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NYCC 2012 – a con in review



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A week before the con began, weekend badges were already sold out for New York Comic Con. Friday and Saturday badges were not that far behind. (Or was it Sunday for Kids Free day?) New York’s singular con for the masses of sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, entertainment, authors and music fans convening on the singular convention hall in the city, the Jacob Javits Center for a 4 day chaos fest that can only be fun to those who are in the know and alien to those looking in from the outside.

There were many changes to the con this year, most dramatically the elimination of the title Anime Festival after a two year trial merge. The anime track still boasted a star studded list to match the comic set as well as panels to please any Japanime fan. However, the decision to utilize a single hall for all panels was a tricky one. The pro is that the comic and anime attendee could plan to hit both tracks easily. The con is that fans of both tracks were sharing a single hall. The Javits is big enough to hold both egos…perhaps. ^^;

Thursday, October 11

The press badge pick up is above level like all the other attendees, exhibitors and the like. I got my badge without mishap and walked around a bit, grabbing a few starting shots and checking out where everything will be. Hall A is where the panels will be…the total opposite of where the Press entrance is so I’ll have a bit of walking. Hall B is where the autographs are. Hall C is the queue hall…where we line up and pick up our autograph tickets in the morning. And line up for the Dealer’s room each day.

The above is of the Apple Kissa Party Time maids and butlers.

Though panels have already began on Thursday, Thursday is my dedicated shopping day. By the look of the line for the Exhibit hall, I’m not the only one with that idea. It opened at 3pm and for us shoppers, the con finally began.

What is a NYCC exhibit hall without a dancing stage? Ubisoft’s latest dancing game is ‘Just Dance 4’. Thankfully, the songs didn’t get stuck in our heads like last year…though we have another song to thank for that.

So many Lego/Megablox sculptures this year! One of my fav was the Lego Hulk.

Do you gangnam? Surprisingly, this Korean song dance combo has gained recognition (or infamy) not just in Asia but in the West as well. Attendees were singing the song and dancing wildly. There was even a booth that played the song ad infinitum throughout the entire con. I feel badly for the poor booths that neighbor it. ^^; A catchy song. An interesting dance…but they should just stop.

At the Kodansha booth, they offered Sailor Moon calendars given to fans who ‘like’ the Kodansha page on facebook. An excellent idea…except I don’t have a smartphone to proof it. XD

The Jmanga booth was showcasing their newest plan, Jmanga7. While Jmanga allows fans to purchase whole volumes of manga, Jmanga7 allows for free access to chapters of manga after signing up. Newer chapters would appear later after some time. For a fee to premium members, newer chapters will be available as soon as they’re released. Marketing VP Robert Newman noted that the Jmanga7 reader is about the same as Jmanga with only slight differences. I would have to note the differences later on. Of course, there is also the newly released Android app.

I walked through the independent publishing area where I was pulled into a conversation with the writer for ‘Censor’, a publication for girls by girls. The photos were unique and vibrant while the written pieces were honest, real with comedic elements at times. Definitely worth a look.

Near the front walkway, I spotted lifesized Chun Li Hello Kitty…surrounded by fans. I truly wished my camera hadn’t run out of batteries since I would love to take a pic of her. There were also the 4 ninja turtles since they were promoting the new cartoon.

Interestingly, the front walkway connecting the two wings is decorated as a sewer, advertising the same new Ninja Turtles series. What an ingenious idea! Turning a simple walkway into an awesome ad. Unfortunate that the back walkway didn’t get the same treatment and looks a bit plain in comparison.

The front area of the left wing is dedicated to independent artists aka. The Block.

I was also distracted by the Good Smile company and their collection of Nendroids nearby.

Friday, October 12

Like before, autograph tickets for major guests are given out in the morning. Unlike previous years though, we got to wait in the queue Hall C so fans weren’t cold in the early morning. Also, with the con doors opening at 7am, it prevented others from waiting over night just for a ticket.

I joined the masses at 7:30am. Of course, by then the Amano Yoshitaka-sensei line was already very long. I managed to obtain an Asakawa Yu autograph ticket for the con’s sole Japanese seiyuu.

I retreated to the Press room to iron out what I will be doing during the day. When the Exhibit Hall finally opened at 10am, I went to grab some more pics which I couldn’t get the day before.

Aniplex of America

My first panel of the day was Aniplex. (Interestingly, Aniplex was the first panel of the con last year as well. Tradition perhaps?) Hosted by Marketing, E.J. Rivera, we heard about the latest releases by one of the largest distribution companies in Japan (American branch of course.)

a short stop

After the panel, I stopped by the Jmanga booth again in the Exhibit hall.

It glows! How cool is that!

more panels please!

NYCC welcomes back Amano Yoshitaka-sensei, genius artist of Final Fantasy and Vampire Hunter D fame. It truly was a pleasure to hear the inspiring words of the man who gives forms to the ethereal and spirit. *bows*

I went down the hall to the Asakawa Yu-san panel which was also in a packed room. Interestingly, the moderator for the panel was none other than the dancing Stormtropper of Japan, Danny Choo.

autograph break

After the panel, I crossed over to Hall E where the signing was taking place for Asakawa Yu. Despite the large number of people who got the tickets and Asakawa-san being the voice of Luka, a Vocaloid…I was surprised at the low turnout. It gave everyone an opportunity to take pics with her and say a few hours though. I was already near the front so I was waved in quickly. She signed my shikishi and I told her that I was looking forward to more of her singing.

After the signing, I headed to Hall B where the autograph signing will be held for Bryce Papenbrook. The line was long, but not distressingly so.

Bryce signed my Vampire Knight manga pic as the voice of Hanabusa Aidou. I mentioned that I was looking forward to seeing the dub version of Blue Exorcist that evening.

of maids and exorcists

Known for blending humor into everything and anything, Jmanga introduced famed mangaka, Ishiguro Masakazu-sensei, the creator for Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru and Jmanga’s newest release Present for Me. Editor for Shonen-gahosa, Ohno Masahiro-sensei was also in attendance.

The last panel of the evening was the Blue Exorcist Screening with Bryce Papenbrook as the titled character, Okumura Rin. If I recall correctly, the screening show the 3rd and 5th episode of the series, bring us right into the action, the secret…and highschool rivalry.

Saturday, October 13

more about josei

My first panel on Saturday started at 11am, so I actually got to sleep in. A rarity during convention days. ^^; My first panel of the day was with Anno Moyoco-sensei. It was an honor to meet her, having read Happy Mania via Tokyopop all those years ago. Hosted by Ed Chavez of Vertical Inc., the panel could even be an intro to josei and hopefully a start of a new wave of the genre in the West.

exploring the rest of the con

After the panel, I headed into the Exhibit Hall to grab pics of the Good Smile figurines that I fell in love with. Nendroids! <3

As I anticipated, the hall was packed with the heightened Saturday attendance. It was difficult walking anywhere so I attempted to locate the Artist Alley instead.

The Artist Alley was held in the separate wing that was holding the autograph area last year. It’s an improvement as an artist alley in that the area has wider aisles than before.

I had to leave the chaos behind when we neared 3pm since I wanted to attend the Anno-sensei signing….

a blast of color

Initially, the staff was not allowing anyone to join the line if they didn’t have the autograph ticket given out that morning. Thankfully, they opened the line soon after that silly announcement. A staff walked about writing fans’ name in katakana on an index card. Anno-sensei had a board with the Sakuran artwork on it which she personalized. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a shikishi but made out of thicker paper. Slightly thicker, but still bendable. Anno-sensei also chose a bookmark for the fans which I graciously accepted.

the future of digital manga

A company based on digital releases, Jmanga had a steady stream of licenses throughout the year. With the next stage of releases in Jmanga7, the Japanese publishing companies hope to bridge the gap of chapters between Japan and the West. Go Jmanga!

last autograph

Thankfully, I was able to get to the Jmanga booth for the signing with little mishap. Ishiguro-sensei allowed fans to sign two things. I got the shikishi signed as well as the special clear file that he created. I told him in my broken Japanese that I really liked the Kyoufu Tappen series which is a mix of comedy and horror. Very interesting. I hope to read more from that collection.

Tiger&Bunny!

I headed towards the next panel early since I wanted to get a good seat, but of course the line was already quite long. I ended up sitting near the front on the right side. It made little difference since photos weren’t allowed. Viz was hosting the panel for mangaka and character designer, Katsura Masakazu-sensei and Sunrise producer, Tamura Kazuhiko-san.

The panel was a wonderful way to end Saturday. Hilarity and all. Due to the NYAF folding into NYCC, there was no Masquerade this year. Truly disappointed since it was a highlight of the con. It had both anime and comic elements to it before, so I was surprised to see it pulled from the program. Instead, daily hall cosplay contests were held. Still, it was sorely missed from the evening.

Sunday, October 14

I took a quick look around the Exhibit hall before my first panel.

Kodansha apparently announced the day before that they will bring out a new Sailor Moon artbook that will include illustrations from the 5 Material Collections as well as new pieces by Takeuchi Naoko-sensei. Looking forward to the release next year!

just two more panels to go!

My first panel of the day was with Viz Media with it’s anime, manga, digital and dub channel releases. There is always something to keep us entertained.

It was followed up by the NIS America Anime panel with a few reminders to get some premium editions and a totally brand new anime announcement. The NIS panel had a huge line…for a small panel room. I was surprised since NIS is pretty popular and though their anime lineup is short, their quality is undeniable. (The con should really get rid of those small rooms: long rooms that stretch all the way to the back is not conducive to viewing screens for a narrow front.)

Transform!

Sunday is Kids Day at the con and like the years before, kids get in free while parents need a badge. The number of kids running around in their future Halloween costumes is interesting enough, but my favorite has to be this one. I finally found the famous Transformer kid from last year. Last year, he was Optimus Prime, this year he was Bumblebee. I believe the most adorable choice ever. He must be so tired, standing up and lying down at the calls of the crowd. I asked his father if he knew about his son being an internet sensation. Another fan piped up beside me saying the same thing. The father said that he had no idea. We insist that he go on youtube to look it up. ^_^ I only heard about the kid last year, but never saw him in action. I’m glad to be able to finally see him for myself.

last few shots

I headed back to the Dealer’s room for some last minute browsing as well as cosplay pics.

no NYAF?

This year’s NYCC has been one of massive change. I feel that the lack of a cosplay masquerade was big loss. However, even without the NYAF title, the anime track was varied enough as evidenced by the number of panels I managed to hit and the panels I was unable to go to. Though there weren’t any major anime movie screenings held this year, the comic track had a few big ones to make up for it. The guest list was extensive as usual and I truly enjoyed the plethora of subjects and humor the mangaka, seiyuu and producers could conjure up.

The final count of attendees increased once again to the attendance cap of 116,000 people. Construction at the Javits is completed with the promise of more space next year. Many an anime fan has mentioned skipping this con due to the disappearance of NYAF from the title. But I can assure them that the disappearance is only in name. Though the comic track is still prominent, there is enough to do, enough to see, enough to be entertained. Of course, having your friends around is always fun.

Awaiting next year’s dates!

 
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One Response

  1. Michael Wan

    I’ve been going to NYCC since 2006 and I had to agree that the small changes made really did make a huge difference. While anime was still there, its presense was a lot smaller this year than previous years and I really miss the masquerade. This years comicon was a bit of a letdown but I didn’t realize there was still plenty to do. Great job covering so much of the con and attending the panels that are usually overlooked. I’m looking forward to next year and hopefully the return of the masquerade.

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