AnimeNYC 2019 Review: My Mixed Thoughts

About the Con:

AnimeNYC 2019 already finished its third year! This event took place on November 15th-November 17th in the same location, the Javits Center. According to AnimeNYC, about 40,000 people attended in 2019—twice the amount of people who attended back in 2017 The con has grown exponentially, with no signs of stopping anytime soon.

The con had a vibe similar to a trade show, with large posters advertising the latest mobile games and television screens above showcasing new anime. The series Fate Stay Night especially had a heavy presence throughout the convention, in part due to the popularity of the app. With this in mind, there were a few companies that did pass out flyers advertising their latest games or products in the Exhibitor Hall. But companies were courteous of attendees and were not pushy, only handing them out to folks who looked interested.

The Exhibitor Hall was certainly a focal point of the event. In the years I’ve been attending cons, I have never seen an Exhibitor Hall of this scale. The dealers were combined with artists and gaming this year–my thoughts on that will come shortly.

I have gotten into the habit of going to smaller cons lately and it’s a pretty huge contrast. The con did not have as intimate of a feel to it, with less time to stop and chat with friends due to the sheer size of the venue. At the same time, there is a lot of major events going on, which really made the weekend fly by. I left the event wanting a bit more to do (there was plenty of interesting panels each day)…though I felt pretty exhausted once Sunday rolled around.

My Overall Experience: 

I attended all three days. Saturday certainly was the most crowded day of the event but despite this, I managed to meetup with a few friends and go around the Exhibitor Hall. I wore two cosplays: Sailor Saturn from Sailor Moon and Ruby Rose from RWBY.  I did not attend any cosplay meetups, which is a bit rare for me as far as conventions go.

In terms of panels and events, I attended a Madoka Magica screening of the new anime based on the Magia Record app and also went to the Anisong Matsuri concert. Quite a few panels were interesting, though the weekend went by so quickly–time just flew by!  I wanted to go to a  sewing panel on Sunday (specifically one on pattern making), except I was a little tuckered out and left a bit early in the day. It is a bit early to say if I have plans to attend next year. This depends on if my friends will also attend.

There’s also a few lingering issues that are going on from the con that I am curious about how they’ll be handled. In the past, the con has acknowledged feedback and taken it into consideration for their future events. I’ve seen issues being addressed in social media posts and have witnessed positive changes.

This post will be in a bit of a different format than most of my convention reviews. I did an initial draft of my post, but it did not feel balanced to me in terms of my likes and dislikes from his year. Now, onto the review!

Likes:

Variety of Artists in Artist Alley: Much like previous years, the convention chose a wide variety of artists for Artist Alley with various art styles to appeal to different tastes and preferences. The tables were organized by letter and number respectively, making artists a bit easier to find.

Friendly Staff: Overall, I found that the staff were very friendly and considerate of attendees. They did not yell at attendees during big events that required extra organization and patience and for the most part , I’ve found that their instructions were very clear.

 

Great Allergy-Friendly Food Options: I have a gluten allergy and was very grateful that a few of the food vendors had options for me along other folks with allergies–and said options were conveniently located in the con center or right outside by a designated food truck area. The food options were significantly better than I’m used to.  One food vendor even made delicious rice bowls with adorable characters. I had beef on the side for the particular meal shown, but I just had to take a picture of this cute meal before covering the vendor’s cute work.

Madoka Screening: Although there were a few issues with visibility during the screening, the sneak preview of the new Madoka Magica anime was fantastic. The visuals were great and consistent with the original anime and the story was engaging and interesting. I won’t give much details because it was a sneak preview, though the anime is slated to come out in 2020. I highly recommend watching this new series!

Convenient Hotel Booking: The hotel booking process was not stressful at all for me. This was a huge relief because for many cons, I go through somewhat of an adrenaline rush while booking a room because there aren’t as many close hotels. This may be in part because of the location, which has many nearby hotels available.

Dislikes:

Crowded Cosplay Meetup Area: From what I’ve heard from other attendees, many popular cosplay meetups took place at around the same time, making the area for meetups very crowded and almost impossible to get through. I avoided the area during peak times because crowding was pretty bad.

Artist Alley/Exhibitor Hall/Video Gaming: In previous years, Artist Alley was located upstairs and the Exhibitor Hall and gaming were located on the main floor. Many attendees disliked the Artist Alley’s move, myself included. The artists felt a little bit crammed in and condensed into the new area, while the older location felt a lot more spacious. The artists were also put all the way in the back of the room, making it much more challenging to get through crowds to see a particular artist.

Lack of Bag Checks: Security was a lot more relaxed with bag checks this year, which made me feel a bit less safe. As usual, there were bag checks by dealers. However, bag checks weren’t by popular events such as panels. Security also did not check bags during the Lantis Matsuri concert … and this concerned me and other attendees. Bags were barely checked, with security only giving a quick glance at my overfilled backpack. I am willing to wait in line a bit longer if it means feeling a bit more safe. 

Security and Personal Boundaries: Some security staff did not understand and respect other’s personal boundaries, especially on the lower floors by events and panels. On Friday before the concert for example, a woman grabbed someone and pulled them back when they mistakenly went off the main path. One security guard by the panels also lacked patience and startled me.  

Anisong Matsuri Concert: The concert started out a bit rough. Apparently people needed wrist bands to get into the concert and I did not know this until last minute. I had to go through a crowd and made several attempts to get on the correct ticket line–there was a lot of confusion and this frustrated me. On top of this, I heard after the concert that people with disabilities were disrespected by staff. In short, several folks in wheel chairs could not see the concert and the staff were not very accommodating or understanding. During the concert, I could not really see the stage too well (this is in part because I’m a little over five feet tall), and had to crane my neck to see the screens. I loved the music and it was amazing seeing Guilty Kiss perform, as well as seeing new performers I hadn’t before. But I am not sure if the concert was really worth it. 

In Closing:

This convention is already on its third year and I haven’t missed a single AnimeNYC yet. I  really look forward to attending this event whenever November rolls around. Other attendees have already mentioned a few suggestions for the upcoming year, and this event does a great job making changes to improve everyone’s experience.

This article is also cross posted on my blog , as well!

Chocola

A grad school student and librarian who seems to run solely on espresso and sweets, Chocola has been going to conventions for about eight years. In her free time, she loves to bake, cook, as well as write!

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