Conventions might seem like a small thing at the moment, with everything that is happening in the world, but they mean a lot to many people. For fans, they are a chance to show off their newest cosplay, meet their favorite artists and actors, and see friends they might only get to see once a year. For industry folks, they are a reliable and exciting source of income, besides providing a platform to engage with new and existing fans.
With the coronavirus pandemic hitting every corner of the world, we’re seeing conventions delayed or, in some cases, canceled entirely. The latest, and one of the largest, event to succumb to this is FanimeCon, the largest anime convention in Northern California. Attracting fans and talent from far and wide, it had been scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (May 22nd–25th for those of us outside the US), but this week the staff announced their decision to postpone until next year. The 2021 event had already been scheduled.
FanimeCon has announced that previously purchased tickets will be deferred to the 2021 event and any hotel bookings taken through the FanimeCon block will be canceled without any fee. Announcements regarding guests, panels, and dealer tables can be expected in the coming weeks and months, once rescheduling magic happens behind the scenes.
With this, there are few conventions that are likely to go forward as scheduled. May and June are completely bare, while several conventions that had been scheduled for July, such as Hyper Japan in London, have been pushed back to a date in the fall, when the hope is that mass gatherings will be safer. These are all the right decision to make, of course, and no one is suggesting that the organizers go forward with an event that will put their attendees, staff, or guests at risk, but it is still disappointing for fans to watch the events they had spent months looking forward to drop so rapidly.
There is no telling the full impact that the pandemic will have on the wider anime industry. Already series premiers are being pushed back. Expect to see more of this as Japan starts to go into the kind of lockdown that Europe has been facing for a month now. There is little modern precedent for these kinds of mass closures we’ve been seeing. With safety foremost on people’s minds, we simply have to hope for a return to normalcy by the time many of the events like Fanime have been rescheduled for.
In the meantime, J-List is doing it’s best to ensure the safety of our customers and staff, while complying with local regulations. We’ll keep you updated on the blog about the status of shipping. We’re still taking orders and we’re giving you 20% off your DHL shipping tab if you order before April 20th (in the USA or Canada only).