Hi there ladies and gentlemen, in a better-late-than-never fashion, here’s the Inverseman with his New York Anime Fest/Comic-Con convention debriefing.
Okay, so the first thing you gotta know is that despite its youth, NYAF/CC got really big, really quickly. I mean, that’s what you get when you merge two conventions into one. If you thought last year was big, you’ve got another thing coming. This time the dealers’ room was extended to three whole show floors, with the tail end bleeding into the Comic-Con artists’ alley. There was an entire floor dedicated to panels galore, the NYAF artists’ alley had its own section to itself, and autographs took place in a more recent expansion of the Javits.
You can safely say that the organizers used every bit of convention space in the Javits center, which is a big improvement over last year. Last year, much of the NYAF half of the convention was crammed into one room; the artists alley, the performance stage, and most of the panels. Due to that kind of underestimation, the NYAF portion of the con last year was always far overcrowded. Fortunately, this year, giving the artists alley (NYAF) its own section and putting the NYAF panels alongside the NYCC panels was a vast improvement. However, despite better organization, the NYAF side could use some more panels… Like more than just screenings and a few industry panels. The NYAF side still felt dwarfed and shoved aside, while I can expect this namely due to American comics being the domestic industry here, I could stand for the organizers to throw a bone for anime and manga fans. It would certainly make the con experience more uh… Relevant for lots of attendees.
Though I’m glad NYAF got its own breathing room, much of the panel organization was brutal, yours truly couldn’t get into a single one! You would have to line up hours in advance, no matter what the panel was, and each one would be filled to capacity, and with no line limit, much of your waiting was pointless. One of the bigger flops was holding panels at 10am and 11am, but keeping convention goers from entering the con until 10am in this huge line. This would be much more manageable if the doors opened at 9am at the least or if they pushed back the panel time. There was also some uproar over the masquerade this year where the organization was so horrid that people were even the staff got the times wrong, which produced lots of pointless waiting and a mob of people cheering for no reason, as if they clapped loud enough the doors would open.
So what did I do? I got free stuff galore. Many of the local anime distributors and manga publishers were chucking free shirts, reusable bags, and much more. Sadly, I could not touch the Nintendo or Capcom booths for too long due to the mobs trying to play the lineup of new games, but I will leave you with this. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland is a solid game, go nab it! Running all over and getting cosplay photos, despite the dearth of cosplayers, was always a blast, and getting recognized was an honor as always. If anything came out of the behemoth of comic-con consuming NYAF, I left with much less money spent and a few special surprises. For example, while the con was closing up on Friday, who should I see at the Bandai booth but awesomesauce voice actress Stephanie Sheh!
So for the moment of conversation I got, here’s some basic advice for all you newbie aspiring voice actors at home!
1. Become an actor: Don’t pigeonhole yourself into “I wanna be a VA”, set yourself to “I wanna be an actor”. A good actor will get hired be it for voice over, stage theater, or film. It will also open up many more opportunities for you.
2. Have a backup plan. Let’s be real, acting is tough. Have a plan B if things go south. A math major, a chemistry major, a history major, some kind of plan you can fall back on.
On that note, I knew I was returning for an autograph session at the booth, which was much more organized than the official events.
In the end, seeing how this merger looks much more permanent, I do enjoy NYAF/CC because of all the huge big name guests and industries that come, but if only organization was much smoother and if only the NYAF portion was a bit more pronounced. Regardless, I met many great guests and caught up with many personal friends. And so, I’ll leave you with a few of the shots I took. Here’s to next year!
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