Anime NYC 2018 Grows in Size and Spirit
Thank you to Dy who contributed this recap of Anime NYC!
Anime NYC, the largest anime dedicated con in New York City is rapidly finding its footing only in its second year. The theme of this year was growth. In 2017, the first year of the convention, Anime NYC amassed over 20,000 attendees from 38 states and 10 countries. This year, Anime NYC welcomed 36,000 attendees from all 50 states and over 15 countries. On top of that, Saturday and weekend tickets sold out before the event began!
BIGGER AND NEWER
The Exhibitor floor was visibly larger compared to last year with 220 exhibitors and 240 artists in Artist Alley. I remember thinking in 2017 that it looked sparse, but this year, Anime NYC was able to fill the space. Not only that, but it was hustling and bustling with every exhibitor booth being occupied by fans buying, playing games, taking photos and more.
The video concerts from 2017 evolved into live concerts and moved from the Jacob Javits Center to its own venue down the street at the Manhattan Center. Anime NYC could have done this just for one night, but they held the concert series for two consecutive nights. The Anisong World Matsuri series featured major Japanese talent performing favorite songs heard in anime series and films.
Anime NYC love the fans but didn’t forget the people behind the scenes and held its first Anime Business Conference that took place the Thursday before the con. It was led by Crunchyroll founder, Kun Gao, and allowed professionals in publishing, licensing, marketing and entertainment to learn more about the anime and manga industry.
ANIME NYC ATTRACTS MAJOR THINGS
I’ve been to smaller anime conventions in the area and it’s not common to see original creators and voice actors. Since anime originates in Japan, obviously it’s harder to bring talent over to the USA. However, Anime NYC was able to bring in several acclaimed creators and voice actors from Japan in addition to American talent; to name a few: Studio Trigger’s creative team members, Hiromi Wakabayashi and Shigeto Koyama, the Japanese voice of Tuxedo mask, Toru Furuya, and the creative team members behind That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Ryoma Ebata and Yasuhito Kikuchi. Big names from the States included ADR directors, Tyler Walker and Tony Oliver, as well as many American voice actors.
Furthermore, Studios had enough confidence in the con to make huge announcements. Studio Trigger shared exclusive footage and images from their latest venture, Promare, as well as behind the scenes creative and details on their current series, SSSS Gridman and past productions. Viz Media came with big news of the Sailor Moon musical coming to the USA for the first time ever. And Anime NYC partnered with Pony Canyon to screen a number of anime films that either made its global premiere or USA premiere at Anime NYC.
FUN AND ENGAGING PANELS
There were only four rooms where panels were held at, not including the main stage. However, the rooms were exponentially larger than the panel rooms from last year. It was impressive that the panel topics and guests attracted enough people to get these larger rooms filled. Panels targeted a variety of interests with subjects covering anime and manga industry news and updates, guest panels curated by Studios, and miscellaneous subjects touching on marginalized groups in the community, script readings, fun trivia, and more.
The only downside I’ve seen with the panels was the way they were scheduled. Barely anything was scheduled on Sunday, which is fine for anyone who had a weekend pass because it gives you time to explore the exhibitor floor and artist alley. But if you only had a Sunday pass, you missed out on most of the guest panels and screenings.
TAKE MY OTAKU MONEY
As mentioned previously, my first year of the con I remember thinking how sparse the exhibitor floor was, but at the same time, I was very happy with the quality of vendors and exhibitors that were in attendance. The problem with broad entertainment conventions is that they must focus on multiple subgenres, so if there’s a niche you’re interested in, there would be a limited amount of merchandise for that genre. Whereas a con that is dedicated to one interest, such as Anime NYC, gives you a vast selection of vendors to choose from in diverse categories. Anime NYC offered everything an anime fan could want in including J-Fashion items, jewelry, accessories, figures, hard to find DVDs, and more.
ANIME NYC SIGNATURES
Anime NYC is not simply putting on a con; they’re making it their own.by bringing back beloved activations and events from the previous year.
I was glad to see the arcade return featuring authentic games straight from Japan. I’ve been to conventions where console games are available, but they’re usually mainstream games that we already have in America. So, it was intriguing having a chance to play games not offered in the United States.
Early released product and exclusive merchandise is now offered at Anime NYC persuading fans to attend. Exhibitors including Bluefin, FYE, Razor’s Edge, Sure Things Toys and Volks USA participated in producing exclusives. I’m sure the list will continue to grow until the con have as many exclusives as NYCC or SDCC.
Fans continue to participate and support the cosplay masquerade. The first year it was packed with excited attendees waving glow sticks and so was this year. They maintained their uniqueness by having fun and not administering a stern fashion show, instead they kept it light hearted with a full category of fan made skits inspired by cherished anime series.
Again, Anime NYC hosted its Ramen summit featuring more ramen chefs from the area. This year, they expanded by adding a ramen pop up shop offsite nearby the Javits center. It was open the entire week of the convention (not just the weekend) and featured three special ramen collaboration dishes made by the chefs who appeared at the summit.
OFFICIAL NEW YORK ANIME AFFICIONADOS
The best attribute of Anime NYC is that the organizers know both New York and anime and have knowledge on how those two worlds intersect.
As Anime NYC puts it, “We pick up manga at Kinokuniya, shop at Tokyo Rebel and snap far too many pictures at Sakura Matsuri. We’ve gone to premiers at JAPAN CUTS and seen Hatsune Miku in concert…twice. We love anime like you, live in NYC like you, and now bring all this together for you.”
The founders are not pretending; they know what their audience want, and it shows. There clearly was an underserved market in this region on the attendee side as well as the exhibitor side, that the con organizers were able to recognize. Anime specialty booths and panels were filled with engaged fans, and laughter and cheers echoed throughout the Jacob Javits Center. It was obvious the crowd was having fun and felt right at home and at closing it didn’t seem like people wanted to leave.
Overall, this was a great experience. I predict that Anime NYC will be comparable to NYCC very soon, in popularity and size, completely taking over the Javits. The dates are already locked in for next year, November 15 – 17, 2019.