A convention is never fun without interviews, so I stopped by the Yen Press booth to chat it up with Nadine, whom you should know from updates on YenPress.com. Since I had the opportunity to experience Anime NYC as a fan, I was curious how industry insiders were enjoying the weekend. Nadine is always happy to talk, so here we go!
Here we are on the final day of the first Anime NYC…
Q: Are you enjoying the con?
A: I am having a way better time than I thought I would. There’s a lot more people than I thought there was going to be. Our placement here is fantastic, our booth is really great. We are drawing a lot of people here so I think this is one of our more successful conventions.
Q: Given that this is Anime NYC’s first year, how well do you feel it’s going in terms of organization?
A: I am absolutely ecstatic with the fact I have not had one hiccup yet. Everything has been seamless and easy. Everything was really easy. Getting badges was easy. Getting our stock in here was easy. Our panel was easy. I have been doing this as you know for well over ten years and I have never had such a seamless convention. The only hiccup was the fact that the 7 train wasn’t working and that’s out of Anime NYC’s purview.
Q: Do you feel like it’s being well received by the fans?
A: When I walked in here on Friday I was walking behind a group, I think they were teenagers, young adults, and they were like, “wow, we’re amongst our people!” and that’s exactly what you want to hear. I guess they get that for NYCC but the tickets are so hard to get, it’s so crowded. This gives the fans more spaces and it’s more dedicated to what their into. NYCC does have things that cater to anime and manga fans but this is wholly dedicated to those people that love this genre. From what I see people are so ecstatic. So organized. Actually lining up to take free items. They were like, “this is free?” they were so excited over the fact that it was free, we’re giving it away, we’re selling books here. So it seems to me it was successful from a fan perspective as well.
Q: Since the con is so late in the year do you think that makes it difficult to have surprises for the fans?
A: Actually on our end no, I don’t know how it is for other publishers but Yen Press typically does announcements around Thanksgiving so this really works for us so instead of announcing them right before Thanksgiving we are announcing them here. It’s easier for us.
Q: Did Yen Press save anything special for Anime NYC?
A: Yes, we had several special things for the panel. The three titles that were key for us, every title is awesome for us, but the three titles we were really excited about were LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA, STAR WARS: LOST STARS, and WORLD END. Those were the three we were excited about sharing with the fans and those were the ones that were received more theatrically by our fans.
Q: Was there any doubt or anxiety that Anime NYC would be ignored by attendees because there are already established cons on the east coast?
A: Absolutely and that’s why I said I was so surprised. My bar was set really low so it was gong to be pretty easy to wow me and this wowed me more than that. I thought a brand new convention right in November might be something the fans might say, “well we just went to NYCC or Otakon not too long ago, it’s kinda cold outside. It’s New York in Autumn, maybe people didn’t wanna go.” Fans seem really excited about it and it’s better received than I thought it was going to be.
Q: What role did Yen press play in supporting Anime NYC?
A: The person that runs Anime NYC, Peter Tatara… right after Anime NYC was announced I reached out to him because for us having a convention that’s right in our backyard that’s dedicated to manga and anime, I jumped right on top of it. He was like, “wow you’re the first person to reach out to me. What do you wanna do?” I was like “we wanna go big, we wanna make this the biggest yet.” You’ve [The Outer Haven] been to our booth at Otakon, at NYCC, I’m sure you see what we do at Anime Expo and Sakura-Con. This booth [at Anime NYC] is four times the size of what we usually do. We have the hanging sign. We look like one of the big boys. That’s the thing. You need some of this branding for people to find you and Peter gave us the opportunity to do that and I’m totally thankful for that. He gave us great banner placement because I showed enthusiasm from the get go. I was hoping this could be something that was going to be big.
Q: Is there anything you’re excited about for next year?
A: I’m excited about the fact that this could be a bigger floor, like the fact it could be in the other hall, expanded a little bit. I’m excited about that. If they do get bigger I would be hoping to maybe bring some creators out, some of our artists. I think that Peter can work an author event better than other conventions. I have complete faith in him. His staff is also fantastic and they love this. They’re passionate about this. They want everyone to have a great show and experience and that is apparent and obvious. I”m looking forward to maybe having authors, some events, maybe some cosplay events. Yen Press dedicated events. Some sort of sponsored area maybe. I’m looking forward to brain storming for next year.
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: Right now I just finished A POLAR BEAR IN LOVE and SO I’M A SPIDER SO WHAT? and those are the two I’m reading. I was reading some serious, heavy light novels and manga. I just finished watching ERASED so I wanted something a little lighter. A POLAR BEAR IN LOVE is lighter. It’s about a polar bear and a seal and the polar bear is in love with the seal and the seal thinks it’s gonna eat him. The polar bear is trying to explain to this little seal how he loves him and wants to take care of him and the seal is like ‘what’s the angle?’ It’s like a palette cleanser. Then SO I’M A SPIDER SO WHAT? is trapped in an alternate reality which is a common trope. We have the protagonist who’s transformed into a lowly little spider. The thing is she has these powers that she doesn’t know she has yet. SO she’s actually a powerful creature but she thinks she’s the lowest of the low. There’s this monster girl-eqsue thing to it. Then there’s DELICIOUS IN DUNGEON 3 on deck.
Q: What is your next convention?
A: Our next convention is Sakura-Con, which is another fun one. Sakura-Con is low key, stress free, its easy. The people you work with that organize the show are really fantastic. This has jumped up into my favorite conventions, but yea Sakura-Con is next on my list of conventions and it’s in Seattle which is a fun town so I’m looking forward to it.
Q: How does this compare to other conventions?
A: I think like I said the closest comparison is Sakura-Con because Sakura-Con is well run. The organizers are attentive, and the size is comparable to Sakura-Con and like I said, that’s my favorite convention so far. You don’t have to wait on line. You don’t have to fight through crowds. It’s a nicer experience from a fan experience because you don’t feel like you’re going to be bumped away from a table when looking at something. You don’t feel like part of the herd that’s getting shepherded from way to another. You can make your way across. There’s no lines for the bathroom. It’s easier to get food. It’s still greatly attended but the fact that there’s not so many people, it’s a breath of fresh air.
If you’re in Seattle, check out the Yen Press booth and say “hi” to Nadine for me!