Anime NYC Returns to the Javits Center

Despite long lines during the cold weather, anime fans came together for the first time since 2019



Many people attended Anime NYC, and although the event had some mishaps, it was an enjoyable time for attendees.


The weekend before Thanksgiving was an exciting one for fans of anime, as Anime NYC, New York’s largest anime convention, returned in person at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan. But like many aspects of post-pandemic life, it did not come without difficulties — on Nov. 19, the convention was off to a rough start. 

The convention, which ran from Nov. 19-21, was founded in 2017 by event planning company LeftField Media. Since then, it has become an annual event that tens of thousands of fans attend. Guests during the convention are able to visit exhibitions by small businesses and artists, view panels, meet their favorite voice actors and creators, and even wear their own elaborate cosplays. 

This year, all attendees were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and proof of vaccination had to be shown upon entry to the convention center. However, poor organization and lack of staff led to people waiting for hours in cold weather to get their vaccine cards checked in lines that stretched across multiple blocks. Many Friday attendees who had arrived early in the morning were unable to enter until a few hours before closing time, and some left out of frustration before entering. After demands for refunds and an apology, Anime NYC founder Peter Tatara released a post-show message. Fortunately, after changes to the line organization, vaccine checks ran more smoothly and fans were able to fully enjoy the remaining two days of the convention. 

Despite the mishaps, the convention still went on to become a memorable event for anime lovers.

On Dec. 2, a little over a week after the convention, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement regarding a Minnesota man who attended the conference and tested positive for the COVID-19 variant omicron. The man — who is fully vaccinated — felt the symptoms on Nov. 22, a day after the convention ended. Later that night, Anime NYC released a statement, advising attendees to get tested.

Despite the mishaps, the convention still went on to become a memorable event for anime lovers. 

One of the most important aspects of anime conventions that online events could never capture is cosplay. It’s a unique sight to see thousands of fans dressed in costumes of their favorite characters, many of which are handmade. 

Gabi Hernandez, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’23 and vice president of the Anime Appreciation Society, made her own cosplay for the character Venti from Genshin Impact. 

“(Conventions) coming back had rekindled my motivation to sew,” she said. “I sewed one of my costumes in two nights and it was so much fun to wear around the con!” 

Organized by cosplayers themselves, cosplay meetups also occurred during the convention, where participants could mingle with other fans and take group photos. 

Within the 840,000 square feet of the convention was the Artist Alley and the Exhibit Hall. Anime fans showed off their creativity in Artist Alley, where hundreds of independent artists set up shop to sell their merchandise, ranging from prints to keychains to jewelry, with both original work and fan art for their favorite series. 

Anime NYC has more than doubled in size since its first convention four years ago.

The Exhibit Hall across from the Artist Alley featured various vendors selling a vast array of figurines and Funko Pops of beloved anime characters, handmade clothing mostly made up of pastel colors and cutesy designs, and mangas of genres varying from romance to action. Anime NYC also showcased various installations based on Asian media. One installation featured a memorial for “Berserk” author Kentaro Miura, who died unexpectedly in May 2021 for fans to write their condolences. Near the Exhibit Hall, Itasha cars — cars filled with anime imagery — were also on display, featuring characters from animes such as Ace from “One Piece” and Nezuko from “Demon Slayer.” 

The convention was also home to several special events. It held a “My Hero Academia” live concert, featuring music from composer Yuki Hayashi, an “Attack on Titan” Manga Gallery, featuring artwork from creator Hajime Isayama to celebrate the manga’s finale and a “Love Live!” Series Concert Screening, in which fans paid an extra $15 to see their favorite idols perform. 

The convention attracted about 53,000 guests — about 7,000 more than 2019. Anime NYC has more than doubled in size since its first convention four years ago, which speaks to the ever-growing popularity of anime in the U.S.