January 7, 2013

Ten Largest North American Anime Conventions of 2012

by Patrick Delahanty, Executive Producer, and

The year 2012 has come to an end and, as per our tradition, it's time to take a look at some of the stats from the past year.

In the last 12 months, there were an amazing 449 conventions listed on our site featuring anime programming. That's up from the 396 we listed for 2011 meaning that there was, on average, about one new convention every week!

In terms of attendance at conventions, has continued collecting attendance figures from anime conventions around the world and we list them on this web site. All numbers reported here and elsewhere on this site were reported by the conventions themselves. We do not take numbers from Wikipedia unless they are accompanied by a link to a reliable source. (However, since we get most of our numbers direct from the conventions' staffs, Wikipedia often cites as the reliable source for its data.)

We run down the ten largest anime conventions in North America during 2012 in the first weekly episode of AnimeCons TV, so you should check that out. We've listed them here as well:

  1. Anime Expo: 49,400 warm bodies
  2. Otakon: 32,724 warm bodies
  3. Anime Central: 24,316 warm bodies
  4. Anime North: 22,385 paid attendees**
  5. Anime Boston: 22,065 warm bodies (21,587 paid attendees)
  6. A-Kon: 21,982 warm bodies
  7. Sakura-Con: 20,214 paid attendees
  8. FanimeCon: 21,000 estimated warm bodies
  9. Anime Weekend Atlanta: 13,472 paid attendees
  10. Katsucon: 12,614 warm bodies***

It's interesting to note the large gaps between the attendance numbers of Otakon and Anime Central and then between FanimeCon and Anime Weekend Atlanta.

Although we had mentioned in AnimeCons TV that we did not hear from AnimeNEXT, they did report 9,850 attendees shortly before the episode was posted. We still have not received numbers from Anime North** or Ohayocon*, which are both candidates for the list.

Ohayocon has since reported 12,500 estimated warm bodies (12,198 paid attendees) and would be ranked 11th. Anime North also reported numbers after the initial publishing of this list and they are listed above.

Canadian anime fans should not worry since Otakuthon and its 11,000 attendees is also quite impressive. Also worth noting are Youmacon with a count of 12,156, Anime Maturi reported 10,422 attendees****, and San Japan and its 9,464 attendees.

Last year, MomoCon made our list, but their attendance actually dropped to 8,600 in 2012 because they changed from a free convention to a pay convention. However, 8,600 is still quite an impressive attendance count.

The above list only includes conventions that are primarily anime conventions. This means you won't see large conventions like San Diego Comic-Con or Dragon*Con included. Also, we only list conventions for which we have attendance numbers and put the list together using numbers available as of press time. (...although some conventions seem to wait until we publish the list every year and then send in corrections.)

Next year, we're considering also running down the top rated conventions of the year, so get yourself an account on the Forums and start rating conventions you've attended!

You can see the AnimeCons TV 2012 Year in Review as part of our December 2012 episode. Don't forget to watch our rundown of this list in our podcast as well. You can subscribe to AnimeCons TV using options on our Subscribe page.

* UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, Ohayocon reported 12,198 paid attendees with an estimated warm body count of 12,500 in 2012. This is up from their estimated warm body count of 11,000 (and 10,610 paid attendees) in 2011. The list above has been updated to reflect this change.

** UPDATE 2: We heard from Anime North about 24 hours after publishing this article. They reported 22,385 paid attendees and the list above has been modified to reflect this number.

*** UPDATE 3: In early 2014, we were informed that Katsucon's attendance was actually 9,142 and that the number reported earlier was due to a paperwork failure.

**** UPDATE 4: Anime Maturi's reported attendance of 10,422 has been removed from our site due to a history of mis-reporting attendance compared to the actual number of tickets that the venue reports being sold.

Patrick Delahanty is the creator of and executive producer of AnimeCons TV. He is the host of The Chibi Project, Anime Unscripted, and is one of the founders of both Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference. Patrick has attended over 100 conventions, cosplaying at most of them.