Monday, May 18, 2015

Thank you, Chicago & Anime Central, for The Japan Times



By Roland Kelts

The 18th annual Anime Central (ACen), North America’s third largest anime convention, was held May 15 - 17 in Rosemont, near Chicago. Last year’s event drew a record 29,000 unique attendees, tallying 81,000 in total over its three full days. Organizers breached those figures again in 2015, hosting over 31,000.

ACen is something of an oasis for anime fans in Middle America. While official celebrations of Japanese popular culture take place across the United States nearly every weekend of the year, many of them are modest affairs, geared toward less populated regions and local fans, sometimes hosted by municipal libraries and schools. The larger conventions and expos, with their bus-loads of cosplayers and A-list Japanese guests, tend to be coastal events, hosted in urban centers such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston and New York.

ACen is held in the heart of the American Midwest. Chicago hugs the shores of Lake Michigan but is otherwise landlocked, a city surrounded by forest and farmland with a reputation for plain-speaking, hard work and killer blues.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

After the Monkey Tour, it's Chicago's ANIME CENTRAL

After a stellar tour of the Midwest and New York City with Monkey Business magazine, I am back in Chicago, honored to be appearing with Japanamerica from May 15 - 17 at Anime Central, the region's largest celebration of Japanese art and culture.