Asian Pop Culture Examiner May S. Young is a graphic designer/art director by day and an Asian pop culture junkie on the side. She firmly believes everyone is actually “yellow on the inside.” You can read her reports on Examiner.com, “like” her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter (@ChairWomanMay).
She’s been covering New York Comic Con for several years and has a keen eye on the shifting trends in manga, anime, and pop culture. One of those trends is the diminishing presence of anime at NYCC. May files this guest post JapanCulture•NYC, discussing her observations at this year’s NYCC and asking the question, “Where’s the anime?”
So, the 2012 New York Comic Con came and went. The con is now six years old. Unlike the conventions from the past two years, the New York Anime Festival is no more. Anime programming became a part of New York Comic Con fold.
Everyone saw the writing on the wall at last year’s convention. The 2011 New York Anime Festival was relegated to a separate wing at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. An Anime Ghetto, who would have thought of it?
Big name guests such as Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy franchise); Masakazu Katsura (Tiger & Bunny character designs); Otaku supreme Danny Choo; seiyu Yu Akasawa; mangaka Moyoco Anno and the tentacle-man himself, Toshi Maeda (of the Legend of the Overfiend fame) were on the bill for this year. However, very little was done to promote anime programming. This year’s con became a game of “Where’s the Anime?”
I spy the following:
- The remaining anime licensors that are still in business such as FUNimation Entertainment, Viz Media and Media Blasters.
- Manga publishers are still going strong (thank goodness). Vertical Inc., Yen Press, Kodansha and JManga all have new releases in print and digital formats.
- Dragonball, Bleach, and Hetalia cosplay is still BIG.
- Robotech Universe will NEVER go away.
- Hi-Chew is now considered as a mainstream candy treat. Be sure to stock up on these for Trick or Treat. Otherwise, you will be considered “un-hip.”
- Mecha figures: Not everyone can afford a giant robot, so you’ll have to settle for what sits on your computer desk.
- Plenty of “Pantsu” and “Oppai” figurines: Fanboys can’t get a date with a real girl, so they settle for a sexy doll, which they can gawk at their every waking hour.
- Gothic-Lolita fashion booths: This fashion trend still going strong, but it seems they have the same designs over and over again! Jeez, when are we going to see K-Pop fashion booths?! 2ne1 should be considered as a “fashion statement” as far as I am concerned!
While the anime programming was slim this year, the panel discussions surely make up for it.
Online streaming portal Viki.com announced their acquisition of the classic shoujo anime, Rose of Versailles (Bara no Versailles). Anime/Japan culture scholar Dr. Susan Napier and Anime News Network’s, Christopher Macdonald presented Ryoko Ikeda’s classic tale of gender roles, lesbianism and female empowerment, set in a backdrop of the French Revolution. The presenters were concerned with the possible lack of interest of an anime title that is now thirty-three years old. They need not worry. The panel room was packed with a good balance of male and female members. Not all the guys in the room where there because their girlfriends dragged them; they actually liked the story and wanted to see this title for a long time.
Otaku supreme Danny Choo gave one of the most inspiring presentations I’d ever witnessed at an anime convention. He talked about how Japanese pop culture gave him a path away from a harsh childhood in the rough neighborhood of Hackney, London. While studying the Japanese language, he totally immersed himself in Japanese culture. He also hinted that he may be involved with anime programming for next year’s New York Comic Con.
Let’s hope so. Otherwise New York anime fans will spend their money on Anime Next or Otakon instead.