Monday, February 4, 2019

Ray reports: Fanime 2018

I've been attending Fanime every year since 2006, so at this point I'm pretty much "worn in" to the experience and you can get a good idea of what it's like from my Fanime reports of previous years.

That said, like other conventions it's always changing with every year; a lot of neat things come and go, so I'll focus primarily on what makes this year different from past years.

For day 1's breakfast, Matt picked me up from my home around 9 AM, which gave us the perfect opportunity to show him Bill's Cafe. BC is a regional chain of breakfast/lunch diners around the South Bay, and we visited the one on Alameda and Newhall. Everything was pretty routine; we both got eggs benedicts and freshly-squeezed orange juice. Fresh, as in you can actually see the machine where the oranges are juiced out. Then we saw some people with Fanime badges come in, leading us to joke if our Instagram and Facebook posts about the place led them to visit; in all seriousness, they probably came over because it's relatively close to SJC.

One thing I really appreciated this year was the dealer's hall and gaming hall having brand new LED lighting. This was a lot easier on my eyes than in past years where the convention used the eye-irritating flourescent lighting, or "warehouse lighting" as I like to call it.

Game hall, particularly the arcade, was vasty different compared to past years. Fanime changed arcade game providers, from their longtime partner On Campus Entertaiment to Game Saru, who provided a wide variety of games, especially music games and some fighting games, all on free play. No more needing quarters! Game Saru also brings their cabs to other Bay Area conventions such as MAGWest and Crunchyroll Expo, so we can expect to see them back next year.

This was my first Fanime owning a Nintendo Switch, but I chose to leave it in the room, as I didn't have space in my shoulder bag for it and I was not about to potentially have it stolen in a carry case. The 3DS served as my primary portable system during the convention, and while StreetPasses were light this year due to the Switch being worn-in to gaming culture at this point, I still got plenty of tags, many of which I've yet to empty from my 100-capacity queue in Mii Plaza.

The one panel that caught my eye this year was Cosplay Wrestling Federation, which I always attend yearly and is known for cosplay- and geek-themed promos with all the usual energy of pro wrestling. It was great as usual, with the finals coming down to a Phoenix Wright cosplayer and a Franziska von Karma cosplayer, with the latter winning out, which I enjoyed a lot as a passive fan of the Ace Attorney series (remind me to play the 6th game at some point...).

Other than that there wasn't too much that stuck out about this particular Fanime; it's average as usual. I've been attending for 10 years so perhaps I've just gotten mentally adopted to its offerings at this point. 

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