By Erica Friedman

AnimeFest @ NYCC returns once again to New York Comic-Con and, like 2018, is being organized by ReedPop in partnership with SPJA, the organization that runs Anime Expo. It was pretty clear that last year’s AnimeFest was, in part, a reaction to Leftfield Media’s AnimeNYC event, and reactions were mixed, to say the least.

Among the major concerns in 2018 were ticketing and the location. Last year, you may remember, that Anime Fest was at Pier 92/94. This year, the location is significantly closer to Javits at Hudson Mercantile — a definite plus for folks on feet, who had a good 20-minute walk one-way last year. This year they will have only a block or two to traverse.

ReedPop has addressed the ticketing issue for 2019, as well. No separate ticket will be needed for the first floor of the Mercantile. The AnimeFest @ NYCC site website promises “a valid NYCC Badge for the day you are attending Anime Fest @ NYCC will give you access to the 1st floor where we’ll have vendors, activities and experiences to take part in.”

Separate tickets are still being sold for special events, such as the screenings of Frame Arms Girl and Sword Art Online Alicization Underworld, and guest panels with voice actors, such as Charlet Chung (D.Va in Overwatch), Sean Schimmel (Vegeta from Dragonball Z), and Chris Sabat (Goku from Dragonball Z). Adam Savage (Mythbusters) and voice actress Veronica Taylor round out the guest list.

Japanese Guest Yoshitaka Amano (Vampire Hunter D, Final Fantasy) will be talking Final Fantasy with Dark Horse ComicsMichael Gombos in another ticketed event.

Rooster Teeth’s RWBY series is bring along voice actors Lindsay Jones (Ruby Rose), Kara Eberle (Weiss Schee), Arryn Zech (Blake Belladonna), Barbara Dunkelman (Yang Xiao Long), and series writer Miles Luna (who also voices Jaune Arc).

Also part of the AnimeFest are Karaoke and Cosplay contests.

Not associated with the AnimeFest @ NYCC, a number of manga and anime companies are planning panels, signings and screenings at Javits Center. Check the NYCC programming schedule for details of location and time for these.

Viz Media is doing a series of signings and panels around their Seis Manos and Castlevania series, among other properties.

Funimation is bringing their big guns with voice acting panels for mega-hit of yesteryear Yu Yu Hakusho and current mega-hit My Hero Academia as well as several screenings, including the Human Lost dub screening. Funimation is also sponsoring a My Hero Academia-themed café, on Friday and Saturday of NYCC, located at Friedman’s (no relation) located at 450 10th Ave, New York, NY 10018. This kind of themed café is a fixture of Japanese anime fandom, and its kind of cool to see it being brought to New York. (Ask me about the Sailor Moon Restaurant in Tokyo!)

In addition to screenings, panels, café, signing and exclusives, Funimation is hosting a special Lightbox visual experience centered around the series Tokyo Ghoul:re.

Other manga companies, including ComiXology, Vertical, Kodansha and Manga Classics will be doing panels and, of course, the Harvey Awards will feature some excellent manga this year.

Once again it’s worth asking, with the larger anime and manga companies putting their money into their Javits’ offerings, what does AnimeFest @ NYCC bring to the party?