I am glad that this year I was able to attend MangaNEXT. It is an intimate convention held this year at the Sheraton Meadowland Hotel & Conference Center that was one train ride from New York City on the New Jersey Transit paired with a complimentary shuttle from the hotel.
MangaNEXT is known as the only convention in the United States that focuses on manga/graphic novels/comic, so for any manga supporter/fan/amateur artist, it is the convention to be at. Starting from 2006, its history as a convention is quite new, so there is potential and room to grow. This is the sister convention to AnimeNEXT, and typically held around October, however due to NYCC being held around the same time MangaNEXT last year ended up skipping 2011’s convention year and resumed 2012.
At MangaNEXT, one floor covered panels, artist alley, dealer’s room, and any other normal (anime) convention activities like Manga Swaps, Workshops, Games, Sake Tasting and the updated/convention traveling Manga Library, that I have seen at other conventions like AnimeNEXT, Otakon, Anime Boston, and New York Anime Festival. The programming of this convention was only one page on my PDF viewer. So for convention goers, this is a typically light convention. For people on Twitter, check out #manganext for the ongoing conversation about this convention.
One activity that stood out as an unique activity was a 24 hour challenge/contest in model building. I spoke with the organizer on Friday, as attendees can sign up for a kit and build models. Then I observed over the two days as participants built their models around the convention. I happened upon the winners at Artist Alley on Sunday, who won based on artistic creativity that included pipping and pegging the model. Winning the contest, certainly includes bragging rights, a nice trophy, and definitely time well spent on building a beloved figure. More pictures of this are up over at Anime Diet’s Flickr. As the organizers closed off this year’s MangaNEXT. Look forward to AnimeNEXT in June 2012.