Anime In the City – It’s a Sensation
by Jordan Wagner
It seems that nothing can stand in the way of people who are passionate about something. No distance is too long, and no risk is too large. Over the past three years of the pandemic, people have grown very passionate about various things, but while some people were baking bread, something else that resonated with many others has been anime.
Love for anime has not always been in high favor, but now it has become a global phenomenon. With this, fans of these animated shows, stories, and manga came together last weekend for one of the largest anime conventions in North America. Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, Anime NYC ran from November 18 to 20 at the Javits Center in New York.
As in years past, every hall of the con was full of bustling excitement. Talented voice actors greeting fans, cosplayers, interactive displays and artists gathered to bring a wonder con experience to NYC again. As a second time attendee this year, I can say that I was impressed by what was offered to keep the 2022 con fresh and engaging to the community.
Large-scale Gundams, a gigantic inflatable Luffy, a huge bowl of ramen you can sit in, the list goes on. These attractions gave the con an atmosphere of wonderment and fun. However, the most energy came from the attendees themselves. The pure excitement that was seen and heard throughout the halls was comparable to nothing that I have never seen at an anime convention before. This community of all ages and from all locations came together to enjoy the hard work that was done to make this convention special.
My utmost respect to the convention organizers for another fantastic year. They did conquer and correct some of the issues from last year. They limited attendance, though the halls were still packed. They shipped out badges, avoiding the blocks-long lines of fans waiting for hours. This year you could head right in after receiving your Covid vaccine wrist band. They widened the aisles between artists in artist alley to allow people more room to breathe and move around. They obviously worked hard to correct many of the complaints from 2021, so kudos to them for that.
Many panels on the main stages this year were by reservation, which was kind of confusing to some attendees. Regardless, topics and presenters from all size panels were well received and enjoyed by the attendees we spoke with. Some of our favorites included Lupin the 3rd, How Anime Changes Lives, Spy x Family Panel, and the King Vader Q&A.
One of the most anticipated panels for fans was Hajime Isayama, creator of Attack on Titan. In his first ever US appearance, 36-year-old Isayama took the stage with some anxiety as he was aware of the mixed responses to the series finale – Attack on Titan: Shingeki no Kyojin. Greeted by cheers and a standing ovation, he apologized for his mistakes made in the finale, and you could feel the love and support he received from fans throughout the room.
Another fun plus for attending these cons is the added bonus of catching world premieres before other anime fans worldwide. This year’s schedule offered many exciting premieres from Lupin Zero, Kaguya Sama: Love is War, High Card and Summer Ghost.
Gamers were not forgotten at Anime NYC. Tucked behind artists alley was a section featuring dozens of fan favorite action and dance games to play against one another. While we didn’t wait in the lines to play, we would have loved to take on others in some of our favorite games offered like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, DanceDance Revolution, Marvel vs Capricorn and Sonic the Fighters.
Another fan favorite at AnimeNYC remains the cosplay meetups. Throughout the three-day con, cosplayers from various anime fandoms met up at the Crystal Palace Lobby by the main entrance for photos and get to know others who share their passion for shows like Sailor Moon, Demon Slayer, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Tokyo Revengers, Zelda, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Hunter x Hunter, One Piece, Dragon Ball, Naruto, Pokémon and dozens of other wildly popular manga/anime titles. The comradery built through strangers with a common passion is pretty cool to watch.
All in all, Anime NYC 2022 was a huge success in my eyes. Some of my takeaways from this year:
Now that the organizers are rightfully limiting attendance for health, safety, and enjoyment reasons, do order your tickets early. Saturday admissions and three-day passes sold out quickly. While many fans were only able to attend on Friday and/or Sunday, others took advantage of the partnership between Anime NYC and third-party websites – Lyte & GrowTix – where you could get on a waiting list if any additional tickets were returned or released. While this was a good option for many, you were paying more, ($165 for the three-day pass compared to $95 through Anime NYC) so you can save yourself some money by simply ordering early next year.
In addition, cosplay is a big deal at this show, so definitely come out as one of your favorite characters and enjoy the experience. Some attendees have very professional looking cosplays, while others probably threw together their look quicker, but regardless, it truly builds friendships and bonds in this community so give it a try.
Follow the AnimeNYC website for panels leading up to next year’s con. Reserve seats in panels that you are interested in and make lists of others. And lastly, Anime NYC offers three very long days packed with events, films, artistry, cosplay masquerade, concerts, walking through halls, running to meet friends and catch panels and non-stop fun, so wear really comfortable shoes!
See you next year!
Copyright ©2022 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 24, 2022.
Photos by Chris Sanchez-Paralta and Deborah Wagner © 2022. All rights reserved.