This was my first time going to a first year convention but I was really interested at the wide variety of guests they were able to get right off the bat. So I splurged and bought a VIP pass for myself and my fiance. This convention was a lot of fun but they had some communication problems that led to a lot of disappointed fans and it honestly appeared as though the convention actually scammed attendees out of their money. I’ll go into more detail on that later on.
I loved this section and words cannot express how enjoyable it was to shop at this convention. The vendors were all unique with amazing merchandise and there was loads of beautiful artwork as far as the eye could see. The only thing that saved my wallet was the fact that I couldn’t bring a lot of stuff home with me and even then I used every last nook and cranny I could to get as much stuff as possible. Something I’ve never done at any convention till today. The only real issue was the security. Since both artist ally and vendors required a search it meant you had a bag search to go from one to the other which became rather tedious, but for me it was a very minor problem as I greatly appreciate security. I did hear of situations though where the checks resulted in damaged merchandise and while that didn’t happen to me that does present a pretty annoying problem.
The guest list was amazing, 11 performers from Sailor Moon, the director of the live action Full Metal Alchemist movie, both leads from Your Name the producer of Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans. The list was so good that I was quickly motivated to buy a pass as a result. Now while the guest was good the way the convention handled the autographs was by far the worse treatment of fans I’ve ever seen.
Of the Sailor Moon performers, 10 of them were announced in July and nothing more was stated beyond the fact that they would be attending. Therefore, many people bought passes expecting to get not just Sailor Moon but other items signed by these people. However, two weeks prior to the con, after the VIP, Weekend and Saturday Passes sold out, the convention released the autograph policy and stated the Sailor Moon Performers could only sign one Sailor Moon item and nothing more. This of course outraged fans who had no idea, or way of knowing this policy before buying the ticket. To try and quell the problem the convention responded via email to many people, including myself, and stated they would try and help us get other items signed. Unfortunately the same person also sent emails the day of the convention and said he couldn’t actually do that. None of this would have been a problem if it was clarified when the guests were announced but many people bought passes under the impression there was no autograph limitation and thus the convention’s communication failed several of the people attending the event. The people running the event seem nice so I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and say this was just a first year convention error.
The panels were really enjoyable. The Sailor Moon one did have some technical hiccups but those things happen. It was great seeing so many guests in one panel and they had a lot of news and some really good events planned such as asking the performers to say the lines of someone else in the show. It was quite hilarious watching some of the famous lines uttered by different people. The fan panels were well done and I thought the variety of the industry panels was really good. If anything I would just ask that they provide more panels in years to come. They have the Javits center they should really utilize the massive space and pack it full of content.
The staff was actually really good. The professionalism was impressive and they had a lot of charismatic people involved which made things run really smoothly. I can’t really say much more other than they did a good job picking the help.
Overall I really did have an amazing time at this convention. The only real problem was the lack of clarification by the con regarding the limitations of the autograph policies which were not conveyed in time for fans to consider those limitations when buying a pass to the event. This gives the appearance of an act intended to take money from the attendees but I am desperately hoping this was just a communication error. I will consider this convention for next year but my fears of the communication problem may be too great for me to be brave enough to invest in another go at this event. Which is a shame because if it wasn’t for that I would have nothing bad to say about this convention.
So yesterday, November 27th, I was contacted by the director of Anime NYC who was actually very sympathetic to the communication issue that had a negative impact on my experience at the convention and without any request from me, has offered a partial refund of the VIP passes I bought for both me and my fiance. I still had to pay for a weekend pass and the merchandise that came with the VIP passes but I found that to be more than fair. This actually makes me strongly believe the communication issue was nothing more than an error, especially since the convention had no reason to give me any money back at all. The director also stated he would work towards making sure communication was improved for future events so overall I am much more hopeful for next year’s event than I was when I first wrote the review.