By Young Jeohn
The first ever Anime NYC at Jacob Javits is a three day event for all things anime - and deliciously attractive Japanese cultural things like ramen and green tea. This coverage is created for those who couldn't make it this time around so you'll have an idea of what to expect.
The Javits center in New York City is huge, but this event takes up only four floors of a single section, giving you plenty of space to move around and breathe. If you've had enough of really cramped conventions (which takes a whole minute to crawl two or three steps), then this might be the place for you! No more walking to different buildings; it's all in one area close together, with the furthest space being the press office. The feeling is laid back, easy going and designed to be much smaller - even homey, so don't expect it to be another NY comic con because it isn't. And refreshingly so.
The organizers of this event are also fans. Normal people like you and I, who probably felt that too many conventions (like ALL of them) are no longer made for fans, but a way for them to make loads of money. And that's from charging you $200 for an autograph or $300 for an autograph and a handshake.
But there was a time when fans met designers, animators and such people for the joy of sharing their experiences of making the anime or manga. We heard behind the scenes stories, the difficulties they faced and the awesome ideas that went into their work that had us ooo'ing and aah'ing. I still remember meeting mecha designer, Koichi Ohata in the 90's, who happily signed my Dangaioh artbook after proudly showing me his designs. And his kindness extended to many other fans - not for two or three hundred dollars - but for the appreciation we have for his work.
Now why am I telling you all this? Because I have a good feeling that the organizers of Anime NYC are trying to bring back the kind of convention that caters to the fans and not so much for the pursuit of money. You can tell something's different. I even think they started small to accomplish just this.
The proof is in the walk, not the talk. Autographs are offered at no charge (though you do have to get an autograph ticket so the person autographing doesn't get overwhelmed for three or more hours, presumably.) You wait in line like everyone else and get a fair chance. There are also guests in the Expo booths signing autographs without tickets too. Granted there are some paid ones, but you get the idea.
Anyway, back to the convention. There are three main areas:
- The Expo Hall where companies sell anime goodies and food. But perhaps more importantly, a place you can play Japanese coin-op video games and board/card games for free
- Artist's Alley where artists display their work and sell prints. And also, food.
- Panel rooms/Main stage for topic discussions and special events like video concerts and cosplay competitions.
And that's it. It's all very simple, and when you want to take a breather, there's more than enough space to stretch out and take a nap if you want.
I've concocted a story through pictures, which you can experience for yourself starting with:
every conceivable manga you could ever want. There are aisles and aisles of them.
You even have booths giving away manga for free! Here, they offer you a choice of two kinds.
Lots of clothing options at the Expo - perfect if you're into traditional type kimonos.
Or the not-so-traditional. Something a bit more sexy and cute maybe?
This is sadly Tea Time Tokyo's last convention. These hard-to-find Japanese imported dresses normally cost upwards of $300 - and I saw several for as little as $75! Go grab'em while you can, these are flying off the racks (no joke)!
Near the dresses were these designer/lolita/Harajuku girl type shoes that can't be found in the Americas.
Mystery boxes are extremely popular - everyone was walking out with one or two.
For model collectors, Bluefin was there with Super Saiyans...
...and a huge assortment of mecha (and not just limited to Gundams)
A passing cosplayer JUST happened to have trading cards of each of the three ladies standing behind him (including @artoriagrey on left) who were promoting Fate, Grand Order. We HAD to photograph this coincidence.
Finally you are challenged to games for the feet...
games for the hands...
and even games for the mind.
So unless you're a lady and need to use the restroom...
We'll see you tomorrow!
Find more photos at: https://photos.youngfromnewyork.com