I’ve wrote this before, but I’ll say it again. New York Anime Festival was my first convention. Unlike a lot of convention goers, I didn’t start going until I was 21. Why? Because I had no one to go with. Then a couple of friends decided to go to a convention. It was the 2008 New York Anime Festival. I only went for one day, but a lot of things happened. I made a friend and I started to wear nekomimi (cat ears). It was also the first time I’ve seen people cosplay in person. I was interested in cosplaying before, but going to that convention inspired me to actually cosplay.
The 2009 New York Anime Festival was my first convention when I went alone. It was also the first time I cosplayed (outside Halloween, when I cosplayed Vandred’s Hibiki Tokai during high school). I cosplayed Negima’s Inugami Kotarou. It was a costume that no one noticed, but I’m glad that I did it. This convention was particularly special because right after the first day, I went to see my first baseball game. Other things happened which I will not go in detail on. The next day, I went to the Makino Yui concert. Her songs were very emotional, especially Amrita, which got me a bit teary-eyed.
The next NYAF was the first one that was combined with NYCC. Unlike some people, I had no problem with the combination at that time. I mean, there was a smaller focus on anime, but there were a lot more cosplayers and a lot still happened that year. They showed The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi and Nagato Yuki’s seiyuu, Chihara Minori, was in attendance during that screening. She also had a concert the next day and just like in the Makino Yui concert the year before, one of her songs, Yasashii Boukyaku, made me cry (yes I get it, I get too emotional sometimes). Vocaloid and Crypton Future Media also made an appearance and hinted in an Miku English voice.
Before I go on to this year, I do have a bit of a disclaimer. How I felt about NYAF will most certainly be different than other people thoughts about NYAF. My mood during those two days affected how I viewed NYAF 2011.
This year’s NYAF was after a good AnimeNEXT, a great Anime Expo, and an amazing trip to Japan. One would hope that NYAF would follow its predecessors, but it didn’t. Remember when I said I had no problem with NYAF 2010. I had big problems with NYAF 2011. The lines in Day 1 was ridiculously stupid. We were lined ouside since the area where we would usually wait was not available that day. The line wrapped around the whole convention center before it opened, forcing us to go all around the building to get to the end of the line. Then it appeared that NYAF got more screwed. The panels were nowhere near where NYAF was. Also, it appeared that there was an even bigger focus on comics. Of course, my mood was affected at the fact that people bailed on me for two straight days. I don’t blame them, but I was still affected that. However, despite that, I clearly noticed that there was also a problem with scheduling. The biggest culprit in this was the masquerade. I do not know the details but the 8:00 masquerade did not start at time. I was in line the hour before it was supposed to start and we were placed two halls from the IGN Theater. Then after 8, we were moved to another hall that was connected to the theater, but we were still not let in. 20 minutes past and we were told 15 more minutes by NYCC staff. Then another 20 minutes past and we were told by the convention center staff 25 more minutes. As much as I wanted to check out the masquerade, I was not going to continue to wait and I left. A bad end to NYAF 2011 for me.
But basically because of this year, I have decided the following: I will not go to NYAF again unless one or more of the following conditions are met:
1. NYAF is seperated from NYCC
2. If NYAF is not seperated from NYCC, there needs to be a bigger focus on anime
3. There are particular guests that come to NYAF
4. I find people that will go with me to NYAF (and actually go)
The last condition is the biggest factor here. For a person like me that is timid, going with other people makes the experience better. Going alone is okay, but when there is no one to talk to when nothing is going on (when I say that, I mean just sitting around), then there is a problem. If you’re saying I should change, you’re right. But you’re assuming that one can change overnight.