The 2017 edition of the AnimeNEXT anime convention was held this past weekend from June 9-11, 2017. This is the second year that AnimeNEXT has been held at the Atlantic City, NJ location (and my second AnimeNEXT as well). It was certainly a beautiful weekend for the convention, and I certainly look forward to coming back again in the future.
To start, let's just get some of the cons/negatives out of the way first though before we get to the good stuff. First, AnimeNEXT was extremely late in getting the schedule published as the PDF was made available for viewing just days before the beginning of the con and they probably had a web ninja frantically typing in data for the guidebook app up until the start of the con. I also saw tons of posts by panelists asking them about confirmations for their panels and not being able to get in touch with the panel coordinator to address issues with the scheduling of their panels. These issues definitely need to be addressed in future cons as people need to have this information cemented beforehand so they can make their plans accordingly.
Second, during and after the con I saw a sh*t ton of posts complaining about the shuttle buses run by Jitney. Complaints included extremely long waits for a shuttle to arrive, shuttle buses not stopping at their designated stops, and accusations that shuttle bus drivers were openly ignoring bus stops that didn't service a lot of people. I saw a post where one person described how they had to call Jitney and lie about the number of people that were waiting at that bus station in order to get them to send a shuttle their way. AnimeNEXT has responded in saying that they are extremely disappointed at the poor service that was provided by Jitney and are in talks with Jitney about it. Hopefully they can work out this issue with Jitney next year or even go with a different transportation service entirely as this problem definitely cannot continue into future years. I'm sure that this issue has already caused some harm to AnimeNEXT's reputation and they certainly can't afford to have this be an ongoing problem.
My third issue isn't really that big of a problem, but the way that AnimeNEXT currently queues people for the main events is kind of messy. The Main Events hall is located on the far right corner of the convention center whereas the queue for people to line up for events is located in the hall located to the far left of the convention center (which was the same hall where registration was located this year). Not only is it annoying for people to have to walk all around the convention center to find where the line starts for the main events but then the staff has to entirely block off foot traffic on the second floor (which includes the Dealer's Hall) in order to herd the people in line to the main events hall. I do hope that AnimeNEXT finds a better way to set up a queue for the main events for future years.
Anyways, enough about the negatives. So what else went down at AnimeNEXT this year? Lots of great cosplay and lots of great guests, that's what. In addition to the American voice actor guests that they invited, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of Japanese guests that they invited. They had Japanese staff and guests from Studio Trigger, Yuri on Ice, ReLIFE, and Vocaloid. With many of the events overlapping each other it was difficult to decide on what panels to go to. Another great addition this year was Cosplay Pro Wrestling. I'm not exactly a fan of WWE (because you know, it's fake), but a cosplay-theme WWE event was definitely a lot of fun to watch. Here are a few photos that I shot of the event:
Geek comedian Uncle Yo was back this year for his final stand-up comedy act as he is planning on leaving the con circuit for a while. His presence will definitely be missed as I always look forward to his shows at the various conventions that he goes to. Uncle Yo was also the MC for the cosplay Masquerade contest which had a lot of outstanding skits. They really should block off a longer period of time for the Masquerade though as they only scheduled the event for a mere two hours. Allocating only two hours for the Masquerade isn't really enough time and certainly proven true this year considering how the 25-30 minute delay in getting everyone seated caused the event to run over.
Overall the con was pretty good this year. AnimeNEXT has a number of things that they need to improve upon but overall it was a decent showing. They do have stiff competition though considering that the con takes place during the same weekend as A-Kon in Texas. While AnimeNEXT will continue to draw the local crowd, they definitely have their work cut out for them in trying to draw more people from across the country to come to Atlantic City instead of going to Texas for the far more popular A-Kon.
Click here for my hall cosplay photos that I took during the weekend.
Click here for photos from the Persona cosplay photoshoot that was held on Saturday.
Click here for photos from the Overwatch cosplay photoshoot that was held on Saturday.
Click here to go to my YouTube channel where I uploaded my recordings of Uncle Yo's stand-up comedy show, a short clip from the Overwatch gathering doing their anniversary dancing emotes, and also the full Masquerade event in 4K resolution.