Cold weather and long lines plague Anime NYC’s return

By Keane Eacobellis

Thousands of anime fans, weebs, and cosplayers descended upon The Javits Center in Manhattan today as Anime NYC commenced. The weekend of panels, screenings, and concerts is one of the first major anime conventions since the start of the pandemic, and fans have been hype.

Anime NYC’s inaugural convention was held in 2017. Crunchyroll is a big promoter of the event, which originally spun off from New York Comic Con. While both events are held in the same convention center barely a month apart, ANYC is operated by LeftField media. This is the largest ANYC yet, and the combination of scale and inexperience caught up to event organizers today.

Opening on a particularly cold day in New York, attendees — many dressed in cosplay — were stuck waiting outside the convention center, reporting wait times up 2-4 hours to get in even after the con officially opened. Stuck in line, many of these attendees turned to Twitter.

By far the best Tweet to come out of the ordeal memed Hey Arnold’s Halloween episode to reference frustrated cosplayers.

The jokes poured in, probably since no one had anything better to do yet. One user cheering on congoers made a poorly photoshopped shirt to celebrate the occasion, while another saw a panel opportunity, tweeting: “Been at this wild #AnimeNYC panel called ‘the line outside’ for the past 2 hours.“

And according to one account, an Asoka cosplayer was sacrificed to feed the line. We have been unable to verify these reports.

It wasn’t all fun, however. One disappointed attendee complained, “whatever energy i had for this convention i definitely lost waiting in the cold.“ Another took to hyperbole.

The anger and anxiety boiled over in one particularly brash tweet: “#AnimeNYC is about to turn from a convention into a Travis Scott concert.”

With a more serious tone, others expressed worry. “Someone is going to get hurt,” tweeted one attendee.

It appears no one was actually hurt in line, however. And once inside, the event ran more smoothly. Security checks, badge pick-ups, and coat checks saw more manageable lines, and panels were soon underway.

And as one congoer reminds us, the real con was the friends we made along the way.

What news are you most hoping to hear from Anime NYC over the weekend? Did you survive the line yourself? Tell us in the comments!