New York Anime Festival 2009–Where Men Go To Die

A bunch of other cool guys have already put up their reports on NYAF, and since mine will materialize formally as a podcast (in likely a month or so) this report here is going to brief.

I wasn’t really planning on going to NYAF, but as the guest list grew to become quite dangerous, along with the announcement of a CENCOROLL screening, I decided that it may actually not be too difficult to make my way over there without spending too much. I lucked out–I managed to get my train ticket covered, stayed with omo, and got in as press. And man, let me tell you, I’m so glad I went to this con for free. There’s no way I’d ever pay for this.

To put it bluntly–the con was run as if it was run by a bunch of children. This is professionally run, right? How is it that a fan run con like Otakon–with all of its issues–can be run better than something put up by alleged pros? Actually, how is it that a event the size of Comic Market, which had 560,000 attendees this year, can be run in a better fashion than what was going on at NYAF? Seriously, man.

Let me outline for you what was going on at this anime con. It was easy as hell to just butt into line as the Dealers Room was opening up, my friends’ VIP badges didn’t really help them do anything (except give us freeloading press some free baggage check) and, well, they fucked up the Cencoroll screening big time. Also, that Tomino translator? I could have done better. Really. And let me tell you, my Japanese is bad. You should read it on my mixi sometime!

But, you know? I had no expectations. And I wasn’t disappointed, really. Actually, I came out rather satisfied with the con despite all of its issues. I got listen to Tomino rant on about modern day film (yet, sadly missed his Q&A due to my own forgetfulness, 若さ故の過ち and stuff like that), got Tomino to sign my vintage Gundam movie program, got a picture with Tomino and… well, a bunch of other not Tomino stuff happened as well.

I really got to know Makino Yui during this con. Going in I didn’t know much about her aside from the fact that she was Nakahara Misaki in NHK ni Youkoso!, but coming out, I’m almost a fan. Her concert was real nice, despite obvious audio issues, and she’s a really cute girl herself. I regret not getting anything signed by her (though we did exchange words when I was getting something signed for a friend) and I’ll probably see about obtaining one of her CDs.

I also regret not doing much with the AKB48 side of the con. They did however pass me by more than a few times in the Dealers Room, and one time one of them waved and said hi to me. Because I was staring at her like a creep. Anyway, their real big concert would have been impossible for me to go anyway, but I do regret missing the mini-show that they put on. I guess if I find time I’ll pick up an album of theirs, too. Man, I sure love underage idols!

The Dealers Room was the typical con Dealers Room, and even though I swore never to buy anything in America ever again, it’s pretty hard to turn down buying things in America at Japanese prices. Ryu Moto–who I missed at Comic Market–was there selling his FuyuComi book way early, so of course I got an issue of that signed. Bkub was also there keeping it real, and–as you saw earlier–I picked up his freebie comic and got him to sign it. It now hangs proudly on my wall. There was another awesome booth there, and its name escapes me at the moment, but they were selling Japanese artbooks and magazines for under Japanese retail price. Here’s how it worked–none of the books had a price tag on them, there was simply a giant sign that said “Ask for price.” So I ask for the price of an issue of Megami Creators I kind of want, and expect to get ripped off. The guy looks at the 980円 price tag and produces a most curious figure of 7 dollars. I bought it without a second thought. Their selection wasn’t stellar, but if they happened to have something that you wanted, it was the place to be. They were selling this book for less than I bought it for in Japan!

All in all though, NYAF was the social con. New York city has a very large concentration of anime bloggers, and the promise of guests like Tomino naturally drew in attendance from states all over. I mainly hung with omo and crew (the crew being AlexD and StarCreator) but met up with a bunch of other cool guys like rabidkimba, Sub, SDS, SushiD, Centimetre (for a split second, as always), The Reverse Thieves, VamptVo, Patz, The Hendane Crew (always chill as fuck guys), along with a whole host of other people who were cool. One notable guy was OGT–someone I’ve had some tension with in the past, but we were able to settle these differences over some french fries. I doubt the dude will blogroll me or anything, but he is following me on the Tweeter. Though, by doing that he’ll probably quickly start to hate me again. I’m a real dick on the Tweeter.

Another interesting social aspect of the con was how many people recognized me because of the Strike Witches cap. In fact, right when I got off of the train a reader told me that he read my blog, and guided me to the Javits center. I don’t know what I would have done without him, since I totally forgot to print out directions! We had a good conversation that I probably should have caught on tape, but I didn’t want to shove the mic in front of some random person I didn’t know and had just met.

And that’s it for the New York Anime Festival. I didn’t know I was going to write this much. 1000 words isn’t terribly brief, huh? Expect a podcast in the future.

And now, loot.

Yeah, that’s about $12 dollars spent right there. The Kannagi DVD was free from the ANN panel, so I can’t hate them anymore. Even if Zac is a shitty little douchebag.

rabidkimba got me that Zetsubou Sensei book from Hendane in exchange for the four or five things I got him at C76. Since five doujin in Japanese money is one doujin in American money. That’s just how the world works.

Here’s the Tomino signature. There’s already a picture of it on the flickr taken after the fact, but here’s a better view.

Speaking of the flickr, I have uploaded some boring, badly shot photos from the con. The only real cosplay shot I took was of my buddy Misuzu (also part of the Hendane Illuminati) dressed as Kagamine Len. Other than that, the cosplay level at the con was pretty weak.