We don’t even need to tell you how brutal 2020 has been for most of the country. In fact we’ve seen it pan out since March; from the pandemic to the protests and everything ugly and unpleasant in between. While the threat of COVID is still ramped throughout the world, many of us are trying to hold it together through any outlet of escapism that we can find. For fans of anime and manga our consumption of the medium has tripled since March (we’ve got the numbers to prove it), however that month was also the last time any fans have been to an anime convention.
As soon as COVID hit the con scene was shut down. At least 80% of the community that goes to cons (like ourselves) was devastated by the news; but at the same time, we knew how much the staff and founders of the con wanted their attendees to be safe. (The same cannot be said for a small few who decided to do the opposite.) For most conventions they don’t have ‘Pandemic Insurance’ but others decided to get a little create by going live online. Right now there’s a handful of special convention events happening online to take the edge of reality for a day or two. (We’ll keep you posted.)
So now the question is; what will conventions be like when they DO return once COVID-19 is over (via vaccination)? Well, we don’t think the ones you know and love will disappear completely, but what might happen is that many of the mega conventions like Anime Expo may cut their normal annual attendance by 50% (they average 100,000+ people a year). Sadly as a result of the pandemic the cost of badges will probably increase by 30%, but smaller convention badge prices might still retain their usual cost. If some of the bigger-name cons are unable to bring back their con in 2021, more than likely they’ll roll over to 2022. Masks will probably still be required until enough people get vaccinated; which will take 4-6 months due to the fact that it may be administered through phases (most vulnerable to least vulnerable).
We don’t see conventions going anywhere for awhile; even if Japan stops producing anime all together (we’ve got 30+ years of anime titles already, but we hope that they’ll still continue to produce). As for what they’ll be like beyond 2021, we’re seeing a glimpse of what that reality is like already thanks to the pandemic. There’s nothing like seeing cosplayers, VA’s, and fellow fans in person, and as soon as we get that vaccine, we look forward to seeing our fans and you guys again!