Anime NYC is an anime convention that debuted in 2017 and returned again this fall due to last year’s success. Located at the Javits Center like most of NYC’s biggest conventions, it was similar to NYCC but focused primarily on anime and Japanese culture. This year it was a 3 day weekend event running from November 16-18. I attended Saturday, the busiest of the 3 days, for a few hours to check it out. Compared to last year’s event, it has definitely grown in size and attendance, but in content, I feel like it stayed more or less the same. In Artist Alley, I saw the same artists as last year as I recognize them from the photos I took last year, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would be nice to see more talent and more varied types of artwork featured and different wares. The actual con floor had a few more vendors than last year with some new indies as well as a bigger presence with more sponsors and well known names.
What I like about this con is that they don’t check tickets until you walk onto the con floor. NYCC scans your badge before you even walk into the building. So if you’re there just to cosplay and take photos, you can do so without having to pay for a ticket, which is nice for those who rarely make it onto the floor or if you only want to check out the floor for just a day but want to hang out with your friends on the other days outside the halls.
This con, due to being a newer con and concentrated on a certain niche, is also a lot less crowded and congested than NYCC, so there’s plenty of room to walk around without feeling like someone is breathing down your neck or walking too uncomfortably close to you. Of course there are still lines everywhere, but they are much shorter waits. A smaller con also allows more intimate interactions with your favorite artists and vendors. They’ll have more time to interact with you, take the time to talk to you and invest in you to draw you into their booth. It doesn’t feel like a “NEXT!” culture.
There were some missed opportunities however. I noticed the same food trucks there as every other convention I attended this year. For an anime con, they could’ve invested more in drawing in food trucks or food vendors more relevant to Japanese and anime culture. It’s NYC. There’s no shortage of Asian food, I’m sure. I even stumbled upon Japan Fest earlier this year walking through the streets of the East Village one day.
What I didn’t like about this convention, is the same as all other pop culture conventions I’ve attended so far. There’s not a lot of exclusive merchandise to be found among the vendors on the floor. A lot of it is the same stuff I can easily find here in the states, through a simple Google search, for probably a cheaper price. So it deters me from buying anything on the floors. For an anime convention, I was hoping to find rarer wares. Clothes, toys, makeup, novelties that I could only find walking through the streets of Takeshita and Shibuya. I would be more willing to pay more for those wares. Like Secret Honey clothing or exclusive Sailor Moon Creer Beaute Miracle Romance products. All these vendors need to up their game.