New York Anime Festival

So, this weekend I had the opportunity to go to the New York Anime Festival. Since I go to way too many anime cons (more than my budget can support anyway) I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to other cons I had been to. I’ve been trying to come up with terminology to describe the atmosphere of this con but the only word I can come up with is “corporate”. It felt very different from fan run cons. That was especially the case in the dealer room, or “exhibit hall”, as they called it here.

TokyoPop had a whole area set up with a little mini manga store and touch screen tv’s where you could register for I can safely say I have not seen this kind of set up at any other con I’ve been to. I’ve never been to Expo or Otakon so maybe this is something that happens at big cons and I’m just not aware of it?

I sat in on a few industry panels and those are always interesting to me. What was new this year for me was having the chance to sit in on a couple of panels run by the guys (& gal) over at Anime News Network. First there was the ANN panel and then the next hour they switched rooms (why?) and ran the Protoculture Addicts panel. I had never actually read the magazine before even though I’m a regular visitor to ANN. It’s an interesting magazine and I may try to check out another issue or two. This panel started off amusing to me because they were giving away prizes to people who asked interesting questions. C. McDonald who seemed to be directing the panel said that they would not give prizes as attendees asked the question. Instead they would give out the seven prizes at the end of the panel to the people who had asked the best questions.

I was mentally going, “huh?”, when he said that. I know personally there is no way I would remember who the people were by the end of the panel. But I gave a mental shrug thinking that perhaps he had a really good memory. Of course at the end of the panel he really couldn’t remember. There were 9 of us left who had asked questions and 7 prizes available. Then he decided we could all come up and claim a prize. The numbers did not add up and besides which you don’t offer free stuff at a con and expect people to be civilized about it. By the time I got up there, most things were claimed. I swear there appeared to be more than 9 people up there and quite frankly I was not about to get into the middle of the mess. It was actually quite amusing and weird and a con would not be a con without those things, would it?

After that whole scene the weirdness continued over in the Funimation screening room. To start with, no one could have foreseen this but too bad they could not set up the screening over at the TokyoPop stage. The room for the Tsubasa Chronicles & xxxHolic movies was quite large (seated several hundred) but it was absolutely packed to the point where people were standing along the back and more people were trying to come in. The room did begin to empty out a bit later….only because the Tsubasa movie suddenly stopped playing! It happened three times before they decided to get another disc and then….you guessed it. That disc stopped as well. I was by the door with all my things in hand in case any rioting began but the crowd seemed pretty mellow about it. Unfortunately, we never did get a working copy going so they decided to go right ahead to the xxxHolic movie. It was really good and those who hung around enjoyed themselves if the laughter in the room was anything to go by.

It was actually funny to see the technical difficulties because I began to feel more “at home” despite the corporate feel. I have not been to a con yet that did not have something go wrong in a screening room no matter how sophisticated the set up is. I’m looking forward to next years con, though if ANN is there I don’t know if I will wrack my brain thinking of a good question unless I know there are enough prizes available ;D

Of course I am just joking, ANN is awesome and I’m constantly checking out the “news” and “views” there.