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Anime NYC Sees Big Conventions' Return to Form




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KitKat1721



Joined: 03 Feb 2015
Posts: 599
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 4:51 pm Reply with quote
Anime NYC 2021 was actually my first non-local con after a couple years of attending Otakon and Katsucon (both in the DC area), and I agree on it being a bit of a mixed experience due to how it was run - but I still had a great time thankfully!

Pros:
- Always implied but has to be said - just seeing friends and meeting new faces! Its always the best part of a convention, and this year was no different.

- Tons of selection and cool things to see with the industry/merch booths. They were definitely a bit difficult to truly browse when crowds were huge, but if you came at the right time - there was a ton there and everything was pretty spaced out. I know I got a kick out of the free air fresheners that came with the ODDTAXI booth. Definitely a new one haha

- Artist's Alley had to have made BANK this year, and good for them! Unlike with Otakon, you can actually fit both the dealer's room and artist alley in the same space, and I sort of enjoyed that more than having to go from floor to floor personally.

- I was concerned about how they were going to handle autographs compared to Otakon (where an autograph is free, but times are more restricted), but I didn't hear anyone having an issue with getting a signature from someone. Autograph lines also never overcrowded into the main expo floor and were successfully contained in their own area.

- I think they handled the big movie screenings the best they could have ticket-wise, and it could have been way more chaotic. I saw Pompo the Cinephile (which was gorgeous and a lot of fun), but sadly had to give away my Belle ticket due to scheduling.

- The GKIDS panel had amazing giveaways and if every industry panel would follow suit, I might actually attend more of them. The raffle winners each got a themed goodie bag (Hosoda, Promare, Weathering With You, Yuasa) with a signed poster, blu-ray (often the limited edition set), and tons of merch.

- Lastly on more of a personal, "slightly embarrassing to talk about here" pro, I genuinely loved going to the ANN panel (a full house too!) and getting to hear from and meet some of the people who run the site I've been using for years. This is the first time I've been able to attend one, and I was glad I got to tell Lynzee how much I appreciated the work she's been doing as editor, and share how much some of her specific articles meant to me (narrowed it down to her very personal Sailor Moon piece haha, but tbh there have been a few). I felt like it was the least I owed after how much time I've spent reading ANN since I was like 18, and she couldn't have been nicer!

Cons:
- Essentially everything that was said in the article about the crazy lines and unnecessary bottlenecking matches what I've heard or seen from other guests. Luckily I managed to avoid the worst of the lines by arriving before it really started to get insane (I think I waited about 30-minutes in total Friday morning), but I know that was not the experience many other attendees had. I truly feel for them, especially those with one-day passes or who chose cosplay.

- I simply don't think the convention had enough panels/activities to spread out crowds. A number of panels that normally wouldn't fill up or maybe just fill half the room at best were often capped before it began, unless it was a super early morning panel. While I do think this was great for small fan panels, it often led to some disappointment + made scheduling harder for plenty of folks. I arrived a little over an hour early to the ODDTAXI dub premiere and over half of the holding room was already packed. The One Piece 1000th Ep screening had massive lines out in the hallway that blocked the escalators TWO HOURS before doors opened. I did love a lot of the panels I attended (Black Trailblazers in Anime was actually pretty moving and Anime Superfights was such a fun crowd), but I still think they needed a bit more variety to spread out crowds more.

So yeah, really long post here, but I figured this is probably the best place to share all my initial thoughts on the weekend.
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 14205
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 4:53 pm Reply with quote
Lynzee Loveridge wrote:

Press members, exhibitors, guests, and pro pass holders were able to utilize a dedicated interest that had no line whatsoever


What's a dedicated interest? Laughing


Lynzee Loveridge wrote:

Attendees had begun lining up ahead of the convention opening, and as New York's PIX11 reported during its morning news segment, that line wrapped around the block.


An attendee friend suggested they should had done what Comic Con does - have a separate place outside the con for the vaccination pass, so everything at the con is just a badge check. And they could had used the cavernous open basement floor as a queue line, so people didn't have to wait outside in the streets. The main problem that Friday was that AnimeNYC wasn't clear with attendees nor put up visible signs nor trained the line crew where people should go (they fixed it on Sat-Sun). Too bad for attendees who had Fri-only badges since they wasted half the day in line.

[Fixed the name of the person quoted. Errinundra.]
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MagicPolly



Joined: 26 Nov 2020
Posts: 587
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 8:04 pm Reply with quote
This was the first anime con I had gone to and had a really great time (unlike my wallet which had a horrible time, haha). The only panel I ended up going to was the screening of Pompo but I ended up loving that movie. One of my personal highlights was finding a copy of Hakuoki Sekkaroku for $25 (it's OOP and goes for $75 on ebay right now!).

I wish I could have gone to the ANN panel but I was only going Sunday since that's the only day I had available that weekend.
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Tempest
I Run this place.
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:46 am Reply with quote
A couple things I noticed at the con.

All weekend, attendees were super excited to be there and super happy. It was one of the most "vibrant" group of attendees I've ever seen at a convention. I assume it's the excitement of the first big event (for most) since Covid, but one person told me that everyone was much more excited than at Anime NYC than at NYCC.

The Friday crowd was pretty impressive . Way more people were in the convention center than is usual on Friday afternoon (little did I know that even more people were still outside).

The Sunday attendance was even more impressive. Anyone who has ever been at a convention know that the last afternoon is usually dead. However this past weekend it simply wasn't the case. There were way more people still hanging out at the convention, cosplaying, going to panels, etc. than is typical.

It's too bad that several major exhibitors who, most of whom went to NYCC, weren't at the convention. I find it somewhat ironic that Viz, Funimation and Aniplex had the largest booths at NYCC, and unfortunate that they weren't at Anime NYC. I understand though that these exhibitors didn't want to do two almost back to back shows at this point in time.

The attendance for our panel was pretty good, and the crowd was great. Thank you to everyone who came.

Anime NYC is shouldering a lot of the blame for what happened on Friday, and that's fair, ultimately the responsibility for anything at the convention is theirs. But there's a few things that need to be repeated, or that went unsaid before.

Conventions normally forecast the number of people that arrive on Friday. It's usually almost all their Friday tickets and a certain percentage of their weekend tickets. Let's say 30%. Conventions that have been around for several years usually have quite a bit of confidence in these estimation, as they're based on previous years' attendance patterns. But, probably due to the excitement of their first post-Covid anime con, way more attendees than normal showed up on Friday. Combined with the extra vaccine verification procedures, this was way too much for the resources that the convention had allocated to processing attendees.

What went unsaid, because Anime NYC doesn't want to throw its partners under the bus, is that the Javitz center does bear some of the blame here. Javitz policy is that conventions can only use a certain number of doors, based on their % usage of the convention center. So even though the rest of the convention center was empty, the Javitz only allowed Anime NYC to use a few doors. Javitz also doesn't allow conventions to use the driveway in front of the convention center unless the conventions are using the entire convention center. With 3 times as many attendees, I believe NYCC used the whole convention center, so they were able to use all the doors, the driveway, and the auxiliary building for processing purposes. Fortunately, on Saturday, it seems that the Javitz made an exception for Anime NYC and allowed them to use the driveway and more doors.

Whether high Friday attendance will become the new norm, or if it was a brief blip remains to be seen, but it is a warning for all the events in the next couple of months that they will need to be prepared for possibly higher first-day attendance. Possibly all the way until the 2022 convention season, AX 2022 might face the same challenge, so hopefully they will see what happened at Anime NYC and be ready.
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Tempest
I Run this place.
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 11:56 am Reply with quote
KitKat1721 wrote:
I genuinely loved going to the ANN panel (a full house too!) and getting to hear from and meet some of the people who run the site I've been using for years. This is the first time I've been able to attend one


Thanks for coming!

MagicPolly wrote:
I wish I could have gone to the ANN panel


Next year!
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xxmsxx



Joined: 06 Sep 2017
Posts: 237
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 3:29 pm Reply with quote
Tempest wrote:
MagicPolly wrote:
I wish I could have gone to the ANN panel

Next year!


Is the ANN panel only available at AnimeNYC?
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Tempest
I Run this place.
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:33 pm Reply with quote
xxmsxx wrote:
Is the ANN panel only available at AnimeNYC?


We do one at whatever conventions senior staff go to. AX and AnimeNYC are the two we're almost guaranteed to do. Otakon, Anime Central and Sakura Con are also possible candidates.

-t
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 14205
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:36 pm Reply with quote
Tempest wrote:

It's too bad that several major exhibitors who, most of whom went to NYCC, weren't at the convention.


Yeah we were looking for a Toru Hagakure body pillow - one with all her clothes off Anime hyper
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TsukasaHiiragi



Joined: 24 Feb 2010
Posts: 178
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2021 5:03 pm Reply with quote
This con tired me out something fierce, I took my Hatsune Miku kigurumi and the response I got was crazy, hundreds and hundreds of photo requests. I was even stuck in place for nearly 20 minutes as it was just non-stop requests but it was also so much fun and a lot of memories made.
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