It is no secret that New Yorkers who like anime and manga travel to other states to attend conventions. We do have Liberty City Anime Con. According to their website, LCAC is New York’s largest anime con. It’s a hotel convention that is greatly overshadowed by the colossal New York Comic Con. While I respect that LCAC exists, it just doesn’t compete with the journey to the Javits to spend the day in an unattractive convention center (come on, it’s true). Since I go to Otakon, which has that ‘big but comfortable’ feel, I just don’t feel motivated to travel into Midtown on the subway the following weekend. Plus, I have a life.
Reasonably spaced away from NYCC, Anime NYC provides another opportunity to go to a convention center in a not-so-busy side of town that feels familiar in terms of conventions. The Javits Convention Center is home to all hobbies just like Baltimore Convention Center, etc. The lack of an anime convention at the Javits is a true waste of space – especially in a city where real estate is scarce. Sure, we do have LCAC, but if it continues to be held at the Marriott Marquis, how much more can it physically expand? Anime NYC alleviates that worry in two ways: First, the convention can negotiate for more space as needed since the Javits is underutilized during the con. Second, Peter Tatara (Anime NYC Show Director) is fully capable of steering the ship. His experience no doubt left him with invaluable knowledge to grow Anime NYC.
My experience of Anime NYC was positive. I was nervous at first because some conventions can be disasters in the beginning. I was eager to go because it was at the Javits and I wanted this first year to be successful if only in attendance. At first it was jarring to see the Javits with space to roam and it took me some time to understand why panels weren’t taking place on the lower level. After quickly running into some friends, I felt at home. Finding people at NYCC is a carefully planned process involving use of electronic devices.
Anime NYC had all of the things you would expect from an anime convention. There were Japanese arcade games artist’s alley, autograph sessions, vendors, panels, and a cosplay masquerade. The most notable event was Viz Media’s Sailor Moon Day, the day that Anime NYC sold out. The Sailor Moon photoshoot, organized by Rizuki Ann, drew the largest crowd I have seen. There were plenty of booths to browse in the dealer’s room and the space was well utilized. I didn’t feel the anxiety of getting capped out of a panel I waited all day for. Once I adjusted to the size of the convention, reminding myself it’s not a NYCC and its purpose is to be the opposite, I felt comfortable and had a good time. I am looking forward to going and this time I’m going to plan for a cold weather appropriate cosplay.