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Anime Central 2016 at Rosemont

• The biggest anime convention in the Midwest, “Anime Central 2016” took place May 20 to 22 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 85,295 people came to the convention, including 31,113 cosplayers last year.

• The joy of the convention is not only wearing costumes, but also participating in concerts, shows, and parties. This year, Japanese guests of honors were Eir Aoi, singer and songwriter especially in anime music; Takahiro Baba, CEO of anime, game, and visual novel maker VisualArt’s; Shinji Orito, composer for the Key brand under VisualArt’s; Na-Ga, illustrator for Key brand; DJ Taku Takahashi; C-Show, live performer and music producer; murAta Yuzi, video producer in the underground music; and Kan Takahiko, track maker.

Cosplayers in Anime Central

• Connor Ring of Chicago was in Mario’s costume, which he made from scratch. “I did a lot of late-night work and painting, but I got job done. I feel really proud of it,” he said. He started cosplay two years ago and currently is participating in a convention at Madison, Wisconsin. “One of the funniest things around here is the people saying, ‘Hey, can you take a picture with me?’ I have a great time walking around the place,” Ring continued.

• Kaleigh Dlinkle and Alex Cerajewski made the one-hour drive from Indiana for their first Anime Central. They said that although there were a few conventions in Indiana, they were very small.
• Kaleigh dressed up with a fantastic Lolita Fashion, which she bought in Spain. She said that her friend in Japan helped her with buying other things online.
• Cerajewski made his costume, Counter Strike, by himself and bought other stuff. He said, “When I went a convention for the first time, I saw everybody got dressed up. It looked like a lot of fun, so I wanted to try it. When you do it, you feel like a celebrity because people are coming up to you and taking pictures.”

• Hilary Dunn of Minnesota attended Anime Central last year and decided to return to it every year. She belongs to the Daikon cosplay group.
• She watched Sailor Moon when she was younger and wanted to make its costume. She went to a convention when she was in middle school and saw the people were dressed up. She thought, “I could be Sailor Moon, I could be!”
• This year, she made a very different costume of Undyne from a video game Undertale. She went to craft stores and made the costume from scratch. She also bought makes and contact lenses online. She said, “It’s really fun. It is a little too expensive with two lenses, but I do love the ones that I have.

Hilary Dunn

Kaleigh Dlinkle and Alex Cerajewski

A cosplayer

A cosplayer

kelly (C)

Connor Ring of Chicago (L) and Will Rychlik