So yet another Fanime passes, and yet again I meet some cool new people and go to have a lot of fun. San Jose gets a sudden influx of anime fans(and then some) who sort of just roll over the downtown area like the morning fog. So what was this year like? What was there to see? And what did I actually do? Well let's get to that after a bit of the negatives out the way first.
There are areas of the con that just seem a tad disorganized to worst. The main thing that every portion I'm going to talk about was afflicted by is the hotel situation. The room block itself went live back in November and pretty much was hammered and filled the day it opened. What does this cause? Well a lot of people hinge on going to a con like this for various reasons outside of just buying anything or seeing panels. Some people go for coverage, guests, artist alley, and so forth. Most of these things were either not announced or open to register for until far after the block itself was filled. So as usual with a big event, once time came for all the other things to get rolling some people might cancel their rooms but things will still end with a chunk of people trying to shuffle around and find lodging.
Artist Alley from what I gathered had its share of problems with there being a few changes to the system. I know registration initially opened in December and the actual announcements on who made it in did not show up until sometime in April. For some this is a huge issue just because some people might be coming in from out of state or that their only reason for showing up is to try to exhibit their work and it leads to a scramble to get things in order. There was also a system of “First come, first serve” when it came to getting table placement, that being staff let those accepted choose their own placement. This led to many people being frustrated as there were limitations on how it could be accessed and constant crashing from so many trying to access it. Press was a bit of the same, opening up fairly early and not being announced on approval or denial until roughly a week past when the deadline to cancel rooms without penalty had passed. Also it seems far easier to register on site seeing as I know of people who don't do any coverage and were actually charging for photo shoots somehow getting approved. Again, for some people these sorts of situations might not matter too much, but for others it could be the difference between choosing one event over the other.
I also know of problems with the prop weapons policy. Mostly it seemed to revolve around firearm replicas, no matter how outlandish or unrealistic it would be to use some. Case in point being one of the Fallout cosplayers I was hanging out with was required to paint an orange tip on his laser rifle from Fallout(as pictured above). This wouldn't be so bad if the policy itself didn't seem to change on a person by person basis seeing as someone else in the same group had a revolver made from foam that looked far more like a real world piece but that was let in no problem and with no need for modification. At least the good thing is if something needs to be painted to be allowed, they do say you can use the cosplay hangout room which has paint and other materials to fix or modify costumes and props. Only thing that is a bit off on this though is that they send you there, which is at the Marriott while the weapons check is at the Hilton. It's a bit daft to have to walk through the entire stretch of the convention center to use a small amount of paint and then have to wade back to weapons check. But this is just another strange detail of how things aren't as organized as they should be.
So moving on from the negatives, what does the con have that works well? Well again Artist Alley is always fun. You have everything from prop makers like Impact Props and Zprops to artists who you see on tumblr such as Captaincrapster who is pictured above in some of the photos. I also believe one of the artists for Steven Universe was exhibiting some of their work. So you have a pretty solid and expansive list of work you can easily wander by and buy. The dealers room itself is pretty standard fare, so I won't really touch on it much outside of the few pictures that'll scroll by above. In terms of panels, a whole crazy sort ended up on the roster. Character panels of both the all ages and adult sort for those who are really into a certain fandom and also those on the more academic/research side such as the connection of old hardcoded fansubs and what they led to now. There are also concerts, dances, and various other events the con puts on and sponsors so that there is more to do than just go to viewing rooms or the game room(albeit the game room is one of the largest I've seen).
So that's all the on itself preps and prepares for, but what about things not fully in hand with the con? Well you have a bunch of people coming in from all over hanging out, cosplaying, and just having whatever fun they sort of end up in. There are plenty of gatherings as shown by a few photos below of the Dragon Age, Borderlands, and Final Fantasy Type 0 ones I ended up at. You also have people sort of just hanging out in various venues across the city grabbing food, a few drinks, and possibly just the attention of other onlookers. As a whole I see Fanime slowly becoming more like Comic Con in where events spring up around it more often every year. I know one bar set up a console arcade whereas the Fairmont's piano bar had people get up on the dance floor, some themed as disco variants of Wonder Woman and Superman. You have things kind of meld into a way you might not plan for but can see unfold as a swell of people just bombard everything within San Jose's downtown. It's a good show of organic growth that while not influenced directly by convention staff still helps categorize the growth of the event and just how much the scope has expanded for it.
So how do I sum it all up? I had a lot of fun despite some shortcomings. There's a lot of room for improvement on the convention's side, but that is true for every event and every person. Things leading up to the con might be messy, but generally are far better once everything is done and said. It's also an amazing place to meet new people, try new things, and just overall have a good time. Fanime itself is sort of the only event I really look forward too when it comes to anime styled ordeals as of late. It hasn't let me down and this year continued that tradition. So in short, if possible check it out, take and make friends, and also have fun. That's why we're all here, and that's what keeps us doing it. It's also nice to celebrate it as the convention I first started doing this whole photography thing at, but that's not as important. So stay tuned for other things, go check out new stuff, and most of all thanks for taking the time to read/look over this!
Last but not least thanks(in no particular order) to all the people in the photos who include:
Casey S. and her friend as Janey Springs and Athena from Borderlands: The Presequel
Chika as Tsurumaru & Kotodama Cosplay as Hotarumaru from Touken Ranbu
My buddy Eli Nicole for further insight into Artist Alley
PiggyNukka Cosplay as Fio from Metal Slug
Impact Props as a Hunter from Destiny
Jeremiah S. as Scooter from Borderlands
And a whole slew of others I can't really fit on here.