Even more exciting than when the Muppets take Manhattan is when New York Comic Con rolls around to fill the city streets with pop-culture-crazed throngs dressed in outlandish costumes and carrying giant weapons. It’s a marked departure from New York’s usual denizens of crazed throngs dressed in outlandish costumes and carrying concealed weapons. This year, however, is even more exciting than most because it marks the first time that New York Comic Con and New York Anime Fest have combined like Voltron to form a supercon with a guest list that will make you wish you’d put a droolguard on your keyboard before you read it. Don’t be scared of change, fellow otakus; we’re here with a programming guide to help you navigate the fun-filled urban jungle.
1. Unbe-squee-vable Guests – Plenty of anime cons get a decent guest list to help entice you to their merch-filled gates like a pop cultural Pied Piper, but NYCC’s guest list speaks for itself. With names like Yu Asakawa (voice of Vocaloid Megurine Luka), legendary artist Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D), Bryce Papenbrook (Blue Exorcist) and pop culture maven Danny Choo, you may want to make a papercraft version of yourself to save yourself a place in line. Bonus points if you get Amano-san to draw you as a Final Fantasy character!
2. RIP Your Wallets – Before we proceed any further with this NYCC guide, let’s have a moment of silence for the contents of your wallet because it won’t be making it out alive. Between the Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed-inspired vinyl toys from Erick Scarecrow, limited edition Gundam model kits from Bluefin, rad t-shirts (including a Katamari Damacy print) from ShiftyLook, and high-grade replicas of Samurai Champloo’s Mugen’s katana from Dragon Song Forge, you’ll be hard-pressed to make it through the con without making your finances resemble the Greek economy.
3. Model Behavior – While you’re ogling the mindblowing miniatures and going gaga for the Gundams on display at Bluefin Distribution/Bandai’s booth on Saturday, stick around from 2 pm-3:30 pm for the last U.S. Semi-Final round of the Gunpla Builders World Cup, the yearly Gundam model building competition. With two categories of competition – Open (ages 15 and older) and Junior (ages 14 and younger) – and prizes for Best 1/100-scale, Best 1/144-scale, Best SD, Best Out of the Box and Best of Show, it is a guaranteed good time for fans of giant robots, glue and intense hand-eye coordination.
4. Stop! Panel Time! – Without a doubt, the highlight of NYCC (and any con, for that matter) is the myriad programming and panels available for your viewing pleasure. While we could go on all day about how to spend your every waking minute, we’ll try to keep it succinct for sanity’s sake.
- Pitching For Professionals (2:30-3:30 pm) – One of the most frequent questions we get on TOKYOPOP’s Facebook page is “who can I talk to about my manga idea?” Fortunately, NYCC has just the panel for you: Pitching For Professionals, with former Marvel and IDW editor Andy Schmidt, IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall and Marvel Editor Nick Lowe who will help to give you the tools you need to make your idea pitch-perfect.
- Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Celebration (5:15-6:15 pm) – Can you believe that E. Honda and friends are old enough to rent a car? It seems like just yesterday that we were putting up our quarters at the local pizza parlor to beat the ever-loving hell out of each other and then unleash some Hadoukens on unsuspecting Hondas during the bonus stages. Come for the awesome Street Fighter X Tekken matches, but stay for the Street Fighter trivia contest where you can try to stump series producers Tomoaki Ayano and Yoshinori Ono.
- Apple Kissa Party Time (11:00-12:00 pm) – Did you just step off the subway into an Akihabara maid cafe? No, not quite, but NYCC’s Apple Kissa Maid Cafe will give you a fun-filled hour of singing, dancing, trivia and, of course, maids. It probably won’t be anything like Jukka Hilden’s experience, but that’s only because you won’t have to worry about running into the terrifying Chad Mullane.
- How to Get a Job in the Videogame Industry with CAPCOM (12:15-1:15 pm) – Sure, we love to play videogames until our eyes glaze over, but what about those of us who actually want to make the cataract-inducing fun? Join an all-star panel of industry insiders lead by Francis Mao to get the skinny on how you can parlay a love of gaming into a fulfilling career. Just remember to thank us in the credits once you’re the next Keiji Inafune.
- Dark Horse Presents: Yoshitaka Amano (1:45-2:45 pm) – Did you read the title of this panel? Seriously, do you need anything more to go on? The legendary artist sits down with Dark Horse’s Michael Gombos to talk about his life and work and his upcoming artbook Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy. Shut up and take our gil!
- Kaiju Big Battel (9:00-10:00pm) – This is exactly what it sounds like: people dressed like giant monsters fighting each other in a wrestling ring and it is amazing. Watch as Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle does righteous battle with D.W. Cycloptopuss III and other incredible creatures. Who needs Wrestlemania? We’ll take the Big Battel any day of the week.
- Vertical Inc. Presents: Moyoco Anno (11:00-12:00 pm) – Fans of josei manga (and fans of manga in general) should make a point of heading to Vertical Inc.’s panel on Saturday morning because a chance to hear Sakuran creator Moyoco Anno talk about her life, her career and what’s next is not something you’ll want to miss.
- Myth Mixology: How Urban Fantasists Create the Perfect Cocktail (12:15-1:15pm) – There’s nothing quite like relaxing with good friends after a long day of traipsing around the con floor and having a nice, refreshing cocktail. Well, the only thing better might be a cocktail inspired by one of your favorite fictional characters. For when sites like The Drunken Moogle just aren’t enough, this panel serves up mixology wisdom on the rocks.
- Crypton Future Media Presents: Hatsune Miku (2:30-3:30 pm) – In case seeing the voice of Megurine Luka wasn’t enough to scratch your Vocaloid itch, Hatsune Miku’s creators are back with a panel packed to the virtual gills with special announcements, Q&A and a special behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming Mikumentary documentary series. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the release of Miku’s English-language software.
- Animate It! hosted by Misako Rocks and Veronica Taylor (3:00-3:30 pm) – Learn how to both animate a character of your design and bring it to life by giving it a voice with manga-ka Misako Rocks and voice actress Veronica Taylor (Pokemon‘s Ash). As if you really needed an excuse to doodle and talk in a weird voice all weekend…
Whew, that was a mouthful, huh? For the Western culture side of NYCC, head on over to our Comic Book Day programming guide and find out all about what we’ll be up to at the con. Will you be at NYCC? Be sure to come by the Nerdist booth (#1851) to say hello and feast your eyes on a life-size LEGO Chris Hardwick!
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