On Nov. 15-17, Anime NYC returned to the city. The event is a huge showcase of all that Japanese pop culture has to offer. From last year, the convention has only gotten bigger and better. All three days were full of wonderful guests, interesting panels, exclusive screenings, and so much more. Anime NYC has attendees not only from New York but over 30 states, and 10 countries. With the positive streak continuing, those numbers are sure to grow.
The con hasn’t been running for that long but it already has a reputation for guests that every anime fan can appreciate. There were tons of big names from widely popular animes in attendance this year. Some of which include Boichi and Riichiro Inagaki. Boichi is a Korean-born artist who is the manga artist behind Shonen Jump’s manga series Dr. STONE. Inagaki is the writer behind Dr. STONE and is also behind the series Eyeshield 21.
There was also Mamoru Kanbe, a Japanese anime director who has been a part of everything from Elfen Lied to the Tegami Bachi series. He’s the director The Promised Neverland. Mariya Ise, the voice actress for Ray joined Kanbe. She’s also got quite the reputation with her past includes Killua from 2011’s Hunter x Hunter and Levy in Fairy Tail.
With Anime NYC holding the Fate/Grand Order Tour, many of the artist behind Fate series were also present. That includes character designer Jun Nakai and the comic artist known as TAa.
Good Mix of Industry and Fan-Run Panels
One of the most noteworthy industry panels was Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection. After the series ended in 2007, fans have had no other related content.This panel talked about the narrative and production development of the movie. Plus, what this meant for the franchise as a whole.
Next up is the The Promised Neverland Special Event. Kanbe, Ise, and producers Shinobu Ono from CloverWorks and Kenta Suzuki from Aniplex were present at the panel. They gave some details about the upcoming season and talked about what is one of the best animes to come out of 2019.
Lastly, there was a Sentai Behind the Mic: A Voice Actor Q&A. It focused on English voice actors and the industry. Names like Bryson Baugus (Shoyo Hinata), Hilary Haag (Lucie Hugo), and more where there to take questions and talk a little about their careers.
Fan-Run Panels I Attended
Fan-run panels were also amazing this time around. Personally, I rarely attend panels but I went to a couple and I don’t regret it. The Kinks and Curls: Using Ethnic Hair in Cosplay panel gave advice for using natural hair or afrocentric wigs. It was a positive experience that reminded the audience that accuracy isn’t everything is cosplay. They gave examples of how black cosplayers styled their looks to reflect natural hair and spoke on the importance of diversity.
Finding Yourself: How Cosplaying Forms Identities was a panel that let audience members speak on how cosplay helped their lives. Many shared deeply personal stories and how cosplay gave them an avenue to be themselves. The space was very accepting and supportive of everyone that spoke.
Both of the fan run panels were the types of content I’d love to see at every convention. The industry panel options were great but fan run panels feel more comfortable and open. It also opens more room for discussion.
Anime NYC had musical events as well. This was the first time the Lantis Matsuri concert series came to New York City. Lantis is the music label responsible for many of the anime songs we know and love. They’ve done themes from everything from Free!, to Bungo Stray Dogs to Lucky Star. The performers were JAM Project, TRUE, ZAQ, and Guilty Kiss from Love Live! Sunshine!! Aqours. The event sold out pretty early on and you could see the love for these artists all weekend long.
Crunchyroll and GKIDS Films brought director Makoto Shinkai’s latest film at Anime NYC. The movie Weathering with You had its east coast premiere two months before its North American release in January. The line for this movie was insane – it trailed up an entire staircase and spilled into a different floor. The movie also had a booth in the vendors hall where attendees could take photos with props.
Vendors Hall and Artist Alley
This year, this setup changed and both the vendors hall and artist alley were in the same space. Usually, artist alley is in it’s own space on a different floor. It was definitely weird to have them next to each other and I’m not sure I like the change too much. However, it did seem to have a lot more space for artists.
Vendors had a lot of setups from shows like Fruits Basket, Magica Record and the Fates tour. They made for great photo opportunities and they gave out free items all weekend. Artist alley, once again, was filled to the brim with amazing artists. There was a lot of merch from more recently popular series like Demon Slayer, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Pokemon Sword and Shield. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a lot of art from older series like Berserk and Serial Project Lain. Overall, this con requires a budget because there will be a lot you want to buy.
Anime NYC had another largely successful year. From the events to the attendees, I truly can’t complain. There definitely seemed to be a noticeable difference in the number of attendees on Saturday but it didn’t hinder my experience. It’s nice to have a bigger con in NYC that isn’t New York Comic Con and is more anime-focused. It’s definitely worth a visit!
Check Out The Cosplay!
Featured image credit: Keana Ghost