If you spoke to me before mid-October about AnimeNYC you know I had NOTHING nice to say about it. I did think that the lack of advertising was because this was meant to be a “soft opening” of sorts, which is a good idea, but the show itself looked lacking and it seemed suspicious that most of the offerings weren’t announced until last minute. I think I called it something like “Sailormoon and Gundam con” because those were the main offerings. Not to say those things are bad, but using two of the most wildly popular franchises to cast the net felt like a cheap shot.
Ok, so all those words there, I ate them. The bulk of the announcements WERE late, but they did make for a very promising show. And that Artist Alley list blew my mind… alright, let’s get it!
The Stupid Plight of a Negative Nancy
Okay, so things go a little differently when your skepticism kicks in full gear. You may know what I’m talking about.
I got to the convention center a little after noon, with the show floor opening at 1pm. Crunchyroll had a line for Premium members to get a special badge and goodies, and the general info line was giving out CR bags with a clear file, lanyard, and inaugural pin – they just take your badge and draw an X on the back to show you claimed your goodies. I got my freebies since the Premium line was super long. But that left me holding 3 bags – backpack, wide swag bag with hard envelope inside for buying A3 prints, and the CR bag – so I started consolidating. I dropped the clear file and someone picked it up for me. Here’s the dunce part – I also dropped my con badge and lanyard and didn’t realize it.
So I got my bags straightened out and moved forward, to the Exhibition Hall entrance. I was close to the front, but everyone who waited in the queue hall got first entry. When they finally let our line start filing forward… “Badges out!”
Oh right. After they X’ed the back I didn’t put it on right away. So I reach into my bag, and my badge isn’t there. But I also don’t remember putting it there. Well, check for it. I moved to the side and checked the bag. The other bag. The OTHER bag, which was in the second bag. The bag pocket which I’m positive I never actually opened. My hoodie pockets. W-where is my badge…
Under rational circumstances:
“Oh no! I lost my badge. I’ll let a staffer know and see if they can replace it for me. After all, I do have the email receipt. I was one of the first to buy, in fact! Ha ha ho ho.”
Under my buckethead circumstances:
“Where the hell is it? I really don’t remember now. I can tell them, but what if they tell me that’s that, get out? I mean, it would be easy to just pass off a badge and pretend to lose it to get another for free. The checkpoint isn’t even at the door. If that happens, my whole weekend is a bust AND I lost my hvy blk lanyard I can never get replaced and [SYSTEM ERROR]”
Saying I walked back to the desk to ask about my lost badge is a stretch because I tensed up from panic which made it hard to walk at a normal pace, and I felt like I was going to either hurl or faint.
In the end? SOME BEAUTIFUL SAMARITAN PICKED IT UP AND TURNED IT IN AND IT WAS SITTING RIGHT ON THE DESK I JUST LEFT. Next time I’ll add a billion can badges to my lanyard so it makes a CLANG if it hits the floor.
…Ahem, on with the show…
First off, and I think everyone agrees. The bag check checkpoint system has to go. As it was, you checked your bag to enter the con floor and the artist alley. So basically, going back and forth without exiting the convention center at all, you had to keep opening your bag for a check. Time consuming, redundant, and silly. Not to mention, in the worst case scenario that someone entered the premises with a weapon or bomb, they have a huge gap between the front doors and the checkpoint to work that out with. Safety has to be done right.
What can totally stay? The all-gender bathrooms on the first floor. Yes I used it, yes everyone shared it, no it was not weird or creepy. Just a bunch of people who have to piss!
What I wish could change: the timing. I imagine the week before Thanksgiving is rough on people who usually travel for the holidays. And uh, it’s cold as hell in November here, and the Javits being next to the water doesn’t help. The dates are already settled for 2018 though, and I for one am going again.
The con clocked in at something like 21,000 unique people. I think people were expecting something closer to NYCC (which is near 200,000) but were pleasantly surprised anyway. The low numbers meant you could do any and everything. No line was unbearable, getting to do something merely meant taking the time to get there on time. This includes everything from panels and autographs, to arcade machines and bathrooms.
Speaking of. I was worried about the panel rooms being on the event floor but that worked out amazingly – even better than the usual panel rooms in 1A. 1A is on the lower level so many of the panel rooms have huge support posts that render the seats behind them useless if you actually want to see anything. The 3B panel rooms were able to utilize the entire space, and the staff was generous enough to let latecomers stand in the back as well.
As for the arcade machines, Tokyo Attack set up a mini arcade right on the show floor. I didn’t play any of the games but opted to watch instead. But honestly – New York’s arcade scene is nonexistent outside of Barcade, and they deal in more classic cabinets. Behind the arcade was a huge row of tables for tabletop gaming, but I left that alone.
Four of the Overwatch VAs appeared for signings and selfies – Charlet Chung (D.Va), Jonny Cruz (Lucio), Lucie Pohl (Mercy) and Gaku Space (Genji). D.Va had the longest line throughout the weekend. Hard work, talent, and memes are the real winning formula? But like I said, with the humble attendance numbers, there’s no way you went the whole weekend without getting the selfies/autographs of anyone you wanted, unless it was a limited/ticketed signing.
I’ve never been hugely fond of Kinokuniya for many reasons, and their horrible figure prices is one of them. Ahem…
So I didn’t bother hitting up their booth until late, which turned out to be a bad move, as they had a huge discount sale on some figures, and most were cleaned out by the time I checked. I saw a guy with the X’mas Selvaria and Juliana set – turns out he got it for $90, what a freaking steal. Well, I’m still cutting back on figures right now, so maybe that was for the best.
Aniplex Booth was busy with sales of mostly Fate goods, but they also had a Fate cosplay meetup which ended up taking up quite a chunk of time. So many Fate cosplayers, so many class arrangements. I don’t know, dammit! I just love Tamamo. Though, kudos to them for having a fan activity. A lot of the industry booths did their usual sales and/or giveaways. I didn’t bother claiming my free bag from the Crunchyroll booth because I already got one at NYCC, just sayin’ :p
I said before that there would be no figure companies present besides Bandai, but I stand corrected. TSUME of all groups showed up, but partnered with another booth/vendor, which is why they flew under the radar. They had some of their HQS for sale, and I think they moved all of the large ones… including that Nico Robin. They had her box sitting on a table and I can’t get over how huge it is. You could fit at least 6 cats in there. I dunno why that measurement came to mind but its true, fam.
And then, the Panels
— Anime NYC (@animenyc) November 20, 2017
I’ve been a fan of Sailormoon since ’92, but I never really followed the new dub. So I decided to leave the panel to the more hardcore Sailor Guardians in attendance. Later on I ran into some people who asked about my HVY BLK x Sailor shirt and they told me about the panel.
“Everyone who got in got a poster and a special coin! But they ran out of coins.”
“Oh, that’s cool though.”
“The whole entire cast was there!”
“And the original singer of the theme song was there and sang it for everyone!”
DALI sung the theme originally so I’m assuming they meant Ishida Yoko (since she was there for Anime Diva night) but damn, I would have liked to see THAT!
★ I went to the Aniplex Industry panel since they usually do some announcements and give away a ton of prizes. Well, the announcements barely moved the crowd, and at the very end they handed out something like three prizes. Wasted my time…
★ Did anyone go to the LeSean Thomas panel? I wanted to go and completely forgot. He was the first Guest of Honor announced and I honestly went “Who?” I also hadn’t heard of Children of Ether but the characters reminded me of my beloved Michiko to Hatchin. Turns out, same character designer. So I might have a tiny bias.
Instead, I went to the FGO Localization panel. I don’t deal in Fate *anything* so everything went over my head. I was just hoping to help in winning the raffle prize at the end (I did not). The host was quite hilarious though, probably best in show this year.
★ GOD DAMMIT I forgot to go to the MP100 panel. I wtached the sub but I wanted to hear the dub artists talk about the show anyway. But I was shopping/chatting with friends so it wasn’t like the time was wasted.
Our last Saturday panel was Nerds on Hip Hop. I had to make a quick stop & restroom break so I missed the first part of it, but it felt a lot like the panelists talking about the same things you hear in panels like this – personal experience with getting into anime, and the handful of series that prominently feature hip-hop. What I wish they did instead was talk more about Tephlon Funk – I thought it was just a comic but apparently it’s an animation too? That was a huge chance to promo to a room full of people, I wish they talked more about it!
Weekend commutes are a drag so I missed the Japanese Tea panel, but I did sit for the NYC Ramen Summit. At first the moderator did some reading from a paper about the history of ramen and I got worried on some “Oh Lord is this gonna be a history panel” jump, but thankfully it was not. Two things stood out to me though:
→ Someone in the audience asked why ramen is so cheap in Japan and so expensive here. “Because it’s ubiquitous.” True! Ramen is all over Japan like fast food is in the US, whereas as they discussed, it’s still relatively new here. STILL, when I first discovered ramen here it was $8-11 a bowl and fancy places like Ippudo were roughly $17 a bowl. Now I’m finding more and more ramen restaurants cropping up, but with menus in the $14-16 range. HMM. Ivan Ramen is included in that, lol.
→ Ivan Orkin mentioned that one of his rules of ramen is only Japanese ingredients, because a lot of people see Asia as a huge bubble where everything, including ingredients, is interchangeable. Someone came up to him after the panel and asked about this because I heard him responding into the mic… he didn’t mean that as an offense ;;; You can put whatever you want into ramen – I’ve seen ramen from Japan with buttered toast on top, come on – but it’s still good to have an understanding of it’s core ingredients and how they work, and even WHY they work. Lack of the core understanding of a dish would lead to things like pho made with spaghetti or japchae with rice noodles…
Danny Choo had an interesting panel, but between his soothing voice, accent, and the cold air in the room, I started yawning like crazy even though I was listening. And I was sitting in the middle rows straight ahead from him, I hope he didn’t see me ;;;
Basically, he spoke about some of the mindsets we are programmed with, and the key to success is thinking outside of the boxes we don’t always realize we’re in. I also noticed a lot of people nodding when he mentioned getting rid of excess possessions. I wonder if they’re past or future disciples of Konmari? The last part of the panel covered some upcoming SmartDoll news. I’m curious to see SDoll Mika Jougasaki in the future! My long term dream is to customize a SmartDoll into Sansei Muramasa, since the only doll of her is a silicon joke and doll companies in general don’t do dark skin.
Last panel for me was the Art of Wigs, out of huge curiosity. It was a very small turnout, but very informative and the small crowd made for easier audience participation, as people in the crowd also had styling and wearing suggestions. Bonus points to the panel hostess for having a wig she made for a Shinobu cosplay. Appealing to my love for No More Heroes is always a good move.
Crème de la crème
Alternate title: Let’s do some Wallet-Drying Exercises!
I don’t think I bought anything on the Exhibition floor besides a single dorayaki from the BentOn booth, but I threw down a ton of money and had a ball doing it.
The Artist Alley was fan-fucking-tastic!!
First off, it was held in the River Pavilion, which is so freaking ideal. Away from the traffic of the exhibit hall, the Pavilion is a T-shaped hall on an upper level filled with lovely natural light. Then, as cheesy as it sounds, the fact that so many talented artists came from all over the country AND the world to fill this space really melted my tiny metal heart. People have their varying opinions about the con’s offerings but everyone I’ve seen unanimously agrees that the AA was top tier. Thank you all for coming!!!
I would have bought way more if I hadn’t run through so much funds in the span of ~3 hours, plus return trips. So everyone has to come back next year and clean me out again. Promise?
From k009: charms and prints
When I got home I realized I got the wrong Osomatsu print, but it feels weird as fuck just thinking of coming back and going “Uh hi yesterday you gave me the wrong print” so I bought it the next day. LOL
From Kikistiel: Red Velvet’s Wendy print
We spent quite a few minutes bonding over Red Velvet with a bit of EXID. Russian Roulette is the song that got me into Red Velvet (and in turn, KPop, though I am still very green to the scene) so this print is special to me (heart)
From nemupan: Prints, cards, photos and a shirt
Everything she makes is so. Cute. I had to pick and choose before I went to shit. The shirt makes me miss my Pickles the Frog pillow and blankie (they got old/worn so I tossed them). I showed her how NYC does taiyaki ice cream… my dear, did you try it??
From milkbun: eNOMel Pins
I can feel it, I’m going to start slipping into enamel pin hell. Look how cute they are though…
From Dagneo: Prints
Every time I tried to get my hands on these prints, the shop closed for another convention. Well, my turn now ^^ the 707 art was my desktop wallpaper for a while.
From Gearous: Prints, cards
Everyone, EVERYONE, from my friends to randoms on the convention floor, were buzzing about Gearous! Would y’all have beaten me up if I didn’t get anything from them? Ehem, Gearous has really gorgeous eyes… I’m sorry if I stared a little ;;; Also we have the same birthday… ♡ ♡
From Shavostars: glow-in-the-dark pin
So back in the day me and my sketchy internet friends used to draw a lot and spend time on oekaki boards/p-chats. I remember Shavo from that time because her art was on point since then and I used to color her lineart from time to time (man, I miss doing color collabs a little). I feel proud now that she’s made a name for herself!
From Animusrhythm: prints, charms, lanyard
We all already know about my MysMe habits, but Catherine is another top favorite game of mine. Best boy and best girl? Ring me up, please!
From Jenovasilver: pins like crazy
Loving my new pins… the Game Grumps pins are actually a present for my brother, who used to tear up NYCC with me. He actually really loved the pins and was also wanting some in secret for his work uniform. I guess my big sister muscle still works.
From Yuumei: tapestry
I originally intended to just buy some prints, but when I saw the tapestry, welp. Still can’t get over how gorgeous it is.
From Tatouji: Prints and my first con commission!
I’ve loved Tatouji from afar for a while now, but I always missed out on her print sales so this was a golden chance for me. Plus, she mentioned commissions on Twitter, so after deliberating I decided to get 707 in his maid costume.
Stickers! The “LIES” makes me laugh LOL I love these!
It’s framed on my desk now and I can’t get over it. Super Love Love Love!!!!
Q: Why did you put that green bar over his face?
A: Because as of right now, the MysMe fandom is getting kind of wild in terms of fanart usage. Ahem.
Besides everything I got, there were all kinds of gorgeous apparel, prints, charms, badges, keychains, acrylic stamps, dakimakura covers, cushions, plushies and other delights. I really wish I could have had at even more of it…!
Bonus Segment: A fresh pair of eyes
I always talk about how I love New York. But to appreciate something fully, sometimes you need to get some outside perspectives to help build your own. And this past weekend, I got some from various people from around the country and world visiting NYC to help make our convention brighter.
With that said…
HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE’S A LINE FRIENDS STORE IN TIMES SQUARE?!
Just beat me with the damn dunce cap. I kept seeing people here and there with LINE tote bags and thinking “oh damn, is that mail order or something?” I had no clue the store was there… granted, I don’t go to Times Square often, partly from lack of need and partly because I don’t need Scientologists trying to drag me away yet *again*. Still, after the convention ended I stopped at Disappointmentkuniya for a card sleeve book, then over to the LINE store for a quick peek.
That James sports jacket is fire.
That James jacket is also $180 BYE
I’ll be back to buy something from there in the future, when my wallet is ripe and lush again.
So, all in all? A great start, the two main points of improvement would be the security check system and fleshing out the Exhibition Hall a bit more. See you in 2018!