[Con Report] Anime NYC ’18

Anime NYC returns to NYC for its second year in a row! Taking place at the Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan, this show is conveniently located close by the 7 train subway (how I got there) and Penn Station (how some people got there via train). It’s also pretty close to Times Square, so it’s convenient for people whose buses stop at Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Day 1: Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin

I got to the show pretty late on Friday due to travel issues the night (and technically morning too) before. I didn’t travel that far, but I was hosting my friend Shelby who was traveling to NYC via bus. Due to a snowstorm, a lot of attendees’ travel plans were delayed or even canceled. One of my friends who was planning on attending the con this year didn’t get to go since her flight got canceled completely and she wasn’t able to find another flight until Sunday… and the con would be over then.

My friend was supposed to get to NYC Port Authority that Thursday evening, but she didn’t get there until morning of Friday. Essentially, we went to bed around 9am on Friday, so we went to the con in the afternoon.

At the con, I cosplayed as Seragaki Aoba from DRAMAtical Murder, and I was surprised by the number of people who recognized who I was cosplaying. I met up briefly with some friends who cosplayed from DMMD too, but they had to run in the evening for the screening of Natsume Yujin-cho the Movie: Ephemeral Bond. This movie had its USA premiere at the con, which is super impressive! Anime NYC also hosted the premiere of Mob Psycho 100 II (the second season of this popular anime), so fans of either or both were really excited to check out these screenings.

That evening, I checked out the Artist Alley and was impressed by the variety of fan art and original art represented. From Yuri on Ice to Black Lagoon to No Game No Life, I spotted lots of anime favorites. There were non-anime fandoms represented too: everything from Starfighter to Miraculous Ladybug to Voltron. Didn’t find any Daiya no Ace, unfortunately (as you know, I’m always on the lookout for Daiya). The Artist Alley is huge though, and I’m sure I missed some booths since it was so tightly packed.

I also walked around the lobby and hallways to people watch, and saw so many amazing cosplayers! The ita bag trend continued this year; lots of people had ita colorful ita bags representing their favorite fandoms, characters, and/or ships. I even saw someone who had a Daiya no Ace ita bag, so we took a quick photo together. For dinner that evening, Shelby and I met up with another friend for dinner and we opted to eat out at a restaurant instead of eating at-con food (or food truck food). Although on our way to dinner, Shelby and I did grab a class 99 cent slice of pizza! NYC has so many food options, so definitely explore options when you visit for Anime NYC. There’s plenty of places that are a brief walk away or a short commute away.


Day 2: Sho’ nuff, I got props

On Saturday, Shelby and I cosplayed as Sora and Shiro from No Game No Life. This day was one of the most fun days I’ve had at a con! We explored the Exhibit Hall, and there was so much going on. The Crunchyroll booth had a Bananya Pool, and it was so cute! There was a line, and that was expected, but it was well worth the wait.

For BJD fans, the Dollfie Dream booth had amazing dolls cosplaying as characters from Vocaloid as well as video games. I was impressed by the attention to detail in their wigs and cosplays (even the shoes were epic!).

Shelby and I attended the Fate special event that day too, even though neither of us were Fate fans. I have never seen Fate or played any Fate games, but I have seen lots of Fate cosplays and think the costumes look really cool. The beginning of the event included introductions of the Heaven’s Feel English Cast: Tony Oliver (Lancer), Kari Wahlgren (Saber), Cristina Vee (Sakura), and Bryce Papenbrook (Shirou). There were exclusive video messages from Japanese staff that they shared with the audience too. The Voice Actor Q&A came next, and then a “How Well Do You Know Your Co-Stars?” section. Fan Favorite Scenes were fun to watch but I’m pretty sure it was spoilers galore for me. It wasn’t a big deal since I wasn’t familiar with the plot or any characters anyways, but it was still enjoyable since the animation was gorgeous. The English cast did live readings of the fan favorite scenes, but changed things up so it was full of laughs and memes. Later on, we got to see the new key visual for the Heaven’s Feel II: Lost Butterfly movie as well as watch the trailer.

Following the trailer, the Aimer concert started! Shelby wanted to attend the Fate event as an Aimer fan, and even though I was not an Aimer fan, I was blown away by her beautiful voice and stellar performance. After she performed 5 songs, Aimer revealed that it was her first time in NYC and this was a dream come true since she had always wanted to  have a concert in NYC. She also announced that she named the main theme song for the second Heaven’s Feel movie “I beg you.”

Once the Fate event was over, Shelby and I had some quick photoshoots on the con floor and also had the chance to attend part of the Maid 4U Cafe’s performances. It was fun watching the maids perform dance covers (k-pop, j-pop, hip-hop) and interacting with the audience!

For quick food, Shelby and I also had some fast food from the halal cart right outside the convention center. There were plenty of carts selling hot dogs, kebabs, and more — but the price was high compared to other food carts I’ve gone to. They probably know us convention goers are willing to pay more for convenient food! The food was cheaper than food inside the convention center itself, at least.

Shelby and I also did a No Game No Life walk-on in the Anime NYC Masquerade. We had to be at Main Events early to do a quick rehearsal and prepare for the event. It was a really long event, but everyone was super talented! I enjoyed the variety of different skits, even for fandoms I had no idea about, and walk-ons were enjoyable too. There were a ton of dance cover skits, and I was glad that there was Love Live!, iDOLM@STER, and Vocaloid. There was even a Broadway crossover mash-up — complete with Kinky Boots!

The wait between the end of contestants’ and the announcement of winners was crazy long though, and I had to leave after midnight since I also had a prior commitment to the Anime Dojo Afterparty. After midnight, many of the attendees and even contestants had to leave as well.

The Anime Dojo Afterparty was located at Jack Doyle’s Bar & Restaurant and hosted by Sexy Nerds. Attendees could dance to local DJs’ fun music, drink, and hang out with friends. There was a pretty even mix of cosplayers and non-cosplayers at the event, and some cosplayers removed their wigs at some point during the night. I wasn’t able to stay the entire time since we had to commute back to my place, and it would take around an hour or so.

Day 3: So get out your seat and jump around!

On the morning of the last day of the con, I arrived to the Javits Center with a bubble tea in hand and in my Sango from Inuyasha cosplay. To start things off, I was interviewed by Andrew, a reporter with the Queens Chronicle newspaper. He interviewed a bunch of different cosplayers who live in Queens throughout the con, and if you read the Queens Chronicle, you may have seen the article!

For lunch, I opted for food at the convention since it was conveniently there and I figured I should try it at least once. It’s your standard over-priced con food, but at least there was some variety. I had a cheeseburger, and it was great! Starbucks has two locations at the con too (possibly more, but I only saw two).

I went back to the Exhibit Hall to try to see everything I didn’t get to see the day before. There were some cute and cool fashion booths – both modern streetwear brands as well as J-fashion indie brands represented. I also noticed, for the first time, a charging station area where there were couches and TVs set up. People could charge their devices while watching some anime and chatting with friends. Toward the end of the day, I sat there to charge up my phone too.

At the end of the con, before officially leaving, I had to pick up my stuff from bag check. Bag check was great since it was freezing cold outside but warm at the con– no one wants to lug their heavy winter coats with them. And for people traveling, this is a great option for leaving your backpack or suitcase in safety during the con day. The line for bag check pick-up on Sunday was horrendous though… A good idea would be to pick up your stuff earlier so you can beat the rush of everyone trying to leave at the same time. I’ll make a mental note to do that next year!

All in all, Anime NYC was a fun and memorable con, and I hope to attend again in 2019. See you at the con!

Written by Li Mei | IG: @pearlpeony | Tumblr: @xiaorawr | Twitter: @treizemacarons

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