Hey everyone, Tom Gifford here.
After a long absence, I have returned! And today, I have uncovered an interesting tidbit on a con that started anime conventions in California as we know them today.
Before FanimeCon, before YaoiCon, before even Anime Expo, there was only one major anime convention in all of California, and it dates back to 1991. Though long gone now, it started everything there is today about cons in Cali. Its name was simple to remember: AnimeCon.
It was held only once, from August 30th to September 2nd 1991, at the Red Lion Inn (now Airport DoubleTree Hotel) in San Jose, CA. The attendance topped out at 2000 people, and had such notable guests of honor as legendary anime creater Leiji Matsumoto, producer Carl Macek, character designer and GAINAX staffer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (BEFORE he made Eva), and AKIRA director Katsuhiro Otomo. Info on it can only be found now at AnimeCons.com.
The very next year, however, AnimeCon was transformed into Anime Expo, and moved to Southern California...the rest, as they say, is history. Anime Con dates back to the days of the Usenet boards. Speaking of Usenet, here's a link to the archive of the ORIGINAL anime message board.
The coordinates of the hotel AnimeCon was held at can be found here.