AnimeNext held its ninth annual convention of anime in Somerset, NJ last month. Over 7,000 con-goers attended the convention at the Garden State Exhibition Center, Somerset DoubleTree hotel, and other nearby hotels.
AnimeNext has a main events hall, a LARP stage, dealers room, panels, workshops, a gaming room, a manga library, karaoke, game shows, nd an artist alley. AnimeNext also had a great line up of guests, including Tony Oliver, Uncle Yo, STEREOPONY, Greg Ayres, Kyle Hebert, Eirik Blackwolf, and many more.
AnimeNext’s dealers room took a good half of the exhibition hall space the Exhibition Center. The dealers room featured well-known dealers, including Funamation, Anime Palace, Happy Japan, and many others! Our good friends Whisper from Steampunk World’s Fair was there and so was our friend Carrie and Carolann’s store, .
In the artist alley, over a 100 individuals display their artwork and creative products. Our good friend Emily Smith (www.nightengale.com) sold many of her products. Unlike the dealer’s room, there was less space in the aisles which became a hassle to “browse” around. In the ballroom the artist alley was used was only 2/3 used while the other third was a panel room. The artist alley however is one of the largest ones below Otakon that we attended too.
At the main events, events included a STEREOPONY concert, Cosplay Burlesque and the masquerade.
AnimeNext used the Somerset facilities since its 2009 convention. AnimeNext’s sister convention, MangaNext, was held at the Somerset DoubleTree in November 2008. The location is great for expansion with nearby hotels, ballrooms of the Somerset DoubleTree hotel and exhibit hall at the exhibit center. The disadvantage is the geographic location. For a bite out, you’ll need to hop in a car for a ten minute drive to restaurants, delis, and convenience stores. At a conference we had with the con-chair, Robert Rustay, he briefly mentioned if the convention continues to grow they will decide on a new location. In 2011, not only AnimeNext will be held at the same location, so is Wicked Faire when its held in February.
Con goers in the tri-state area mark this convention with a high priory to attend this annual event. Not only tri-state con goers attend, people as far as Boston to far south of Maryland.
AnimeNext is a great place to catch up with old friends and meet new ones as well. With its location at a perfect suburb spot, which is off an interstate highway outside of Rutgers University. There are many things to do, places on the premises to go to, interesting events to see, AnimeNEXT is a great experience if an on-going con goer or new.