New York saw the return of another one of its signature shows last weekend with Anime NYC. I was there for a panel on Friday, and I went to check out more of the show on Saturday, and to say it was packed is an understatement.

UPDATE: Calvin Reid at PW got the facts: 53,000 fans attended, up from 46,000 in 2019.

2nd UPDATE: Actually, there were a lot of problems on Friday, with a very long line outside to get vaccination verifications and then badges, We Got This Covered reports. I did see this line when I arrived for my panel, and it was one of the longest I’ve seen at the Javits. NYCC had this handled very well, but other shows have had huge bottlenecks as attendance gets back up to prepandemic levels.

I don’t have official attendance numbers, and didn’t talk to showrunners, so what follows is just some observations. Anime News Network’s Mike Toole did have a tweet that seemed to sum things up however:

The last Anime NYC I attended two years ago, was a smashing success,¬†by all accounts, and COVID be darned, the 2021 edition picked up right where the last one left off. There weren’t tons of publishers exhibiting – I spotted Yen Press and Denpa on the show floor – but there was plenty of news from the major players, and most important of all, the fans were out in force and having a GREAT TIME. There was music, singing, dancing, and the joy of community everywhere I looked.

As I said I don’t have numbers, but there may have been as many or more people than I saw at NYCC. To be honest, it was so crowded on Saturday (especially in Artist Alley) that I didn’t feel all that comfortable, and left after a quick run around the show floor. (I’m saving my risky behavior for next week’s SDCC Special Edition, though.)

Although I was a bit squeamish, the kids who were there to cosplay and hang out were not. And the vast majority of them were masked. (You had to prove you were vaccinated to get in.)

As manga and anime are not really my beat, I can’t give too many insights except to say that this fandom is incredibly enthusiastic and youthful, and the publishers who are picking up on that are getting the readership. As with so many things, the pandemic actually created a perfect storm of more and more anime streaming, and more and more people reading the manga the anime is based on. And platforms like Webtoon and Tapas are turning out material that appeals to this readership, further creating more material to read and stream.

Actually the panel I took part in tied all of this together, It was called “Webcomics and the Future of Manga and Graphic Novels” and featured myself, Michael Son (VP of Content, Tapas); George Rohac¬†(Artist Manager and Kickstarter Expert, Organized Havoc); Manuel Godoy (Founder of Black Sands Publishing) and moderator¬†literary agent Janna Morishima, who put the panel together. The talk was recorded and I’ll link to it was soon as I can because, this topic could not be more timely. Rohac, Godoy and Son all had great insights about the system that has sprung up using crowdfunding, webcomics, publishing, and all the other channels and platforms that creators are using.¬†


The panel was PACKED (above), and when Janna called for questions, nearly a dozen people got up to the mike – we didn’t actually have time to get to them all. I’d be hard pressed to think of a single panel I’ve taken part in in recent years that had a larger or more enthusiastic audience. (Aside from the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo panel at NYCC, that is.)

Anyway, this is all my unscientific and not particularly informed opinions. I took a few photos as well but the best view of the crowd I saw is probably from this tweet.

Did you go to Anime NYC? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.




Squid Game cosplay


The Kenta Miura memorial was actually quite touching (Fans signed it but by day two there was just no room left.)



A veiw of the crowd outside the exhibit hall. There were lines for everything – but not bathrooms!


Janna, Manuel and George after our panel.


The sunset when I left! What a beautiful day!