Sunday, September 27, 2009

NY Anime Festival wrap-up.

Hello readers. I'm Pedro D., a new contributor to this here blog. I'll contribute here on occasion, usually on anime-related topics, but may open my own blog in the near future. Note that this post will be told from my point of view.

The third annual New York Anime Festival has come to a close, and it was a great year. My last NYAF was the first one, and this one topped that. Cosplayers arrived in wildly varying costumes ranging from half the cast of "Naruto", to a surprise appearance from Bumblebee from the "Transformers" live-action films. There were also vendors ranging from your manga & anime vendors, to vendors of gothic-lolita attire, to vendors of toys & weaponry. The Artist Alley showcased works of independent artists, be it original or derivative in nature. The World Cyber Games also held their National Finals here, featuring Gears of War 2, Virtua Fighter 5, Counter-Strike 1.6, and Warcraft III, amongst others. Of course, no anime convention is complete without the prerequisite maids, who held dance shows & contests, and dating games.

Day One started with the rush of otaku going into the vendors area to purchase varying items, most of which not sold in stores. Special Guest Yoshiyuki Tomino, creator (with Sunrise, Inc.) of the Gundam franchise, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, delivered his keynote speech, explaining the concept of the Gundam series. Funimation acquire the license to the "Initial D" series (First through Fourth Stages), and announced the English cast for the "Fullmetal Alchemist" remake, "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood", with Alphonse and Scar receiving new voice actors. The first day usually builds up to the second day, and Friday didn't disappoint.

Uncle Yo, otaku comedian extraordinaire, kicked off Day Two. His show was as hilarious as usual, with jokes that, in some cases, were even understood by anime neophytes, like the owner of this blog. Yo also had a bit of a surprise for the fans, when an attendee proposed to his girlfriend onstage. Funimation also premiered the English dub of "Soul Eater", which came out better than expected. Special Guest Yui Makino, of "Tsubasa Chronicle" fame, held a concert which I was unable to attend due to the Uncle Yo show taking place at the same time. The arrival of the aforementioned Bumblebee was what stunned the attendees. His arrival was so grand, NYAF volunteers and staff members had to clear enough space for him to move around. He was about 10-12 feet tall, and was actually able to go down to the convention space on the escalator. Bumblebee was, in my opinion, the highlight of the entire show. The day was hectic like usual, especially during the Cosplay Masquerade, hosted by Uncle Yo. Most of the skits were, for a lack of a better term, boring. However, one skit, involving L from "Death Note" and an ice cream sundae, was the funniest one. Yo was even involved with the skit, taking some of the sundae off of L's face with his finger, then licking it. Near the end, Bumblebee returned, dancing to Tomoyasu Hotei's "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" onstage, scaring Yo in the process. In honor of the Gundam anniversary, a Char Aznable cosplayer and a Zaku-II Gundam take over the stage.

The Final Day, like final days of many conventions, is the slow day, when the free stuff are gone and the vendors (rarely) discount their wares. Makino-san, like Tomino-san the day before, held a Q&A session for her fans, though I missed it because NYC public transportation is horrible on weekends. The Neo-Victorian fashion show was held at the Apple Kissa stage (Kissa - Japanese for cafe). Soul Eater chalk art was INCREDIBLE! Most of this day was spent snapping pictures of cosplayers dressed as varying characters.

All in all, I had a lot of fun attending all three days of the event. Special thanks to the owner of this blog for helping me attend the convention and write this piece, Peter Tatara for organizing this incredible event, Dr.Pepper/7Up for providing some of my ammo in the form of Venom energy drink, and Uncle Yo for providing all the laughs. I look forward to seeing all of you guys next year at the New York Anime Festival & New York Comic-Con on October 8-10, 2010. Pics to come shortly. Yeah, I know, shameless plugs there...


Lyntha Tye said...

Nice article. I like it! Good job Pedro! (^_^)

TheDevilishSaint said...

Pro writing Pedro! Thanks for joining my blog. You ROCK! \m/