During the weekend of October 8-10, 2010; New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival, had merged, and it was hosted at the Jacob Javits Center as every other large size conventions are normally held, in the New York City Area.
NYCC and NYAF has been sufficiently building up the buzz whether on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking. This has been occurring months and weeks even before the convention happened, so when the convention happened. I imagine fans were giddy with excitement.
This year as it had been with previous years, Thursday was available for people to go to the convention center to pick up their badges. Fans who had pre-registered for the event, had received their badges in the mail, so there was a push to minimize lines whenever possible. Not that it helped much, for as I observed, lines still occurred and build. Take a look at this line.. and it was taken on Sunday.
The day for the first day of the convention came quite early, as my agenda for an autograph ticket pushed me into the city at around 6am. Of course, I felt like a zombie for the most part, still it was worth it, as I came away with a ticket for New York Anime Festival’s featured guest, Minori Chihara. I wasn’t a fan of this Japanese voice actress, but as a favor for a friend, I did the early morning wait.
Since I didn’t have any thing for her to sign, I was able to get into the exhibition room during professional hours, to purchase an item for the guest to sign. Oddly enough there weren’t any cds of her music at the Kinokuniya Booth, so fans went and purchase official licensed goods at the Bandai Booth, of where I also got another autograph ticket. The convention was set to open at 1pm to the public, but from 10am to 1pm, it was professional hours, so I was already on a schedule.
I went and familiarize myself with the layout of this convention. Jacob Javits was going through construction, so the area between the main exhibition room was separated from the Comic Con Artist Alley, and an Autograph Arena. The Anime Festival had another artist alley, which was near their panel area. Comic Con had yet another area for their panels. Large scale events were conducted at the IGN theater in the middle of the convention center. Movie screenings, video game tournaments, table top card games, were located around various areas of the Convention Centers. There was events for every sense of geeky, and specialized activities to be done.
Panels I was interested in heading to, weren’t going to start until the afternoon, so I found myself just walking around, and taking mental notes of where things were. I found myself more in the NYAF wing of things.
The first panel I went to on Friday was a Shamisen performance by Oyama X Nitta. I have been on the search to find more experiences for listening to shamisen played live, so that was a fun panel for me. I believe the audience recognized the familiar play of the Wii music, that the Yoshida Brothers popularized.
The second panel I went to was the Spotlight on Minori Chihara. There were a lot of fans waiting for her, so after the panel moderator asked her some questions, the questions went to her fans, some were interesting such as what her next project was, or another one which had a lot of reaction from other fans on probably spoiling of a yet to be aired anime in the United States. A lot of fan boys were also speaking Japanese, gushing praises, so the moderator was pretty press for them to actually ask actual actual questions, for which there are some good ones. I heard that in a different panel, that Chihara was in, there were no fan questions.
Third panel on Friday, I went to was Anime in Academia, an interesting panel moderated by Alex Leavitt, with Casey Brienza (PhD student, Sociology, University of Cambridge); Mikhail Koulikov (Online Bibliography of Anime & Manga Research); Jennifer Fu (undergrad, Comparative Media Studies, MIT). I included a link to an audio of the panel, under the hyper link above. This panel started out on introducing audience members to the already scholarly work that was publishes in regards about Japanese Animation in the United States. Then the panel got into talking about was on the various challenges, resources, or impressions that the panelists had on writing about Japanese Animation into peer reviewed papers. Read widely across the subjects is an advice to remember, so that eventually writing can be analyzed to the widest range of the writer’s ability.
It was definitely enlightening to see what can audience members learn about turning a hobby into something serious. Even when the audience was allowed to ask question, many of them were in the middle of studying with the purpose or probably studying or writing about anime in the future.
The last panel I went for today was Conversations with the Vocaloid Creators. As a widely popular synthetic sound, Vocaloid has taken America by storm, as a lot of people who’s into anime nowadays should know who Miku Hatsune is. At past conventions I have taken photographs of characters from this brand. NYAF had specifically invited this year, the president of the company that created Vocaloid Hiroyuki Ito as a specific guest. The panel was spoken to a pack room, as far as a Vocaloid 101 is going to be. Vocaloid is a computer program,
With a trend similar to Apple or Android application creation. Hiroyuki Ito spoke about the impact that Vocaloid has, and what Piapro is. Piapro is a fan sharing site on all creations or works about Vocaloid, music, images, programs, anything that definitely is fan created can be shared with other fans. So far this is only available in the Japanese market though.
One thing that was definitely pushed in this panel, was the fact that with the immense popularity of Vocaloid, was that if there is enough fan interest, then there would eventually be an English release of Vocaloid, as a translated program from its Japanese version. So that way Miku Hatsune can eventually be used to sing in English as well. As with the conclusion of this convention, it was learned that Vocaloid is going to be available in 2011 as an English release.
More photos of NYCC/NYAF 2010 is available on Flckr.