[Convention] Anime Central 2023: Event Review & Saturday/Sunday Cosplay Pics
Anime Central (ACen) returned to the Donald E. Stephens Conventions Center in Rosemont, Illinois over the weekend of May 19th through 21st. ACen is the largest anime, manga, and Japanese popular culture convention in Chicago and the Midwest.
This year’s event was not nearly as organized as events of the past. There were several problems before the con even began:
- Tickets that had been purchased the year prior were not mailed out and a few people could not even find their registration in the ACen system. From what I can tell, most of the ticket issues were resolved in the end.
- The guidebook and the press panels were late being released and panel selection was slim, with a few of them being cancelled or rescheduled.
- Vendors were very repetitive, with several offering the exact same things just at different prices.
Most of these problems are convention-related, but most of the staff was new due to a huge change last year. There are staffing issues everywhere, so I am certain they were working short-staffed themselves. Hopefully they fix these issues next year.
Other problems that people had were either hotel-based or people-based, mostly beyond the control of the event. The biggest complaints I am seeing and hearing are about the amount of people that brought dogs. It’s not the service canines, everyone knows they serve a purpose and are well-trained. It is the pets and the ‘supposed’ ESA’s that should not be brought to these high stress events. It was obvious that most of these animals were not trained as true service animals, but that is a discussion for another day.
On the plus side of the event, there were some good things:
- Coin-activated lockers to store things
- Better food selection (though this may be the convention center’s responsibility)
- There seemed to be a lot more cosplay/photo backdrops
Our time at the convention was limited, so we didn’t get as many opportunities to see cosplay as we would have liked. Fortunately, Dax Orr, our on-site photographer, did get some great photos.
Dax can be found on Instagram and Facebook