Anime Expo New York
Final Impression

Sep 7th 2002
So, Anime Expo New York is come and gone. Of those in recent memory, definitely in the last couple of years, it was the convention that raised the most interest in fan circles: the Times Square location, the impressive guest list, the forced clash of "East Side" fandom and "West Side" organizers - all those made AXNY a con to look forward to. The question stands, though, was it a success?

But perhaps, the better question should be: does it matter? Like any convention, AXNY had its flaws. It lacked a video game room, a consuite, fansubs in the video rooms. The dealer's room was crowded at best, impossible to wade through in the middle of rushes. And ever now and then, lines for events snaked back and forth across floors and down escalators. Although this is none of the convention's fault, the New York City location and hotel room prices that were way out of the range of most con goers - who are still teens or college students with little to no disposable income - meant that for most
of its duration, the convention's hallways were empty. Attendees moved about with a clear sense of purpose between, really, the dealer's room and the hotel entrance, and those expecting a more traditional atmosphere, complete with artist tables, groups of fans forming out of nothing to discuss a favorite series for a few minutes and then split up, and room parties, were sorely disappointed.

At the same time, a few things about this convention were major successes. It drew together an extremely extensive array of Japanese guests. If you are someone who is particularly interested in the Japanese side of the industry, this was the con to attend! In addition, knowing full well that AX is currently the face of anime fandom, a number of companies used it to promote their upcoming titles. Every attendee left with at least three our four preview issues of magazines, several DVD's of trailers, and dozens of posters and various other trinkets. And in connection with the Cartoon Network premiere of its InuYasha TV series, Viz Communications went all out, inviting 200 people to a catered party at Planet Hollywood that ran way into the night.

In the end, it seemed that while a convention such as Otakon or even the original Anime Expo are *events*, highlights of several months, the type of event one prepares for weeks in advance and remembers long after, AXNY, for most of its attendees - by and in large had attended Otakon already - was just another thing to do during the course of a weekend in New York. It was just an experiment: next year, and for the subsequent two, Big Apple Anime Fest, rather than AXNY, will occupy the hotel space and run events. As to its success, it drew attendees, made people happy, and went yet another step in making everyone realize that anime is here, and will be here, for years to come. And that's what's most important, isn't it?

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