For most cosplayers, con season is the busiest time of the year when it comes to conventions. Every cosplayer’s con season is different, but usually, the busiest time of the year for conventions is the right before, during, and right after summer. My con season was a bit crazy in 2017, so I wanted to talk about some of the events I attended. These are events I ended up attending as a press or cosplay guest, and as a result, I was able to see all sorts of aspects of each event from the inside out. Now that the events are over, I want to share my experiences and information about each event so you can check them out for yourself!
In this post, let’s talk about Anime NYC, held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City!
What Is Anime NYC?
Anime NYC, powered by Crunchyroll, is an anime convention in New York City that began in 2017. It is described as “a showcase of the best of Japanese pop culture in the biggest city in America, Anime NYC brings anime fans and publishers together for three days of unique exhibits, exclusive screenings, extensive panels, and appearances by some of the biggest creators in Japan.”
An estimated 20,000 people attended Anime NYC’s inaugural event in November 2017.
2018 will be their second year and it will be held on the weekend of November 16th-18th.
What Can You Do There?
Anime NYC hosts a variety of events to keep attendees occupied. You’ll be able to attend standard panels and workshops where you can learn about different anime and manga series, to open discussions, or cosplay how-tos like how to style wigs and apply cosplay makeup.
There are also various fan meetups and photoshoots where you can meet up with other fans and cosplayers of a series to take photos and discuss.
Let’s not forget the Artists’ Alley! It is packed with multiple artists presenting their fanworks, and their Dealers’ Room with various vendors and companies selling official merchandise. The Gaming Area, located in the Dealers’ Room, has different arcade games straight from Japan for attendees to play and explore.
Anime Diva Night & Masquerade ULTRA DELUXE
Anime NYC also hosted Anime Diva Night which was a concert featuring Ishida Yoko (Sailor Moon R, Ai Yori Aoshi, This Ugly Yet Beautiful World), Yonekura Chihiro (Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Soul Hunter, Fairy Tail), and TRUE (Buddy Complex, Maria the Virgin Witch, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans). This concert was held on Friday night of the convention.
There was also a new type of Masquerade that started at Crunchyroll Expo, the Masquerade ULTRA DELUXE. It was hosted on Saturday night of Anime NYC. The Masquerade combines the traditional anime convention costume contest together with Japanese game show elements – allowing both cosplayers as well as general fans to take the stage! As a result, the masquerade at Anine NYC becomes interactive with the audience and a much more fun experience.
How Much Is It?
Con hopefuls can obtain individual day passes or a weekend pass to get into Anime NYC. A Friday ticket is $40, Saturday ticket is $50, and Sunday ticket is $40. Full weekend pass is $65. They also offer a Mega Admission Ticket for $295 which includes a full weekend ticket and many perks such as separate morning entrance, first access to expo hall (Dealers’ Room), pre-sale for ticketed events, first seating to Main Stage and Panel Room 1 events, and more.
You can view the ticket options, pricing, and purchase your tickets here!
How Do I Get There?
Anime NYC is located at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The Javits is New York’s largest event space and blocks from Times Square, Grand Central, and Penn Station. It is just a 14 minute walk from Penn Station to the Javits. Taking a taxi, Uber, or Lyft will be about 8 minutes from Penn Station.
You can drive into Manhattan, but be advised of parking lot fees and the fact that many parking lots may be booked for the event weekend. It is advised to use apps or websites to secure a spot at a parking lot prior to the convention.
If you take the subway, the 7 Train’s Hudson Yards Station is across the street from the Javits.
For years, New York has not had an anime con to call their own since the demise of New York Anime Festival. Anime NYC has brought that home back to everyone and it showed in the tremendous amount of cosplay. Attendees could find everything from classics like Revolutionary Girl Utena, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Cardcaptor Sakura, to newer hits like Voltron, My Hero Academia, Yuri!!! On Ice, and more. Every turn you took led you to another group of cosplayers walking around excitedly, or taking photos, or sitting in a cluster with their purchases while charging their phones.
Large conventions have become home to cosplay meetups and photoshoots. They become a gathering of fans and cosplayers to get together and pose with characters from the same show. These are mostly organized through Cosplay.com and Facebook event pages.
For example, I ran the Sailor Moon photoshoot on Saturday of Anime NYC. My expectation of 10-20 people grew into a large number of Sailor Moon cosplayers and photographers. Due to the large turnout, our small meetup turned into 60+ minutes of fun with attendees that shared my interests. Cosplay gatherings become an icebreaker for fans to meet others that love the same series and same characters, and have become a staple of the large conventions.
Take a look at some of the wonderful cosplay below!
Both the Artists’ Alley and the Dealers’ Room offered merchandise and fanworks from popular vendors and artists, and smaller names as well. It was evenly blended and spread out with plenty of space to walk and be able to look at each both and what they had to offer. Like most anime cons, it became quite easy to lose track of time in either room.
As mentioned above, I ran Saturday’s Sailor Moon photoshoot. This gathering led me to tears. The amount of fans (cosplaying or not), photographers, and convention attendees that shared that time with me was overwhelming. I had never experienced such a wonderful group of people and such an overflowing amount of happiness and gratitude. It cemented even further how much Anime NYC had instantly become my hometown convention and had become a convention I would never miss. Anime NYC staff ended up filming a portion of the meetup and posted it throughout their social media accounts! Mind blowing.
Anime Diva Night was an unexpected surprise. New York City has been home to multiple Asian concerts in recent years from BIGBANG, BABYMETAL, Miku Expo, Momoiro Clover Z, to ONE OK ROCK and more. Having familiar names perform their classic songs so close to home was thrilling. I never thought I would ever hear those songs performed live.
Anime NYC WeekendOn Friday, November 17th, 2017, Council Member Ben Kallos, who represented New York City’s 5th District, officially declared Friday, November 17 – Sunday, November 19 as Anime NYC Weekend. Council Member Kallos was joined by show organizer Peter Tatara as well as members of Crunchyroll, Viz Media, and cosplayers as well as members of the press. It was refreshing to hear a Council Member talking openly about anime and cosplay. It was clear that he knew what he was talking about and understood where the organizers and attendees were coming from and were feeling.
On their website, it states: “Anime NYC is a creation of LeftField Media, a boutique event company made up of dedicated fans and experienced convention organizers. LeftField was founded by Greg Topalian, the original creator of New York Comic Con. Peter Tatara, behind guests, panels, and special events at the former New York Anime Festival, is Anime NYC’s Event Director.” The convention as a whole makes it very obvious who is in charge and running the event. Walking into Anime NYC felt like a homecoming.
It felt like walking into Big Apple Anime Fest in 2002 or New York Anime Fest in 2009. Thanks to that, it was very clear that those in charge lived and breathed anime and love it as much as the attendees. The passion and dedication was noticeable in every aspect of the event. To be a New Yorker and have a local anime convention again after so many years is refreshing.
So… Should you go to Anime NYC? Yes, absolutely. There is plenty to do and so many amazing exclusives that you normally need to leave New York to experience. It has become a well-loved convention that is sure to stick around for quite some time. 2018’s convention is a week away and is already looking to be a fantastic weekend for all attendees.
Grab your cosplay, get your friends, and keep November 16th-18th, 2018 open in your calendars. Tickets are still available for this year’s Anime NYC, however, they will not last.
See you in Manhattan, anime-fans!