Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fanime 2013: Robbie's Report (Days 0-2)

Oh, Fanime. This was quite the con, but I say that in both good and bad ways.There's much to say and less space to say it in, so let's get started.

We begin on Day Zero, Thursday. This year I was actually staffing as part of the Cosplay Department, so while my friends lined up to get their badges, I had a training and orientation meeting to get to. When I returned to the Fairmont, however, I learned of the horror story that was the badge line.

Yes, I'm sure by this point you've already heard the tales. Guests spent upwards of six to seven hours waiting in line, constantly being shifted back and forth between different rooms, lines, and spots as the under-staffed crew attempted to get things actually working. This was made worse by the fact that Fanime started badge pickups at seven in the evening instead of five, which resulted in even longer waiting; many people were unable to get their badges until well past midnight.

Needless to say, this is unacceptable. This was a disaster that did not end at any point during the convention, making people lose half their day, if not more, before they could even get in the convention hall. There were apparently some other pickup locations, such as the Double Tree Hotel and at Clockwork Alchemy, but very few were aware of that, or had the chance to do so. This needs to change next year, no buts about it.

At any rate, I went to the swap meet later in the evening. It was an un-badged event, so even those who got tired of waiting could go in and buy things from con-going sellers. I managed to buy plenty of Pokemon goods (most of which were related to Jigglypuff in some way) as well as a few Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon cards. The rest of the time was spent chatting with friends before returning to the hotel.

Speaking of hotels, I was staying at the Fairmont. Considering how much more expensive it is than the other hotels in the area, I was expecting something really nice. I did not get that. The room wasn't sized any differently than the ones in the Hilton or Marriott, and the bathroom had a toilet that seemed like it was taken from a public bathroom, as well as a shower that barely had any hot water and an awful water stream. Definitely a disappointment there, and not worth the additional cost for a longer walk to and from the convention center.

Anyways, let's move on to Day 1. I began the day bright and early at the cosplay department check-in, which I would be doing for each day as part of my duties. I was cosplaying as Relius Clover from BlazBlue, for while I did have events to run, I'm still a cosplayer.

I had no gatherings that day, but I did have an event to run. The Cosplay Battles, which I hosted in previous years, had become an official cosplay event, hence my role on the staff. So while I wandered, I advertised the event to pretty much anyone who I thought would be interested. As it was Friday, however, the first day only had a moderate turnout. It grew in time, though, and ended early but decently.

Black Mage vs Hidan

Captain Marvelous vs Ragna the Bloodedge

Flynn vs Jin

Shortly after the battles ended, I met up with some friends to walk around in BlazBlue and Guilty Gear cosplay. As I've mentioned before, hanging with groups is one of my favorite parts of conventions, so it was great to spend some time hanging out with friends and getting some pictures taken. Of course, as soon as I changed out of the costume I kept running into more people cosplaying from it, such as another Hazama, a Litchi, and several Taokakas, but that's Murphy's Law for you.

As the day grew later, I had to leave the BlazBlue group to change into the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who. I met up with friends in the park for an unofficial mini-gathering, where we hung out in Doctor Who cosplay, quizzed each other on DW trivia, and got some pictures. After that, we went to get dinner at Pizza My Heart, where we laughed, sang, and ate food. Seriously, there was an outrageous amount of singing involved.

Suffice to say, that was some awesomely good fun.

Following the dinner, I returned to the swap meet, although I didn't purchase much there that time. On my way there, I noticed the usual religious protestors from previous years had returned, but their attempts to shame and convert the Fanime crowd was just met with laughter, particularly at the mention of "butt sex." As Saturday was promising to be an even busier day, I ignored them and returned to my room for the night.

Wreck-It Ralph cosplayers were plentiful and awesome

Final Fantasy cosplayers bring the amazing outfits to reality

Who is the greater hooded mentor figure who sacrifices himself so that the young protagonist can make a getaway?
Now we have Day 2, which is always the busiest day of the con. It began bright and early for me, where as soon as the meeting ended I made my way to the day's Cosplay Battles. Once again, we had a decent turnout, and managed to grab a few people who were passing by, but I think we could have had more if not for it being so early. Aside from that, all the attendees had a great time.

Following the battles, I prepared for the Marvel/DC gathering. I was cosplaying as Doctor Nemesis from X-Men, and thankfully, a fair amount of people at the gathering recognized me. This gathering tends to be very large, as it takes cosplayers from Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, Justice League, Batman, Superman, and basically any other comic from both of the big name companies, and this year was no exception.

It also started right after the Final Fantasy gathering, another large meetup. It was tricky to get one group out to the gathering space while the other was going away, but we managed. However, it didn't take long for the organizers to realize that the area we were located in was too small for the large group. That is due to the continuing construction, which cut off several areas that are normally occupied by cosplayers. As such, we had to move a massive group of superheroes in spandex all the way through the convention center to the new meeting location.

Even at the new location, it was pretty crowded. We still managed to make it work, though, and the gathering continued on with minimal difficulty. I had to leave a little early, though, as I needed to change for my next gathering.

After Marvel/DC, I switched into Hunson Abadeer from Adventure Time. The gathering was surprisingly full, and is likely to be a 60+ gathering next year, yet in spite of that, I was the only one cosplaying as Marceline's father. So I had a great time making amends with all my emotionally messed-up children, as well as begging Gunter the penguin for his soul.

Lumpy Space Princesses rocking the lumps

Marcelines and Ice Kings

Bit of kidnapping going on there, probably
As soon as it was over, however, I once more had to rush to change my costume into Giovanni from Pokemon. As another huge gathering, it filled up the area it was set in, but it didn't have to move. I had a fair amount of Team Rocket grunts present, but once again, our attempts to steal Pikachu were foiled when a Jigglypuff put us to sleep. For yet another Fanime in a row, I awoke to find my face painted on. I'm pretty sure this is a Fanime tradition at this point.

At one point during the gathering, it was crashed by a group of Eeveelution cosplayers dressed as chippendale dancers. As we were in the middle of requested pictures, however, the organizer took a stand and told them to wait their turn. While those cosplayers didn't seem to appreciate that, I was pleased with the organizer sticking to the photo order.

When the Pokemon gathering was over, I had to set up for another event I was to run: Cosplay Clue. This was a great concept - a game of Clue with the cosplayers as the pieces. As this was the con's first year trying it out, there were a few bumps along the way, but we learned from them and tried to improve each time.

After the game of Clue, I tried to return to my hotel room. "Try" was the keyword, as the elevator lobby was crowded beyond belief. I couldn't even find a stairwell that went up for some odd reason, so instead I went to get dinner at Johnny Rockets, where I was met by a waiter who blamed me for his misinterpreting "burger" as "cheeseburger." Still, I ran into some friends there, and had an enjoyable time in spite of the server. Besides, it's always so busy there during Fanime I can understand the stress, even though I don't exactly like it.

This was anything but a normal field trip

There were a fair amount of Attack on Titan cosplayers, and all of them were awesome.

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