A month ago, we announced that we were invited to cover Anime NYC this year on behalf of media. This weekend marks Anime NYC's return, from November 18th to the 20th at the Javits Center in New York. Last year was the first time we attended the event as press, although for myself, I've attended all five years beginning in 2017. This makes Anime NYC 2022 just as important to me as well. To see how much things have improved, from a small cut-off section in the Center to a massive turnout in the thousands last year is something I'm glad to be a part of.
Anime NYC 2022 will be an eventful, well, event, filled with guests, panels, game rooms, booths, and other special surprises. As always I will separate this post with the various days that I'll be attending. Be sure to click each day within the table of contents to skip to a part you'd like to read more about. Without further ado, let's get this show on the road.
Before the festivities begin, here are some recent anime games I've revisited from my childhood to hype up the event, so to speak. Be sure to also check out the newly added "anime" tag for games I've left first impressions on that are either based on anime or had anime based on them.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories and Duelist of the Roses (True Duel Monsters)
- Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale
- Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 (And its connection to Wangan Midnight)
- Trigun Stampede First Impressions Premiere
- Mel Kishida Exclusive Anime NYC 2022 Interview
- King Vader Exclusive Anime NYC 2022 Interview
It’s 10 AM on a Friday morning and the brisk New York autumn air strikes against my face as violently as a Backlash Wave from Inuyasha. It’s that time of year again as Anime NYC begins, celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the convention since 2017. As someone who has attended the convention since its first year, it’s been a journey that I’ve been happy to be a part of.
The exhibit halls slowly filled up over time as the attendees in various cosplays began to fill the floor. I didn’t get a chance to fully embrace the first day crowd until late in the afternoon, however, as I had two very special guests I had the honor to speak with. The first guest, Mel Kishida, was an interview I was looking forward to since it was confirmed I’d be a part of it.
Last year, 1 UP Infinite took a look at one of the latest games he had worked on as a lead designer, Blue Reflection Second Light, or Blue Reflection Tie in Japan. In the hour-long interview, I got to learn more about the artist, what goes into his work, some of his favorite anime and dream collaborations, and the future.
Immediately following the interview with Kishida-san, we met with our second guest, King Vader. One of the biggest names in anime content creation, Vader has made a name for himself as a multi-faceted artist. Whether it’s acting or directing, he has quickly risen from being one of the rising stars to come from Vine to having his own Netflix series. With many projects on the way, including one of his dream projects that he reveals in the 30-minute interview, Vader’s presence is as inspiring as his words.
Almost as inspiring as attempting to secure a Gundam shortly after. To explain the segue, before the interviews I made an attempt to enter the Gundam Expo U.S.A 2022 booth. In possibly the biggest event that Bandai Namco had done this year relating to the hit anime series, this year’s G-Expo was important for several reasons.
The first would be an attempt to break the Guinness world record on the number of people building gunpla all at the same time. This feat, which would be performed the following day, marked a huge milestone in the history of gunpla. “Gunpla” is a combination of the words Gundam and Plastic Model, referring to the plastic kits that make up a huge part of the franchise.
Gundam: The Witch from Mercury marks the first time in seven years that a new Gundam TV series has aired, following Iron-Blooded Orphans. As is the case with other Gundam series, this one has several gunplas planned for release and of the ones released, two are Gundam Aerial and Gundam Lfrith, the most popular ones from the show. With that in mind, the line for the Expo was super long like, “sweeping-around-the-booth” twice. By the time I returned in the late afternoon, I wasn’t able to retrieve it, but I was able to get Lfrith from the Mercury Prologue so there’s that! Rather than counting my losses, I had an anime premiere to watch.
Following the amazing first episode of Trigun Stampede, I was invited to a con afterparty, which is commonplace for conventions and expos in general. When one thinks of afterparties, one tend to think of raves, clubs, and masquerades. For a complete change of place, I attended a tea after-party. Bonus points for the venue of the after-party being a cafe I passed by several times on occasion to work when I needed coffee at the Starbucks next door and it was too early to sit with a cup of tea and relax.
Located at Angelina Paris and hosted by Fei a.k.a Darling Baby in collaboration with Yen Press and Kinokuniya, the idea behind the tea party was to experience the influence of French cuisine and dining aesthetics as shown in several Japanese media. There are several anime that are either directly located in France, like The Rose of Versailles to fictional European countries including Violet Evergarden, that features formal settings on occasions such as these.
I compared the scene to that of an Ouran High School Host Club episode except instead of high school students being the hosts, there was the cafe staff who made it their mission to ensure everyone was satisfied. To promote the event, Yen Press displayed one of their manga, The Case Study Of Vanitas, which does indeed take place in Paris.
Each guest received glasses of champagne (or matcha tea if it was preferred) and an occasional rotation of several hor d’oeurves from ratatouille to yaki-tori. The head chef, servers, and staff Angelina Paris worked their best to ensure the food was up to the standards of the event.
Fei was an amazing host who greeted every attendee with the grace of any host and was happy to talk about the origins of such an event. Having been a regular for a year, she had the idea of hosting an event spurred by her love of Otome, shoujo, and josei genres. The concept of a tea after party was such an interesting pitch that everyone was on board with the idea.
Working as an art journalist in the daytime, Fei had a sense of fashion as bright as her personality and she insisted all had a good time. I’m usually an introvert but even I couldn’t help but get to mingle with the other attendees and even make new friends. The food was great, the atmosphere was just as decadent, and it was calming.
While I rarely, if ever, attend afterparties, an alternative for those who are against loud atmospheres makes this a potential yearly endeavor. Before I left, Fei did mention that there would be more events on the way, so stay tuned for news in the upcoming months! You may find her on Twitter where she’s posting delicious treats as well as discussing the latest gaming title that catches her eye.
- Tomo-Chan Is A Girl! Kicks Doors @ Anime NYC
- HIGH CARD Is A Royal Flush @ Anime NYC 2022
The second day at Anime NYC began with a larger crowd and more traffic, a staple for weekend cons where Saturday is a day that most attendees have off. It was also my most social day as I could afford to wear cosplay and not worry about an interview. As seen in most of the following pictures, I’m cosplaying as Power from Chainsaw Man, a much more identifiable character than Alex Chen from Life Is Strange True Colors.
Chainsaw Man is one of the most popular anime this season as it was a very popular manga before its inevitable anime adaptation. The series follows Denji, a young devil hunter accompanied by his pet devil, Pochita. Having spent most of his life slaying devils to make ends meet, a chance encounter with a devil-slaying troupe and a brush with death transforms him into Chainsaw Man. Now fused with a devil himself, the series shows the trials and tribulations of his fellow devil hunters as they get into quirky scenarios.
Power is introduced shortly at the beginning of Chainsaw Man, accompanying Denji in killing the Bat Devil. From the beginning, the two don’t get along well. Denji thinks of Power as weird, if not having a mild attraction to her. Power sees Denji as just another “dumb human” to use in order to free her pet cat, Nyanko (Or Meowry in the English version).
Eventually, the two become close friends, having an almost sibling relationship. Power begins to respect Denji as he’s more like her as a fellow Devil than most humans. After understanding her attraction to Power is suited as friends, she starts to warm up to him as a reliable ally (to an extent). Power’s entire attitude is what I can explain as someone who is out for her own self-interest. She’s willing to be selfless if she feels others are worthy of her respect or when the time calls for it, but she is not above using others’ misery for her enjoyment.
In the latest episode, Power revels in Kobeni’s stress over the situation they are all in, finding her stress to be a source of her own enjoyment. There are other instances where her priorities are unique only to her understanding and no one else’s. It’s a bit of quirkiness that I grew attracted to as I always have a fondness for characters whose level of morals transcends beyond “black and white.”
What made me cosplay her was not only being a fan of the character but also the simplicity of it. I didn’t need much to plan the cosplay and there were literally hundreds of other cosplays of the same character. I didn’t have to worry about standing out because I was one of many of the same. Blending in meant I could be the character without feeling like a spotlight was cast on me. That said, it was fun taking pics with other cosplayers as a cosplay than as a regular person with a badge.
Aside from the two anime premieres that I saw, Tomo-Chan Is A Girl! and HIGH CARD, I also saw the premiere of episodes from two series currently running. The first was Spy x Family, featuring George Wada, the president of Wit Studio, one of the studios that worked on Spy x Family. During the panel, Wada shared information about the show through its production. The joint production between Wit and Cloverworks served as a way to ensure fans of the series that episodes will release in a timely manner.
This explains how Spy x Family returned so quickly after being a part of Spring 2022’s lineup this year. Wada also shared some of his favorite aspects of the show, including the daughter Anya being his favorite character. Spy x Family is a series that has its fair share of action-comedy based on the “spy” franchises it was inspired by.
It also has elements of slice-of-life as a make-believe family quickly begins to become comfortable with their roles. Very rarely does an anime feature an entire family as protagonists, usually focusing on one member at a time. Spy x Family highlights the pros of starting a family and its themes are more open to all ages than most.
The episode that was revealed was the first part of an episode that was just finished that same week. According to Wada, this episode was finished on Wednesday at midnight and was ready for preview at Anime NYC in mere days. So far I’ve seen early premieres of new series, so to see a freshly baked episode out of the oven is a very cool thing I can say I experienced.
The second series that I saw a preview of was actually a part of a pair with Tomo-Chan Is A Girl!, although the mention of one anime having its own article versus this only solely mentioned here can give you a taste of what I preferred the most. Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro’s Season 2 premiere was something I didn’t care too much about as it was from an anime I care very little about. Since I’ve seen it, I’m inclined to give information about the series anyway.
Nagatoro is what I would consider a romantic comedy that features a dominant love interest and a protagonist who enjoys it far too much. In short, the main character meets Nagatoro, an underclassman who is an entire dictionary definition of “bad news.” She is relentless, picking apart the protagonist's weaknesses and exploiting them for her enjoyment. Usually, this is in the form of pranks, poking fun at the protagonist’s perverse nature, although there are times when these pranks backfire in the most embarrassing way.
It’s not the worst series in the world. It is enjoyable in the rare instances when the protagonist gets his comeupance over Nagatoro. Then you realize the appeal of the show is the bully doing the bullying, not the bully getting bullied. The issue is that the second season begins the same way any episode from the first season would begin and that’s centered around yet another prank.
The plot-heavy things don’t kick into high gear until far in the manga and until then, there’s little character development. It’s an enjoyable debut if you were a fan of season 1, but that’s the only praise I could give it. As earlier, please check out the individual articles about Tomo-Chan and HIGH CARD as those were the highlights of my Saturday by far.
The final day was all about Gundam, something I only scratched the surface with in the beginning. When I mentioned that 2022 was a great year for Gundam, I also meant in terms of events as well. Performing live for the first time in years, Japanese rock band [Alexandros] performed a live concert in the Special Events hall to celebrate the Gundam Expo. They performed most of their popular songs, including Senko, the song used for the Gundam Hathaway movie.
Having only heard of the band by name, I quickly discovered that they had done the opening and ending themes for Judge Eyes, a Ryu Ga Gotoku spinoff that we had looked at a long time ago here. What was even more impressive was that I had the opportunity to pick at their brain. They explain the electrifying energy of Anime NYC, enough to perform an encore on the spot, and the elation one feels performing in front of a live audience again after so many years.
Speaking of Gundam, the last of my spoils was a Figure-Rise version of Suletta Mercury, the protagonist of Gundam Witch From Mercury, the clear kit version of Sandrock Gundam from Gundam Wing, and of course Gundam Lfrith also from Witch From Mercury. This Gundam series revitalized my favorite past-time hobby and I figure with how slow releases have been for games recently, I'd switch lanes and feature some Gunpla-related articles. I may start this shortly before the year ends, but I figure bi-weekly I'll show off a Gunpla kit, record it, and discuss the history of the mobile suit. Gunpla Fridays? Maybe?
I didn’t get a chance to play a lot of the games in the arcade area, which was arguably its smallest this year, but I got to play Dance Maniax! It’s an arcade game where you wave your arms frantically above and below the sensors. It’s meant to emulate the Para Para dance style but I wound look looking like a fool.
That about wraps up my experience with Anime NYC 2022! There were so many panels and premieres I wish I had a chance to see there. One of what stood out to me was the Deemo movie, based on the events of the story-driven rhythm game. In terms of future releases, there were many awesome reveals, and it was a joy seeing the liveliness of the attendees once more.
Thank you once again Anime NYC for having us once again and congratulations on the half-of-a-decade anniversary! Here’s to many more.