The Indestructible ANIME-NYC 2018!!!
One day before the event started, a nor’easter rocked the Tri-State area with snow totals the public wasn’t prepared for. The snow left drivers, transportation services, and evening commuters almost at a standstill. With this frightening weather happening, all participants, including vendors were delayed in setting up and preparing for the biggest manga-anime event of the year.
The next day,on November 16, 2018, the anime-manga event of the year, amid the unforgiving weather and snow, went off to a slow start with vendors setting up during the actual event time. Who could really blame them though as they were hit hard with the snow. Totally unprepared, and with so many recovery efforts taking place on the roads, I even had to gauge whether or not I was going to attend this occasion. But I trekked it through the snow, hopped on that Decamp, Vans and all, and when I walked through those doors of the Jacob Javitz Center for the annual #AnimeNYC; I wasn’t disappointed at all.
Crunchyroll, Aniplex, and the many other heavyweights from the Anime/Manga industry came this year to give the supporters ‘mad-crazy’ love and swag they rightfully deserved. As yours truly walked into this brightly colored and diverse scene, I felt something that differed from a month ago at #NYCC. The environment at this con was that of a familial bond.
Now, I’ll be honest with you, my knowledge of anime and manga is not as extraordinary as some of the con’s core audience or some of my staff members (Maya, Josh and Erik), but I do know some mainstream anime and manga like My Hero Academia, Dragonball Z, and Naruto and I have followed their storylines from beginning to end and there is one thing that differentiates the anime/manga - reader/watcher from your typical comic book reader (some of them), and that is the emotional connection that anime and manga brings to its viewers. Allow me to explain…
Most anime/manga storylines are so huge, spanning anywhere from 2-15+ years, that as the characters grow, you also grow with them, physically and mentally. In a way you feel like you’re a cousin, brother or sister of your favorite character so much so that when they fail, grow and/or win, you feel like you were alongside them. Either way, you felt their pain or victory and while many might ‘come at me’ for this next statement, one example of an anime that explains this concept is Naruto.
We’ve seen this protagonist grow and develop from an immature kid to a ferocious teenage fighter to become a loving dad and protector of his perspective anime universe. All the while, emotionally connecting with us in his struggles, his failures and disappointments and, of course, his awesome, beautiful ‘comebacks from defeat. Even as I write this, I reflect on how Naruto was this ‘mischief’ child of the Hidden Leaf Village and through multiple ‘familial bonds’ with his friends, teachers, even some of his enemies, he rose to greatness as the well-earned, deserved and respected ‘Hokage’. And that took about 15 years to complete. 15 YEARS!!! Try resonating with Spider-Man on that level with the same character; watching him go from childhood to adulthood, all under the same writer and artist, with no revamping storylines. That’s what this con was like.
Now as I walked around, my adventures here took the resemblance of a family reunion as I saw some great artists, companies and notables from previous cons.
For the collectible scene, one item that stole the show was the life-like dolls by the toy manufacturer Dollfie Dream. This company combines multi-joint dolls, interchangeable outfits coupled with video game and anime licensing to create showstopper figures at extraordinary prices. Some notable figures were the Megurine Luka starting at $750 and the Hatsune Miku at $740.
Noir Caesar also came out to promote their groundbreaking manga titles. Considered the ‘illest’ in African-American pop culture and manga, they have literally set the standard in regards to manga for black culture. Noir Caesar continues to merge hip-hop, black culture and lived experiences in manga form in hopes of bringing Black manga to the forefront of the anime/manga community. Their most ‘illest’ tittle to date is Primus 1 [one], in which the Ajuma Brothers need to stop the antagonist-dictator, Authur Grove, from his authoritative power over the city of Primordia. Currently in production, a video clip of this exquisite anime can be found here.
Hidden in the groves of AnimeNYC was an artist unlike any other; the legendary Paul Walcott. We covered him a few years ago and today he was there to feature his groundbreaking manga, Seishin Brawl. Through hard work, determination and years of working in his lab; he emerged with what I felt was the feature presentation of the con. Armed with 50 copies of his groundbreaking novel, he informed me that he literally sold out in one day. Well earned and deserved; we salute the entrepreneurial spirit of Paul Walcott and his groundbreaking novel.
What a lot of people don’t know is that AnimeNYC, despite the harsh weather, late start, was an ‘epic’ event!!! Filled with hard-core fans, they brought the con alive with their love of anime, manga and cosplay!!! Most importantly, they did something unheard of… they introduced the Anisong World Matsuri to the event this year!!! For those who don’t know, the Anisong World Matsuri brings together headlining Japanese pop stars for show-stopping concerts, and the inaugural Anisong World Matsuri at Anime NYC featured major performances from Luna Haruna, Shoko Nakagawa, and Morning Musume and it all premiered at the Hammerstein Ballroom. While I didn’t have a chance to go, some of the participants who went said that it was LIT!!!! One viewer was able to record some of the performances below!!!
My experience here, I have to say, is that this con is definitely growing. With an estimated 36,000 in attendance for the 2nd year, this phenomenal con is not only setting the precedent for anime in NYC, its also saying that fans are willing to sacrifice ‘Black Friday’ shopping and brave the cold and snow (if they shop) to still attend an event filled with up and coming anime, manga, and awesome swag!!!
Overall, Anime NYC 2018 was amazing and I look forward to seeing it next year for 2019!!!