RECAP: Anime NYC 2018 Has a Smashing Second Year

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PILDER ON! On November 16-18, Anime NYC returned for its second year at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York City. Described as NYC’s anime convention, It pulls in guests and fans around the world to celebrate the love, passion, and enthusiasm for Japanese animation, gaming, and culture. Originally announced in the fall of 2016, Anime NYC had its debut in November of 2017.

For its second year, Anime NYC was bigger, louder, and better, with a larger dealers room, a wide array of panels, and a wide assortment of guests and voice actors. Having gone the first year and enjoyed myself, I was eager to see how Anime NYC would fare in its second year. In short, it lived up to the hype. The biggest headline for Anime NYC this is year was Anisong World Matsuri, who conducted the music for various projects, including Fate Stay/Night Heaven’s Feel.

The dealers room was packed with booths, including Funimation, AniPlex, and Crunchyroll. The biggest additions to the floor included Arc Systems Works, Bandai Namco, Viz Media, and Kadonsha Comics. Arc Systems Works brought in the first playable demo of their ambitious upcoming fighting game, Kill La Kill: IF, based on the wildly popular anime and manga series from Studio Trigger. The booth also had playable demos for BlazBlue CrossPlay Battle and was the site to announce their newest visual novel game, World End Syndrome.

CrunchyRoll Games debuted their mobile titles,  Bungo Stray Dogs and Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon, and Bandai Namco showcased its two mobile games, Tokyo Ghoul and Record of the Grancrest War. Additionally, new streaming services also had their presence at Anime NYC, including VRV and the newly formed anime streaming service, HI-Dive, which features more niche and unique anime offerings.

The panel selection for Anime NYC was incredible this year, and I managed to attended several of them. Kodansha comics had a solid line-up of announcements, including the upcoming releases of Sailor Moon Eternal Edition and the announcement of the Sailor Moon musical making its way to the United States. Other announcements included Manga adaptations of popular video games, such as Fate/Grand Order and Tales of Berseria.

Pictured: Panel “Sentai Filmworks and HIDIVE Present: MADE IN ABYSS”

ViZ Media brought in their own brand of excitement, with the announcement of several manga, a video game, and the unveiling of a special animatic – a preliminary version of a movie, produced by shooting successive sections of a storyboard and adding a soundtrack – from DJ Slushie. New announcements included BeastStars, which is described as Japan’s interpretation of the Disney movie Zootopia, and Komi Can’t Communicate, the story of a young woman who want to make friends in school, but is greatly conflicted with crippling anxiety. ViZ Media is also collaborating with Oregon-based Rose City Games to deliver The World Next Door, a surreal puzzle RPG with fascinating visuals.

Sentai Filmworks unveiled news about their upcoming movie to the popular series, Made in Abyss. The cast for the English dub of the movie, which included legendary voice actor John Swayze, talked about their work in voicing their characters in their unique fantasy setting. For John Swayze, the project was unique as he is the voice director on the project. The team took questions from the audience, which made for very interesting and even humorous responses.

Pictured: Panel “Kodansha Comics & Vertical Comics Present Manga… of the FUTURE” announcing Sailor Moon: Eternal Edition

Perhaps the biggest panel for me was the present and future of Studio Trigger, a nearly filled-to-capacity panel that showcased existing and upcoming projects in the works. In this panel, the team celebrated the wild sensation was was Darling in the Franxx, a science fiction mecha anime where young men and women pilot machines together to defeat massive monsters. To celebrate, they released an illustration of one of the mechs, known as Strelitzia, and discuss why the machines have a feminine appearance.

Up next was further news about Kill La Kill: IF, where Studio Trigger detailed the development process and their role as superiors. They announced new playable characters and unveiled the final form of the series’ antagonist. Next, they discussed their excitement for SSSS Gridman, which began airing in the West recently, and its influences from the DiC show, Super Human Samurai. They showcased the concept art for the mecha and the Kaiju featured in the show. Finally, they released a small, but incredible sneak peak at Pramore, their newest production from the makers of Gurren Laggen and Kill La Kill.

Anime NYC exploded this year in comparison to last. 36,000 attendees were confirmed to have attended the event.  I was amazed at how strong the anime community is in the New York City area and how many showed their support for this particular event. It was heartwarming to see so much enthusiasm and community for the medium, especially with the the large assortment of cosplay and artwork. As someone that also went to Otakon, in Washington, D.C, Anime NYC was just as good. Where Otakon felt like a humbled celebration, Anime NYC felt like a triumph.

Anime NYC was a fantastic experience for 2018, and I can’t wait to experience it again for 2019.