Fanime 2012… where do I begin? This convention was like a roller coaster of good and bad. At its best, I felt like I never wanted to leave, while at its worst, I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to return. So how could a convention swing between such great and bad extremes? Let's begin with Day Zero.
On Thursday, I arrived at the Convention Center around 2:00. By then, the line had already grown to quite a decent size, but as I was to get a Press Pass, I didn't worry too much about finding a spot in it. Instead, I wandered about, meeting friends and getting pictures as the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who.
At four o'clock, the lines were supposed to move. They didn't. Some technical issues were preventing them from starting on time, adding another half-hour or so to the wait time. My own wait turned out to be much longer, as similar issues were plaguing the Pro Reg area, and were not resolved so quickly. By that I mean, they weren't resolved until the following day.
Later on, as the lines were finally moving, the convention center was hit with a blackout. Apparently a car had crashed into the power lines, shutting down electricity to the entire convention center. (I joked with some friends about it being the fault of the Cybermen; they'd capture and convert con-goers in the dark, then spread out and take over an unsuspecting populace. No one would discover it wasn't an out-of-control LARP until it's too late.) Suffice to say, this outage stalled registration even more, and many people who were in line didn't get their badges until past 11 at night. By the time I left, the line had already made so many turns to fit into a single hall that it was like a game of Snake, then stretched out the doors and around the convention center. Most people there would not be getting their badges that day.
As for myself, I knew I wouldn't be getting mine any time soon, but fortunately, the swap meet was open to all. I went there with some friends, and was pleasantly pleased with the haul I got. The swap meet was moved to the Fairmont, so there was room for plenty of attendees, but apparently some people who reserved a spot were denied theirs due to arriving late, and they arrived late because it took so long to get their badges.
At any rate, I managed to get a new P-chan plushie for my Ryoga cosplay, some new prop Pokeballs, and other small things. Following that, I got some dinner and returned to the Fairmont, where I'd be staying for that night.
|The Ice King and Queen|
Day 1 rolled around, and the convention officially began. I debuted my cosplay of Kariya Matou from Fate/Zero for the Type-Moon gathering later that day, and after getting my face sufficiently scarred, I set off to the convention center. They eventually managed to fix the Professional Registration issues, and I got my press pass (though not without having to run back to the hotel to get my business cards, which I foolishly left in my 11th Doctor jacket).
Needless to say, there's some irony in the press members being unable to get their badges to the convention they're supposed to report on. At the very least, it's some bad moo. Still, while all the delays and technical issues were a real pain, I must give the staff credit for diligently working to solve all their problems, and being very apologetic about the difficulties. It wasn't negligence on their part, just Murphy's Law striking. Repeatedly. Possibly while cackling evilly.
At any rate, once I actually managed to check in, I began wandering the convention. The Day 1 line, much like Day 0, was almost horrifying in its length. After a few hours, both Pre Reg and At-Con Reg began stretching out the doors, and by the end of the day, Pre Reg was nearly looping around the convention center. I don't know if it was the amount of time it took to check in or lack of staff, but the registration lines were the longest I'd ever seen.
When it became time to check into my hotel room at the Marriott, I returned to the Fairmont to move my bags. Who should I meet in the elevator but famous comedian Gabriel Iglesias? He was performing a show nearby, so I was fortunate enough to get a picture with him. That was probably the highlight of my day.
My room in the Marriott was on the 17th floor, so it took a good bit of waiting to take the elevator up there. Of course, in the next few days, the elevators would get worse and worse. The room was small, with only one bed and some floor space, but it was enough to fit us, albeit not neatly. Of course, that day I had to deal with people trying to make last-minute changes to their rooming plans, but I'd had enough to deal with by then, and everything continued as planned.
When I got to the Type-Moon meet, I'd found that the cosplayers there were from Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero, though there weren't any from Carnival Phantasm, Tsukihime, or any of the other Type-Moon creations. We took a few minutes to scour the center for more attendees, and managed to find an additional Rin and Shirou, then went off-site for the photoshoot. While small, the gathering went nicely, although the organizer had to split his attention between the gathering and a photoshoot he had booked at the same time. As such, I did most of the organizing for the gathering itself, but it's something I'm experienced with, and the attendees were all very cooperative. I enjoyed cosplaying as Kariya, so hopefully next year I'll either have my Lancer cosplay finished, or I'll have a Berserker to command.
After the Type-Moon meet, I went to find the Bay Area Conventions gathering. Due to some inexplicable issues, the gathering was not on the actual schedule, so there were very few attendees there. That meant we couldn't do the usual improv games, and instead just had time for some quick photos. Perhaps it's just as well, given the huge crowd that had formed outside; finding everyone was difficult, hearing everyone even more so, and I wouldn't be surprised if many people couldn't find the gathering as a result.
Afterwards, I took the scars off my face to change into Walker Yumasaki for the Durarara gathering. It's a popular enough series, and the gathering had a very nice turnout. It went through the photoshoots at a good pace, and there were no major disasters to report on. All in all, a good enough gathering.
Eventually, I changed into Agent K from Men In Black, in order to meet some friends to catch the movie. I couldn't find a neuralizer prop, but instead I used my Sonic Screwdriver from the previous day. Unfortunately, due to difficulties finding people and lines, I didn't make it to the screening, and instead had to make do with jokingly interrogating anyone cosplaying as an alien character about their license to live on Earth. Two Doctor Who cosplayers went with it quite nicely, trying to fool me with Psychic Paper, then panicking when I told them "Time Lords must renew their registration with each regeneration" and escaping. In spite of missing the movie, it was quite fun, and I got to buy more swag at the swap meet.
|Kaibaman and Princess Mokuba|
|The Type-Moon gathering|
|The Durarara gathering|
Yet between the difficulties finding people, dealing with people, the crowds, and the general stressfulness of the day, I found myself in a less than happy state by the end of the day. I began to wonder if all the trouble was really worth it, if I had once again tried to bite off more than I could chew, and if Fanime had peaked for me, and would just get worse from here.
I fell asleep still wondering that, and hoping the next day would be better.
Don't worry, it was.