Back to Main
Anime Central 2014: Fun Event to Inspire Creativity

• The biggest anime convention in the Midwest, “Anime Central 2014” was held May 16 to 18 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and neighboring Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont. Since its inception in 1997 Anime Central has grown bigger, and 79,310 people came to the convention, including 28,692 cosplayers last year.

• The joy of the convention is not only wearing costumes, but also participating in concerts and parties. This year, music unit Angela; game-music composer Nobuo Uematsu; manga artist Yoshitoshi Abe; voice-actress group Wake Up, Girls; anime director Yutaka Yamamoto; anime producer Hiroaki Takeuchi; fashion designer Naoto Hirooka; and creative DJs came from Japan as guests of honor.

Cosplayers in Anime Central

• Renee Werth and Lauren River-Haire were in perfect costumes of Catwoman and Sailar Moon. Werth works for a theatre as a seamstress and has made costumes for Les Misérables, Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain, and more. Regarding the costumes they were wearing, she said that Catwoman took two to three months and Sailar Moon took a few weeks to complete. “I picked the character based on if I like the design of it and if I think it is fun to make,” Werth said.
• She started cosplay and participated in Anime Central in 2002 after being informed what the convention looked like by her high school friend.
• Haire also started cosplay when she was in high school. She said, “I’ve been watching Sailar Moon since I was young, so this is like a dream costume for me.”

• Kevin Blanchard first attended the convention three years ago and decided to do cosplay the following year. This year, he chose a character from Final Fantasy. He ordered a suit at a store where his friend was working, and looked for matching sunglasses.
• He said that he had to get into the character’s role, and just wearing a costume was not enough in cosplay.

• Patrick, Krystle, and Gemerl were in costumes and welcomed visitors posing for a photo together. The three attended the convention last year with simple costumes and thought that they wanted to do something the next year.
• Regarding costumes, Gemerl said, “At first, it looked easy but when we started building, it was complicated. But we just went through with it.” Patrick also said, “A lot of hard work we did until the last minute, but I enjoyed it.”

• AKB0048 has become common in the U.S. Mary Linbarry, Mikayla Taylor, and Erin Ritchie masqueraded as AKB’s Sae, Acchan, and Takanami.
• They said that they decided to pull together simple costumes that were easy to do and have enjoyed cosplay for long time. Once they built cosplay they wanted to go a convention and really want to do cosplay now.

• Dance party “Hardcore Synergy” was held on the first night, and more than a dozen of Japanese DJs set music. The party drew 3,000 participants.
• At a press conference, the DJs said, “It was more than we expected with the people, excitement, and cheers. It was the best of the best.”
• Most DJs are music creators and played their own pieces mixed with American popular music. To create a new and exciting music set, they always study new music and prominent DJs in the world. One of the DJs said that he looked at new music and technologies rather than DJ skills.
• Popular DJ Shimamura said that he used UK hardcore for his fourth visit to the convention. His music set can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn4KBFgQ9DE.

Angela: atsuko and KATSU

• A press conference room at Anime Central was different from the usual ones. Many reporters came with their costumes to interview a music unit Angela. Rival musicians atsuko and KATSU finally came together and formed the unit in 2003 after each of them came to Tokyo from Okayama city, the west part of Japan. Since then, they have written many anime-theme-songs and lyrics and performed them with fantastic anime images.

• The full story is available in the Chicago Shimpo’s 2014, June 13th issu