Today I have convention coverage to share! My report on manga industry panels at the New York Anime Festival has gone up, this year over at Johanna Draper Carlson’s Comics Worth Reading. As I mention in my report, publisher panels are my primary focus at anime conventions and though they seem to be happening less and less frequently at all the conventions I regularly attend, there was plenty to get excited about this year at NYAF, especially from Vertical, whose newly acquired licenses I rave on rather tirelessly about over in my report. With so many bloggers on the task, none of the new license information will be news to anyone at this point, so my coverage is intended as one blogger’s take on the licenses themselves, including some commentary on my experience in each of the various panels.
My other focus this year (and perhaps my main focus, overall, if I’m being honest) was meeting and spending time with other manga bloggers, and on that front the con was a huge success. Besides spending virtually the entire weekend with my incredibly kind, fun, and intellectually stimulating roommates (Robin Brenner and Brigid Alverson) I was also able to meet and socialize with a whole slew of fantastic bloggers, including Deb Aoki, Erica Freidman, Sean Gaffney, Morithiel, and the ever-eloquent Ed Sizemore (whose convention coverage went up earlier this week) with whom I was thrilled to carry on more than a three-minute conversation this year. Even greater is the number of bloggers I was unable to spend more than a few moments with for one reason or another (Erin Finnegan, for instance, pops immediately to mind, whom I barely saw in passing) something I hope to rectify at future cons!
The immense volume of people I met at the con was actually a great part of the impetus for finally changing the name/url of this blog, since I discovered early on just how clunky it was trying to explain the old name to people with whom I only had a few minutes to chat overall. Though the convention was more obviously anime-centric this year than last, the wealth of good conversation about manga to be had with other bloggers on and off-site only increased my passion for the medium and my respect for the community as a whole.
Speaking of bloggers, the one panel I attended that did not make it into my industry report was Saturday night’s Blogger’s Roundtable, featuring a couple of the above bloggers and a large number of others (check out Ed’s report for a complete list). (ETA: You can now watch this roundtable in its entirety at Anime Diet!) I actually waffled a bit about attending, due to the late hour and the anime-heavy lineup, and though the panel’s final question (tweeted by ANN’s Zac Bertschy and delivered by Vertical’s Ed Chavez, who actually joined the group on the platform at that point) was well worth hanging on for, there were aspects of the panel’s structure that I thought hampered its effectiveness somewhat.
First of all, though I can understand the point of asking a group of animanga bloggers how they feel about the merging of NYAF and NYCC next year, or what their favorite piece of memorabilia is, in the limited time given to a panel like this, I’d much rather hear bloggers talk about blogging, or at the very least, something more vital to the subjects they blog about–something that would allow them to really get into the meat of things. Yes, there was some real meat in that final question (which resulted in some incredibly thoughtful answers from members of the panel), but I admit I wish that kind of thing had happened a bit earlier on.
Secondly, though the size of the panel allowed for a multitude of perspectives, which is genuinely awesome, it also seriously limited the number of questions that could be reasonably asked and pretty much eliminated the possibility of any kind of real discussion between panelists on any of the questions posed. Perhaps this could work a bit more smoothly if specific questions were directed to specific panelists, though of course I understand how difficult that might be to moderate. Please, bloggers, don’t misunderstand. You are all fun, brilliant, and generally kick-ass, and I’m aware that I’m being a bit of a cranky old biddy here. I do wish, though, that the evening as a whole had been able to accommodate more of the thoughtful conversation we were treated to near the end of the panel.
Picky complaints aside, the Blogger’s Roundtable was a great opportunity to see a large number of bloggers in one place, both onstage and off, which contributed significantly to the fabulous meet-and-greet-o-rama that was this year’s NYAF. I truly had a wonderful experience at the convention and I hope to repeat that for many years to come. Here’s hoping I’ll see you all there again next year! Check out my report for my take on the industry news!