Hello everyone, here is my review for Fanime 2015, hope you enjoy!
To begin, let me start off by saying that Fanime was a blast this year, and I really hope to come back again! One of the most difficult things about conventions, this one in particular was trying to do a little bit of everything. The nice thing about it is that there is a little something for everyone, but you really need to pick and choose. I’m going to do an overall review of the convention and point out various aspects in detail rather than detail the convention day by day.
Whenever I go to a convention, I always talk about the location. A venue can be super great, but if one can’t get to the venue, or if it’s too difficult to get around, that can really put a damper on the overall feeling. This is definitely one of the biggest advantages of Fanime at least compared to Anime Expo. The venue is built around a single block, and therefore it’s relatively easy to move around and although the panels and maid café were held in the Fairmont Hotel, compared to For instance, there is a light rail line, the VTA, that runs right down the street and there is a stop right in front of the convention center. There is a stop at the one in AX, but about a block away. My friends and I decided to try going to Japantown in San Jose, and it was only a short ride on the VTA Light Rail. There was a stop right behind the Fairmont hotel and when we came back we just simply went to the Convention Center. Stop and stepped off the platform and crossed the street.
One of the most difficult things about conventions, this one in particular was trying to do a little bit of everything. The nice thing about it is that there is a little something for everyone, but you really need to pick and choose. I only attended a few panels, including the "What the Heck is Touhou" and the Anime Swimsuit (18+) and both were very fun and high energy. The only major drawback to them was that they were located slightly further from the main venue and because the rooms were pretty massive, some of the panels felt very empty at times.
The Main Venue/Events:
The Artist Alley and Dealer’s Hall opened and closed a little later than last year. I waited a little later to browse through and it felt very crowded.
I finally got the chance to go through Dealer’s Hall and it has gotten bigger and better in the previous years. When I first started coming to Fanime, the DH was only just Hall 2, but now they moved the Artist Alley across the main concourse, the DH has been doubled in size.
The Gaming Hall of Fanime was one of the best aspects in my opinion since it was open 24 hours and opened on the evening of Day 0. What I liked about it is that there is a little bit of everything and something for everyone. Each area always seemed to have people utilizing the space and was very busy even at least until 2:00am in the morning.
Right next door to that were the dances that took places at night. I only went to one of them, and what’s really cool about the dances is that it had 3 rooms so you had options between various DJs and music. Unfortunately I didn’t stay very long since I was pretty tired the one night. I heard that there was some sort of incident that took place that evening, probably right after I left, but other than that it seemed really fun and was unlike the other raves I’ve been to in previous conventions.
The Guests of Honor:
One advantage I really liked about Fanime is that it seems to have a nice variety of everything, and the guests were no exception. I only got to see a couple of the guest of honor panels, and they all seemed really interesting! I know that a lot of people tend to focus on the guests at AX, but Fanime has pretty good guests as well, it just seemed that there wasn’t as much hype for any one person except for Madoka Magica.
Fanime staff generally seem very polite and helpful to their fans, something that Anime Expo doesn’t seem to do very well.
We were outside the main entrance of the convention doing a photoshoot and a small interview, and one of the staff came by and asked us how we were doing, and if we wanted some water or sunscreen. They said that if we needed it, the Cosplay Hangout had some.
I spoke to a veteran AX attendee and he mentioned that AX just doesn’t go the extra mile to make the experience amazing. Last year for example, the heat did get pretty bad, but it wasn’t until the 3rd day did the staff start handing out waters and setting up tents. That means that enough attendees had to complain about it before the management had to do something about it and it shouldn’t have to be like that. I have no problem with AX focusing more on the industry and trying to bring in big name guests and hosting big events, but I feel there should be a balance between the business side and the attendees.
I cannot conclude a review without mentioning the culture. No matter what people say, going to a convention is a social experience, and just like going to any party or hanging out with a group of friends, the people and the overall atmosphere makes all the difference. Several times I found myself taking a break and a few people came up to me and wanted to sit down and talk. And those times were the ones that I enjoyed the most.
I asked several people including some of my friends who went to Fanime for their first time and they all mentioned the atmosphere at Fanime was way better than at Anime Expo. Most of them commented that it felt a lot more welcoming and a lot less stressful than other conventions they’ve done before, and had a great experience overall.
Final Verdict: What do I think about Fanime 2015?
Well, Fanime has never really let me down, and this year was no different. Although there’s not a single big highlight of the convention that makes it super great like AX last year, the overall little aspects makes all the difference. For people who just want to hang out with friends or other fans, relax and enjoy themselves, Fanime I can say is my favorite convention I’ve ever been to.