Anime and Cosplay and Manga, oh my! Anime NYC returns to the Javits Center, by Erin DeGregorio

Designated the largest vaccination site in the United States at its peak 10 months ago, the Jacob K. Javitz Center in Midtown Manhattan has served a new purpose and reminded many of a pre-pandemic past. From November 19-21, it hosted the 5th Annual Anime NYC, an immersive and interactive pop culture festival celebrating Japanese animation and culture.

“While we were able to create a free online version of the event with Japanese guests, exclusives, panels from our partners, and screenings last year, what was really missing was the community,” Anime NYC founder Peter Tatara told Red Hook. Star. Revue before this year’s event. “Yes, you can certainly transition content from a live experience to an online one, but the experience changes. There is something very different to watching a concert on YouTube, to being in the first row of an auditorium.

“This year’s show was never promised,” Tatara added, explaining that planning began in late spring due to the ever-changing pandemic situation. “We are in this incredibly fortunate position to present the first major celebration of Japanese pop culture in the United States in 20 months… in part due to the hard work and efforts of those who worked in this very building throughout 2020 and 2021 when the Javits became a field hospital and then a mass vaccination site.”

Over the weekend, thousands of vaccinated fans from the Big Apple and beyond attended panel discussions with internationally renowned anime directors, producers, and actors; met their favorite voice actors at meet-and-greet autograph opportunities; saw exclusive movie screenings; and they dressed to the nines in their cosplay creations and character costumes.

a real life hero

For New Jersey native Maria “Maweezy” Chante, who has earned a reputation for designing unique and original “mash-up” pieces of work through her cosplay costumes and has gone viral with her homemade “Boba Fett (combining Boba Fett from “Stars Wars” with the bubble tea drink) – Returning to Anime NYC for the third time, in person, meant everything.

Maweezy worked as a full-time nurse in the COVID-19 ICU during the pandemic and helped other healthcare workers go viral in an April 2020 video inspired by the social media “pass the brush” challenge (at where the creators edit a makeup compilation together). videos that start and end with the contestants physically appearing and running a makeup brush between different scenes seamlessly). “I had to put cosplay and convention on the back burner to focus on my duty as a registered nurse,” Maweezy said, “but I thought of a few ways that we (other nurses, healthcare workers and photographers in the cosplay scene ) could express our creativity?”

The approximately three-minute-long video (titled “Heroes Behind the PPE”), which featured before and after shots of 23 healthcare professionals, garnered more than 49,300 views on Instagram as of November 27.

“The biggest misconception I’ve ever heard is that people who put a lot of time and effort into cosplay have no life,” Maweezy explained. “I stun people…because I have my career and then I have my hobby, which I’m very passionate about.”

“And the ‘Heroes Behind the PPE’ video shows that medical professionals can be total nerds and cosplayers too,” he added.

Chalk artist surprises fans

Across the room on November 20, artist Eric Maruscak took a short 15-minute break from his massive chalk mural to take in the hustle and bustle around him and his props. He was nearing the 18 hour mark on his drawing of “The Faraway Paladins” when he, too, spoke to the Red Hook Star-Revue. The mural, approximately 9 feet wide by 13 feet tall, took 25 hours to complete over the course of three days and was finished before Anime NYC closed its doors to fans on November 21.

“This is my first Anime NYC and I love it and have a great time,” said Maruscak, who since 2006 has created nearly 100 giant chalk murals as live art for conventions and festivals. “I love the interactive aspect of this: people come up to me and ask me questions.”

Maruscak admitted that he felt a bit hesitant to be at Anime NYC as an exhibitor, because the last time he worked at a convention in person was in August 2019. But, he said, his fears were quickly put to rest after seeing fans walking around with More expensive. “This feels like an anime convention,” Maruscak said. “This is the most normal I’ve felt in two years ago, doing what I love.”

Anime NYC will return to the Javits Center on November 18-20, 2022.