Obviously the big draw was ol' Yoshiyuki Tomino, creator of Mobile Suit Gundam and a ton of other anime. Fans are already very familiar with the guy, and not too many people are going to go see him without knowing who he is, so there were really no surprises when he took the stage for the keynote, or for the Q&A session.
I'm not going to get too deep into the keynote, because, frankly, I'm saving my opinion piece about the keynote for Colony Drop. Look forward to it! There was quite a turnout, though, and people were really excited: they ran a highlight reel of Tomino series over the years before the Q&A and the crowd ate it up. The keynote had serious translation problems, as has been documented. Everybody in the room was mortified for the translator, who couldn't seem to figure out anything Tomino said and had to have his work picked up for him by two other translators. The guy across the aisle from me had his head down because he just didn't want to watch, and I know exactly how he felt. Thankfully they switched up for the Q&A and there were no problems there.
In a characteristically Tomino move, our hero tossed out the questions that Anime News Network had prepared for him from an internet forum thread and demanded to go through the questions of the masses lined up before him, because they were "actually here". I was shooting the major stuff onto the Twitter: this guy is brutally honest in an industry where nobody can afford to be. Whenever anybody asks him any question, he's worth a listen. Tomino's a fan of making vague answers that leave room for the listener to interpret that he is holding back private, intense loathing. In response to "why did you return to Zeta Gundam after all those years?", for example, Tomino simply responded that "people wanted to to make money," confirming everything that critical observers had noticed about those movies. Nobody was safe! Kunio Okawara wasn't safe! Tezuka wasn't safe! We laughed, we applauded him, it was a good time.
I was also lucky enough to receive my second Tomino signature: the first was back in the days of Big Apple Anime Fest, where I brought him an adorable talking Haro alarm clock, and this one was was the vintage Gundam III poster I bought a year ago at Otakon. It's a beautiful poster of the famous Last Shooting scene by Kunio Okawara... that guy whose work Tomino said he didn't care for the day before. Oh well! The crew I was running with all brought progressively more awesome items for Tomino to sign, from an original theatrical program for Gundam III to a Zambot 3 box set to Garzey's Fucking Wing.
That about wraps up NYAF for me on this blog. I do enjoy this con, but given the unsolvable size problem and my interests compared to those of the majority, there's not a ton to do. First priority was obviously Tomino, second was hanging out with people, and the rest I could essentially take or leave. I'll probably do it next year, though I should note that a press badge makes this decision very easy and your personal mileage may vary. Here's hoping their guests are as good.