New York Anime Festival 2009

Everyone’s question was would NYAF live up to, exceed, or fail compared to the two previous conventions? There was quite a bit of talking with the announcement that NYAF would join with NYCC for 2010 so there was also the question of what would NYAF do as its last year as an independent convention? Although those are all pressing questions my main question was if I was going to have fun? Was I going to be able to do as much as I wanted to? We were also running two panels one of which had a lot of people looking forward to it. The Bloggers Roundtable had some big names on the marquee but it was a the first time we ever ran the panel. I had the most expectations for the panel because I felt it could succeed or fail so much more than any of our previous panels. On top of all that I had two guests staying at my humble abode during the convention so I had to play host as well as press.

It was no secret that we were looking forward to New York Anime Festival, probably more than any other con previously thanks to a killer guest, director Yoshiyuki Tomino. This sent NYAF which I always enjoy but never as much as say Otakon right to the front of the line this year. That being said, the rest of the con experience remained the same though I was happy to see quite a few license announcements this year. Since NYAF’s space has basically stayed the same from its first year, there weren’t too many surprises but that also means it still has some of the same problems. Javits, is Javits, its a bit of a walk from the train, the hotels, and most food. Though it also means that for the most part events went off without a hitch and things seemed to be well in hand with the staff.

The convention for me started on Thursday night since most of my main convention group went to see the Eureka Seven movie. Although not officially a part of the convention experience it felt like a great way to spend an evening before the big show. The movie itself was bizarre. I will never forget the line, “I am an enemy alien spy robot” as long as I live. It was a visually appealing movie but otherwise a utter train wreck. I appreciated their attempt to do something new with the original story but their execution left something to be desired. Though I was happy to watch a film with my friends and be able to talk about it afterward because I often feel like I hardly watch any anime at anime conventions. On Friday morning my two guests the spectacular OGT, the amazing PatzPrime, plus the remarkable SDShamshel all met up and went to the Javits center early to get Tomino autograph tickets. We were all a little worried when we heard that people were already starting to line up at 7am. We finally arrived at 10 and got progressively worried when we saw how the VIP line was growing but we were able to get our autograph tickets. Since we got there before the con officially started getting our press badges was a snap. We all went for some delicious Go Go Curry before starting the convention. Starting the con with curry is a tradition I could get behind.

Once again, the staff of NYAF as far as tickets goes were on top of it. Not a moment more than one was I in line for my press badge, which incidentally looks very different this year. This goes for the weekend con badges and VIP ones as well and only half for individual day passes. I’m not sure what to make of them, on the one hand I really like the hard plastic but on the other hand the badges aren’t very fun. Maybe that sounds like a stupid complaint, but too bad, many of us have a grand time trying to guess what show or characters will appear on the badges before going to a con. The speculations can even spawn forum threads, so it has become a popular and expected part of anime conventions. And I was surprised to not at the very least see the badges sporting the logo from this year’s contest winner. Since I never made it to the convention center before opening time, I have no idea what the lines looked like but from the massive crowds on Saturday I can imagine there was a pretty good wait in the morning. However, panels seemed to be well organized in this regard though having a press badge prevented any problems for me. The Javits space allotted for NYAF was insufficient for Saturday but was tolerable on Friday and Sunday. Happily this mean the Tomino panel was rightfully full.

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