Third time’s the charm for Anime NYC in cementing their status as a worthwhile convention for any east coast anime fan. Here are some of the highs (and a few lows) since it wrapped up last weekend.
Anime NYC welcomed over 40,000+ fans from all corners of the globe to participate in an action-packed weekend in a newly expanded convention space at the Jacob Javits Center. Compared to its 2018 space, which was 136,000 sq. ft., this year they were able to fill up the entire main hall, which instantly doubled the playing field.
Their artist alley was relocated from a separate hall last year to the main hall among the vendors’ tables and booths; this allowed for them to explode to now over 300+ tables. The dealer hall being doubled in size helped to consolidate what was a rather disjointed con experience last year into a one-stop shopping extravaganza. Some congoers said they missed having the artist alley separate from the main hall, since they felt it gave them a break from the hustle and bustle of the main room.
In addition to combining the artist alley and the dealers’ tables, Anime NYC also included autograph signings, tabletop gaming and even an entire Japanese arcade (thanks to rental company Tokyo Attack!). The only reason you’d ever need to leave is to either head to a panel or to head home. This consolidation made it extraordinarily convenient to congoers.
Another new feature was the inclusion of multiple incredible food vendors, giving congoers more options outside of the typical $17 convention food hall hot dog. The vendors this year were: Go! Go! Curry (Japanese curry sauce over rice, with a fried pork or chicken cutlet), Karls Balls (takoyaki a.k.a. squid served in batter shaped like balls), Benton Bento Boxes and Takumi Tacos (Asian-inspired taco truck) — just to name a few. Some of the larger vendors, such as Go! Go! Curry and Benton Bento, were situated inside the dealer hall, while others were situated right outside the convention doors. Seeing so many vendors outside at a convention was a first and after having experienced this much variety, it’s going to be hard not to expect it from other cons going forward.
Sadly, with the pros come some cons. While the majority of the convention was a wonderful experience, there were some things the convention staff should take into consideration for next year to help further improve the overall experience.
Regarding security, while 90% of the con experience was in one room, compared to the year before, security measures seemed to have laxed. Bag checks went from dedicated searches to barely a peek. Not every anime convention invests in metal detectors if they have a thorough check point. However, this was a serious oversight on the convention’s part. Given that they expected more attendees this year, it is understandable they wanted to help keep the lines moving and from getting too long, however, forgoing typical security checks in favor of a faster line isn’t a good tactic.
For those who enjoy cosplaying, Anime NYC ended up being a double-edged sword. While thousands of cosplayers had incredible costumes ready to be shown off, there wasn’t enough space for official cosplay photoshoots. Some of these gatherings amassed to over a hundred participants which, given over four separate events occurred in the same space, led to frustrated cosplayers and safety issues. Hopefully, they will allow for more official photoshoot locations next year, because happy cosplayers mean returning cosplayers.
Given all the growing Anime NYC has had since 2018, there were bound to be some growing pains in the process. As this convention continues to develop in the coming years, I only hope they continue to strive toward providing a fun, safe and anime-centric environment for both new and veteran fans alike.
Anna Marini is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org