As the year rolls over into 2024, it's time to take a look back at our last anime convention of the 2023 season. Heading over to the East Coast once again, we set our sights on Anime NYC in none other than New York City. What was it like? Read on to find out.

Anime NYC 2023 took place in the Javits Center, one of the busiest and largest convention centers in the US. Conveniently located near the 34th Street/Hudson Yards subway station and off the Hudson, the convention center is a breeze to get to with a variety of hotel options nearby.

The Javits Center is huge and the Anime NYC is certainly a large convention. They make good use of the space by separating the Dealers Hall and Artist Alley area on one floor and having event spaces and panels on the lower floors. It's a good organizational system and makes crowding less of an issue.

Did we mention the convention center is huge? There are multiple floors and even just the Dealers Hall may be the size of many other conventions. Doing some research beforehand and looking up locations was pretty important for attending panels, since they are in different parts of this large building. Some of the lower floors and rooms are pretty far away and can be difficult to find without help.

Surprisingly, I'd say lines were handled fairly well considering the attendance at the convention. Most spaces were marked for lines, including before the opening of the Dealers hall. There was enough staff to direct people and keep lines moving at a steady pace while still leaving enough room for people to get by. For a convention of this size, it is commendable and goes to show how much effort is put in behind the scenes when it comes to organization.

Once inside the massive Dealers Hall, the space opens up with large walkways in between booths, which was a huge relief. It was nice to see they didn't fill it to the brim with barely enough space to walk between booths. The larger booths, of course, had perimeters and guides set up for lines. As more people were let in, the area grew a lot busier, but didn't feel too cramped compared to some other conventions we have attended in the past.

One of the major booths and draws was the Hololive booth, which was located at the front of the Dealers Hall just as you got in. That tracks, considering how popular they were and the fact that they had a Suisei concert as well. Other booths in the area included an Omocat booth and a collection of publishers, Hidive, and various fashion brands.

Walking through the rest of the Dealers Hall gave you the context of how large it was. There were two major sections and each area was easily the size of some smaller convention halls. Having space and being able to fit a lot of room in between booths was honestly a feat and can't be overstated. If you've ever been to an anime convention, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

We'll get back to this screen a little later, but throughout the convention, Hololive was running streams with their talents live on it. These included interactive events and the tech setup was quite impressive given this was in the middle of the Dealers Hall. I guess it wouldn't be wrong to call it a mini Hololive Con. :P

Similar to a lot of our previous conventions, gacha gaming was really big with a Yostar booth here as well. Just look at the Arknights and other various gacha game booths. There was a booth for just about every major gacha game you could think of. Anime conventions have really diversified over the years and part of the reach can likely be attributed to new media methods such as gacha games, VTubers, etc.

Part of the diversification has also really changed how conventions have run and the overall atmosphere. It no longer holds the same negative stigma that was likely attributed to it in the past. It's no wonder attendance has been increasing for a lot of conventions over the years. The pandemic might have initially stifled growth, but it certainly seems to have rebounded.

That's not to say that anime wasn't featured prominently at Anime NYC 2023. The latest anime previews and anime from previous seasons were prominently displayed. Of course, this included the best couple from Oshi no Ko. I'll leave it to your imagination who we're talking about here.

When it comes to vibes, Anime NYC was pretty pumping. You could feel the excitement of con-goers and it helped amplify the feeling of being at an anime convention. It certainly helped when others are enthusiastic about being there as the feeling spreads throughout the convention.

Being one of the larger conventions, there was a lot of merchandise being sold as well as various large screenings throughout the weekend. Major booths were advertising their upcoming anime and had select screenings for both new and previous shows. Some of the publishing booths also had early sales for releases and also made announcements throughout the weekend.

Usually, I'm not one to watch live shows or be confused by these things, but this one really took the cake. As we walked by a bunch of the major booths, this was going on at the Aniplex stage. It was a random moment, but it was interesting, to say the least. I feel like this was probably someone's nightmare.

And now back to your regularly scheduled Hololive Con content. At one point there was a live karaoke stream with audience participation with FuwaMoco. Let's just say this was probably the first time I saw such a large crowd at any of the booths. People were really getting into it while others were unaware of the event and asked what was going on.

Our takeaways from Anime NYC 2023 were positive. We attended a variety of panels, walked through the large Dealers Hall and Artist Alley, and experienced a lot of the convention. It helps that the convention was also located in New York City, which provided a lot of other experiences while attending the convention. Anime NYC felt more like a corporate convention at times, but it's hard to argue that it wasn't an enjoyable experience. The location and size of the place really made it comfortable without having to line up or be packed into narrow halls.

Given an opportunity, would we attend again?

More than likely. Anime NYC 2023 was a good convention experience. The only note is that Anime NYC 2024 has been moved to August, so we'll have to see how that works out for us.

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