Anime NYC issues apology to attendees, promises dramatic overhaul by next year

By Keane Eacobellis

Just a week after Anime NYC took New York’s Javits Center by storm, the convention’s organizers have issued an apology via a note on the convention’s website, along with a long list of promises to make Anime NYC better in future years.

On Friday, Nov. 19, Anime NYC returned from a pandemic year hiatus for its fourth and largest-ever three-day event. Over the course of the weekend, 53,000 attendees converged on Anime NYC, and organization issues were apparent from the start. Day one was plagued by hours-long lines to get through the Javits Center’s security and vaccination checkpoints and into the actual convention site.

Once inside, fans were met with surprising wait times as long lines formed around Anime NYC’s most popular draws, including the One Piece episode 1000 premiere and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba panel. Even the convention center’s biggest halls could not accommodate the enthusiasm of so many fans.

The cause? “The common element was Anime NYC’s plan failing to meet our fans’ demand,” Anime NYC founder Peter Tatara wrote in the public statement. In the apology, also posted on the con’s Twitter account, Tatara laid out areas of concern, including lines both inside and outside the convention center, as well as the presence of scalping within the con.

All options are on the table to better run the con at a growing scale. The first Anime NYC in 2017, in contrast with the most recent one, saw only an estimated 20,000 attendees.

“We’ve already started reviewing new access technologies, registration platforms, ticket distribution methods, heightened security and accessibility measures, special event reservation tools, staff and crew training plans, new staff positions, and anti-fraud systems,” Tatara offers. 

Con goers on Twitter met the apology with a mostly warm response, appreciative of the transparency and open ears. Youtuber CHEFPK who hosted a panel was just one attendee who expressed their faith in event organizers LeftField media.

While fans look forward to a year of celebratory con returns, including Anime Expo and Anime Frontier, Anime NYC 2022 is shaping up to look the most different.

Tatara promised this: “Next year is Anime NYC’s fifth event, and it will not be run like our first four.”