General Show Floor + Cosplay:
Good Smile Company Booth:
Yoshitaka Amano Panel:
My article relating to the panel and Q&A portion over here.
Capcom's Remember Me Panel:
Some pictures of my SWAG from last year's NYCC.
If there's one thing I've realized upon writing this, it's how difficult it is to compare one year's convention to another. Indeed, it's something made even more difficult when you consider that NYCC 2011 was my first convention altogether, which gives it a distinction that no other NYCC or similar convention can ever have. Combined with other aspects, there's just no real way for me to properly decide which NYCC was better, so I'll just skip that and go into noting some of the differences between this year and last, as well as the positive and negative experiences from 2012.
And when looking at differences, there just ain't anything more obvious than the fact that I went 4 days this year, rather than 3. This ultimately meant more SWAG, more time to get things done, and something even more important — more sleep. This was nullified slightly by the fact I got sick midway through the con (and still haven't recovered yet), but hey, what's a little sickness when you're having a lot of fun?
Moving on, the layout changed a bit this year compared to last, as the show floor was literally composed of nothing but booths/vendors. The Artist Alley was moved down to the North Pavilion and the Autographing area moved down to where the Queue Halls were. Overall, this meant more booths/vendors/artists in general, more quantity and quality in things offered, and a generally more organized feel — which was very nice to see. Even the hallway between pavilions had booths, including the Tomb Raider Archery Experience, where I was one of many trying their hands at archery for the first time.
And while we're on the topic of booths/vendors, I'd like to also note that this was also the first year where the New York Anime Festival was officially integrated within NYCC proper, which was a notable source of contention between many fans that would only visit for NYAF aspects. I haven't officially had time to gauge the reactions from these fans at the moment and I can't say I've had enough experience with NYAF, so you can take the following impressions with a grain of salt, but I felt like they did a pretty darn good job of delivering on their words. Many of the individually run booths from NYAF last year returned for the most part, along with the bigger vendors selling mountains of anime-related merchandise... but more importantly, these were supplemented with the presence of many notable guests and anime/Japan-centric booths. Such guests included famous blogger Danny Choo, Final Fantasy's illustrator Yoshitaka Amano (panel article here), voice actress Yu Asakawa, and Tales series producer Hideo Baba. Booths included Namco Bandai JPN, the return of Kotobukiya and Kinokuniya (with their exclusive Miku CD's), and the first ever arrival of renowned figure company Good Smile, which attended a U.S. convention for the first time ever. Most of the products ended up Vocaloid centric, but notably, they did mention that this was a test of the market for the most part so... Looking forward, it seems like they sold out quite a bit of their stock, so it looks like we'll be seeing them at future conventions with a larger diversity of products as well. Nothing like saving those customs/shipping fees while raking in exclusive figures you can't get anywhere else, and chattin' with some of their also famously helpful staff while you're at it! (**Note that some of their selection has been show cased in the pictures above).
So yeah, it definitely felt to me that they did a fairly good job in preserving the prevalence of anime and related aspects in general. And that's without even mentioning Bandai and their insane amount of posters/postcards they were giving out every day. Moving on, there were quite a few notable game demos on display as well, ranging from Resident Evil 6 to Lost Planet 3 and also including games such as Halo 4, the new Tomb Raider, and God of War: Ascension — just to name a few. There didn't seem to be any exceptionally popular thing at the IGN Theater this year compared to last time's panel regarding The Avengers, but there was one for Firefly's 10th Anniversary, and the presence of some rather famous names at the autographing areas to make up for it. Jason David Frank (Power Rangers) was one such name, and one I admittedly waited over 1.5 hours in line to acquire an autograph of and picture with. Nothing like reliving your childhood by seeing one of the most notable actors during it! But yeah, the lines for him were easily the longest of any of the people there, stretching and looping around multiple times. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get the autograph at all, but he not only started the session early, but also was said to have stayed late each day to ensure everyone on line would get it, so that was pretty darn awesome to say the least.
Ultimately, what can I say? I spent more than I wanted as expected, saw some great (and not so great) cosplay, went to a few notable panels (more than last year), and it was just an immensely enjoyable experience. It's hard to say whether or not it was as great as last year, but it was pretty darn close in my book. If there was a significant negative though, it has to be the fact that they seem to have oversold on tickets this year. Last year's Saturday was insanely crowded to begin with, but this year's was so bad they had to literally stop anyone from entering for 10-20 mins. at times during this year's peak hours. I can't blame em' for wanting to get more people in, but when you have to hold out ticket holders like this... there comes a line where you just stop accepting more people, and it was notably crossed this year. It didn't peeve me off too bad because I managed to go in Thursday where there was notably fewer people, but it definitely seemed to have gotten quite a few others annoyed, especially the one day ticket holders. Sadly, there seemed to also be an influx of scalpers this year too, which most likely contributed a lot to the tickets selling out earlier than expected. Furthermore, there seemed to be a big presence of counterfeiters, which forced them to be so stringent on checking your tickets at times that they literally had to try folding your ticket to ensure it was of the proper material. In the end though, it's sad that these things happen, but what can you do? Just gotta keep on enjoying however you can despite the presence of these negatives and there was more than enough content from this year to erase em' off the mind.
Bottom Line: Another great convention for the most part. Pictures tell a thousand words, and I reckon I've provided enough of those to give a sense of how much I enjoyed NYCC 2012. I don't know how things'll work out for me next year since I'm graduating this coming June, but I'm definitely gonna try my best to go again next year, that's for sure.