Since I only got into anime within the last year, I was looking forward to all of my conventions so that I could do anime things. Sadly, at both SDCC and NYCC, I found myself busy with other things and ended up missing all of the anime-related stuff I’d planned. Luckily there was a solution: AnimeNYC 2017, an anime convention launched by Crunchyroll and taking place at the Javits Center.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first anime convention, but AnimeNYC 2017 was a great introduction to them. There was a nice assortment of panels, vendors, cosplayers, and artists- enough people to feel like a community, but not so many people that I was overwhelmed by the crowd. I felt very at home, and everyone I met was friendly. As a Crunchyroll Premium member, I was given a few special perks as a thank you for my subscription — the typical free bag that Crunchyroll gives out at every convention they go to (at NYCC I got Free!, and this weekend I got Yuri On Ice!), earlier access to the floor and at Main Stage panels, and a discount at the booth!
It was interesting for me to see how the con itself was laid out. I’ve been to quite a few conventions at the Javits, and they all utilize the space differently. When I saw that the show floor would only be about a quarter of the available space, and that most of the panel rooms were actually going to be on the exhibition floor, I was skeptical, but I think it ended up working out quite well. Yes, the floor was smaller than I’m used to, but there was plenty of space, even with the crowd. And the panel rooms were larger than I was expecting. Artists’ Alley took place in the River Pavilion (which is where they have the press area at NYCC), and the artists that I spoke to were really happy about the natural light, but the sun in your eyes was an issue.
The panels were a blast, with a wide variety of guests. Though it seemed that most of the guests were from the English dubs (understandable), AnimeNYC 2017 hosted some directors and producers all the way from Japan; in fact, for quite a few of the guests, it was their first time in New York. I discovered a new show that I want to check out (Princess Principal) and got some interesting insight into how the anime industry works. Some of the events were a big deal — such as the premiere of the Fullmetal Alchemist live-action film and a concert featuring three anime divas (Yoko Ishida, Chihiro Yonekura, and TRUE) — but I wanted to focus my first anime convention on shows that I was either already a fan of or somewhat interested in. There were a few panels I had to skip simply because they were late in the evening and I was extremely hungry, but truthfully I’m so new to anime that for most of the panels, I didn’t want to take a seat away from someone who would really enjoy it.
My favorite panels were Haikyuu (obviously) and IDOLiSH7, which was great because I was surrounded by huge fans who were excited, and that made me excited, too. (Crunchyroll even tweeted a photo of the audience, so you can see me awkwardly sitting in the middle of a group of cosplayers.) I also really enjoyed the Sailor Moon panel, even though I’ve not seen the show. (*gasp* I know, I know. I’m working on it!)
The show floor was full of some great vendors who were stocked full with lots of great merchandise, and I am crying forever that I was too broke to buy any of the things that I saw. (Kuroko’s Basketball Teiko figurines, you have no idea how sorry I am that I’m bad at budgeting and terrible with money.) There were game demos and some cool freebies and lots of anime and manga, of course. There was a tabletop area for people to game, and there was a small section of Japanese arcade games that were free to play. I didn’t take advantage of either, because I was planning to do so on Sunday, but then I got sick and couldn’t go.
AnimeNYC 2017 was the perfect first anime convention. Even though I was sick and couldn’t attend the final day, I had a great time. I tend to get anxiety when attending new conventions alone, but not for this one. Even with the attendance at 20,000 for the weekend, it never felt crowded or overwhelming, and I had no issues getting into any of the panels I was interested in. (I didn’t wake up early enough for autograph tickets, but that’s because I like sleep too much.) I hope that in the years to come, the con is successful enough that they can expand the show floor, add more panel rooms, and bring some more guests from Japan. (The IDOLiSH7 panel featured an introductory video by the seiyuu, but I would love to meet some of them in person!)
I’ll definitely be adding this convention to my annual schedule, and I hope to see some of you at AnimeNYC 2018 (November 16-18, 2018)!
Also, stay tuned for my interview with the guys from the Haikyuu English dub!
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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