The Midwest's largest anime, manga, and Japanese culture convention is set on returning to Chicago while resuming its annual festivities following its return to the anime convention circuit in 2022. Anime Central has excelled when bringing guests, artists, exhibitors, gaming, and convention-exclusive programming together in a weekend-long celebration of pop culture. ACen's expansive programming features an exhibitors hall, video gaming room, premiere screening events, dances, concerts, workshops, panels, anime screening rooms, and tabletop gaming to entertain its attendees who gather to share enthusiasm over their interest in anime and its subcultures. In 2022, Acen hosted over 33,000+ attendees following its two-year hiatus. Prior to its Mid-May show, the Midwest Animation Promotion Society and Anime Central have opened up applications for media representatives to report at the convention, and have created an initiative for students to earn convention-backed scholarships.
Midwest Animation Promotion Society, or M.A.P.S, is determined to nurture the growth of the animation industry in North America. They recognize the appreciation of manga and anime as valid art forms that exist in mainstream media among their more popular peers and have used Anime Central as a way to create a community founded on the love of anime. MAPS has annually awarded official scholarships to selected applicants who have looked the society's core pillars when further pursuing their passions. The Midwest Anime Promotion Society presents a total of $9,000.00 USD across four scholarships to full-time college students studying the Japanese language, literature, Asian studies, and animation or illustration. Scholarships are divided into The Rider Scholarship for Japanese Language, Literature, and Asian Studies and the M.A.P.S. Scholarship for Illustration and Animation.
All eligible students who submit their candidacy for these scholarships must display outstanding academic performance and provide a letter of faculty recommendation from their institution. Those who are interested in applying for the scholarship are required to submit a personal essay that outlines why the individual feels that they are the primary candidate to receive the scholarship and detail why they chose their course of study. Individuals who apply for the Illustration & Animation Scholarship are expected to submit a portfolio that showcases a sample of their artwork. The deadline to apply for either scholarship is July 31st, 2023. Other criteria and the official application submission can be found here.
Anime Central re-extends its annual invitation for members of the media to capture the essence of their convention through their publications, blogs, vlogs, and other forms of reporting. Outlets that focus on the manga, anime, and entertainment industry are welcome to apply to report at the convention. ACen notes that in order to be eligible for press consideration, all outlets must be active for a minimum of one (1) year and are expected to regularly publish content. If approved, reporters may be offered a Press Membership Badge provided by Acen for complimentary access to the convention. Press representatives who have earned Press status but are not offered Press Membership Badge are welcome to purchase a weekend Membership badge listed at the Professional rate of $40.00 USD.
Approved press applications will receive an email with a confirmation of their status and will detail which badge applicants have been granted. Those who have been accepted as members of the media are asked to provide valid IDs in order to receive their badges at the convention. Press Membership Badges will not be delivered by mail and further instructions on how to physically redeem badges will be detailed in confirmation emails. Press Member Badge pickups open on the Thursday prior to the convention and will operate in conjunction with pre-registration. All outlets are required to attend Anime Central press sessions, and sign-ups will be offered at registration. The Acen Press Department will routinely conduct quality control checks and review submitted coverage of Acen. The convention reserves the right to request supplementary material from the publication that does not meet minimum requirements. Additionally, Acen warns that "any outlet who does not meet the minimum at-con requirements and post-con coverage requirements will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including removal of comped Press Membership Badge privileges (requirement to purchase in future), publication ban from Press, outlet member ban from Press (with any outlet), or full ban from convention.)," per their official press rules. Media must submit their coverage no later than three months after the event.
The official press application for Acen is now available here and any further comments or questions regarding media relations may be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anime Central will run from May 19, 2023, to May 21, 2023, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.
Attendee Registration for Anime Central can be found here. Any attendee who identifies as a convention runner, industry professional, anime organization runner, et cetera are encouraged to fill out the Professional Registration Form to receive a discount on their convention admission. School Groups and Service Members qualify for discounted rates on their attendance at Anime Central 2023. Those registering for a designated table in the Artist Alley or Exhibitor Hall are directed to register through the Registration Service Center after submitting applications for either region of the convention floor. Approved parties for Artist Alley and the Exhibitor Hall will receive emails detailing how to claim their badges in the Service Center. Artists, exhibitors, and panelists should not register on the Attendee Registration page.