Saturday, June 30, 2012

FanimeCon 2012: Rukazu's Report

FanimeCon 2012: Rukazu's Report

So here is my report for FanimeCon this year, and I hope that everyone who reads it finds it worthwhile and enjoyable.

Day 0
Me and a buddy of mine left after work and carpooled all the way up to Fanime. The drive wasn’t too bad as we didn’t hit too much traffic, and only stopped once to get dinner and refuel. We got to the hotel around 11:00 at night, and after a little chat and getting to know everyone staying in the room, I was soon off to bed. This year I was staying with Zanney, Jackie and Sierra in the Hyatt Hotel, located on the opposite side of the Convention Center. While it’s not as convenient as the Marriot or the Hilton obviously, it actually was still pleasant and had quicker access. I also wanted to note that there was some construction being done on the convention center to expand it, and while we were still in the car, I heard from Matt that the power got knocked out at the con and the staff had to use a generator to get everyone’s badges and processed. It’s funny because in these situations, sometimes I feel that our society has become too dependent on electricity and technology.

Day 1
The first day is always the slow day it seems. Mainly it was me getting a feel for the con again, looking at all the various cosplays and seeing if there was anything worth noting on the schedule. The main highlight of day for me was going to the Eureka 7 AO panel that Matt wanted me to check out. They showed the first 3 episodes and then they had a Q and A panel with the lead character designer, Shigeto Koyama. It was interesting to hear how he got into working on the designs for the mechas and why he got into animation in the first place. As for the episodes themselves, its enjoyable and the fights are interesting for those who have seen the original Eureka Seven. Sadly, I had wanted to hang out with the rest of the CaliConBlog group just to get to know everyone but never got the chance as everyone had other plans.

Outside of the panel though, I debuted my Shikieiki cosplay from Touhou and ended up hanging out with a bunch of Touhou cosplayers and chatting with them. I was a little surprised at how many pictures I got since last year I had a different costume, but then again, it wasn’t a prominent character. I suppose that’s the catch with trying to cosplay a minor character and not get pictures, vs cosplaying a major character and getting tons of pictures. Other than doing my usual floor photography and asking the general con goers questions about how the con was, and how it compared to previous years, it was a relaxing day, not much going on, but all the better to socialize and get to know people.

Day 2
The second day was when things really started to pick up. I was a bit saddened because all the cosplays and gatherings that I wanted to do were all stacked up on the same day and within a few hours of each other. I could have just kept running and changing cosplays on the dime, but to be honest, as a more ‘seasoned’ con goer, I found out that doing gatherings back to back unless you really want to and have a really nice costume just isn’t worth it. Also it didn’t help that for a while the key to my room didn’t work so I don’t think I could have switched out as fast as I would have liked.

First up was Valve gathering, so I pulled out the sniper cosplay and just walked around a bit before the gathering itself. It was a shame that I had to leave about halfway through the gathering because those are always really fun and because I was going to be running the Touhou gathering. So the trick I found out was to wear some of the cosplay underneath my other one so that I can switch on a dime. The gathering itself went well as everyone was very cooperative and I was able to set up some amazing shots before and after the gathering. Again, this is one of my favorite aspects of the conventions because I really enjoy the interaction between all the people and cosplayers. None of us really know each other, and yet we really enjoy hanging out like that. Also in a way because Fanime I’m sorry to say may not have as much as AX does, its better because I feel I can really enjoy the con a lot more.

Day 3
 It really seems like the big days for con is Saturday and Sunday. Sunday night is when they had both the masquerade and the Black and White Ball just like last year. Today was interesting because I got to debut my Amon cosplay. I was busy finishing up painting the armor the previous days and was a bit nervous how it was going to turn out. But as I walked through the doors everyone was asking for pictures and it was very well received. During the middle part of the day though, I had lost my camera and I’m really glad the staff was very helpful in trying to locate it. Also I had help from the Touhou guys I met before and they too were helping me out when I only knew them for less than 2 days. I had the Avatar gathering to go to and was sad because I still had not found my camera. Putting that aside for a minute, the gathering itself, my first Avatar one, was really fun and enjoyable. The only catch was that the gathering was not on the official list, and although a lot of people showed up, it took place in a narrow alleyway next to the Marriot Hotel. In fact outside felt much more crowded because one side of the plaza was under construction. Of course, we try and make do with what we have.

So to finish up my story of my camera, I did the most logical thing after talking to the Lost and Found, and basically retraced my steps and it turns out that I had lost it exactly where I thought I did. A few hours around noon time, I took a break and sat down on the sofa in the Marriot and sort of dozed off a bit. When I woke up I walked around a bit and realized that my camera was gone. Turns out all I had to do was check the sofa again and it had fallen underneath the seat. After that little ordeal, I went over to the masquerade to report on it and I got really lucky and got a front row seat right next to the judges. I was pretty impressed by the skits this year and was really impressed that the staff got Tadao Tomomatsu to host the masquerade. I didn’t stay for the awards because after the skits ended, I headed straight over to the Black and White ball. The Black and White ball was much better this year in my opinion. Before they’ve held it inside the Fairmont Hotel which is like a palace on the inside, but the room was very small and you needed to wait in line to get in. This time it was held in Parkside Hall, which was in a room on the opposite side of the Auditorium, not too far from the Hyatt Hotel. This time the room was WAY larger, at least three times the old room, and it was much more comfortable since it didn’t feel so stuffy and crowded. Overall, I have to admit it was a very eventful and enjoyable day of Fanimecon.

Day 4
The last day of con is always like the ‘whatever’ day. I decided to put on my Naoi Ayato costume, and just browse around and take pictures. I got one last look at the Artist’s Alley and Dealer’s hall. Theere were some amazing stuff there and I got a few things like a few posters and a new shirt. I rarely buy clothes anymore as I have too many and not enough room for new things. There were a few panels, one of which I went to. It was on Female Characters in Anime and it was an interesting discussion of how to write good female characters. For example, she mentioned how Mai Valentine was a ‘bad’ female character as the only thing was elaborated on was that she was female and that was it. On the other hand, Faye Valentine was a ‘good’ female character because of what she did and the fact that her being female was not the key aspect of her character. Overall I thought this was a very interesting and well thought out panel. Afterwards I snapped some more photos of the Tales of gathering outside the Marriot and captured what was my favorite shot this year: a midair battle shot of Luke vs Asch. This scene is in the opening of the game Tales of the Abyss, and I’ve always wanted to capture a shot of that scene. After bidding farewells to some new friends and contacts, my buddies and I packed up the car and headed back for home.

Coming back to LA was a bit of a nightmare. I had to take my friend that I left with plus his brother. We were a bit cramped but we still managed. We all took turns driving and napping but the biggest issue was driving through the Grapevine, as that had set us back at least an hour and a half. By the time I dropped off my friends and got back home, it was nearly midnight and I had to take my sister to school the next morning.

So this is the part where I get to add a little of my own opinions and personal moments of the con. First off, compared to last year, I feel that although I was not as high-energy and high paced as it was, but still was more enjoyable as I was able to make more contacts and friends. For instance, I had done 9 cosplays last year but only about 5 this year. I found out that in this sense, less is more because I was able to build better relationships with cosplayers because they also had one or two costumes and I had seen them several times and was easier to get to know them as I wasn’t always running around and changing so often. The ball which is one of my favorite events was much better than last year as well as the location was better and the music was a little better as well. Then there are the aspects which I didn’t appreciate like the list of events in the program but not mentioning where and when they were they would be taking place. They had a pocket guide which was nice, but also they didn’t have the major events. Overall, still an amazing con to go to and I encourage my so cal friends who have not gone yet to attend as least once. This concludes my review and until next time, Rukazu signing out!

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