The second New York Anime Festival ran for this past weekend, oddly three months earlier when compared to last year. NYAF is a professionally-run con, and it shows in a number of ways for better and worse.
Perhaps because NYAF is so young as a convention, there were rarely any issues with lines in order to pick up badges. Both this year and last, I arrived on Friday and obtained a badge with minimal wait, though there was a bit of a hassle due to some poor wording on the website in regards to on-site registration. After that, a friend and I wandered around checking out the dealer’s room which comprises the majority of the convention. After buying a shirt from Sub, we decided that there was nothing much left to do at the con Friday and decided to turn our attentions outwards and towards karaoke.
Somewhat sadly, karaoke was probably the highlight of the con, though that might have to do with the fact that this was no ordinary karaoke get-together but an ultra-manly (and occasionally girly) tour de force spanning the history of anime. After I started things off with the Rose of Versailles OP, Sub followed with a powerful rendition of Holy Lonely Light. We then sang songs from Baldios, Gold Lightan, Hokuto no Ken, Zambot 3, Hajime no Ippo, Southern Cross, Macross, Dragon Ball Z, Overman King Gainer, Albegas, Gaogaigar, Pokemon, Pretty Cure, Soul Taker, and others I think I forgot. We ended, fittingly, with the ending theme to Golion, titled “Gonin de Hitotsu” or “Five as One.” In total, two hours were spent there.
Saturday was naturally much busier than Friday, though I found that there wasn’t all that much to do, or at least not much that interested me. After watching the Top o Nerae movie I went to the anime blogging panel curious as to what they had to say. It was overall good advice, though one thing I want to point to any anime bloggers out there, current, future, and potential, is that anime’s history is 1800 40 years old and if there’s nothing in the new seasons you like you can always look backwards. Other than that, there was nothing particularly important, though in skipping out on the Masquerade I found out I missed the chance to hear Tanaka Rie sing on-stage. If only I had hated myself enough to actually go as I had planned. I also bought a sketchbook at the con and decided to put it and my new black copic to use.
An Anime Con Attendee
Taison Sanders, the Girl with Fried Chicken Wings
The Ultimate Yaoi Bishounen (with Optimus Prime Arms)
Sunday I woke up early to get the ticket for the Tanaka Rie signing but found out 90 minutes early was still not early enough. I attended the Rie panel, and she was a class act, even accepting gifts. Like all voice actor panels, there were the clowns who tried to speak to Rie in Japanese despite not being able to. Word of advice: DON’T DO THIS. You just waste time and make things difficult for the rest of the audience. The panel does not consist of just you and the voice actor. Now that I think about it, this never happens with the non-voice-actor guests. Go to hell, the lot of you.
A friend of mine had a VIP pass and thus a ticket for the Rie signing, but was unable to find the merchandise he wanted signed. I gave him my Gundam SEED pencil board, and when he returned we hesitated as to who should have it, like two women in front of Solomon, or three kids with a Radioactive Man #1. After much difficulty, I handed over the pencil board as he is a far bigger Lacus fan compared to me. If this were Shindou Naomi and a Cagalli pencil board, things would have been different.
I met the Reverse Thieves at their panel, which was meant to be an introduction of obscure anime to fans. Now not everything on their list was super obscure, but one has to remember that the con-going crowd is not that up-to-date with everything. I mean, Hayate no Gotoku was on their list, and rightfully so. They also mentioned Rose of Versailles, which makes them A-OK.
One major problem with NYAF is that it contained many of the undesirable elements that have been excised from other cons. I speak mainly of yaoi paddles, hug me signs, and the kind of behavior that results from them. There are reasons these things have been banned from other cons, chief among them being that they promote idiocy. Now I have nothing against people liking yaoi, or even advertising the fact that they like yaoi or just showing that yes, they are anime fans. But I don’t see that. I see people using anime, yaoi, naruto, whatever, as an excuse to disregard others and act like jackasses. Guys purposely kissing each other to get a reaction from a crowd, people carrying hug me signs, what I am opposed to is not the actions but the real reasons behind those actions, which generally amount to wanting immediate attention.
The supposed “Anonymous” at NYAF were the same, in that they understood the letter but not the spirit of being “Anonymous.” Anonymous does not Caramell Dansen. This goes double for that guy who was walking around in a Guy Fawkes mask playing Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. When you walk around blasting it and announcing yourself from many feet away, it is NOT a Rickroll. It defeats the purpose OF a Rickroll, which is to be a SURPRISE. You are no more a surprise than a stereotypical asian man lost in the forest tasked with searching for materials useful for survival.
That said, I didn’t think the con was absolutely dominated by this sort of thing. Will I go next year? Well, as with every con I go to (which isn’t many), I’ll have to see who’s there first.
Oh, and the weirdest thing I did at the con was that I stood RIGHT in front of a Cirno cosplayer for a few seconds.