After the huge success of Anime NYC’s debut in 2017, New York Tri-State area otaku were longing for another convention nearby instead of driving all the way to Anime Boston or Otakon in Washington D.C. Along came Anime Fest, a collaboration convention between New York Comic Con (NYCC) and Anime Expo. Some fans were pumped, while others theorized that this would be a cheap knock-off of Anime NYC. We ventured to the Big Apple to find out which side was correct.
|When it Established:|| December 2007|
Official Website: http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/Explore/Anime-Fest-At-NYCC-x-Anime-Expo/
Ok, so this is sort of Anime Fest’s first year. Back in the day, New York Comic Con hosted New York Anime Festival, and just like Anime Fest it ran during the same time as NYCC. New York Anime Festival ended its run in 2011 while NYCC continued. In July 2018, NYCC announced the special collaboration between AX and NYCC to create Anime Fest. Now you see why there are some sceptics about Anime Fest trying to copy Anime NYC.
|Length of event:|
|Place/Location:||Pier 94 in New York City|
|Cost:|| (There were no early bird or weekend badges)|
Sunday was the only day where children could attend for $10
|Hotels:|| Technically, there were no hotels that had a partnership with Anime Fest, so most people stayed at the hotels near the Javits Center and took a shuttle bus to Pier 94. New York City is one of the largest cities in the world with some of the best transportation systems around, so if you find the hotels closest to the convention a bit expensive, then don’t be afraid to stay in the opposite side of town. But if you’re too nervous to use the subway system or don’t want to go through all that trouble, then stay at the Double Tree hotel. There are two Double Tree hotels in the area that are less than a 15 minute walk from the Javits Center.|
Want to spend as little money as possible? Then Element is the hotel for you. Rates start at $149 a night, and they serve breakfast for free. If you want a place that’s comfy to relax your body from a long day of walking, then book the Yotel. They have the comfiest beds, fast wifi, and a club to host your NYCC after party.
What to Expect
Pier 94 is very small; to the point that you can walk around the perimeter in under 3 minutes. This gave a lot of J-fashion enthusiasts the opportunity to wear whatever shoes they wanted instead of some bummy sneakers. Pier 94 is away from all the more aesthetically pleasing areas of New York City, but if you’re trying to get that perfect shot of your cosplay, Anime Fest set up several themed backdrops that worked for any cosplay.
Not all of the anime panels are at Anime Fest so if you’re trying to go back to the Javits Center, a shuttle bus decorated with Fate/Grand Order ladies left Pier 94 every 30 minutes, so you could make it to all the other anime related events at NYCC. Didn’t buy a NYCC badge? No problem. An Anime Fest badge also gave you access to NYCC anime-related offsite events. Those events being the Dreamworks Voltron Legendary Defenders, Dragon Ball Super Broly, RWBY and gen:LOCK Mega panels.
What to Bring in Order to Enjoy the Event
Anime Fest has one food truck on site and one hot dog stand on the inside, so try to bring your own food so you don’t have to pay $12 for yakitori. Bring water bottles too since there’s no water fountain to refill your canister. Not too many panels happen throughout the day so you’ll probably be spending most of your time in the dealer’s room and artist alley. Therefore, bring a container to keep your prints and posters safe. And as always, make sure you bring your portable chargers and USB cords to keep your device alive.
What to Do While There/What is Available
Panels - What’s a convention without panels? At Anime Fest, like-minded otaku gathered around for some Q&A panels with Josh Grelle, Ian Sinclair and the ladies of Overwatch. Crunchyroll also hosted their famous LGBT+ In Anime panel, which gave the crowd lots of feels. Some panels were more interactive like the K-pop dance battle, or a live drawing with artists.
Dealer’s Room - The dealer’s room was filled with stunning figures, must-have T-shirts, and loads of raffles. However, we were surprised to see a bilibili industry booth for the first time. For those of you who don’t know, bilibili is the Chinese version of YouTube or NicoNico. The booth had cute models and mascot, a tree to tie your wishes onto and videographers to take your picture to add to their website. Not even the largest anime conventions on the East Coast have a bilibili booth, so don’t let this opportunity pass you!
Artist Alley - The artist alley was filled with stunning fan-made prints, pins, and charms. Some artists offered commissions so you could request your favorite pairing to be drawn together. Each artist had their own unique style from watercolor to digital making it very hard to buy just one item.
Autographs - Alright we lied. If there wasn’t a panel running, you could get an autograph from someone instead of chilling in the dealer’s room. Guests ranged from English dub voice actors to the Overwatch cast, and animators from Cowboy Bebop.
Masquerade - Cosplay craftsman participated in Anime Fest’s masquerade to perform with their friends on stage or show off their skills. And the judge was none other than the famous Stella Chuu, who wore her Alita cosplay that she made herself. People were in awe, laughed, and even squealed at the incredible work on stage.
Premiere Screenings - Anime film distributors, Eleven Arts, screened the US premieres for Liz and the Blue Bird and Penguin Highway on Friday and Saturday at Anime Fest.
Anime Fest is a family-friendly environment, so a lot of families arrived in cosplay, or put their pets and babies in costumes. But being at Anime Fest, didn’t stop people from cosplaying their favorite Marvel characters. Here are some cosplays that stood out to us the most.
Anime Fest may not be as big as Anime NYC, but it’s definitely headed in the right direction. Did you go Anime Fest? Will you be going next year? Leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as we can. Till next time!