Anime Central 2010 Convention Report
Anime Central 2010 Convention Report
Arriving at Anime Central (ACEN) in Chicago for its 13th year, I was excited to participate in another enjoyable convention shooting for Consplayers Photography. The convention this year would be my seventh time witnessing a seemingly ever-growing midwest juggernaut that yet again, would sell out the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Sofitel (now “The Rosemont”) hotel, the Embassy Suites, Doubletree Hotel, and others further away from the convention location next to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. For the second time in ACEN history, additional panel programming was extended beyond the Hyatt’s meeting rooms into the Embassy Suites’ and Doubletree’s lobby rooms along with even more panels taking place in the conference rooms of the convention center (DSECC) itself. The Hyatt by this time had also completed the previous year’s extensive renovation project, wrapping up with adding additional furniture, fixtures, and artwork to the decor along with remodeling the main balcony rooms of the hotel.
Guests this year included: Haruka, Masazumi Kato, Yumiko Kobayashi, Kaori Nazuka, Narumi Takahira, Kouki Uchiyama, Shinichi Watanabe, Aural Vampire, REPO! The Genetic Opera – 90 Day Delinquents, DJ CHUNKY, Da/Le, GUHROOY, M-Project, NO+CHIN, DJ SHARPNEL, DJ SHIMAMURA, DJ Silver, The Spoony Bards, Zach Bolton, Josh Elder, Fred Gallagher, Todd Haberkorn, August Hahn, Steve Horton, Russell Lissau, Vic Mignogna, Misako Rocks!, Trevor Mueller, Brina Michelle Palencia, Stephanie Sheh, J. Michael Tatum, Steve Yun, Samurai Dan and the Kojokan Shinbutai, Dr. Kerry Freedman, Steve Downes, and Wendy Powell. ACen this year also was especially fortunate to arrange a webcast Skype session with legendary Japanese musician Yoshiki from X-Japan.
A unique additional requirement for Press members this year was attending a Q&A / feedback press panel for a minimum of two guests of honor. For that opportunity I picked sessions featuring Brina Palencia and Shinichi Watanabe. These were secluded press-only sessions which generally focused on simple questions pertaining to each guest’s role in the anime and voice acting industries. The topics of interest for Shinichi Watanabe generally consisted of the nuances of Japanese to English dubbing, his thoughts of pirating and decline of DVD sales both in Japan and abroad and how the Internet is changing the methods of distribution for studios. Further topics included everything from “What is your favorite role?” type questions to series-specific questions that I unfortunately, had no relevant knowledge about. The topics of interest for Brina Palencia included a significant amount of discussing how she would prepare her voice for spoken roles, the fun and limitations of the studio booth recordings, and what she thought of where her future endeavors would take her.
Please check out Consplayers’ video coverage of both press interviews, as well as much more general hall coverage located on our new Youtube page, located here at:
The Masquerade this year featured a very unique middle session due to the aforementioned webcast with Yoshiki of X-Japan. Before the webcast, a full attendee and press blackout was in effect for the premiere video showcasing Yoshiki’s “YOSHIKI: History through X-JAPAN.” The atmosphere conveyed through this video was one of simple beginnings, an upward drive of success and popularity, sorrow upon the then lead-member’s death, and then a resurgence of X-Japan’s more modern history. This made the video appear both as tribute, documentary, and press release all in one. One press member behind me was apt to state X-Japan as being “…the Beetles of Japan…”, as the video evidenced their performances filling stadiums of more than 100,000 people at a time. After the video concluded, an attempt at a webcast was made but failed due to connection issues after two minutes and the video feed showed Yoshiki leaving his office desk to an upset audience here at ACEN. Promptly after however, Yoshiki himself appeared on stage live, front and center, prompting the audience to go wild with enjoyment.
After what seemed like an eternity of ecstatic and well deserved applause, Yoshiki sat on stage and directly opened a dialogue / press session with the entire ballroom – fielding questions from both Press and Audience alike. Several press members next to me in fact, were highlighted. Topics basically ranged from life in Japan, Yoshiki’s thoughts about playing instruments, being a famous band musician, and wrapped up with more typical questions benefiting of an anime convention such as cosplaying and feeling toward the American scene in general.
The remainder of the masquerade was reserved for both walk-ons and judging, of which was typical high caliber for ACEN in terms of costume qualities and humor.
In conclusion, if ACEN continues to keep the pressure on by continually picking world-renowned guests and creates special events to keep attracting guests, there is no reason as to why they will not continue to grow. The biggest challenge has and will continue to be physical space; with a current convention attendance population of a town (about 17,000 people this year), it should come as no surprise to see next year be as partitioned as this year’s events were. Rating for this year: A
Written By The-Real-Link