This last weekend I went to Anime Central in Rosemont, Illinois. Anime Central is routinely held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center which and is the perfect size spaced for a convention like this. Not only is it the biggest anime convention in the Midwest, it’s also one of the biggest in the country!
Without fail, I go to Anime Central every year – I really like it. It has a massive Dealer Hall and awesome Artist Alley, and there’s always a lot of great cosplayers walking around, too. While I don’t cosplay myself, by heart I am a shopper and tend to drop a lot of money of money at these conventions. This was probably not my smartest move after just coming back from Japan, but this year’s Dealer Hall was remarkably well-stocked.
When people think about an anime convention, they naturally think: anime. That’s true, but anime conventions generally offer so much more about Japanese culture and bigger conventions like Anime Central have the luxury of offering booths that branch a little bit outside of the usual plushies and keychains. For example, you can buy yukata, Japanese snacks and treats, and… Japanese stationery! That’s right, anime conventions are usually a totally plausible place to boost your stationery collection without breaking the bank. Most sticker sheets I saw were Mindwave (a popular Japanese brand) for around $3 a sheet. That’s not too bad! Most of the masking tapes were Chinese bootlegs, so I didn’t venture into any of those, but they ranged about $5-6 a roll.
In addition, many artists in the Artist Alley also create stickers – so many have also started producing their own masking tapes. This is a great way to get truly unique masking tapes that nobody else has – great for swapping!
I don’t venture much into panels and cosplay, so I don’t have much to say about that here (sorry!), but if you enjoy shopping at anime conventions, Anime Central is a fantastic convention to attend. You can easily spend a full say in the Dealer Hall/Artist Alley spending money… and if you really like to dig, you can even spend two (like I did). I’ll certainly be back next year. Until then, check out my photos below from around the con.
And below is the stationery I found at different parts of the convention! I would say there were at least three booths retailing Japanese stationery, and even more selling anime stationery like memo pads and pens and things of that sort.
Here’s my haul from the con! I spent a lot more this year than I usually do – which I think is a good sign that Anime Central’s Dealer’s Hall and Artist Alley was awesome. I also did a Journal With Me video using some of the stationery I purchased. Check it out below!
Coming next: I’ll be busy celebrating my birthday this weekend, but then finally recapping my trip to Japan, including another convention I went to – AnimeJapan 2019! See you then~