Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fanimecon 2014

Fanimecon, whose slogan is “by fans, for fans,” was completely evident during Memorial Day weekend, 2014. Over the years, I’ve heard nothing but good, positive things about this show, and I was blessed with the time to finally attend to experience for myself.

Fanimecon calls the San Jose Convention center its home, which is a great venue for this caliber of show.

It has plenty of accommodating space, and is in a good location in downtown San Jose for an anime convention. The show took up the entire convention center and two neighboring Hotels, which held panels and other various events. I noticed that there were banners all over downtown commemorating the event. I didn’t realize exactly how big this show was until I arrived on the scene.

One of the downsides that I’ve heard about Fanimecon were the slow, endless registration lines. I even read a few reviews, and they all referred to the lines and the slowness. Initially, I thought they were greatly exaggerated, I mean, 7 hours in line? I’m guessing this only applies to registering on the first day because I showed up around noon on Saturday, and the registration section looked like a barren wasteland.

I waltzed right to the front, registered, and was given my pass and swag bag in less than 5 minutes.

The badge is really neat. It prints your name and nickname onto a plastic Fanime card, which you will need to get into the various halls.

Once I got inside, I noticed that this show had an artist alley that had its own room, a far cry from other, smaller conventions… and the room was huge!

Afterwards, I decided to check out the main Dealer’s hall.

I’m a fan of classic anime circa 1990: Robotech, Akira and Fist of the Northstar to name a few, but there’s current anime that I never heard of and just don’t get, and that’s most of what the dealers were selling in the main hall. I was thinking that I could have saved the $50 for the Saturday badge, but took the leap in hope of finding some cool Ultraman or Godzilla toys… and there were a few, but nothing that I would buy. Still, the hall had the lovely Yaya Han signing.

This dealer had some really cool and creative items. The specially-decorated Thor Mjolnir’s were exceptional.

I attempted taking photos of them, but a lady behind the case jumped out of nowhere and rudely yelled, “No photos!” Really? If she was polite about it, I would have said, “okay” but since she had to be a snot about it… >=0) The Dealer's hall was packed full of, well, stuff...

They even had some Bouncy Houses for children.

If you’re into cosplay, this is the show for you. There were so many people in cosplay that I couldn’t possibly take photos of everyone. There were a good deal of people that I missed, but for the great many that I captured, please see my West Coast Morpheus cosplay page:


They had a Marvel vs. DC photoshoot outside that I stuck around for. Power Girl, err MAN in the middle was organizing and calling the shots.

You’ll notice that Bane in the middle is holding a sign. I’m guessing that it was in direct correlation of this guy:

There has to be one at every show. It appeared that there were a few guys that was going to do something to him, as they just hovered around, waiting and seemingly scheming. When you put yourself on display like this, especially regarding controversial topics, you almost invite violence… and I’m not condoning it. Just pointing out a fact.

Even with organized photoshoots outside, there were some going on inside.

...and fans were everywhere. The floor was crowded the entire day.

After taking several photos and wandering around the center a bit, I ventured into the arcade room, which had all sorts of tournaments and things going on.

There were Magic: The Gathering, D&D, Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh! and several classic video game tournaments going on simultaneously, in addition to a Jenga competition that used 2x4’s. Yes, 2x4’s.

There was pool, table tennis and I even saw a group playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

There were also coin-op video games towards the rear of the room. Street Fighter was immensely popular along with Dance Dance Revolution.

Seeing the row of quarters on the dash that represented, "I got next" was a blast from my college days past.

It’s a good thing I didn’t venture into this hall until the end of the day, otherwise I would have stayed there and not gotten any other snapshots. There was so much going on in this room that I ended up staying here until the Dealer’s hall closed. This room alone was worth the price of admission.

There were additionally choreographed dances and presentations that were going on outside of the halls.

When I was younger, it would have been great if shows like this existed as an outlet for those that enjoy anime, comics, manga and cosplay. Growing up, at least for me, nothing like this was in existence, and you had to typically hide these types of interests as you would be subject to ridicule and possible bullying. It’s good to that see things have changed over the years, and that anime and comics are being accepted into the mainstream and even embraced.

Bottom Line- This show is loads of fun and a cosplayer’s paradise. If you’re into cosplay, or if you enjoy it and its creativity, there’s a place for you at this show. There were DC, Marvel, Independent, Anime and so many other, creative cosplayers at Fanimecon that it was stifling. At one point, I almost felt out of place because I wasn’t wearing a costume. In addition, if anime is your thing, you will enjoy this show. Even if you’re not into anime, there are a plethora of other activities to keep you entertained. I had my reservations coming in, but have concluded that the cost of admission is well worth the price.

Fanimecon had been on my bucket list for the last couple of years, so I’m glad that I was finally able to experience its awesomeness. Truly, a fan-driven show with great support and immense popularity, I can unequivocally say that it is by the fans and for the fans. Looking back, I wish that I had ventured into the neighboring Hotels just to see what was going on and absorb the complete experience. Still, I’m content with what I’ve experienced thus far and hope to return next year… and maybe in costume.