A lot of people look down on small local cons. Sure, anime conventions are growing to astronomical numbers, but the local conventions give you a flavor for what that city or area has in the way of artists, animes, and experts. Although it’s still new, I had a blast a little local fanfare known as the New York Anime Fest.
Now, New York City is not a small place at all. I mean, any one of the boroughs has more people than the numbers attending Otakon in the past 4 years, still it was homey, cool, and I had a blast, might I add.
You know the deal: The 5 things I’m looking for at EVERY convention:
1. The Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley
2. The Cosplaying
3. Special Events (Concerts, Masquerade, Raves)
4. The Panels, Screenings, and Special Guests
5. The People (other convention goers, roommates, staff, city-folk, etc.)
Now the general stuff:
$60 bucks poorer (that’s the weekend pass rate day of – ALWAYS do Pre-registration if you can. Plan ahead [like I didn’t because I found out about the convention last minute] and you can save little dollars here and there), and hours later than I had originally planned to get there, I donned on my trusty Zola cosplay and wandered around until I was kicked out of the con with the rest of the stragglers, promptly at 10pm. Saturday was a full day of events, and I had to occupy myself with panels. It was smaller than I’m use to for a convention, so after you walk around the Jacob Javits Center a few 10 times (the parts that were open for the con), you have to find something to amuse yourself. I visibly noticed the decline in attendees on Sunday afternoon, but there were still a lot of good activities to be had from the AMV contest winners to a fashion show.
1. The Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley – I must start off by saying that I liked the set-up in the Jacob J. Javits Center where the Dealer’s room and the Artist’s Allay was one giant thing. Easy to wander from one thing to another. PLUS, as I was just wandering as I tend to do, I saw a giant Blue Dragon poster. You KNOW I had to take a picture with it (dressed as Zola and everything) and the guy at the table was actually demonstrative the new Blue Dragon card game, and of course, Zola had to learn how to play. Unfortunately, I lost. :p There was also a huge floor Vampire Hunter D drawing being done inside the Dealer/Artist Room which was SO impressive when it was finished on Saturday. Everyone seemed to be in the Dealer’s Room, and the Maid Café had a lot of great Japanese junk food. Once again, I drooled over the artists’ wares, as it seems that the best artist always show up for these things. Being broke, I wasn’t able to buy the 20 posters and bookmarks I was DYING to have. Many of the artists, however were from the New York area or were looking to relocate here.
2. The Cosplaying – First, people seemed to know who I was unlike at Otakon. I guess more people in NY actually played or somewhat watched Blue Dragon. I hugged everyone who guessed correctly who I was. Still, I saw a lot more partial cosplaying then full out WOW! Geek outs. A few GEEK OUTS included the No Face from Spirited Away, Ariel from the Little Mermaid, and a hilarious Yusuke Urameshi. Most of the impressive cosplayers I saw were in the Masquerade, so they had to do their best. There was a big influx of Naruto cosplaying, I might add, and Bleach and Death Note, so maybe it’s not quite dead yet. I found few people whom I did not recognize from a popular series, but there were a good bit comic and gaming cosplays as well. There was an attention seeking KH cosplay group (of course) and a Sora and Roxas that were faces drawn on paper bags with silly expressions. ^_^ I just remembered – What ever happened to One Piece Cosplayers?!
3. Special Events (Concerts, Masquerade, Raves) – No Raves, as the convention ended promptly at 10 Friday and Saturday nights, but there was a GREAT Lolita fashion show on Sunday held by Baby The Stars Shine Bright (A Japanese fashion company that will make their designs and stores available in the US). It was nice, although I’m not a big Lolita fan (I do like the looks of Gothic and Punk Lolita, however), even with a Lolita panel before the fashion show to give us some background on what the whole thing is about.
As always, I always look forward to the Masquerade. Great stuff. Some of the skits were really funny (like the Kingdom Hearts AntiSora asking Shadow Roxas on a date), and the Code Geasas skit was GREAT, and the World Cosplay Summit 3rd place winners (Team Japan) came and did a skit for us as well. There is definitely a BIG difference in the level of cosplaying and convention skits when compared to Japan’s own team. The entire thing was intense and full of drama. The Host, who is an Otaku comic, was also a hoot. And the girl interviewed who was part of the first team to represent America at the World Cosplay Summit in Japan last year was WONDERFUL! I love her personality so much. Her expressions and the way she answered the host’s questions and everything about her made me want to meet her and be her friend.
4. The Panels, Screenings, and Special Guests - There were a surprising amount of panels for a “small” con such as the NYAF (I’m only calling it small because they utilized maybe less than half of the Jacob J. Javits Center, where as Comic Con [which is organized by the same people] utilizes the entire convention center). I only really stood in line for Masquerade, and even while I waited for a panel or screening to start, there was a stage set up in the middle of the hallway where scheduled acts were performing, like the New York Jedis, traditional kabuki theatre, and even stage fighting. Notable panels include… Spoilers Part. 2 panel hosted by Disorganization XIII which was absolutely hilarious. I must say that their reputation precedes them as I was given heads up to go to any panel that they hosted, including the Spoilers Panel, which was a hit last year. I volunteered for the Wario Ware game so they could explain why it sucked. Literally, it was the Wario Ware beatbox screen that would randomly stop and give an instruction like “Jump.” The person in the front of the line had to do the action (which were normally easy enough) and would get a good prize. The girl in front of me got the command “Exist” and got a great wall scroll. My command – “Don’t Exist” so I was the first one to fail my task. I got a booby prize which was a DBZ VHS. The joke’s on them because I LOVE DBZ and I still have my VCR (along with some other DBZ VHS lol). Made my day, though. And the Comics for Manga Fans panel hosted by Geek Nights (if you don’t know about Geek Nights – look them up! They have one of the funniest and coolest podcasts about everything geek related. I try to hit any panel by them since I saw them at Katsucon 14) which went through comic books that would appeal to the manga/anime fan that hates the American style of comics.
5. The People (other convention goers, roommates, staff, city-folk, etc.) – So, I live in New York, therefore I didn’t rent a hotel or have any roommates for the convention, But I still met some cool people in the process! Although I went to the festival by myself (I didn’t have a NY anime posse yet and it was too last minute for my con buddy, Lauren, to make it) I wasn’t alone. Everyone was really nice and I got to meet a bunch of people and just chatted it up with them. Shout out to Jae and the other Volunteers at the con and the Shuffle Alliance, cosplaying as Sasuke and Kakashi. I have lots of new myspace friends now. There were a few local shows that were doing feeds from NYAF. Check out these guys on youtube for their feed, as well as a shout out to the Sci-Fi theatre on Queens Public TV. Even better, I met Tommy and Angie, 2 hosts of Queens based public access showed called NEO (Never Ending Otaku). <Shameless plug insert here>If you live in Queens, check us out on Time Warner Cable Saturdays (channel 56 @ 9pm) and Sundays (channel 35 @ 2pm). Or visit the site: www.neo-show.com <end shameless plug>
And so ended my NYAF experience. Time for the Report Card!
|Dealers Room/Artist Alley||B|
|Panels, Screenings, Guests||B+|
|New York Anime Fest 2008||B+!|
And Now: Some NYAF video Highlights!