This Has Nothing to Do with Nissan

So after  submitting my entry for NYAF’s mascot competition, I’ve been looking around at the other entries. Regardless of age, talent, creativity, whatever, I can really feel that everybody who submitted a design put effort into their creations.

I don’t think anybody plagiarized or stole from anyone else (though there’s a few questionable designs copyright-wise), so I find it interesting to see what recurring themes there are among the entries. I mean, there’s only so many things you can positively associate with New York, and I’m certainly not the only one who decided to approach it from the subway angle. What I find particularly interesting though is the large number of entries that somehow incorporated the Manhattan Skyline into their mascots, especially in the clothes. The reason I find it interesting is that it had not occurred to me at all to associate New York with the skyline.

I’m a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens, and have spent much of my years in Manhattan, be it for school or to be with friends. With that in mind, I have to wonder if maybe growing up in NYC I’ve simply gotten too used to the number of tall buildings around. It’s easy to forget that there are places that aren’t like this, or that this feature of NYC would stand out in people’s minds.

As someone who grew up in New York, as someone who used the subway daily for years on end, I felt a more tangible connection to the underground than to the skies above, and it was something I could embrace and appreciate more, hence Chika’s design and the vague hints at her personality I gave in her information.

Second place for interesting recurring themes was taxis, which I also did not associate with NYC for similar reason to the skylines, but I’ve been told by certain people that NYC is apparently the only place you can just wave down a taxi. You learn something every day!

My NYAF Mascot Submission

So my entry for New York Anime Festival’s Mascot Design competition is over at the contest site now. You can view my entry here. I uploaded the image twice because I felt that the first upload’s resolution wasn’t high enough (they actually expand a smaller image so the enlarged image looks terrible). Then I found out you can edit your entry and just reupload.

Whoops!

The way the contest works, 10 finalists will be picked from the existing pool of images and then those will be voted on. Once the finalists are picked, you’ll have to go to the Sakura Matsuri in New York City from May 2nd-May3rd.  I won’t tell any of you to vote for me unless you really think my design deserves it. If you see something better, go for it.

Once all the entries are in, theOtaku.om, Del Rey Manga, and the New York Anime Festival will be selecting ten finalists that will be put on display at the New York Anime Festival booth at Sakura Matsuri (May 2nd-3rd at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn, NY — http://www.bbg.org/exp/cherries/sakura.html). Sakura Matsuri attendees will vote for their favorite, with the character receiving the most votes being crowned NYAF’s 2009 mascot. On May 7th, the winner will be revealed!

And if you’re unable to see it somehow, the profile I’ve designed for my character is below. No, her name is not an Ogiue reference, it’s short for “Chikatetsu,” the Japanese word for subway.

Name: Chika
Favorite Anime: Kino’s Journey
Favorite Manga: Honey and Clover

Chika is a girl who loves experiencing variety, something which anime, manga, and New York all have in abundance. You can often find her head buried in manga as she rides the subway around the city.

If there’s one thing that connects all of the anime and manga fans in the city, it’s the use of the New York City’s public transportation to visit the various stores which allow fans to maintain their hobbies and even meet each other and foster friendships. Chika’s outfit symbolizes New York City subways and the opportunities they represent.