Retrospect: Anime NYC 2022 – Give Your Hearts to RNGesus

Anime NYC and Left Field Media, you did better. Some parts are still rough, but better than 2021.

We are finally back in the swing of things for conventions this year. With the recent New York Comicon back in October setting the stage, it was time for Anime NYC to take over for November. If you read my thoughts regarding last year, Anime NYC was weaker due to the line congestion for COVID checks and the MIHOYO booth. But they have learned much since then. And, for better or worse, they incorporated new methods to better handle the event and celebrate its 5-year anniversary. From the spotlight of Hajime Isayama making an appearance to the Vtuber presence of Hololive, Vshojo, and Indies, Anime NYC 2022 was quite an improvement over last year.

An Improved Screening

This year they had to downsize the number of tickets sold this year to reduce the crowd. As an improvement over last year, they had an off-site COVID check to help screen attendees for their status be it vaccinated or a negative test. This method was used by NYCC last year and to the benefit of Anime NYC here, it worked very well. It prevented the line con that plagued the first-day last year and it allowed attendees in with no problem. However, was it better in regard to their mask policy? Answer: was marginally better than NY Comicon. While most attendees have followed wearing masks while walking about, there will be those who don’t. The part where Anime NYC was slightly better in regarding enforcement is in their panels. The staff, particularly the Anime NYC volunteers, enforced this policy to have people wear masks when entering panels or movies. For this, I greatly praise the volunteer staff for emphasizing safety.

Thankfully while walking the floor, most of the attendees were courteous when either sneezing or keeping some distance. Though it was pretty much impossible when in crowded areas like Artist Alley. Though it again reminds me again that Anime NYC needs to get more space! Yes, it is unfair to compare Anime NYC and New York Comicon due to the budget difference. Yet it remains a constant critique for them every year. Though they have addressed and will improve this in their year-end review statement.  Saying that it is due to the concurrent events that happen at the same time, they can’t utilize more of the center space.

RNGesus Be Kind, Or Not

There was a new system for those who want to get exclusive autographs or panels. At first it was first come, first serve. But with any convention system and New York Comicon being a prior example, the system crashed and it caused frustration. It was then changed into a lottery system after. Though this system was somewhat confusing. Attendees can apply to be selected to attend specific panels, exclusive autographs, and meet-ups. This is where NYCC has a leg up over Anime NYC this year. NYCC had a dedicated press seating area to allow coverage before filling in. Anime NYC, to my knowledge, does not. So I had to rely on this lottery system if there were certain panels that can provide coverage. Unsure if other media outlets had to use this system to attend the bigger panels like the Attack on Titan Hajime Iseyama spotlight, which I was not a part of. From the consensus of those who did attend, Iseyama nearly cried after the outpouring of emotion and love from the fans. He faced much criticism and dislikes in regard to how he ended the series, but it is good to see fans who will support him regardless. And that he is in no rush to make his next series.

Credit : Kodansha USA

While I was not able to attend this one, I did manage to see other panels to make up for it. Such as the Spy X Family with CEO of Wit Studios George Wada. There were also other panels that you had to buy an extra ticket to attend, like the preview panel of the Final Fantasy Distant World concert with Eric Roth and Yoko Shimomura, and the Reincarnated as a Slime: Scarlet Bond movie panel with Mindaryn and Stereo Dive Foundation. While I was skeptical in regard to them charging extra on top of the ticket for Anime NYC, at least the premium was worth it from seeing the great performances with these musicians.  Plus it also included autographs for those who can afford it, but it can overlap with another show in the schedule. I didn’t like that they revealed Yoko Shimomura’s appearance long after the VIP tickets were sold out, but in hindsight, it rewards those who jumped early on it. Meeting them was quite an experience and even George Wada and his translator took notice of my “cultured” shirt.

Other panels that used the system include the annual Fate Grand OrderKaguya Love is War, and the Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War panels. These panels didn’t fill up as quickly as the Attack on Titan, so there were plenty of seats open and waitlisted on the online system. What didn’t help was the fine print on the lottery, saying that if you apply and didn’t claim it, you are barred from entering other panels and autographs in the future. So naturally, people panic and worry, and it flooded the system for those who cannot claim seats with the convention staff.  While it is to keep and filter only true fans of specific guests/panels, it just creates a lot of confusion and stress. Whether they should have implemented a  “first come first served” reservation system is hard to say. If it was for big names like Iseyama or Aoi Koga, I feel it was fair for a lottery system. Though again, leaving everything to chance is just a move that just doesn’t seem right. While this was somewhat of a damper on Anime NYC 2022, there were other aspects that help balance the rest of the convention.

The Vtuber Presence


If there was one thing that boomed in popularity, it would be Virtual Youtubers/Steamers or Vtubers. Everyone was locked in their homes for the majority of the Covid pandemic. Since then, streamers decided to adopt a unique way of entertaining viewers which now boomed into a world phenomenon. From Hololive, Nijisanji, Vshojo, and indie Vtubers,  many have embraced this new form of entertainment. Fans in New York made their love known when Hololive came and was at the front entrance of the exhibit floor. When there was a real-time appearance and show of Hakos Baelz, Irys, or Calliope Mori, crowds were formed hours beforehand to see them. While not officially announced, Vshojo also made an appearance with Ironmuse and Kson. The crowd for Vshojo was also impressive and the spirit of the fans was quite infectious. Whether it be from corporate or indie Vtubers, there will be a following for those who want to go out and support their favorites and Oshis. Meeting KSON was nothing but a delight. She had a very badass aura and was nothing but respectful when I spoke with her. She even laughed when I gave her the underling bow and said “Otsukare-sama Souchou!” Just a lovely person to be around. This spirit also carried over when I met with Ironmouse. To know of her CVID condition, but still be able to bring smiles to the world is nothing but amazing. She is even named one of the top streamers on Twitch and the top Vtuber on the site.  I simply gave my gratitude to her and VShojo and only wished nothing of the best for her and her family. Both KSON and Ironmouse both complimented my shirt. Only goes to show in an Anime convention, culture is welcomed.


If there was a way to describe the appeal of Vtubers to a newcomer, it would be that they are just people who use another way to present themselves. They make content like any other creator but with an anime avatar. Some for medical reasons like Ironmouse, and others for the sake of privacy to maintain anonymity. And if it allows them the confidence and avenue to create and bring smiles to people, why not allow it? Sure the avatars are what draw people in to attract people at first, but you then stay around for the personality and community. I mean, how often you can say that you have met Satan, a Rapping Grim Reaper, or a Japanese delinquent who loves Gundam? The world of Vtuber will only continue to grow bigger as we continue into the future. Though my only hope is that Vtubers, particularly corporate ones do not head to questionable fields like NFTs.

The Unknown Future

It is up in the air where Anime NYC will develop in the near future. It began as a convention with great hopes and had fan support that was only limited to financial support and the capacity of the center. Now it has become huge to contend with the likes of New York Comicon. Though now some attendees wonder if there is something lost in transition. This past month when Anime NYC unveiled the prices and a new premium plus badge, naturally people were angry at the price increase. Though it didn’t matter as when it went live on sale, the premium plus and Weekend badges sold out in a little over 30 mins. Though course the fact is that fans and attendees are going into Anime NYC 2023 without knowing what the lineup is.  We discussed this in the March episode of the A1 podcast. The questions are will it be worth it? Will they utilize more of the Javits Center? Will the guests and lineup be worth the price increase and economic change over the years? So many unknowns, yet fans will be giving them a chance. Anime NYC themselves also announced before the sale that they took off service fees for badge purchases. While a nice gesture from them, it is little compared to the price increase over the years. Only time will tell if they have something big in their lineup.

If there are some suggestions for Anime NYC to be better it would as such:

  1. Utilize the Entire Center: While they did give an explanation that it is due to other companies using other parts of the center, it really did not do them any favors not using the queue hall for crowd control. I can excuse them for not using the new extension for the Javits and kudos for utilizing the entire exhibit hall, but in the end, they need more space for the exponential increase of attendees.
  2. Dedicated Press/Pros seatings for Panels: This is something that was practiced by New York Comicon to great success. It allowed those who are there to cover the event a much easier time. The lottery system for panels took a moment for all to adapt but for one to rely on luck for panels to cover a particular event is a bit backward. Unless I am mistaken and the press is able to attend panels to cover, I hope they can allow dedicated Pro/Press seatings for easier panel coverage. Also would it be too much to ask to have tea and coffee in the press lunge?
  3. Better Servers for the Lottery: It goes without saying, make sure your servers can handle the traffic and processing of panel reservations. They said that they will bring back again the lottery system for the panels, and here is hoping that they learn their lesson from 2022.
  4. Continues to have Masks Available: There were so many people who were not wearing masks and coughing and sneezing in close proximity. While COVID regulations are more lax as the months go on, at least have the basic courtesy to at least cover your mouth or face away from others.
  5. Announce Guests Sooner than Later: While this one is subject to change and can happen at a moment’s notice, I rather prefer they give us a hint or announcement of who is coming earlier. This will help ease early buyers’ worries in regard to whether or not if this year will be worth it. Give more choice and freedom to customers instead of having buyers simply bet on pure faith.

Overall, Anime NYC 2022 was a great time and a revitalization of the otaku community after COVID. Though the aspect of relying on a lottery system for panels and guests does put a damper on things. We like gacha, but not when it comes to guest appearances, panels, and autographs. Here is hoping that they improve that is beneficial for the fans and not leaning to the side of corporate. They had the otaku community raise them in their inaugural show. Here hopes that they don’t lose the trust they have built up so far. Again, we shall see again in Anime NYC 2023.