park shortly after the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, offers a rock waterfall, Japanese-style bridge, waterfall and temple-like gazebo.
The Japan America Society of Chicago
JASC is a non-profit organization that fosters goodwill and understanding between the people of Japan and the U.S. They are an excellent learning resource, offer many networking opportunities and social events.
In addition to regular performances and classes, Tsukasa Taiko is also recognized for its collaborations with leading jazz, blues, and new music artists. If you’ve ever been curious about those giant Japanese drums, they offer regular 5-week courses.
University of Chicago Japanese Animation Society
UCJAS holds free screenings of anime for students and community members of the University of Chicago. They also organize special events such as marathon showings, trips, and their annual one-day winter convention, Uchi-Con.
Vogue Fabrics offers thousands of bolts of fabric across three Chicagoland stores and online catalog. Searching for discount and clearance deals can be a little overwhelming.
Yakitori in Avondale! Check out Yusho for Japanese cuisine that deviates from the tradition of sushi and noodles. This restaurant is also known to project anime in the dinning room.