FanimeCon is a fan made convention, run by the fans, for the fans. For Southern California cosplayers, San Jose is roughly an eight hour drive, depending on where you're coming from. I would be lying if I said this convention isn't worth it. It is. In fact, I believe this convention is one of the best conventions in California.
However, this year, I did not feel the magic it once had. But, this could be just me. Please allow me to elaborate. Fanime is known as one of the chillest conventions but it does have one nickname among con goers: LineCon.
This year, the pre-registration line was out the door and wrapped around just about one side of the convention center. The location to pick up badges had been changed from last year, and prior to the convention's day zero, new QR codes were sent out to those who had pre-registered. This was very confusing, considering the system changed days before con was supposed to start.
Ghosting was almost impossible this year. At almost every main entrance to the convention center, there were badge checkers. In fact, the locations these badge checkers were, it was impossible to get past them. If you didn't have a badge, you weren't allowed on the second floor of the convention. Day three, I was cosplaying Kanda Yu from Katsura Hoshino's D.Gray-Man series, and my badge was hidden under my trench coat. A random con worker had asked everyone near the tables upstairs to see their badges. Do they honestly think that con goers are going to ghost something just because the badge price was high? Wait, this isn't Anime Expo. Never mind.
Now, before I go on about all the flaws about this convention, allow me to point out some things.
Artist alley, yet again, had its own space again. This is a good thing, considering Anime Expo having Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley in one giant room. Just from browsing Artist Alley this year, most of the art was of the new Pokemon starters, Osomatsu-san or Fire Emblem. While there was some Final Fantasy prints, with the upcoming Final Fantasy convention in New York, and the upcoming Final Fantasy XV coming out this year, more Final Fantasy art will definitely be more popular next year.
Karaoke was as lively as it usually is. I was able to witness the Gong Show. It was unbearably funny, and the workers seemed to enjoy themselves more than usual. The winner of the Gong Show won $50 and an empty can of Arizona Tea, the supposed sponsor of the show. It was all a joke, but still very entertaining. The jokes about Arizona Tea were definitely interesting.
The shuttle system was brought back. This was good, considering some people, myself included, had rooms at hotels fifteen minutes away or so from the convention. The drivers were very friendly and didn't seem to mind picking up cosplayers and con goers to and from the convention center to bring them to the hotels. This system works. Far better than two years ago. That was a train wreck in itself. I am glad they fixed it last year.
Dealer's Hall was descent. There was merchandise everywhere, roughly from a high priced items to affordable. My favorite part of Dealer's Hall was the seating and tables set up in the back. There was some food choices, but not much. Though, good job on the extra seating.
Now, for the major problems.
The guest list, as much as I hate to say it, was not impressive this year. Last year's guests were far better.
The constant badge checking was quite annoying. I felt like it was not necessary to check on the first floor. There was nothing on the first floor, so why have badge checkers there too? It just seems like con staff, as well as convention workers, were just paranoid. Annoyed even. This was just an observation though. I could be entirely wrong about their reasoning to badge check on the first floor.
The security for Artist Alley was a joke. According to a seller in Artist Alley, there was no security watching the doors before it opened. Anyone could walk in and just steal something from one of the booths. Perhaps this could be changed next year. Surely this is a possibility.
Lastly, FanimeCon officials stated that those who applied for press and were approved would have access to booking rooms as housing would set aside a small room block outside of those who booked earlier in the year. However, once applications were accepted and a press member was informed, it was too late to book rooms at the hotels near the convention center. While I was lucky enough to have secured a room before con, in case I was not able to find one closer or my application was denied, others were not so lucky. In fact, another press member made a video about how ludicrous this was. If press was informed of the situation, all press members should have been given equal access to said rooms or at least notice to book these rooms through the proper channels, not on Twitter roughly days after acceptance emails were sent out.
Perhaps, and this his just a suggestion, next time rooms are supposed to be set aside to members of press, said members should get the rooms. It was unacceptable that this happened. Unforgivable, even.
Now, given how short this review is, I must apologize. Night of day one, I fell sick and was not able to observe the convention day two. However, I realize that getting sick was no excuse. It will never happen again.
Over all, Fanime was fun, to an extent. Of course, given all I've listed, changes must be made. I'm not saying these changes need to happen now. But, hopefully these suggestions are taken to heart. It is a fun convention, one of my favorite conventions. I suggest attending this convention. It is family friendly and if the magic is still there, worth it.
Until next time.