Anime NYC, an annual Asian pop culture convention devoted to anime and manga, returned to the Javits Center Nov. 16-18, for its second year with an expanded exhibition floor, more publishers and a signficant increase in attendance.
Anime NYC founder Peter Tatara said the show attracted 36,000 “unique” attendees, a big increase over the 15,000 fans that attended the first show last year. The attendance figures represent unique attendees rather than the aggregate turnstile numbers, he said. “If we turnstiled, we'd be 50,000 plus,” said Tatara.
The show occupied the southern third of the main exhibition floor; panels were held on the special events floor on the lower level, with an Artist Alley (that was crammed with fans) located in the River Pavillion on the upper levels of the Javits center.
Organized by Leftfield Media, Anime NYC returned for their second year with a significant growth in both vendors and attendees, including companies such as Viz Media, Vertical Comics Kodansha, Yen Press, as well as a Korean web comics (manhwa) publisher, TappyToon. This year’s show featured about 220 exhibitors and about 240 artists of all kinds.
The show offered expanded programming focused on animation, but also offered manga publishing panels on Saturday featuring the newly launched Denpa Books, and panels by Viz, Yen Press, Vertical Inc. Other exhibiting publishers included Gkids, Tokyo Chronos, Udon, Bluefin and Crunchyroll.
Yen Press publishing director Kurt Hassler hosted a lively panel that announced a long list of forthcoming titles (both manga and light novels). Udon Publisher Erik Ko brought its 15 title Manga Classics line, a series of manga adaptations of classic literary works such as, Macbeth, The adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Jane Eyre, popular with librarians. “We’ve sold out of every copy,” he said,
At the Kodansha/Vertical Comics panel, publishers Ben Applegate and Tomo Tran presented forthcoming titles, such as Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Japan (light novel). They announced a new hardcover reprint of the Cardcaptor Sakura shojo manga series, and their first foray into Boys Love or gay romance manga with such series as 10 Dance and Hitorijime My Hero, and Yuri (girl romance focused manga) series such as Yuri is My Job. Panels such as "That’s Gay! Anime and Manga for the LGBT Audience,” focused on the sometimes less than stellar representations in manga and anime of the LGBTQ community, and offered progressive examples.
Overall publishers contacted by PW were very happy with sales. Kinokuniya Books, a cosponsor of Anime NYC, had a bookstore set up in the hall, featuring a wide range of art books based on manga and anime. Kinokuniya graphic novel buyer and store manager Terence Irvins said “business has been really good,” citing in particular art books based on Viz’s My Hero Academia, a global bestselling manga series.
Anime NYC opened at Javits about a month after the launch of a rival Asian-pop show, Anime Fest @NYCC, organized by ReedPop and Anime Expo and held at the Pier 94 event space at W. 52nd street during New York Comic Con.
Next year, Tatara said, Anime NYC will run from Nov. 15-17, 2019. He said the show will expand into Hall 3B, doubling the exhibition floor space from 136,000 square feet to about 294,000 square feet. The increase will give Anime NYC about 75% of the available space on the main floor.
"In just two years Anime NYC has emerged as one of the largest anime conventions in the country and an important pillar for the anime industry," Tatara said. "We've become a hub for the business of the business. As we continue to grow. we look forward to fostering more new business as only New York can."
Additional reporting by Drucilla Shultz and Gilcy Aquino.