By Erica Friedman
If you were a fan of anime at New York Comic Con 2019, you might be forgiven for not leaving Javits Convention Center. The AnimeFest for 2019, run as a partnership between The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (the organization behind Anime Expo) and ReedPop (the organizers of NYCC) was…confusing.
Located in Hudson Mercantile, an unassuming building on the eastern edge of Hudson Yards, the signs point you around the corner to a front that offered little hit of what you might find inside.
Once inside visitors were welcomed with an unseasonal display of cherry blossoms and a Japanese torii gate.
From there, the entire AnimeFest seemed to be in one room, primary designed for photo opportunities, with some seating for autograph signings, and panels on the second floor that were separate ticketed event.
You could get your name written in Japanese, play one of the games in the small gaming area or go to a bathroom with a much shorter line or see a small exhibit by Asahi Shimbun on creators of Tokyo Culture.
Free canned coffee and not-free artisanal sodas rounded out the offering for AnimeFest at Hudson Mercantile. I asked a number of attendees what they thought of the AnimeFest. One attendee commented that, as a promotional space, it was nice, but needed to have been at Javits to work. As a separate location, another attendee commented, it made no sense.
As NYCC 2019 wraps up, it remains a question what SPJA and ReedPop were trying to do with this space, when anime and manga fans had so much to see and do and buy over in Javits.