Liberty City Anime Convention happened, and Justin decided to go attend it for no reason other than, "It's in NY and it's in Times Square!"
The biggest standout of Liberty City Anime Convention is that it’s an anime con smack dab between a Hershey’s store and a MAC cosmetics store, and across the street from said con is M&M’s and Sbarros.
In other words, just another typical New York weekend in Times Square, just with teens and adults cosplaying cartoon characters.
Next year will be slightly different as LCAC is moving to the Marriott Marquis, which is even deeper into Times Square, which just means more crowds and more tourists will have their cameras ready to take pictures of some kid in an orange jumpsuit. It might also mean more con artists, but that bridge will be crossed soon enough. For now, this is a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the convention, along with thoughts on panels I attended:
+ I’ve gone to a ton of cons, and this is the first I’ve been to that literally has water everywhere. Like just about anywhere you went you could find free water. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s summer and that’s the real reason why, but I’m not complaining. They may have placed the water in too many places though, which is what I’ll get into later…
+ In speaking to people at the convention, some staff, some attendees, a few vendors, they believe that there should be a anime convention in NYC. As NYCC is generally the main event every year, to have one of the niches be its own thing is important.
+ Small cons like this will always, at least for me, have one big advantage over larger conventions, and that is time to talk. Unless you set some time, you’ll be moving about at a bigger con. That’s generally a good thing, but in this case, at LCAC I’ve talked to a number of people for a good while. With it being 3 days though, some the experiences are the same, so talking points are about the same as well.
+ I’m late to the game on this, but man does anime attract teens. I can’t be completely mad.
+ Personally, it was great that LCAC was at the Crowne Plaza. There’s food inside the hotel (and it’s not totally expensive) and places to go get food outside of it. Also, I could literally wake up and take the 1 train to the location and not have to worry about doing any sort of transferring.
= That’s why it’s not surprising that the MTA chose to not have the 1 stop at my stop during the weekend. On an unrelated note I hate the MTA.
= There’s not much to do at the con, which is generally a major drawback of a 3 day con that’s small. Of course since I’m complaining about there not being enough interesting panels at a small con I will have to put up or shut up next time, but there were way too many times where I, a born New Yorker, had to sit down and stop moving about way too much. While doing that one person came up to me and asked, “What can I do around here? I’m kinda bored?” Just to let you know, he was with someone, and I would recommend you bring a friend or two while you’re here to get super enjoyment. Or cosplay.
= The English Major in me notices ALL the spelling mistakes in your panel schedule booklet LCAC!
= Never seen fan meet ups placed on a schedule. I think they can work, but by putting it on the 5th floor, where you have to take an elevator to get there (no stairs), probably wasn’t the best idea.
= Back to the water. I can’t complain about free water, but I can complain about its placement. Outside of where main events was the con was a cramped space.
I think the water is a good idea, but unless it was a hotel directive, it might’ve made more sense to place it in wider areas. There’s enough water to go around, honest.
– I bet you suspect seeing the above picture generally suggests some chaos. Yeah, there was chaos. Obviously with small spaces means figuring out lines or where to line up was hard to do. It doesn’t help when the staff assigned to the panel rooms weren’t sure how to line everyone up. I basically had to ask attendees where the end of the line was, which is something I shouldn’t have to do. There’s no listing of events in the panel rooms, which would at least inform attendees what’s going on in each one. Even a paper listing would have been better than having a screen that says the panel room, then forcing us to look at our booklets all the time to make sure what’s in that room at a certain time. Needless to say, written instructions are useful even when they don’t seem like it.
– Back to the drawbacks of a small con. There’s not too much to do unless you’re cosplaying, so to then have panels cancelled is a big problem. This was the big story for me, as a decent number of panels were cancelled, panels were moved from one room to another room, and some panels were probably placed in the wrong rooms (you’d think a name like Cosplay on a Budget would be in a large room considering the attendees at the convention, but nope). Obviously, cancelled panels happen, it’s not an exclusive LCAC thing. The number of panels that didn’t happen might be of concern though. It might suggest the vetting process wasn’t thorough, though for small cons it is what it is. It may also suggest 3 days for a con might be too much. Whatever the case, I thankfully attended one cancelled panel (A Letter to Momo), but passed by a few that were.
– This probably isn’t as big a deal as I’m making it out to be, but well, I at least thought it was dumb. While in the game room (I think it was Saturday), a LCAC staffer yelled and had everyone stop what they’re doing, which was playing video games and having a good time. It could’ve been for a number of things: something happened, a tournament might happen (though I don’t think shouting that would be a good idea, at least have some staff members remind people when the times getting close, etc), but generally something reasonable. No, the staffer stopped everyone from playing their game to tell them of someone’s game that’s in beta that they can play somewhere else (or sign up for it?). Why would we care? Maybe have it in the game room instead of stopping everyone and telling them? Maybe this has happened in game rooms before, so I could be out of the loop, but it felt like they made it about them. It’s not.
This panel was a good idea that did end up having the panelist, who works at the library, mention a scanlation site, then when I brought it up after the panel she thought it was legal (it’s not). The best part is the panelist outside of that moment knew her stuff, so it’s not like you’ll come up with anything obscure and trick her. The panel was full too, and if you were wondering why you should support the libraries, this was a panel to go to. I hope I can post the audio of it, but I need approval for this.
The worst though is this suggests how good illegal sites are that they can trick them that they’re legit (Ben Applegate had mentioned this somewhere I believe a few years ago), and in general the relationship between manga companies and libraries to an extent.
This panel probably should’ve been at least an hour long, not some random 20 minutes left. Otherwise, if you were expecting new announcements, uh, maybe for the hentai? Though people were interested in learning who’d be voicing characters in Rio: Rainbow Gate.
I’m not desiring to cosplay anytime soon unless I lose some awful bet, but the gist of the panel was interesting, and I definitely know some people who might be interested in saving their money, so I went, not knowing what to expect. I was impressed. It did not wrap up cleanly, but overall, Marie Grey and Koneko (do I have to say YourAverageNerd? Can’t I just say Koneko???), who has been cosplaying since 2009, knew their stuff. From where to find materials to making sure you control your buying urges, to also take advantage of friends and family and to understand what you need in the first place, if you’re a cosplayer that spends a ton of money, this might be a panel to attend. Well, at least I recorded it.
Was tempted to go to the diversity in anime and manga panel, ended up changing my mind. No regrets! I didn’t really know most of the guests, or if I did know, just wasn’t interested in what they do. Maybe I’m a little bit interested! Mike, Jerry, and Jessi definitely were hilarious, and I’m not that into comedy, but hard to hate on someone who lives in Jersey. (That Jersey person is Ian. I went to school in Jersey. Jersey…pride?). Brittany, Matt, Tyler, Marcus, and Heather (they are heavily involved in anime) were cool. Corrine of Team Four Star fame (and Sailor Moon Abridged) chimed in and revealed she worked with Henry Rollins (good enough I think!). What was a thing were the questions: they were mostly good. You obviously want to ask questions that aren’t rambling and stuff, but for the most part, simple questions were asked that every panelist could answer, and some were quite heartfelt. Like one question involved how your 5 year old self would see you now. It was so good that in addition to giving you audio, I also transcribed it. You should totally read it. Or listen to it. Was a great panel.
I actually didn’t go to this, but holy crap, I stepped in the main events room Sunday for a good second and regretted not going. They’re legit. I say this only knowing I listened to what I think was the Nadesico opening, but what I heard was great. Definitely look out for them in future cons.
By far the best art I saw over the weekend was from Kristin Kemper, which had some Ghibli, designs for Kiznaiver and Digimon, and her comic Sylvania, which I bought. It probably was too pricey ($18) but it was cute. Felt like there needed to be a focus on who to identify with (I thought it was Rowan because she wanted to go to Mars, she’s just too young). But it was okay. But her booth was awesome. Definitely stood out there.
The most intriguing table happened to be the one who brought a tablet. I never go to a con planning who to see in the artist alley. I prefer being surprised. So if you do something that I think stands out from everyone else, I’ll go to you more than likely. She had her boyfriend code a simple game where you can see her character, Dinnersaurus Rex, eat delicious meat. And it’s delicious. She also had a comic and buttons, but I came for the game. Probably. I think she should have had more of her other artwork, but it is what it is.