Friday, July 12, 2019

Matthew's FanimeCon 2019 Report: Part 4 - Day Two

As I mentioned before, one of the traditions that I have while attending FanimeCon is to take the crew out that works alongside me to some sort of meal as the convention winds down. In the early days it was Sunday night but as of late we've switched over to Saturday morning since it was the only time that all four of us could get together.

My order from Peggy Sue's
Like last year, we went over to Peggy Sue's for a diner breakfast. But unlike last year, the food this time around seemed bland and unseasoned - even Ryan's steak on his fajita omelette. Maybe we should reconsider the company meal for another time, like Saturday night since it seems like another time that all four of us could get together. Back at the Marriott, we do some last minute preparations before going through a gantlet of interviews.

"I bet they never miss, huh?"
First was Toshihiro Kawamoto, the co-founder of Studio Bones. [Full Transcript]

We immediately went over to Gilles Poitras who we had interviewed back in 2011. We discussed isekai, the anime economy, Gundam, and his time at the anime club at UC Berkley.

We had some time between Poitras and the last of our three interviews for today, Chris Patton, so we walked a short distance to the Azur Lane/Kancolle Gathering to experience the wonders of "shipwaifus."

Erica as Enterprise (aka best carrier) from Azur Lane
Back at the interview area, we chatted it up with Patton about ADR Directing, Full Metal Panic!, and ADV Films.

After finishing up our interview with Patton, we still had one more interview to go but wouldn't happen until tomorrow afternoon and thus we were all free to go about the convention. Nate went off with his cosplay friends, Ryan went off to get Aya Hirano's autograph, and I was supposed to go to the CLAMP Gathering but found myself picking hunger over said gathering. Eventually I did go back down at the tail end to see if any Code Geass cosplayers were there but according to one cosplayer the gathering was primarily dominated by Card Captor Sakura and Tsubasa with no representation from the Geass camp.

The Marriott corridor busy as usual
Dejected, I head back into the Dealers Hall and Artists Alley to make a second round and finally make a purchase. I go back to the artist with the Azur Lane key chains and narrow it down to four characters: Ayanami, Enterprise, Laffey, and San Diego.

Guess who the website picked?
I'm telling you, the Sandy curse is real, even in real life. (Quick overview of San Diego: a SR character whose drop rate seems more than other SR characters, is an idol, and even has her own song)

There wasn't many panels on the docket at all for the entire weekend, so I just picked one during "free time" and headed over to the Fairmont to attend the "Bones Prospective Panel" featuring Toshihiro Kawamoto, who we had just interviewed hours ago.

Game of Thrones cosplay group
The seemly endless row of street food vendors
Obligatory shot of the protestors and counter-protestors
Fate/Grand Order cosplayers
I had some time to spend before going to the panel, so with permission I check out the FaniMaid Cafe and see how the operation worked. I was fascinated to see that the maids were working with a custom version of licensed software designed for the flow of customers and gives those waiting a way to see their status on the wait list much like a real restaurant and even offered a "shinkansen" fast pass where you picked your time to attend. If anything, I was fixated on that more than the actual events going on within the cafe.

FaniMaids posing with attendees

During the panel the crowd is treated to a unreleased promotional video for Studio Bones' 20th Anniversary as well as stories about the early days of Studio Bones and behind-the-scenes look at classic anime like Cowboy Bebop and Wolf's Rain.

The moderator, Toshihiro Kawamoto, and the staff translator
A still from the Studio Bones' 20th Anniversary promo video
I had to leave early since I had to pick things up back at the hotel room before checking in with the Cosplay Gatherings staff for the Atlus Games Gathering (a gathering not only consisting of Persona but also Shin Megami Tensei, Catherine, and other Atlus titles - I was excited to have one Trauma Center cosplayer there and joked if there were any Snowboard Kids cosplay) as well as the Midnight Persona Gathering because by the time we get to 11:30pm the table would be closed.

I watch the tail end of the the Spider Verse Gathering (aka Spider-Man especially from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie)  before welcoming in everyone to the 5pm gathering at the slab in between the convention center and the Hilton. Much like last year, the shots went by group, series, arcana, then shots like "all Makotos" before one last group and the obligatory dab shot at the end.

Persona 5 "normal clothing" group shot
"Who's da man?"
Minato/Makoto and the hand-made Aigis Toaster plushie
Since I was next door to the Art Gallery, I decide to check out all of the memories from the last 25 years of FanimeCon, starting from 1994 (the first ever) up through today. I had heard about this through the gravevine and if I had known more about it I would of contributed more, like invitations to the Yamaga-san party and my drawn-in 15th anniversary artbook from 2009. But I did the second best idea: typed up a short story about how I got involved, my favorite memory (which was the 2014 Charity Auction of my 2008 program guide signed by GAINAX), and what I looked forward in the future. I had to make two trips to attach business cards from old and new revisions of the blog before they closed up at 7pm for the night.

The story that I typed up along with the business cards of old and new
FanimeCon 1998 program guide front and back
Wide shot of the Art Gallery
At this point, I'm starving and want to get some food. All of us including a couple of Ryan's friends determine that it's a good time to head over to San Pedro Square to experience it for the first time. It's a bustling food and drink market packed with vendors and bars in both indoor and outdoor settings. While walking up to the square, Nate and I check on Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors; Raptors were up 3-2 with an opportunity to close out at home with the idling Golden State Warriors waiting in the NBA Finals.

A table watching the closing moments of Bucks-Raptors
While I was waiting for my spaghetti carbonara, I decided to film some crowd reactions of the last moments of the game. Then I got my carbonara and still watched the last few moments of the game.

After watching the game and eating, we went back to the hotel but on the way back stopped at La Vic's to get more food since the portion of the spaghetti was smaller than anticipated along with a bottle of their world-famous Orange sauce. Ryan had never been here before, so he was in for a treat with both their burritos and their Orange sauce.

Orange sauce on bacon
Time passes before I have to go back downstairs to go to the Midnight Persona Gathering. The gathering location was the same last years - the wood stairs near the video rooms - but it seemed like there were more cosplayers this time around. So much, that halfway through the gathering while I had "all of the Persona 5 ladies up," security guards with body cameras approached me and said I could not have a gathering here. I told them that I was authorized by the Gatherings staff and that we were listed on the program guide - a first for this type of gathering. Eventually everything gets sorted out and I'm able to continue the gathering, although every couple of shots I had to yell at everyone to keep the walkways clear in order to avoid a shutdown by the Fire Marshall.

Persona Dancing subfranchise group shot

Shiho, Kamoshida, and Ann
We cross into Sunday morning and at 12:30am we end the gathering to go out into the night.

Rain falls as we move into the 2nd half of FanimeCon
 -Day Two End-

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