After digesting all of the food I ate, I felt energized enough to recount my experience at Anime NYC. This was the inaugural year of the convention, and I had an amazing time! I broke my experience down into four categories: events, guests, space, and likelihood of attending again. Check out what I thought!
Events and Activities
The one thing that made me immediately enjoy Anime NYC was its’ schedule. Most conventions pack their main events on Friday and Saturday, leaving scraps for Sunday. Not Anime NYC though. For one, the Fullmetal Alchemist live-action premiere was scheduled as one of the final events on Sunday. I have never seen a convention wrap up its’ weekend with such a crowd pleaser, but it felt right. Like a proper send off to a solid weekend.
While I was unable to get into the Fullmetal Alchemist premiere, there was still plenty for me to enjoy. The showroom floor still had a good amount of vendors open, so I was able to peruse their booths. The arcade was still drawing in a crowd, and I was able to watch some cosplayers play Dance Dance Revolution. Even the Artist Alley was still packed with creative fans selling their artwork.
On top of all the things still available for purchase, there were still a lot of panels available to attend. The premiere of Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 was incredible! The English voice acting cast continues to do a stellar job of voicing our favorite Sailor Scouts. This season also introduces the outer planetary Scouts: Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. With Uranus and Neptune acting as lovers instead of cousins, this season is doing justice to the original work. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season pans out!
The English dub premieres didn’t stop there! I was also able to get into the Terra Formars English Dub Premiere panel. Unlike Sailor Moon, Terra Formars isn’t for the young or faint of heart, as it is extremely bloody and violent. As someone who is typically a fan of gore and horror, this was even too much for me!
This gritty sci-fi adventure follows a crew of genetically modified super humans who travel to Mars to fight giant humanoid cockroaches. These cockroaches are determined to wipe out humanity, either by brute force, or through the Alien Engine Virus they carry. With an interesting premise, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for this on sale from Viz media.
Anime NYC boasted guests from all backgrounds and connections to Japanese culture. From manga and anime creators, to voice actors, to music guests, Anime NYC had quite the turnout! There were also a surprising number of free autograph sessions. The cast of Mob Psycho 100 and Gundam Wing: Iron-Blooded Orphans both held free, ticketed autograph sessions on Sunday. Other free and ticketed autograph sessions happened over the weekend, including a session with the cast of Sailor Moon.
I find that when it comes to big name shows or people, it’s very rare for a convention to hold free autograph sessions. Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise that Anime NYC held so many. Given that not every fan can afford to pay for an autograph, having free sessions made the price of admission go further. Kudos to Anime NYC for putting the fans first!
Usage of Space
Having attended New York Comic Con regularly since 2010, I consider myself pretty familiar with the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. However, it turns out I am only familiar with the layout NYCC sets up at the Javits Center. When faced with a new convention and a significantly smaller crowd size, I was hopelessly lost. Luckily, the staff and volunteers were helpful and knowledgeable of their own con; something I had never experienced with the staff of NYCC. With their assistance, I was able to find the panel rooms with ease.
The layout was pretty simple and had most of the convention consolidated right in the middle of the Javits. The showroom floor, arcade, gaming room, and panel rooms were all on level three, all right next to each other. The artist alley took up level four, right above the showroom. The Main Stage and queuing area were down on level one. For its inaugural year, this layout worked really well. However, the staff of Anime NYC is going to have to allocate more of the Javits space as they grow. There was some noise bleeding into the panel rooms from the show floor, an issue that will only get worse as attendance increases.
Likelihood of Attending Next Year
It would take an act of God to stop me from attending Anime NYC next year. I had a great time on Sunday and I wish I had been able to attend all weekend because it seemed like a blast. The organizers were great at booking awesome guests, excellent panels, and a community feel to the event. The volunteers were extremely helpful and able to point me in the right direction when I needed it. I think the only thing they need is to procure a larger group of vendors and a few more panelists. Once they do that, I think Anime NYC will put New York City on the map as the hub for anime collectors and aficionados alike.
Those looking to attend Anime NYC in 2018 can find more information here.