This last weekend was AnimeNEXT’s 2012 convention. For the second year, I was able to represent at this regional convention with Anime Diet. There still haven’t been an exact number of attendees released, but one thing is certain. AnimeNEXT has risen in attendance. I actually saw friends that I met at Otakon in the past attending ANEXT this year. While I am not sure of reasoning for their travels, AnimeNEXT has become a convention that has been mentioned as a great convention to hang out in. Other similar cons to my knowledge that has similar reputation is AnimeUSA or Katsukon, but what I definitely know AnimeNEXT is AnimeNEXT, so there’s only one con of this nature, and this close to New York, but not in New York. There are bound to be some issues, such as foot traffic, con funk, lack of knowing what panels were what, and no handy mobile con app like last year, but overall, this was a fun weekend.
If there is the expression of all roads leads to Otakon, then all roads leads to AnimeNEXT with a car. Getting to the Garden State Exhibition Center is definitely not car-free friendly, but the convention attempts to accommodate. People can get to New Brunswick easily via the NJ transit, and then travel to the convention center via shuttle, by car service, or via the assistance of friends who have cars. This year I was able to rely on friends who have cars.
Outside of only getting the opportunity to attend Opening Ceremonies on Friday, it just so happens that I found myself mostly in the Doubletree on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, attending panels, and other times assisting with two photos shoots over at the Somerset on Saturday with my friends. On and off I found myself in the Dealers room, bemoaning the fact that I was late in getting to the Vertical table early on Friday, since they sold out on titles I wanted. AnimeNEXT has become a convention for me where everything happened in the afternoon or the evening hours.
For con goers who were attending panels or Main Events or the dealer’s room, there was a lot of line waiting. AnimeNEXT has become a convention dealing with lines, and a great deal of time is spent waiting for things to happen. I am not counting the fact that autographs fans also has line to wait, but that is an experience that is subjective. One of the biggest activities I notice is the presence of cosplayers, so everywhere that the eye can see and around the convention area, people are cosplaying. I didn’t see the Masquerade on Saturday, but I know a friend won two awards from the competition with her friends.
Next years date for 2013 are June 7-9, 2013. Take a look at Flickr to see the photos of what I was able to see and do at this regional convention.