On November 17th, 2017, NYC became host to a new convention: Anime NYC, which highlights Japanese culture, specifically the anime, manga, and games. There is hope that Anime NYC will become a real contender as a convention, “...we believe Anime NYC has the potential to become the largest anime convention on the East Coast,” says Greg Topalian, founder of LeftField Media. Contemporary anime has certainly become a nationwide sensation. The veteran anime streaming service, Crunchyroll has begun to step up their game, acquiring licenses for several popular anime and even simulcasting Japan’s seasonal anime. At the beginning of this year, Amazon announced their own anime streaming service, Anime Strike. Netflix has also commenced a curation of their own catalog of anime. A culmination of these factors brought us Anime NYC.
At a convention like this, there must be cosplayers. Every turn was met with done up faces, decorated costumes, and dedicated character performances. Check out our gallery for a taste. Those not dressed up showed their love for the medium by purchasing merchandise from their favorite anime series, attending panels, or participating in one of the several arcades in the Japanese Arcade section brought in by Tokyo Attack!
Attendees could also visit booths in which exhibitors displayed goods. As expected, much of the merchandise was intended for anime fans--figurines, wall scrolls, and clothes galore. Booths that were not necessarily anime related were present in a coexistent nature. Particularly, BentOn’s bento boxes providing a small palate of popular Japanese foods, or jplushy’s cute and cuddly plushies. The artist’s alley of Anime NYC took up a generous section in the fourth level of Javits. Talented artists were able to flex their art for show, and hopefully pick up a few fans or even sales.
The following outlines my experience with the panels at Anime NYC:
The day began with a guest panel titled, Anime 15 Years Ago. Doug Wilder, an anime industry expert and self-proclaimed anime geek, helmed the talk. He led the audience through the history of anime, from when it was only just a fledgling medium to its current explosion of popularity in the West. He told us that anime on television was a large factor in the West’s love for anime. Series that were dubbed in the West such as Lupin the Third provided the initial jump. He spoke of the late night timeslots on Adult Swim, on Cartoon Network, which were occupied by anime. There came a rise of mecha anime, a category of anime that created a niche fanbase for itself. Subject matter of anime have since become more varied across the years. Wilder brought up the fact that physical media was difficult to obtain, thus expensive. Two episodes of anime on DVD were equivalent to buying an entire completed series on Blu-ray now.
The industry panels I visited thereafter catered towards die-hard anime fans. Those who wished to hear of the announcements of future Blu-ray releases of their favorite anime were given what they wanted. Companies like VIZ Media and Aniplex gave their announcement of limited edition box sets of several anime, such as Pokemon, One Punch Man, and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. An anime’s popularity was apparent with each announcement with exuberant cheers. Funny story. During VIZ Media’s panel, they did “trivia” and gave away prizes, trivia in quotes because most answers were apparent. One cosplayer in a JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure costume was chosen to answer a question, a question based off the series his character is in. Who is the original author of JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure? Silence. An actual fan quickly picked up the correct answer. During Aniplex’s panel a raffle ticket was given out to each attendee. 4493679. That was my lucky number. The second drawing happened to be mine. I received a Sword Art Online figurine.
I would like to briefly mention a few other panels I attended. Go! Go! Nihon’s How to Live and Study in Japan panel provided insight for those interested in, well, living and studying in Japan. How to Take a Selfie, a panel help cosplayers step up their selfie game or just to up one’s Tinder profile game, teaching lighting, posing, and editing.
A big thank you to Anime NYC for inviting us.