Anime NYC 2023 Was a hololive Bonanza

I didn’t intend for my Anime NYC 2023 experience to become more like “hololive NYC,” but that’s what ended up happening. Between multiple special events and an Exhibit Hall filled with sellers who knew that it’d be a hot commodity, my time was filled with VTubers and VTuber accessories. 

Anime NYC 2023 took place from November 17 through 19, once again on the west side of Manhattan at the Jacob Javits Center—a mediocre venue that tends to just win by default because there’s nothing bigger around. While the con brought guests and screenings from lots of different anime and manga, the highlight for me was indeed the sheer amount of hololive programming. Each day brought something big: the Hoshimachi Suisei paid concert on Friday, the very first hololive Advent panel on Saturday, and then the surprise hololive Indonesia tour concert, viv:ID Cruise. On top of that, Anime NYC had originally announced each one separately, so what we originally thought would be one major event (the Suisei concert) gradually turned into three—not to mention the hololive booth in the Exhibit Hall that had nonstop live programming.

One of the challenges for the big hololive events is that they all required attendees to go through a somewhat convoluted reservation system. Rather than first come, first served, people were randomly assigned a spot in the queue. The idea is to 1) not have people line up unnecessarily the day of an event, and 2) to make sure those with the privilege of more free time or fortunate timing didn’t have an unfair advantage. I find that there are pros and cons to this approach, the downside being that I think it makes many people try to get in even if they don’t necessarily care. Nevertheless, I count myself incredibly lucky that I managed to get into all three events.


Hoshimachi Suisei is one of the most popular and celebrated VTuber singers today. She introduced viewers of the The First Take to the world of Virtual Youtubers, and she’s already had a couple concerts in Japan. Her appearance at Anime NYC was pioneering in multiple ways: Not only is it the first (mostly) solo 3D concert for hololive in the US, but it’s also the first to spotlight Japanese talent, as opposed to the English-focused Connect the World from last July. Suisei did not disappoint, bringing her characteristic powerful vocals and performing her original songs like “Ghost” and “Stellar Stellar.” In an industry where lots of post-processing is common to make people sound much better, Suisei stands out as someone with legit singing chops.

hololive EN’s Calliope Mori also guest-starred with a solo and a duet with Suisei. The big surprise to me was that, of all the pieces she could have done, Mori performed “Miraijima ~Future Island~,” her promotional song for the One Piece manga. Though in hindsight, it’s the perfect fit for an anime convention.

The concert was basically a glorified screening (Hatsune Miku–style 3D holograms aren’t a thing yet for parent company Cover Corp.), but buying into the kayfabe “live” notion is part and parcel with enjoying hololive in general. Also, the Special Events hall was not an ideal space for concerts (it’s just not built for that purpose), and standing on the hard concrete floor for extended periods was murder on my legs. Despite the pain, I had fun.

hololive Advent

Just like how hololive Council made their group convention debut at Anime NYC in 2021, the third generation of hololive English appear this year together for the first time. Unlike the other events over the weekend, it was not a musical performance. Instead, it was a Family Feud–adjacent panel where the members of Advent competed to see who could successfully guess what the audience would answer in polls related New York City. Questions included topics like iconic NYC foods (pizza) and the coolest New Yorker (Lady Gaga). The funniest thing was seeing the generational/informational divide among Advent—most notably Shiori Novella (an “archiver” in VTuber kayfabe) calling Al Pacino “Al Pakino” and “Al Capino.” 

This panel ran a lot more smoothly than Council’s two years ago, and didn’t have the awkward formality that came from being connected to an official cultural tourism thing. I think it really goes to show what strides hololive has made among American fans that they didn’t feel the need to have that association.


The appearance of hololive Indonesia at the con was a big surprise, namely because viv:ID Cruise was originally announced for Southeast Asia only. Now, the tour schedule reads as “Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lampur…and New York.” I’m definitely not complaining, as it ended up being my favorite part of Anime NYC as a whole. 

The members of viv:ID CRUISE are Moona Hoshinova, Ayunda Risu, Pavolia Reine, and Kobo Kanaeru. In their group numbers, it was great to see how each VTuber brought their own personal quirks to their performances and the choreography, such as Risu’s unmatched songstress status and Kobo’s theatrical dance moves. In their solos, each girl shone brilliantly. Moona made the biggest impression on me with her song “Perisai Jitsu,”  particularly with the catchy chorus and the simple-yet-powerful choreography. I’ve had it stuck in my head for days, and it reinforces my opinion that Moona is one of the most complete packages in all of hololive. 


I also noticed that Reine seemed to be the most popular with the audience there, though I don’t know how representative the live crowd was compared to, say, US fandom for hololive Indonesia as a whole. Speaking of texting, before and after the concert, there was an ad promoting the new holostars English generation, Armis. Online opinion about male VTubers in hololive Production can be mixed or even negative, but the attendees seemed to be largely enthusiastic about the guys.

The hololive Booth

In addition to all the above events, the official hololive Meet booth returned to the Exhibit Hall this year. On the sides were life-size standees of this year’s representatives for hololive Meet, as well as ones for the CEO of hololive, Tanigo “Yagoo” Motoaki, and fan-favorite staff member A-chan. Like last year, they also had live streams on display there especially for Anime NYC. The booth was sponsored by VRChat, and fans not attending the con could still see them through VRChat. I think this was a great idea, and even provided something for the fans who couldn’t attend all the ticketed events mentioned above.

I wasn’t able to see all of them, but I did catch a couple. 

Hakos Baelz is an official ambassador for VRChat, so it’s no surprise that she’d be there, but her embracing of the platform—particularly through her “Dawn of the Dork” karaoke streams—makes her a fitting rep. She brought one such karaoke session to Anime NYC, and showed off both her fun, casual singing and her well-honed dance moves. Utilizing a cutesy model version of herself dubbed “Strawberry Bae,” she sang some anime tunes, took requests from members of the audience (each of whom only suggested hololive songs), and even almost covered Mariah Carey’s Christmas song, until a vocal part of the audience booed the notion. I wish I could have heard it. 

The other stream I saw was by two members of the Indonesian branch who weren’t at the concert: Airani Iofifteen and Kureiji Ollie. They’re actually my two favorites of the Indonesian girls, so I was glad to have had the opportunity to see them. Their panel was more of a goofy one, where they had the audience tell them to do certain poses, and they had to see if they both did the same thing. Both Iofi and Ollie have ways of thinking that stray from innocence, so the antics could get rather spicy (but in a fairly PG-13 way). There were also some technical mishaps that would make one or the other disappear or mess up their models, but it was all in good fun and the audience understood. 

I could not view the FuwaMoco karaoke session, but I could definitely hear it. The highlight for me was getting to listen to their rendition of “Ojamajo Carnival,” the first opening to Ojamajo Doremi

One big improvement over last year’s booth was that they elevated the screen to be high up and visible from a distance. However, the crowd that formed around it still took up a huge chunk of floor space and could make it difficult for passersby, especially because it ended up blocking the exits a little. If something could be done to fix that, it would be a boon to both the fans and the other attendees.


hololive merchandise comes in many forms. There’s the official stuff, the fanmade goodies, things from previous events and milestones, and limited edition convention items, among others. Pretty much all of this was available at Anime NYC 2023, no doubt because everyone knew hololive was going to have a presence there.

I have an ongoing mission to get at least one item related to every hololive member at some point, so this was a great opportunity for me to take a few steps closer:

I am very fond of the hololive Meet casual outfits, so I wanted to get something from that line. One of the big selling points is also that it had A-chan merch (a rarity, given that she’s not technically a “hololive” performer despite working for the company), and I count myself incredibly fortunate that I managed to get a button of her, as well as ones for Ollie and holoEN’s IRyS (the best singer in EN, in my estimation). 

I also really had not expected to get something as amazing as an official canvas image of Inugami Korone in her Sonic the Hedgehog cosplay. I believe my life to be enriched by its presence.

Final VTuber Thoughts

The hololive experience at Anime NYC was unforgettable, and topped this year only by the fact that I got to see Connect the World live. I think it’s great that a convention so close to me gets VTubers in a major way. That said, I do have two hopes for future appearances. 

First, I think it would be great for everyone if all these events could be announced sooner so that fans could save up and prepare. While I had the benefit of a press pass, in recent years, the cost for regular attendees has skyrocketed, and those who missed the opportunity for the already-low-number 3-day passes had to pay in the triple digits just to get Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I know from experience that conventions sometimes simply can’t announce things as soon as they’d like, but anything to give fans more prep time would be great.

Second, Anime NYC has still yet to have proper meet-and-greets for VTubers—something that seems to be common at other conventions throughout the world. I have to wonder if there’s a space issue that prevents it at the Javits, though the fact that Anime NYC 2024 is going to use the entirety of the convention center might bode well for such a change. That all said, next year’s con is going to be moving from November to August, which will bring a whole host of uncertain variables. Whether this turns out to be a good move remains to be seen, but I hope it ends up being a net positive.

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