Anime NYC 2021 Shaking the Rust Off

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Anime NYC is the giant anime strictly con in North America. There’s no denying its magnitude, with NYC one of the most significant cities in the United States, Crunchyroll being a mega partner, and the great team behind Anime NYC, including their Founder Peter Tatara. Unfortunately, the con was missed for two years because of a hard-hit New York with Coronavirus and the slow revival of NYC. The fans’ built-up frustration could only be quelled at a great Anime NYC 2021.

Anime Pad has been attending Anime NYC almost since it came into existence. It’s one of our top cons to cover and attend. The hype for this year affected us, too, just hearing that they would do it this year. Keeping up with the news of the con with guests, panels, and different events and activations would be the culmination of the year.

Now, let’s be serious Coronavirus is still in play; safety and precautions are still in place. Like every year we got to the Javits riding the subway, it’s the build-up to seeing the Javits. You tip your cap to every anime fan you recognize on the subway. The small details of a street cosplay, badge, mask, or anything else give us away. We might not speak yet, still being in public, and the con vibes haven’t hit us just yet! Finally, getting to the Javits, something we had never seen was massive lines to get in, and it’s 8 a.m.

Our team finds out you need to get in one line to get your vaccine wristband, and then the other line is if you don’t have a badge yet! Media, Pros, and exhibitors had a side entrance that was quick and sweet. I felt terrible about that aspect of the con. I would find out later that people stood outside for 3-4 hours before getting into the convention. Some fans started calling it Line Con, which is a slight to the convention. We didn’t know that the food would all have hour-long lines too. We finally understood fans’ perception of the convention this year.

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Anime NYC staff told me they didn’t expect this big attendance. I said, please, people have been waiting for cons to come back, particularly Anime NYC. On top of Anime NYC not being fully prepared, management didn’t prepare Javits staff and security for people. Javits security was super aggressive and uninformed, and it seemed mainly until Sunday, the last day of the con. Let’s be clear I’m not looking to point fingers, but this has never happened at Anime NYC in my years of attending.

My team had a heated discussion with security trying to get to the Opening Ceremony early for the convention. I was already informed where to go for the opening ceremony by the media team for Anime NYC. Once there, I informed security of my credentials and informed them of my instructions to come here by the media team. The Guard repeatedly told me they didn’t care and moved back to the barrier where the fans waited. Usually, I would always comply with security on all matters, but I felt I was in the right on this. So, I just stood next to the security until someone over them came to resolve the problem.

Opening Ceremony is held in the exact location every year at Anime NYC, so this wasn’t any different. However, it wasn’t until the founder Tatara and the media team explained to the security that this was happening that everything was cleared up. Then, the head of media came and got my team from security so that the rest of the Press and I could line up for the Opening Ceremony. Honestly, it was baffling to a few other press members and me. They treated credentialed media with camcorders and cameras like this. I could imagine how they’d treat a regular fan.

My final run-in with security was when I tried to get the famous Karl’s Balls, a Takoyaki Stall positioned outside the second level in the courtyard on Day 2 of the convention. After seeing how long the line was, I figured I couldn’t wait that long, and I wanted to get to another panel in 30 minutes. As I came back in, security started locking all the doors at 5 p.m., even though panels were still going on and the One Piece 1000th episode screening later that night. I was stuck in the foyer of the first and second doors, and security was waving me off. I flashed my wristband and press credentials, and they went ahead and let me back in before locking down the place. I assumed you’d have to go all the way to the top floor up the hill to get in at the main doors. Which still had a line might I had, but that’s it for the negative.

Now that we have that out of the way, Anime NYC 2021 was yet again a premiere convention bringing you the best of the industry, voice acting, and English or Japanese. Yet, Covid-19 hampered a lot of what they could do and whom they could bring into town. It was the best round-up of everything in person that I’ve seen all year. It had everything any other convention would plus more. I enjoyed many great industry panels with Crunchyroll, early anime screenings, RDCWorld1, North American premieres of anime movie screenings, concerts, and all the afterparties. Unfortunately, I didn’t try the great cultural food invitees this year. I believe Anime NYC has the best of anime cosplays too. There’s always an outstanding balance between creativity, craftsmanship, and different characters. If you’re an anime fan, this has to be your annual anime convention, especially if you can only go to one a year; this would be the one.

(P.S. our videos and interviews will be on our YouTube!

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A few days ago, Anime NYC founder Peter Tatara released a statement on his afterthoughts of the convention. There was some apologizing for some of the unpreparedness of the convention and long lines. He addressed some of the scalping and ticket fraud that took place. What was a shocker to Anime NYC and not me, though, was that the con grew by 7,000 more fans. We’re talking filling up baseball stadium levels of fans. I’m not sure if this year will hurt Anime NYC or make them grow more. Tatara and the team have significant planning for Anime NYC 2022, set for Nov. 18-20. He seemed to address that they need to scrap their current plan model and start fresh. I say all this to say we definitely can’t wait for next year, 2022!

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