There used to be a time where anime was a very important part of NYCC. Actually, it had its own convention once upon a time ago called New York Anime Festival. Anime conventions are just as popular as comic cons, except
attracting a different demographic of fans. A few years ago, NYCC merged with NYAF, and though most people might have feared the merge, some were excited for it. The merge opens a way to combine multiple demographic of fans to create a massive convention for everyone. But as the years have gone by, it is apparent that NYCC basically swept NYAF under the mat, and took the full show for themselves, leaving only the name to attract people. But despite this, there was still anime present in the crowds and in the media at NYCC. Surprisingly, there were as many people dressed as anime characters as there were dressed as comic characters.
Some companies still came out and promoted anime to the fans. FUNImation and Daisuki offered free posters to the crowds and streamed shows throughout the convention, explaining the new show lineup they are beginning to offer. FUNImation’s panel covered the new shows that they acquired and are beginning to distribute such as Attack on Titan, Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends, Wolf’s Children, Akira, Rebuild Evangelion 3.0, and One Piece: Strong World.
Viz Media debuted new shows as well to the American audience with Accel World, Ramna 1/2, Naruto Shippuden, and Tiger and Bunny. At their booth, conspicuous by the large floating VIZ circle right above them, they were giving away posters and small prizes to everyone who signed up for the subscription or played the small games on display like Fruit Ninja.
Sadly, Aniplex did not have a booth this year. Instead, they chose to host panels where they announced other updates on their shows. Working with Daisuki, a new streaming site similar to Crunchyroll, they announced Magi, Kill la Kill, Gundam, Sword Art Online, and more.
With anime still holding more esteem than manga in America, the manga distributors still lively at NYCC were a good sight to behold. Kodansha was promoting the Attack on Titan and Sailor Moon manga, while allowing people to purchase Vineland Saga earlier than the open debut data. Yen Press was also there showing off many of their titles, though it seemed to be more mainstream to titles like Black Butler and other series. Though their presence was very small compared to the more extravagant exhibitors, it was still nice to see them there representing manga.
Vendors, on the other hand, flourished. Since vendors only have to focus on sales on items people would want, there was no hassle for them to grab customers. Blue Fin, a large hobby show distributor, sold out on their exclusives as fast as they put them out to sell. Daisuki sold exclusive Ein plushies from the show Cowboy Bebop. Good Smile Company was there selling exclusive goods with Miku, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Fate/Zero, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica merchandise. There were independent vendors who sell their own goods, and seemed to fare well despite the plethora of other goods for other types of media. As for Artist Alley, anything anime related was instantly overshadowed by comics. If they were even present, it would be in the form of a web comic of some sort, but certainly nothing focusing on anime except the occasional artist among the hundreds of others.
Overall, it felt more like the companies were updating the fans with what was going on. They also probably came out to try and grab some profits from the wandering fans who enjoy anime as much as them, and to give a bit to the anime lovers. Some of the companies, including Daisuki, featured some guests. Daisuki showcased the producer for Gundam Unicorn, but of course no one knew until they arrived on the scene since it wasn’t mentioned in any of the guest lists featured with NYCC. In some ways, I wish NYCC could work more with the anime side of the convention they merged with instead of just casting them aside. It would be more beneficial to do so and garner more reception by becoming one of the first successful mergers of comics and anime, instead of just focusing on one aspect. Though I am glad that anime wasn’t all too forgotten, thanks to these companies coming out, I hope to see more from them and to watch them shine when they attend conventions focused on their line of business.
by Danielle Judka