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My interest in anime and manga is largely a solitary pursuit that consists of me watching copious amounts of animated TV shows and answering questions on this site -- I don't really collect merchandise much or go to conventions . However, in the past, I've missed at least one convention that I would have liked to go to, on account of the fact that someone who had been involved with a few series I really like spoke there.

One problem, in addition to my lack of interest in looking through guest speaker lists early enough, is probably simply that I don't really know where I can learn about ongoing conventions. I might know of some small "convention" run by the anime club of a school I might be affiliated with, and, along with that, of one much larger convention in the area. However, I only know of these via word-of-mouth, and I pretty much do not know of the approximate times of any other conventions near areas I've lived in. Moreover, if I travel, it'd be nice to be able to have some approximate idea as to whether there are any conventions in the area, so I can see if I might be interested in going.

With this in mind, are there any websites that list major conventions by location and dates? (Bonus points: are there any particular websites that do not just do so for, say, the US?)

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    Note: I realize the thing to do would be to just look up the major anime conventions in any areas I could conceivably live in, but that feels inefficient, and I can't be the only person interested in this. – Maroon Jun 29 '15 at 3:32
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Although Jay Fubler Harvey's massive Anime Web Turnpike web directory of over 40,000 links unfortunately went offline in November 2014 after being acquired by The Anime Broadcasting Network, Inc., the classic version is still visible at archive.org. The Anime Conventions page lists all of the main anime and/or manga conventions that had come into existence by that point. There is also Wikipedia's List of Anime Conventions.

The largest anime convention in the world is AnimeExpo, which is held in July in either Los Angeles or Long Beach, California. It features what is arguably the best line-up of Japanese celebrities: mangaka, anime directors, anime producers, animators, and seiyuu. It also features a variety of options for spending your time such as anime screenings, hands-on workshops, academic lectures, competitions (cosplay, AMV, gaming, karaoke), and performances.

The largest doujinshi convention in the world is Comic Market, better known as Comiket, held twice a year in summer and winter in Tokyo. Since it is doujinshi-focused, it does not contain much in the way of anime/manga guests of honor, licensed anime/manga content, or vendors of anime merchandise, but it does include cosplay and sellers of handicrafts.

The main manga conventions in Japan are Jump Festa and Ribon Festa (this is the link for the 2015 Ribon Festa, but the URL for the convention changes every year. You can find the current one linked from the Ribon magazine official site). These conventions include exclusive anime OAV premiers, exclusive collectibles that cannot be bought elsewhere, mangaka talk shows and autograph sweepstakes, and gallery displays of real manga pages. Since they are sponsored by the publishing company, they aren't conventions that feature any titles other than Shuueisha's own series. Jamie Lynn Lano (who worked as a professional mangaka assistant) attended Ribon Festa and reported on it here, as well as on Tenipuri Festa, which represents smaller-scale Japanese conventions about specific titles (in this case, Tennis no Ouji-sama).

If you're going to shell out a lot to travel to a con, AnimeExpo is highly recommended and you'll want to be there all 4 days (there's quite a lot to do); Jump Festa and Ribon Festa are a fantastic experience but minimal Japanese language skills are required (1 day is enough, as the scale is much smaller than AnimeExpo). Comiket is about 90% explicit hentai doujinshi, so if that's not your thing, you will likely be disappointed by the experience and I would recommend against attending.

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You can also find a list of anime and comic conventions on UpcomingCons.com. For just anime, click through to the anime page. I also don't collect merchandise much, and even though vendors rooms are a big part of the cons, there are also lots of guests to meet, along with a lot of cool cosplays.

  • Interesting site, although it seems a bit incomplete (even if we restrict our scope to the US). (e.g. I couldn't find any recent entries for ACEN for after 2014 on a quick search, but the ACEN website tells me they're running this year, and I get the impression they were in the years between too.) – Maroon Jan 21 '17 at 23:58
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    I can't promise it's 100% complete, but it also lists more cons than the Wikipedia list of cons does (as each convention has to be considered Noteworthy to get a Wikipedia page). There's at least 50 or 60 upcoming cons listed at any time though, which hopefully includes one near you! – Ryan Kopf Jan 22 '17 at 0:55
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A good place to find upcoming anime conventions is animecons.com. You can choose specifically what year you would like to look at and in which area. They provide information about anime conventions all around the world, not just America. They provide the dates, name of the con, and the location. It also gives you information about the con (e.g. who runs it, how frequently this con is held, and where to register).

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