Talk about an anime convention. Wow, we’d like to start by thanking Anime Central for inviting us out. To say the least we are amazed, would be an understatement. From top to bottom Anime Central was everything.
When you can open the convention center and completely open the hotel right next door fully for the convention; it’s the first step in a recipe for a great great convention. Then after that great guests from voice actors, artists musical and drawing/illustrators. Invite all the top companies in the industry with giveaways, props, and wares. Then have artist alley, big time video game area, movie/tv show rooms, food, and open wide spaces for cosplayers to congregate and having wild photo sessions.
Fhana the great j-pop band from Japan is literally doing an opening for every anime that’s come out in the last couple years. They had an exciting thrilling concert Friday evening. Most people thought that it was the only chance to see them, but they hid an ace. For a change of pace or more soothing music you could enjoy A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY under the direction of Eric Roth. VOFAN‘s live sketching brought in a huge crowd to his booth. Perfect sketching with a sharpie on a skateboard that he literally couldn’t mess up and he didn’t.
When I say that ACen literally thinks of everything that anime fans love and like. I wholeheartedly mean every bit 100%. Saturday is the huge day, more great panels, guest signing, movies and more photos. Something you shouldn’t have missed but some did was the guest voice actors having a lip sync battle. When I say lip sync they were really into it too. Kyle Herbert, Lauren Landa, Erica Mendez, Tony Oliver and many more. It was awesome they involved the crowd and pulled people on stage. It’s great to see these awesome artists be like regular people too. Very likable, personal, relatable, and almost touchable.
The afterparty comes at the end of Saturday with great DJ’s from Japan and right there in Chicago. Attendees were in cosplay, regular clothes, and rave clothing. Imagine your favorite anime character dancing around with you and regular other people into the early morning. Add amazing lights, bubbles, suds, balloons in the crowd it is quite a sight. Let’s not forget the surprise of fhana making another appearance with member Kevin Mitsunaga doing a DJ set. If the afterparty isn’t your thing the game rooms were still rocking, board games, card games, video games. All the video rooms were open that played various anime all the way into the morning.
Finally, maybe you were like me and finally went to bed at six A.M., just to wake up and head back to the con at nine to 10 A.M. Put a little redbull in my cup and let’s rock for the last day Sunday. More great panels and randomness from attendees till finally the con starts winding down.
I’d never been to a closing ceremony, but really enjoyed the one I attended at ACen. Bang Zoom Entertainment announced its winner for the open auditions for a voice acting role. Kevin Gomez from Illinois won. He took a chance like many others and his dreams came true. The reaction from the company and other voice actors on social media is great to see too. He will be in a role from the second season of March Comes in Like a Lion. Just having all the guest saying they had a good time, hoping to come back, and they enjoyed the attendees. It really brings a good closing to the con and hype for next year.
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