Anime World Expo was held this year at The Westin in Lombard Yortown Center. Part of the Yorktown Center mall complex with several shopping stores and a variety of restaurant to choose from, the best part about the location is that they are within walking distance! (which was handy due to bouts of rain throughout the weekend). As far as the hotel itself goes, we believe it was a great choice for the venue. The rooms were gorgeous and were priced at the convention rate of $99 a night. We asked several attendees for their opinions about their rooms, they were impressed by the quality. Relatively cheap, spacious, clean and very comfortable. Couldn’t ask for much more? The venue felt just right for Anime World Expo, every room was within walking distance and was easy to find. Parking was available for free for attendees and you didn’t have to walk to far either.
Walking through the front of the Westin Hotel, you were greeted by hotel staff and they kindly directed you to registration for Anime World Expo. Once arriving at the registration AWX staff provided you with your pass as well as their guide book for the planned weekend. And as usual for cons, those registering onsite had to pay a bit extra to attend all three days opposed to those who pre-regged ($80/$50). You could also pay per day at $25/$35/$20 for Fri/Sat/Sun respectively. But who doesn’t want to attend the entirety of a con?? Planning ahead can save you some decent scratch. That way, you might be able to fit another item from the dealer room into your budget. There wasn’t much trouble on waiting in line at registration, because Anime World Expo had given the option for pre-registered members to mail out their badges, which a majority of attendees had chosen. They also provided Video Game Room and Table Top passes for only $10.
Video Game/Table Top Room:
While waiting for the next panel, we decided to check out the game room. Where you can play console games such as Mario Kart, Killer Instinct, Dance Central and much more! Run by IPG (I Play Games) which in our previous reviews, have always impressed us with their game room. If you wanted to test your fighting game skills, I Play Games also hosted a number of fighting game tournaments and gave first place winner trophies (seen in the picture above). Upon entering, on the right side of the game room, they had Free to play classic arcade cabinets as well as Dance Dance Revolution Extreme for all those DDR dancers. The game room stayed open till 12am midnight.
Dealer Room/Artist Alley:
The Dealers Room is packed with a tons of anime and gaming merchandise, from magic the gathering cards to rare Tron Bon Figures! Multiple small vendors providing new and old merch, such as Monthly Issues of manga from the early 90’s for as cheap as $1. The artist alley surprises us with so much creativity it brought us, such as creating a K-pop plush doll of your liking, to custom earrings, custom Pokemon bead art, and much much more. The dealer was had about everything you can ask for.
The masquerade was just right for the size of the convention. Like other convention the cosplay walk-through brightens everyone eyes with the amazing craftsmanship cosplayer show off to the attendees. There were no skits, simple cosplayer being awarded in creating their cosplay. The masquerade was short and sweet. We would like to see more next year and encourage everyone to bring in their best to this masquerade.
Panel rooms this year were a lot easier to find and to get to. You can find just about anything you can think of four a panel! From Samurai Dan teaching you how to sword fight, 101 on how to cosplay, comparing american to Japanese anime, contest on who can be the best sailor scout, tips and tricks on how to voice act and tons more! Panels this year were far greater and entertaining, as well as educational.
While there was no rave at AWX, there were 3 concerts held by a band of very enthusiastic gamers, Eien Strife!
The group is comprised of four members with Raien and Lyren on bass, Kale on drums and Cheydra providing vocals. With its RPG-themed performances, each concert had the members of Eien Strife taking on different quests in order to save the world of Terina from disaster.
Their sound is what I would describe as rock infused with a hint of chip tunes. And as a fan of both I enjoyed myself quite a bit. In between songs the group would perform in fairly humorous skits detailing each member’s quirks, while giving the crowd updates on the progress of the quest (or lack there-of!), often accompanied by 8-bit versions of themselves.
It appeared everyone attending had a fantastic time. Evidenced by the crowd chanting “One more song!” as the band walked off stage… Which prompted them to return and do cover songs for video games such as Simple and Clean from the original Kingdom Hearts.
• Venue was perfect for the size of the convention
• Staff were energized and positively motivated, extremely helpful
• if your looking for a perfect small con, this is it!