Review of ACEN 2011

20 Jul
Capt. Jack Sparrow poses for a picture with Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy

Only at ACEN will you find Capt. Jack Sparrow hanging out with Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy.

“Recently” I went to a certain anime convention called Anime Central, and I’m finally getting around to sharing my thoughts on it with you, dear readers. If you’re not really into anime or manga (or if you don’t know what those are), you may want to skip this post as I didn’t see any WoW characters running around in costume!

I’ve attended Anime Central (ACEN) almost yearly since the end of middle school (which would be the year 2000… I’m old. T_T), and there’s been a lot of changes. It’s moved to different locations, likely because it gets bigger and bigger each year. I’ve heard there were some good 20000 attendees this year. 20000! I remember when 10000 attendees was a huge number for this convention…

A woman on black fabric covered stilts poses for a picture.

What better do while waiting in line than to take people's pictures?

Of course, it had a much different feel when it was ‘small’. You didn’t need to line up nearly 1 hour before a panel and there was usually room for everyone. As the convention got bigger, the lines got longer — for some of the main programming you’d need to line up for hours and hours beforehand. Heck, I don’t think we’ve ever been to a masquerade at ACEN just because the line for that has always been ridiculously long.

Because of the growing size of the convention, some ACENs fared better than others. Either they had more space or better planning or both. I seem to recall that the cons from 2007-2009 being particularly painful due to horribly long lines everywhere (not to mention the teenage vandals. Those darn teenagers…)

The 2010 con, for me, was one of the best in recent memory. They increased the number of panel rooms by holding some in the vendor area and other nearby hotels, which helped to reduce the line at most events. Their line control was quite good. And the vendor area was in a newer and larger location that was easy to walk to. It was an excellent experience.

This year in the 2011 con, it was similar. There were a few hiccups that I wasn’t expecting due to how well the con was run the previous year, but overall everything went well (in my opinion).

Although the people in this registration line were probably more irritated:

A long line of people waiting to register for ACEN 2011.

The registration line the day before the con. It went on for a few blocks.

The registration line Thursday evening was supposed to open at around 4:30. We stop by around 6:30 to grab program books… and they hadn’t opened the line up. I was rather shocked; registration/badge pick-up usually goes much more smoothly than this, especially after they started to mail pre-ordered badges. I for one will always pay an extra two dollars to have my badge mailed to avoid any situation like this!

But enough about waiting for lines in panels — here’s a gallery of some of the cosplayers that were there! (And there’s a slideshow with all the images further down as well!) Enjoy!

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