So today is the first full day we're spending at Anime Central (ACEN). The night was a little rough. I woke up to some kids shouting loudly and being asked if they were drunk. The correct answer I assume is yes, judging by the empty bottle of rum we stumbled across in the stairwell later that morning.
We both wake up early normally, so we were up and ready for panels when they started at 8:30. The first we sat in on was about Folklore in anime. It was interesting and I walked away with a few series I might check out based on some suggestions they provided.
Now ACEN spans several hotels plus the convention center (where all the shopping is). Neither of us had any intention of purchasing anything, but we still walked through it a few times just to see all the different merchandise and costumes. While there were a lot of Cloud's from Final Fantasy VII, or miscellaneous characters from Bleach and Naruto, there were quite a few you don't see every day, including Gandalf (who I didn't managed to catch a photo of).
Like I said in yesterday's post, if there's one thing anime conventions seem to have, it's lines. And long ones. We stood in line for a bit for the FUNimation panel only to discover about ten minutes before it started that it had been rescheduled to another room several hours later. We also eyeballed the line for the Masquerade (which, unlike Youmacon, appears to be more of a costume contest/skit and not exclusively a dance) and quickly decided that the line (pictured above) wasn't worth waiting in for several hours.
We popped in a few other panels throughout the day; one on comics adapted to film, politics in video games (run by two Zach's from FFVII, no less), the rescheduled FUNimation panel, and a portion of the Stand-up and LOL.
The stand-up panel we waited in line for the longest, and with my trusty DSi I didn't mind the wait too much. I wanted to make sure we could get in, especially since I absolutely LOVE the stand-up they do Friday's at Youmaon.
This event was two hours instead of the one Youmacon has done in the past, it certainly didn't seem to need it. The host of the panel opened with discussing his old age (of 29) and how it was time for him to grow up and stop attending anime conventions. This seems to run counter to how you should ever start an event at an anime convention. He should also taken note of his audience, since a good portion of them were not younger than him. So the way he opened the floor for open mic was, to say the least, uninviting. I'm not sure if that is the reason for the succession of drunk con-goers standing up to deliver comedy or what. Either way, we left after about twenty minutes since they had reached the end of the people signed up and were cycling through people who wanted to go again. Maybe the event competed too much with others going on. Either way, were were disappointed - it was the one panel of the whole convention we were really looking forward to.
ACEN was, overall, a disappointing experience. That's not to say that the con itself is bad or that if you have never attended an anime convention to skip this on. If you live in the Chicago area, I'd seriously attend it. But after attending Youmacon and JAFAX the last several years, I had anticipated an event of this size to be better organized. For me, the experience here wasn't not unique and was, in many ways, a step back (for example, misprints in the schedule guide, a lack of mobile-formatted schedule to see updates/changes to the schedule).
I did think it was awesome that FUNimation was at the event and I could go to one or all of their panels if I desired; they are someone smaller conventions aren't able to attract. Everyone was super friendly and there were a bunch of interesting panels, don't get me wrong. But in many ways it was basically Youmacon with double the attendees and spanned across multiple hotels.

Maybe I'm burned out from all the traveling lately, maybe I had unrealistic expectations. Probably a little of both. I've always heard fantastic things about ACEN and I just didn't feel it this weekend.

Anyway, here's some shots from the weekend.


Post a Comment