New York Comic Con just announced that they will no longer have a side show which was called the New York Anime Festival. And adding insult to injury their press release no longer refers to cosplay, but instead uses the mundane term “costume contest”. It’s been hard watching what’s happened to the show over the last few years — but you just get the feeling that New York Comic Con is embarrassed by anime.
But once upon a time the New York Anime Festival was amazing: Yes I know it wasn’t fan run, and I hate the Javits Center with a passion yet there was something wonderful about having a full scale anime convention in Manhattan. However sadly two years ago ReedPOP crunched the numbers and they decided that while the anime fans were there that the anime companies weren’t what they once were. The result was that for the past two years New York Comic Con featured a side show called New York Anime Festival — which was just depressing.
The first year the anime section was shoved in the basement of the south side of the convention center. Now think of this again: They put the anime fans in the basement, what better way to bury someone? 2011 was a little bit better: They put the anime section of the show in the attic. I honestly had no idea that the Javits Center had an attic — and while it was an amazing attic with a killer view of the Hudson River it was like going to a convention hidden in a treehouse.
The anime otaku put on a brave face — and showed up, in fact the place was packed. Yet in these last two years there was a real ghetto feeling to what was going on. Of course New York Comic Con did an amazing job to keep the otaku happy by directly marketing to them, but today they pulled the plug on all of that. Will they still have japanese guests at the show? Yes. Will they still have some anime programming? Yes. But will fans want to travel in from out of town to go to the show? My bet is that they won’t. And my bet is that the anime companies that are left won’t spend their marketing dollars on the show.
Over the long run my bet is that this won’t hurt New York Comic Con — in fact I’d bet that this year they’ll break the records from last year. But as an anime fan who lives in New York this is a very sad day…