Finally, Monday rolled around. This was the final day of the convention, a day normally filled with melancholy and tired attendees wearily preparing themselves to check out, but I still had much to attend to.
The first thing I had to do was check out of my hotel, only to find that they wouldn't accept my credit card. Nobody knew why, but I had to search for an ATM to actually pay in cash. Inconvenient, but not that big a problem. I had a few hours before my panel, so I took that time to rest up, see some friends, and get breakfast.
Now, before I go on about the panel I hosted, let me provide a little information. As you may know, I'm the co-creator of an Abridged Series of Ranma 1/2. I've hosted a panel about Abridged Series for three years prior at Fanime, and each time the attendance varied, but everyone seemed to really enjoy it. This year, my panel was wait-listed, until it was moved to Monday at 12:00, the exact same time as the hotels had their checkouts. Still, I could work with that; after all, there were plenty of Abridged Series fans at Fanime, surely some of them would attend my panel.
After braving the Marriott elevators one more time to check in to my panel, I found where it was located. It was not in any of the regular panel rooms - it was in the karaoke room, which does occasionally hold panels. Right across from the room where I was hosting the panel was a video screening room… showing Abridged Series.
So let me make this simple: I had a panel on Abridged Series. At the same time, the video screening room was showing Abridged Series. Does anyone else see the problem in this? That split both our potential audiences, leaving me with just a handful of people at my panel, while I could hear other Abridged Series being played right outside.
Now, the person running the screening room was nice enough to let me make an announcement about the panel before it began, but that did me very little good. None of the other Abridgers I spoke to about joining in were able to show up, leaving me to get through everything on my lonesome. Still, I did my best for those who were there, and tried to raise the energy level. I got enough volunteers to record the Abridged episode we made at the panel, and it can be found on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/X1cp0tyWEI0
Once my panel ended, I had to get to the Negima/Love Hina gathering quickly. Due to the construction, the gathering had been moved to another spot, which even I was not aware of until we were told that's where it was. I think we might have lost a few attendees due to that, but we made due with those who were there. It was a fun gathering; small, but with a good enough turnout to get quite a few nice pictures. We always get a few new attendees, but lose some others, so it's never the same crowd. Of course, I cosplayed as Nagi Springfield, as I've done in previous years, and had a good time.
I left the convention around 2:00, as the gathering ended, tired but mostly satisfied. I still had to pay 80 dollars just to leave the garage, which is pretty crazy, but that's what happens. Apparently there are some Fanime vouchers for people who go to the hotels, but I got none, so I had to pay full price. Still, it could have been worse.
So with everything accomplished, I left Fanime 2012, and went off towards home.
Now then, it's time for my afterthoughts. How did this Fanime compare? What went well, and what went poorly?
Let's start with the obvious: the registration lines were crazy. I don't hold it against Fanime for the power outage, since that was beyond their control, but the lines were ridiculous. They need to speed up the registration process, whether they get more computers or mail out pre-reg badges, anything to keep the lines from stretching as far as they did.
On the cosplay scene, the two biggest crowds at Fanime were the non-anime related ones: Homestuck and My Little Pony. The Homestuck gathering was so large that it began blocking the convention center entrance and had to be moved to the park, while the bronies were out in full force. Of course, with fandoms that large, it's natural that there are some annoying ones, such as a Homestuck troll on a little scooter who drove through crowds shouting "HONK HONK!", but I try not to hold the entire fandom accountable for those few. But seriously, guys, your actions reflect on the series and the fandom, try not to make them look bad.
The protesters were back and in full force, this time for all four days, rather than just Saturday and Sunday. There were counter-protestors too, who held up amusing signs like "My arms are tired," "Something from Leviticus," and "Rainbow Dash is best pony," and while amusing, it does draw more attention to the demonstrators, which is just what they wanted.
I even heard that one of the protestors shoved an attendee, which meant they were no longer "peacefully" protesting and had to move, then once they did move, they began blocking off the sideways and became a fire hazard. They then split across the city, still shouting on their megaphones. While trying to get dinner one night, I heard one of them shouting "Atheists are a fairy tale! Evolution is a fairy tail!" Now, normally I just ignore those guys, but I had to comment on the irony of that; he then began shouting at me, "You are not an atheist, you're a psuedo-atheist!" Well, I'm Jewish, so that shows what he knows.
But the more time I spend talking about the protestors, the more power goes to them, so moving on from that, let's talk about another problem I noticed from the attendees.
Guys, if you want to have a room party and get drunk, you have the right to do that. But when I see people passed out drunk in the hotel lobby, that's a problem. When I hear sirens and see an ambulance trying to save someone who did something stupid and got hurt, that's a problem. It's an even bigger problem when people are too busy trying to cross the street that they don't stop and let a freaking ambulance with its sirens on go by. And when there are drunk people harassing cosplayers or tripping over a carefully constructed light set, that's a real problem. I'm not saying not to drink. I'm just saying drink responsibly, and show some decorum.
But for all the complaining, there are plenty of things that were awesome about Fanime. There were some great gatherings, and I had fun at all of them. The black and white ball's new location was great, and much more spacious than last year. The dealer's hall had all sorts of wonderful goodies, as did the swap meet, and there were some wonderful artists at the artist alley.
I suppose compared to previous years, the first and last day were pretty bad. But Saturday and Sunday I had so many awesome things to do, and I enjoyed every last one of them. It's like a sandwich of awesome between two slices of meh, which still evens out to be pretty good.
But seriously, Fanime, you've got to start upping your game. We still love it, but there are a lot of problems to fix. Good luck for next year.