Friday, September 30, 2011

Largest Anime Conventions in North America - 2011 edition

Kalafina at Anime Expo
Anime Conventions happen on a regular basis in the United States and Canada. North America is one of the most competitive places in the world for Anime Conventions. Out of the various anime cons that happen in a year, there are only a few large Anime-focused conventions that are above the 10,000 mark in the United States. A successful large convention is a combination of having a vibrant anime community, passionate staff, a large market, and an ability to draw people from outside the local constituency. Without further ado, here are the largest anime conventions in the United States.

10. Ohayocon 
Venue: Hyatt Regency and Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, OH
Started: 2001
2011 Attendance - 10,120 Unique

Ohayocon is the largest winter anime convention in the United States. It takes place in Ohio, and it's name "Ohayou" means "Good Morning." It is a fast growing three-day anime convention in the Midwest and with its Late-January dates it is also the first large anime con over the course of the year.

9. Anime Weekend Atlanta
Venue: Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta, GA
Started: 1995
Organization: Anime Weekend Atlanta, Inc. (for Profit)
2010 Attendance - 12,718 Unique

Anime Weekend Atlanta (known as AWA) is the largest anime convention in the south. It is a three day con that happens in late September/early October.

8. FanimeCon
Venue: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA
Started: 1994
Organization: Anime Resource Group (For Profit)
2011 Attendance -  17,000 Unique

Fanime is the second largest anime convention in California, and the eighth largest anime convention in the United States. Starting out as a gathering of Local anime clubs, FanimeCon grew to a large anime convention. The convention occurs on Memorial Day Weekend.

7. A-Kon 
Venue: Sheraton Hotel, Dallas, TX
Started: 1990
2011 Attendance - 18,447 Unique

Started two years before Anime Expo, A-Kon (formerly known as Project A-Kon) is North America's longest continually running  anime convention and one of the largest conventions in the United States. A-Kon is a three day anime convention that occurs in late May/early June.

6. Sakura-Con
Venue: Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Seattle, WA
Started: 1998
Organization: Asia Northwest Cultural Education Association (Non-profit)
2011 Attendance - 19,040 Unique

Sakura-Con is the largest anime con in Northwestern United States. When started in 1998, the convention originally had the name Baka!-Con, but changed the name to Sakura-Con in 2000. Sakura-con is the large April con in the United States.

5. Anime Boston 
Venue: Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA
Started: 2003
Organization: New England Anime Society, Inc. (Non-Profit)
2011 Attendance - 19,136 Unique

Anime Boston is a very young convention in the world of large anime cons. It was started out of desire by a group of anime fans in Boston who felt that they could have a local anime convention that they didn't need to drive to. The first year of the convention had a unique attendance of 4,110, a number completely unheard of for the first year of any anime convention. Since then, Anime Boston has become one of the fastest growing anime conventions in the United States.

4. Anime North
Venue: Toronto Congress CentreToronto, Canada
Started: 1997
2011 Attendance - 19,958 Unique

Anime North is Canada's largest anime convention (with Otakuthon being the second largest). It is a fast-growing convention in the North, but due to overcrowding issues they are considering attendance caps in future conventions. Anime North is a three-day convention that occurs in late-May.

3. Anime Central
Venue: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, IL
Started: 1998
Organization: Midwest Animation Promotion Society (Non-Profit)
2011 Attendance - 23,138 Unique

Anime Central is the largest anime convention in the Midwest and the third largest anime convention in North America. In terms of sheer growth, Anime Central is one of the fastest growing anime conventions in North America (along with Anime North). Anime Central traditionally has been a May convention, but it has moved to April for 2012.

2. Otakon
Venue: Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MA
Started: 1994
Organization: Otakorp, Inc. (Non-Profit)
2011 Attendance - 31,348 Unique

Otakon is the second largest anime convention in the North America and the largest anime convention in the East Coast. The convention's name is a combination of "Otaku Convention." Many people see Otakon and Anime Expo as rival conventions, but the geographic differences between both cons means that there is little overlap in terms of demographics. The convention is the largest three day anime convention in the United States, they attempted to expand the convention to four days in 1995, but it was met with lots of resistance from within the organization. Due to the massive size of Otakon, it has a huge economic impact on the city of Baltimore.

1. Anime Expo
Venue: Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA
Started: 1992
Organization: Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (Non-Profit)
2011 Attendance - 47,800 Unique

Anime Expo has quite a bit under its name, it is the largest anime convention in North America, it is one of the longest running anime conventions, it is one of the few four-day anime conventions. Anime Expo started in 1992 in San Jose, and in 1994 the organization made a strategic move to Southern California. The convention is known for its Japanese guests, incredible number of cosplayers, and its gigantic size. I have a very long history with Anime Expo, so the convention has a strong place in my heart.

So there you have it, here are the largest anime convention in North America. This isn't a top ten list, just a list of conventions larger than 10,000, so the list will grow larger as more cons get larger in size. Of these cons the only one I have attended with some regularity is Anime Expo, but hopefully soon I can expand to attend more of these wonderful large conventions.


Zrana said...

Actually, Youmacon was larger than Ohayocon by over 200 people. Their numbers may not have been up when you made this blog post.

nevermind1534 said...

It just hadn't taken place yet in September.

Anonymous said...

The attendance that is posted on this blog for Ohayocon was actually their 2010 numbers. They had over 12000 for 2011.