Why I'm so excited for Anime Midwest

This year’s Anime Midwest is shaping up to be incredible! Our attendance numbers are strong and our team has been working hard on putting together an awesome show!

Our main stage is going to be occupied all the time with our cosplay competitions – with the finale to the Cosplay World Crown on Friday afternoon! The winner of this contest, which features the best of the best cosplayers from across the world, will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan! Watch me interview the winner on TikTok – https://www.tiktok.com/@animecon.org/video/7305073009641983262

Our exhibit hall is going to ROCK this year, with over 300 artists, vendors, and more in the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Don’t forget to stop by the Wild Bill’s Soda stand to buy an unlimited soda pass for all weekend long, or check out Chocolate Moonshine to get some rare chocolate and fudge items. We have tons of incredible vendors selling everything from anime merch to homemade stuff too, so don’t miss out!

Exhibit hall map: https://animemidwest.com/exhibithalls/467

Our ConSweet is back again! We’re giving away unlimited free rice, instant ramen, snacks, soda, and more over at the DoubleTree hotel. This is the same place where you can experience the maid cafe. We also have TWO karaoke rooms – one near the ConSweet and one at the Hyatt Regency O’hare.

We have some better than ever food trucks coming this year – all with an asian experience theme! Check out Stix Noodles and Pinoy Grill among others, all located near the Embassy Suites hotel. This is a new location, our official food trucks won’t be at the Hyatt (although they may still have some, to be determined).

I will note that we do have a few fewer voice actor guests this year – with flight prices being sky-high, pun-intended, we’ve scaled back a little bit on the US voice actors next year, in hopes of building to a bigger and better experience everywhere else. If coming for the guests was your main reason for coming though, not to worry, we have some incredible guests including my good friends like Greg Ayres and John Swasey who have both been voicing anime characters since before I was even born!

Our arcade gaming will return to the International Level of the Hyatt Regency O’hare (that’s the “basement level”, if you didn’t know). Plus – all kinds of other things are taking place on that lower level, including TWO escape rooms, and tons of rooms dedicated to video gaming, tabletop board gaming, and more. You really should spend some time wandering around this area just to see all the awesome stuff that our team is setting up!

One thing I’ve noticed is many people say they can’t afford to come all weekend long. This has reflected in our day-pass sales across other conventions. We used to sell 90% or more 3-day passes, but now it’s more like 60%, with nearly half our attendees stopping in for just a day. This is sad for me, personally, because my favorite part of the convention is hanging out with people for all 3 days – staying up late drinking rum and watching anime until we have to get up for the next day. (Note: As I get older, I don’t recommend this, getting at least 6 hours of sleep is good for your body!)

But this year all our hotels are reporting excellent room block usage, which means tons of people will be joining us to celebrate the love of anime for all 3 days. So it looks like things might be turning around on the party-all-weekend experience, and I’m excited to see you all there!

I’m also personally excited about some of the “little things” that nobody thinks about. I am aware of many other conventions with FIVE HOUR registration lines, that you have to stand in just to get into the con! Nobody wants that, and so I have been working tirelessly on processes to streamline our registration and checkin experience. I hope you’ll be pleased!

Also, don’t miss the fun provided by Greggo’s Game Shows – our gameshow host has over 20 years of experience hosting fun gameshows at anime conventions, and we have several scheduled throughout the weekend for you to watch or even get the chance to participate in!

A new thing to check out this year is some sponsored rooms in the international level of the Hyatt Regency O’hare, across from the arcade games. These rooms can be sponsored by all kinds of interesting companies. One of these sponsored rooms is all about 3D printing, and they’ll be doing demonstrations all weekend!

I look forward to seeing you July 5-7 in Chicago!

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