Chu★Review: New York ComicCon / New York Anime Festival 2010

This was my second year to New York Anime Festival, but my first experiencing New York ComicCon, and let me tell you, it was intense! I was bubbling with excitement over the many guests and panels that were going on, and it certainly did not disappoint!

So, let’s go through each aspect of this powerful convention duo!

Travel and Surroundings
Once again the con was held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York. While only a small portion of the building was used for NYAF last year, both cons being put together forced them to truly utilize the entire building this year, and boy did they ever!

The weather was beautiful, so taking the train from Long Island to Penn Station was a breeze. Then it was just a short cab ride over to the convention center!

First Impressions
I was very impressed with how the con was handled! Although it was frantic, the staff, for the most part, had everything under control. The energy at the con was intense and vibrant, and everybody was running around excited to see all that there was to see.

General Overview
Unfortunately, as time went on the cracks began to show in the convention planning, especially on Saturday. Friday morning it was announced that they were no longer selling weekend or Saturday passes. When the absolutely ridiculous amount of people squeezed themselves into the convention center on Saturday, it was clear why they had made that decision.

Also, the Anime Festival part of the con were crammed into the sidelines, with most of the anime-related goodness condemned to the basement, which was sad and made it rather tedious to travel from NYAF panels to NYCC panels.

Another issue was food. While I myself don’t condone eating at a convention as it is rather overpriced, it was downright impossible for me to get outside for food when I had to run from one side of the building to the other. In the middle of the building was the food court, but unless you had a good hour or two on your hands, waiting on the insanely long lines wasn’t even worth your time. More than once I went hungry and thirsty this weekend.

The biggest issue for us bloggers, however, was the lack of internet. Sure, you could get internet, if you wanted to pony up $70 for the weekend, or $30 for the day. I cringed as poor, sweet Gia from Anime News Network paid for this service so that she could do what she had to. Most people were satisfied using their 3G service, but the reception was terrible in the convention center, which made it pretty much impossible to post immediate updates and news.

My personal biggest issue, especially since my days were jam-packed with stuff I wanted to cover, was the poor scheduling. I don’t think I attended a single panel that started on time, although many of them did wind up ending on time and cutting off the panel early. I missed out on several panels and signings because of this issue. I think the problem was that there was so much going on that they didn’t have time to schedule 15-minute breaks between panels like many conventions do, which gives time for the previous panel to clear out and for the next one to set up.

Besides that, the con goers actually meshed rather well together! Attendees from one side curiously checked out samplings from the other, and it seemed to expose a lot of people to new things. Everybody got along well and that made for a positive atmosphere overall. Most of the qualms I had with the con resulted from the sheer number of people, which is something that the con staff will hopefully have under better control next year.

So, at the end of the day, the con attendee’s played nice with eachother, but the cons themselves did not. There needs to be a much better balance between both cons next year in my opinion.

The Panels

Veronica Taylor and Misako Rocks! prepare for their panel on anime voice acting and art

The panels were fantastic this year! For the first time I got to attend Disorganization XIII’s Spoiler: The Panel, and it was hilarious! I also got to attend a panel on culinary manga, as well as panels on the hit CW shows Nikita and The Vampire Diaries, which were chock-full of stars.

One of the top panels for me, however, had to be the Robot Chicken panel, which was attended by Seth Green and co-creator Matt, Seth’s wife, and special guest Macauley Culkin, who will be starring in their Christmas special this year (which, by the way, will be a full hour long!). We also got sneak-peek footage of the special, as well as of their third Star Wars parody and the upcoming 5th season, which will include an “epic” 100th episode.

Another great panel was one celebrating Butters of South Park fame. Trivia games were played and tons of swag was thrown into the crowd, making for a fun and energetic half hour!

On the work side of things, I also attended the Bandai and FUNimation panels (you can read my round-up of the announcements they made here), which were both exciting.

The only panel that didn’t work was Anime Clue, and that was purely an error of location. It took place on the Variant Stage, which was located in the ComicCon Artist’s Alley. The noise from the Alley made it difficult to follow along with the panel, and that killed the audience participation.

The Guests

Taliesin Jaffe and Chris Bevins show how close their friendship really is as they promoted Sengoku Basara at the FUNimation booth.

There were a ton of incredible guests at the con. While I didn’t even attempt to try and meet the big names like Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell, I did meet my fair share of people I was excited to see. The first three I met were Taliesin Jaffe, Chris Bevins, and Michael Sinterniklaas, who were all there with FUNimation promoting the new Sengoku Basara game, which looked like a ton of fun! I got to chat with them until I got kicked out of the booth so they could do their signing. I also got to meet Stephanie Sheh, who signed my cover of Persona 3: FES, as she plays Metis.

There were a few people I sadly didn’t get to see, however. I showed up to the Bandai booth 2 hours early to meet Crispin Freeman, but the line to do so was already wrapped around the booth and out the dealer’s room door, so I didn’t even attempt it. I also wanted to meet the Vampire Diaries cast, but when I showed up 2 1/2 hours early to the signing, there were already over a thousand people in line, so again, I didn’t even try.

The Dealer’s Room

Gumby, Chun-Li, and Cammy played The Michael Jackson Experience at the Ubisoft booth!

The dealer’s room (called the ‘exhibit hall’) was a double-edged sword. It was full of incredible vendors and sights to see, but it was laid out poorly. They shoved all of the anime-related booths against one wall, and that one aisle was absolutely impossible to move through because it was so crowded.

There were tons of computers at the Square Enix booth where people were playing Final Fantasy XIV, and the gigantic Wii booth had playable versions of Donkey Kong Country Returns and Kirby’s Epic Yarn. The Sega booth had a playable version of Sonic Colors, which looked AMAZING (yes, a GOOD Sonic game!). They also let me into a special room in the middle of their booth where I got to see a sneak-peek at the making of their upcoming Thor video game. It looked great and was extremely true to its Norse Mythology roots, which greatly impressed me.

There was also tons of swag that was being given away. I didn’t grab much since most of it was given away by comic book vendors and I’m not a huge comic book fan, but I did get a few cool things. Manga Entertainment had a booth and I got some free pins from them, and I got a Golden Eye 007 lanyard from the game’s booth, which was handled in a really cool way; they had the game playable, and they let people play in groups of four. Whoever won the game got a free t-shirt! The line to play it was long, so I only got to observe, but it looked fantastic!

I also snuck a peek at a playable demo of the XBox 360’s motion sensor, the Kinect. It looked like it was responding well, but slowly. I couldn’t get close enough to try it myself, of course.

The best part of the dealer’s room for me, however, was the Disney booth. They had a playable version of Disney Epic Mickey, and I was lucky enough to get a quick interview with one of the game’s programmers, Sean Barton! Check it out!

All in all, New York ComicCon / New York Anime Festival 2010 was a great con with plenty of room for improvement, but that was expected for their first time running a convention of this size. I was absolutely enchanted by it, especially by the exhibition hall. I have never seen anything like it before in person, and the energy of the dealer’s booths alone is going to ensure that I will do my best to attend again next year!

If you’d like more goodies from the con, then check some of this stuff out:

  • Check out my YouTube Playlist of all the videos I took at the con, including a live drawing session with Misako Rocks!, voice acting warm-ups with Veronica Taylor, and an impromptu K-ON!! concert starring Christina Vee!
  • Check out my photo gallery of all the photos I took during the con!
  • Listen to my podcast on the con, featuring Jon Ingoglia!

As a final bit, check out some other great reviews on the con from some fantastic writers!

8 Responses so far »

  1. 2

    I do have concerns that they might kill of New York Anime Festival. If you want to know why, then you can read my thoughts at:

    I did enjoy the con, but I can’t say the same for most people.

  2. 4

    Sarah said,

    I was Gumby haha and NYCC was fun 🙂

  3. 6

    Sean said,

    Hey Gina, thanks a lot for the interview on Epic Mickey. I’m used to sitting at my desk all day programming and it was a nice break to get out there and help promote the game. I just love the enthusaism we got from the fans at NYCC, and to read that stopping by the Epic Mickey booth was the “best part” of the conferrence for you is very humbling. Let me know what you think once you get your hands on full game next month. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    • 7

      Thank YOU so much for the interview! I will be more than happy to let you know what I think when I do get my hands on the game, I can tell you guys put your heart and soul into it. Thanks for checking out my blog and commenting! 😀

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