Love Manga alerts us to MangaNEXT, billed as the first Manga Convention in the US:

Universal Animation, Inc is pleased to announce the formation of MangaNEXT, the first convention in the United States to focus on the explosion of “manga cultureâ€? in America. MangaNEXT will be held Friday October 6, 2006 through Sunday October 8, 2006 at the Crowne Plaza Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey. The convention venue is just minutes away from the heart of New York City, and is conveniently located close to mass transportation and major highway routes.

As anime conventions have grown in both size and frequency, so has the popularity of manga in the United States. The organizers of MangaNEXT feel the marketplace is ready for a manga-oriented event. “… by removing anime as a focus, many traditional anime convention program elements become less relevant,â€? says David Christopher Asher, chairman of the event. “There is a much-reduced need for video theaters, and the guest pool is narrowed [when concentrating on the people who are involved with manga production]. By removing these parts of a standard convention, we will naturally focus on what remains, and the dealers room, artist alley, and hall cosplay are things we feel are priorities for our attendees. We would also like to promote discussion, hence our expanded panel program.â€?

“Manga tends to fall to the background at both anime conventions and comic conventionsâ€?, says Eugene Cheng, a former chairman of AnimeNEXT. “With the growth of the manga market outpacing the anime market today, we felt it was an appropriate time to introduce a manga convention in MangaNEXT.â€? The convention location in New Jersey puts the event a few miles away to several manga publishers in New York City, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the convention’s organizers.

Mr. Asher adds, “Most non-children’s anime that gets produced in Japan is based on Shonen manga (comics geared towards young men), and the anime licensed in the US is even more biased in that direction. […] The pool of translated manga, either done professionally or by fans, contains a much wider breadth of genres, and much greater depth within each. Yaoi (boys’ love), yuri (girls’ love), shoujo (comics geared towards young women), and josei (comics geared towards women) manga are all readily available, compared to the relatively scarce anime offerings in those genres.â€?

Attendance is currently limited to 1500 members, and pre-registration is now available on-line at the official MangaNEXT website ( Membership rates are $20 prior to September 15 and unsold memberships will be available at the event for $30 each.

AnimeNEXT (, Universal Animation’s annual summer event, drew a record 6000 people from the New York/New Jersey Metro Area and is currently the largest anime convention in the vicinity. The event was originally hosted at MangaNEXT’s venue in 2002 and 2004 before relocating to the larger Meadowlands Expo Center ( in 2005. The organizers hope to acheive the same success back at their old home.