From The Bizarre Ashes: New York Anime Festival/New York Comic Con; A Look Back

17 Oct

Hello all,

I know this piece might seem to be a bit late but the idea for this post just came to me. I realized (after reading a post on another blog) I spent so much time on the facts of what occurred to make my NYAF/NYCC experience that I didn’t even bother to share my own thoughts on this major event. A week after the end of the con is enough that I can share not only my thoughts but also those that I have found while online (and mostly on Facebook).

First of all I would probably be nicer towards the con than others simply because this is my first NYAF. I don’t know what the event was like as a separate entity. But that is probably a good thing since my thoughts might be more unbiased than others (although what people have told me will contribute to some bias but I will try to leave that out).

One thing that was apparent from the get-go was that NYAF was not going to be anywhere near the size of NYCC. NYCC had much more space. There was a dealer’s room (in which a small corner of the room was allocated for anime/manga merchandise). I am not sure if there was a NYCC artist alley but the NYAF artist alley was shoved in the basement. Also there were the rooms that would be used for panels. The major screenings (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and The Gundam 00 movie; sorry I don’t know the name) were put into relatively small auditoriums used for regular panels; at least the Haruhi Suzumiya premiere was I didn’t attend the Gundam screening. Would it have been possible to screen the movies in the IGN theater? Maybe. It would have been a better experience and have had more people attend if it would have been possible. Even when the IGN theater was used for a NYAF event (the Chihara concert and masquerade) there was no reference of NYAF on stage (maybe barring the podium). The backdrop only referenced NYCC.

My analysis and thoughts on this “issue”: While this might have been a major issue for many who went to NYAF/NYCC solely for NYAF it wasn’t so much of an issue for me. I have friends who have claimed that they will never set foot inside NYAF again if it is not a separate con. I don’t think it is such a big deal. There is one reason I can think of for the disproportionate amount of NYCC space/stuff and that is that I would assume more people attended this event for NYCC rather than NYAF. The reason I am hearing people complain about this is because I associate with more people who care about NYAf than I do who care about NYCC. I would expect the same reaction in a person who cared about NYCC if NYAF was the main proponent of the event. For me personally though this wasn’t a huge deal. I did everything I really wanted to and ended up spending my time wandering around anyway. I understand that those attending for NYAF felt that they got the shaft but looking back is it really that surprising? Thinking about it now I would say no, this should have been expected to some extent.

Another very obvious problem was the sheer number of people in attendance. At some points in both days I went, walking through the dealer’s room or even the main lobby was a hassle. I know they sold out of Saturday passes no later than the Friday of the con. There were many people who also brought their spouses and/or children. The only real issue caused by this overcrowding was walking around the con was hectic due to all the traffic. The dealer’s room was absolutely packed and moving around there was a nightmare.

My analysis and opinion: What I said above is pretty close to my own feelings. This hit a lot closer to home than others since I was carrying around a bulky sign that got destroy since many people at the con didn’t seem to want to or care to keep up with what was going on around them. This is pretty normal though. I attended NYCC back in 2004 for a Magic tournament and I remember that on that one day (Saturday) the con got so overcrowded that badge sales were suspended and the fire marshal was called in (which made moving around somewhat difficult as they blocked off key staircases. Now bear in mind that this is no one’s fault. This issue is simply the result of having huge events like NYAF and NYCC thrown together. All that can really be hoped for is that next year the construction that is currently underway will be finished and more space will be available for either or both cons (depending on whether or not they hold the events together next year).

Once you got into the con another, more serious issue rears its ugly head: the poor quality of the staff. Now I understand that working for a huge con must be a very difficult job but some of the staff seemed somewhat incompetent. I heard stories of staff misleading people, not being able to help people at all. I also heard that many of the staff were (possibly unpaid) volunteers.

My opinion and analysis: I like to have a game plan walking in to a con and making sure I know the layout of the event (for the most part; some things you can only learn by exploring) so I didn’t need to interact with the staff very much. They were very good at keeping people out from places they didn’t belong but that was really all I saw. Like I said I am sure that it is not an easy job but from the anecdotes I have heard it seems that the staff was fairly inept (and some people even described them as rude). One thing that left a weird taste in my mouth was the fact that some attendants thought I was staff. Now I don’t know how that is possible. I was wearing a blue suit. The staff was wearing either yellow or red t-shirts or black or purple polo shirts (that I think may have had security written on them).

Those were the main issues that came up. I am sure there are other issues but if I can’t think of them off the top of my head they might not be important enough to bring up. Do I think the event had it’s fair share of problems? Yes. Are all of them the fault of the staff/those in charge? No. Are people always going to complain about something? Yes. Should NYAF/NYCC figure out a way to try to fix some of these problems? Yes. All I can say are these few bits: I have been to two anime conventions (Otakon 2010 and NYAF/NYCC 2010) and Otakon was so much better than NYAF/NYCC. Will I attend NYAF in the future whether or not it is associated with NYCC? Probably. Did I have a good time? Yes. And finally was the con as bad a people are saying? Probably not, they might just be biased based on their own disappointment.

So there is my take on NYAF/NYCC. If you attended and enjoyed the event then I hope to see you there next year. If not, well all I can do is hope for one of two things: 1) They fix the major problems that people have with the event or 2) You get over the problems that you think plagued the con this year; so you will decided to attend in the future. I am sure they did the best they could given what they had to work with.

If you are so disgusted with NYAF/NYCC as some of my friends are, someone started a Facebook group dedicated to “saving” NYAF by having it run once again as a standalone event.

Now this might not be necessary but if people want change then they need to make their opinions known.

Looking back it is easy to see what is wrong and what is right with not only NYAF/NYCC but almost everything in life. To get through something in the present you need to focus on the positives and let all the negatives take a backseat.

So until next time; rising up from the bizarre ashes,

Your analytical club secretary,


Seth Tobias Zeltzer


2 Responses to “From The Bizarre Ashes: New York Anime Festival/New York Comic Con; A Look Back”

  1. oral seymour January 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    I remember this show. I was there.


  1. World Spinner - October 17, 2010

    From The Bizarre Ashes: New York Anime Festival/New York Comic Con ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

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