Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fanime 2013 Review by Rukazu

Fanime 2013 Review
By Rukazu
Hey everyone! Rukazu here and finally back with a review for Fanime 2013!  So without further ado, let’s jump straight into it!

Day 0:
Not much to talk about here, me and my friends drove up from my place around 9:30  in the evening but didn’t make it up there until about 3:30 in the morning.  The drive wasn’t too bad, and all of us didn’t pack that much.  

Day 1:
After about 3 hours of sleep, barely that even, we headed into convention center around 9:30 in the morning and I met up with my crew.  We discussed what we would cover and what seemed interesting and not.  Afterwards we all split up and headed our own separate ways.

I chose the Riddler cosplay first and headed up to the game hall to look around.  As it was still early on day one, the halls were pretty empty and still people were busy getting set up.  For fun, and to kill time, I signed up for the Cosplay Chess and decided to play at the white controller.  When we played, I decided it was more fair to the players that everyone got to move and fight, so we ended up rigging the game, but it was still fun.  

After checking in to Ray’s room, I headed back down to the con hall.  I noticed this year there were a lot of changes from last year.  First, at the Convention Lobby, they added steps and places where people can sit down and charge their phones and outlets.  The front plaza was pretty much gone, so that means gatherings had to be moved.  The regular registration on the first floor had moved to the Fairmont Hotel, and the Artist’s Alley which had previously been in Hall 1 on the second floor was now moved to the South Hall. 

So yes, when we were walking around, I did find the South Hall which was a big tent the size of a hanger in the back of the convention center.  Despite the fact the con was more spread out this year, it still was somewhat easy to get around.  However, when I spoke to the artists and con attendees, they were a bit disappointed that things were more spread out, but they knew that it wasn’t really the con staff’s fault.  What Hall 1 ended up being used was a food court, Swap Meet and Archery Demonstration.  I gotta admit that the change was not necessarily a bad one, just that when the Archery set up was not going on, the Hall was pretty empty.  I’ll admit the idea of a food court in the middle of the convention hall is a good idea and it was pretty busy most of the time.

I couldn’t say too much about the con just yet, things were just getting started and there have been a lot of changes.  Not sure how the attendees and others will handle the new changes, but we’ll see.

Day 2:
This day was the big day for me.  Considering that all the gatherings that I signed up to do were all today, that meant I had to change 4 times in one day.  I’ve done it before, but it’s not as fun as people might think it is.  First up was the Tales of Gathering, which was at the park across the convention hall.  It was pretty enjoyable, up until at least there was a giant mass of protesters that forced us from the park.  I got to meet up with a few people that I met from before at Anime Expo, but unfortunately, I couldn’t talk with them too much cause I had to run and get ready for the DC/Marvel gathering.  

Once I got downstairs as the Riddler, I noticed of course I didn’t get as many pictures as I did when I was at Wondercon, which makes sense.  No matter, I browsed around for about a half hour before finally meeting up with the rest of the cosplayers in preparation for the gathering.  This is where things got a little messy to say the least and I’m so glad I brought my megaphone.  Because our gathering was so big, and there were several other gatherings that were supposed to take place, we got delayed by at least ten minutes, because the con staff was trying to move us to the opposite side where we would have more room.  Once we got the okay, we had to go back through the con hall as the sidewalk was closed off and by the time we all got set up, we were already twenty minutes late. 
The gathering was still a bit cramped as we were place in the plaza on the Marriot side, but then again, we probably had over a hundred people there.  Again it was fairly enjoyable, but since I had touhou right afterwards, I again had to run all the way back and get changed and couldn’t enjoy the whole gathering.  It took me about 20 minutes to get into the costume as that’s one of my harder and more elaborate  cosplays.  By the time I got downstairs, I had about 5 minutes to go and I had to get my megaphone back.  

My friend Sandy (Kotea) was running the gathering this year, and for her first time, she did a pretty decent job.  We had some very nice shots and a good mix of cosplayers, but again, since there was a gathering right after us, we had to wrap things up very quickly.  However, we made plans for people to hang out and talk to each other afterwards.  

The highlight of the day in my opinion wasn’t the gatherings, but actually the After Touhou Gathering Tea Party.  My friends and I had discussed getting dinner or something like that afterwards which sounded like a great idea.  What ended up happening was that we watched a few guys play A Touhou tournament first, and then went out for pizza afterwards.  Everyone pitched in of course and we went to the park outside the convention center and ate and chatted.   To be honest, it’s the little things I found out that make a difference.   

The 20 of us that were there, just sat around and chatted about stuff.  Everything from Touhou to con stuff, to cosplay and what have you.  I got to know this one girl named Mia, who I’ve known for a while, but didn’t get the chance to speak to up until now.   We chatted and ate for about another hour, but by around 8:00pm, I was about to collapse.  

I had agreed to meet up with Mia to talk to her more about her story she was working on.   I got about an hour’s worth of rest and before going down, I switched for my Yu Narukami cosplay, afterwards I still had one more thing to do and that was the Midnight Gathering/King’s Game for Shin Megami Tensei.  

This was my first time playing the King’s Game, and although we couldn’t do some of the really extreme things of course, it was still very exciting and at times outright hilarious!  We started with a group of around fifty people and went for 2 hours before realizing that everyone was crashing, and we still had half a con left to go.   By the time I hit the hay, I was knocked out the rest of the night. 
So at the end of the day, it was very fun and exciting, but again, the things we did enjoy were not  anything the con did, but stuff that the fans and my friends came up with. 

Day 3:
This was actually not a big day for me, as it was more or less the day I planned on showing off my cosplay, taking pictures and browsing around.  Because I was burnt out the day before, I didn’t actually start until around 10:30 in the morning.  I had a brief look at the Maid’s café, which was in the Fairmont Hotel this time.  I spoke to Sandy afterwards, who was working as one of the maids there and I heard that the move actually suited them since if anyone has ever been to the Fairmont, knows that the inside is like a palace.  

I ended up spending the rest of the day hanging out with my fellow Touhou cosplayers and eventually went to get lunch at McDonalds.  Because my buddy Steven, who was cosplaying a really fancy Momiji with a huge sword he made himself, we got pictures right and left and could barely move at times.  We browsed the dealer’s hall, chatted and basically just enjoyed ourselves and not worry about the con.  At 5:00pm, I went with Ray to the Touhou panel, again run by my friend Bryan, which was a pretty good panel.   There was a lot of stuff covered and the fans seemed generally interested. 

After that was I rested for a bit, before I pulled out my newest cosplay for the Black and White Ball, Tuxedo Mask!  I wanted to cover the whole ball, but I realized I wouldn’t be able to dance for six hours straight, but still, didn’t feel like going to Masquerade this year.   I met up with a friend that I spoken to earlier and had the chance to dance around with her.   The venue was the same as last year, the Parkway Hall in the back of the civic auditorium which was a great venue.  The room was huge, it wasn’t sweltering hot, and they played a lot of good songs.   After concluding at midnight, I headed back to the con and just walked around for another hour or so before going to bed.  

Day 4:
The last day I didn’t get to do that much.  I got up around 10:00am, and spent all morning making sure everything was packed and ready to go.  Luckily because I didn’t bring as much as I normally did, I only had to make one trip rather than several trips as I did before.  After packing the car, I met up with my full crew for the first time, and discussed the convention, what’s everyone’s general feeling was and so forth.  

Turns out that myself, Ray and Nate enjoyed the con okay, but Tally did not. We’ll see more in detail once they put their reviews up.  Afterwards I did one last sweep through the Dealer’s Hall, Artist’s Alley, and gaming room, didn’t really find anything I really wanted, but more for the sake of form than anything else.  

By around 5:00, things were winding down and I ended up just walking around, taking some more pictures and heading over to the Convention Lobby where they I ended up just talking to people and taking a few more pictures.  

What it seemed like when I talked to people, cosplayers, regular attendees and artists, they all seemed a bit disappointed in this year’s con.  

Like with all reviews I write, I always do a review of how the con was overall.  In retrospect, the con was enjoyable, and it was nice to hang out with friends that I made last year.  However, it was not as enjoyable as it was last year.  I admit the construction did put a damper on things, and the gatherings were not as fun simply because space was at a premium.  I socialized a lot more, but felt I didn’t really push myself as I did last year.  From what I gathered, the two biggest drawbacks this year was Pre-reg, or as everyone put it, “Line-Con.”  And the other one which I heard, but did not cover, was the Masquerade.  What I heard, again, I only heard about this, so I have yet to confirm with my other teammates, is that Masquerade this year was a flop.  This was due to a lot of people dropping out, and that the audios for each skit got messed up.   Although my con experience wasn’t too bad, there wasn’t anything that really stood out that the con had in my opinion, or maybe I was just missing it.  Music fest I heard was pretty good, so I’ll have to give them that, and the Black and White Ball was enjoyable as well.  But overall, the things I enjoyed about the con was not the con itself but what it had provided for my friends and I to hang out and do stuff.  

Despite misgivings, next year the construction should be finished and it is also their 20th anniversary, so things should be much better.  And saying this as a guy from Southern California, it is still an enjoyable con, one that I’ve gone to more than Anime Expo.  So I would encourage people to come and try it out at least once.

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