First Held: April 3-5, 1998

Organizer: Midwest Animation Promotion Society

  • Holiday Inn International O’Hare – Rosemont, IL (1998)
  • Ramada Plaza Hotel O’Hare – Rosemont, IL (1999)
  • Sheraton Arlington Park – Arlington Heights, Illinois (2000-2001)
  • Hyatt Regency O’Hare – Rosemont, IL (2002-2004)
  • Hyatt Regency O’Hare & Donald E. Stephens Convention Center – Rosemont, IL (2005 – Present)

Notable Figures:

  • Kit & The Aoi Sisters (Mascots)

Signature Events

  • The Soap Bubble: Anime Central’s signature rave, attracts numerous guest DJs every year.
  • Khaotic Kouture: A fashion show that represents various subcultures relevant to anime, including Steampunk, Gothic Lolita, and Visual Kei.

Prominent Guests

  • Kia Asamiya (2001)
  • yoshitoshi ABe (2001)
  • Ken Akamatsu (2002)
  • Satoru Akahori (2003)
  • Masao Maruyama (2007)


Planning for the event began in 1996, when a group of individuals in a Chicago anime club incorporated to form the Midwest Animation Promotion Society. The first event was held in 1998 at the Holiday Inn International O’Hare, and attracted 1,000 people. Since its first convention, ACen has grown steadily, attracting increasing numbers of attendees with each year. In 2010, the event was named the third largest anime convention in America after attracting an incredible 19.511 attendees.

Fun Facts

In 2007, ABC 7 News gave mention to the event on the evening news program, after a group of cosplayers gathered outside of the building. The network would give three mentions about the event and the cosplayers.