More anime-related conventions were held in North America in 2012 compared with the previous year, according to AnimeCons.com, which cited a corresponding rise in attendance levels.
The website on Jan. 7 listed 449 conventions last year, an increase of 53 from 396 events covered in 2011.
In 2012, the New York Anime Festival, which had ranked among the top five in attendance, folded into New York Comic Con. But the number of anime cons has grown as a whole.
The number of attendees for those events also increased, according to the website.
Anime Expo, the largest U.S. anime convention, is held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It attracted 49,400 visitors, while Otakon held in Baltimore, Maryland, which ranked second in attendance, drew 32,724 visitors.
Anime Central (Chicago) came in third with 24,316 visitors, followed by Anime North (Toronto) with 22,385 visitors. Anime Boston (Boston) attracted 22,065 visitors.
A-Kon (Dallas) drew 21,982 visitors and Sakura-Con (Seattle) got 20,214 visitors. FanimeCon (San Jose) attracted 21,000 visitors.
The attendance figures may seem paltry compared to anime events held in Japan, Asia and Europe. But these numbers reflect actual turnouts.
Anime Expo also said it had a turnstile attendance of over 130,000 in 2012. The figure exceeds that of the 2012 Tokyo International Anime Fair and the Anime Contents Expo held in Chiba last year.
By many accounts, the Japanese anime and manga business has shrunk drastically since the late 2000s in North America. But anime conventions have rapidly flourished during the same period.
For example, in 2006, when the Japanese anime business apparently peaked, Anime Expo and Otakon only drew 40,647 and 22,302 visitors, respectively.
Besides, attendance for Anime North and the four other mid-level conventions has doubled in the past six years.
Whether or not anime conventions will continue to grow this year remains to be seen.
SEFA Event, which operates Japan Expo, which is held in Paris and dedicated to Japanese pop culture, is set to hold Japan Expo USA in August in Santa Clara near San Francisco. Japan Expo attracted 210,000 visitors last year.
Visit the official website of AnimeCons.com at (http://animecons.com/).
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