So the weekend before last weekend was Anime NYC 2018 at the Javitz, Friday till Sunday. I was there only for Friday and Saturday. This year I was fortunate enough to get a day off to go do all the Friday things. I opted out Sunday because I wanted to sleep in and did not really care that much for what the con offered.
I think this is what the con feels like this year, in that there are a lot of stuff the first two days, and just an average amount of stuff on Sunday. From what I can tell, the industry showed up en force, and there were very few fan panels accepted. The dealer room is much bigger, and the panel rooms are properly in the lower halls now. I didn’t even see where the game room was.
There were spaces used to line people up this time, as well as a bag check system for people going in and out of the exhibit hall area. The bag check expanded to the autographing and panel area on Saturday.
The big Anisong World Matsuri concerts were held at the Hammerstein Ballroom down 34th. It’s a bit of a hike but I think the venue is a good fit. VIP badgers had standing seat up front and they even set up barriers for them, so they aren’t pressured by the plebs. I think that is a good move, probably partly because the shows didn’t sell out so this will gap the crowd for better optics. That said, the show sold pretty well, most of the floor did fill up and so did the first level balcony. They could probably have opened the second level and charged a lower price and fill that up too.
The word was, there was a press event on Friday’s dealer room opening part where some local politician announced 11/16 to be some kind of anisong day? And you can see how they sold 2000 or so tickets on Saturday. Friday was less.
For some reason I was in the dealer’s room for a total of 20 minutes all weekend, so I didn’t really have time to walk it (spent most of it watching N’s set).
This year, ANYC has a “Mega” badge system which gave these premiere fans the following perks: priority entry to the con, priority entry to the exhibit hall, priority entry to main events, first presale of tickets for AWM, and some at-con loot and discounts. The mega badge was north of $300, and coming into it, the value prop was not there. Now that we survived ~36000 attendees, it was indeed worth it mainly because of autograph camping. The way autograph worked for ANYC is similar to NYAF/early NYCC, where attendees camp the opening of the con for ticket handout. Since Mega people always get in first, they are basically guaranteed any given ticket. At the con Friday there were ~180 Megas in line, and I think the autograph ticket pile was roughly 100-200 tall, not sure. All the tickets lasted beyond the Mega group and plebs in front were able to get some.
Only if Anime Expo was like this, huh.
The con is still just a 3-day affair. This meant spending some time in line to camp for autographs (as tickets are not guaranteed if it ran over time), and some in line for AWM day 1. I got a regular balcony seat for day 2 so I could just go to my assigned seat, but day 1 I ended up somewhere middle and near the front, about 3 or 4th row back.
AWM was just as you would expect in Hammerstein, and as you would expect given this cast list. Day 1 was more or less very predictable, with exception maybe just the sheer number of collab and the fact that everybody sang with everybody else. I am still slightly awestruck with Nano’s rendition of Invoke with Luna. It really is like TMR until she dialed it back from karaoke mode a tad.
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— Fortune (@nanalevi) November 17, 2018
Sparkling daydream between TRUE and Konomin? That’s crazy talk. Born to Be was neat. It puts Don’t Be Lazy and God Knows in place. Aquarion is probably still the best tone setter, to begin the show that way.
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Personally Luna’s set hits 100/100 for me, especially NYC version of Momoiro Typhoon right off the bat. I think the rest of the show kind of just melted around that. Nano’s was more miss than hit, but I know more songs than I expected? The way the show ended made sure it went over well as everyone do their big hit with Luna kind of wrapping it up.
For uchiage Friday, we had pizza near NYPenn, and it was swell. I decided to crash at a friend’s to shorten the camping for the day after.
The morning after, we split an uber from JC directly to the Javitz, and camped out at around 6am. I was like the first 10 people in the Mega line, while my friends are in the first 90 or 80 in the reg? It’s not super clear because at some point people did kinda cut. There was this young woman in front of me freezing her Florida butts off in the frosty West Side wind. It’s Javitz, so it’s windy and dreary, and she wore jeans and a shirt over her cosplay, which was even less covering. Eventually she survived with a bit of help, but that is not a look you want to be in at this con in the morning line.
This con is just a 3-day con, so all the AWM Saturday guests did stuff Friday at the con, and AWM Friday guests did stuff Saturday, which meant I ended up doing all that Saturday plus a session with Range Murata to rep his new book published by Denpa, the new manga pub launched by Ed. I think in the end I was in line for autographs most of the day as a result. I also had to camp the AWM autograph line to start-dash into the Fate event. Main achievement there was to get True to sign Hanazakari Weekend amirite.
The con is still just a 3-day affair. This meant the Saturday Fate event (which you had to buy a ticket to go see I think) was smack middle of a bunch of AWM things. Anyway, I went in late and skipped a lot of the random chat part for the dub team. I caught some sneak views of the Heaven’s Feel part 2 trailer and then, Aimer.
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It was good, but sudden. Aimer did her normal schtik, with just a keyboard accompaniment. It was over all too soon. The loot given out for S-tier tickets ($60) was back at reg in which I had to beat the rush to get to camp Trigger autographs? LOL. The Fate event packed out well so the crowd and start-dash was real. I was literally the 7th person in line and Koyama switched over to Mako only right when I got up, so there you have it.
At the Saturday AWM show, which was just an hour after the Trigger autograph (took 35 minutes, then 10 for me to fast walk to the venue, which left me enough time to buy a drink), we had fun sitting and cheering from the balcony. It was definitely the right call.
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(Click on the tweet to see full set list in the thread)
I was pretty floored by some of these song choices. Both ways. On one hand I’m sure a handful of people in that room even knows some of these, myself not included. Sagittarius was godly, with Shokotan doing the vocals. Morning Musume ’18 and Kageyama’s Love Machine though? That is some incredibly rare thing. The collabs were as crazy as we thought they were, as well as just bonkers in that specific case.
Morning Musume did bring the crowd and it was fun and fine. The VIP section for Saturday was not as packed but there were more people in the audience, so that’s nice. Shoko’s songs were well received, better than Dani’s anyway. Kageyama more or less played the most iconic stuff I think, complete with his The Real Folk Blues guitar cover. GO! was a good pick to start it up, and obviously we had to sing Cruel Angel Thesis with this very 3d group, but wrapping up with some JAM-y songs is nice.
But really, Kageyama doing Love Machine with MM18? He’s like 3x the age of the group mean, and that song is like, 18 years old too? LOL. It was great laughs.
We did a bigger uchiage after AWM Saturday, and that was it for me.
I keep on saying this is a 3-day con, mainly to make the point that a lot was happening and it would be hard to do everything that you wanted to do. I gave up on seeing much of the dealer’s room, and only stopped by the DJ booth for 20 minutes on Friday over at Lumica. Lumica had some more wotagei masters and DJs this time too. Well, not to mention the rest of the Exhibit Hall. This is what I missed on Sunday by not going to the con, I guess.
I’m not sure I’m ready for ANYC to become a 4-day event, but if it gets bigger, it’s inevitable. I do wish ANYC to become a con that’s on par with AX, just so we can have more AWM type events and bigger JP draws. But I also don’t know if I want to pay the full cost of that, both monetarily and in effort/dealing with camping. Well, if it brings all the boys and girls to the yard, maybe that’s okay. ANYC is also fairly fan-panel free this year, which might be a reason why it’s just 3 days long. Having more days will positively help some aspects of the con, but it’ll likely raise prices for regular attendees and the like, and I’m not sure if this con can justify it just yet.
Overall? This is what peak condition NYAF looks like, or ANYC now that it’s back on track. AWM was a good get, but there were a lot of room for improvement: it didn’t sell out at all, and the production value is a bit lacking. The lineup is also not that good, sorry Dani and random oldie robot anisong lovers. MM is a good get but an odd pairing, nothing wrong with it, just unusual. The con was run smoothly enough; line management more or less was there. The staff count was right largely. The snow didn’t derail much from the con, just a hassle for attendees and staff alike. Overall things worked out well, even the overpriced Mega ticket system.
The real problems I see are all structural or because Javitz kinda sucks for consumer-style cons location-wise, and we can’t do much about those things. So let’s bring it on next year, I guess.