Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Nate Reports: 2019 Summer of Conventions: Part 1- Fanimecon

Part 1: Fanime 2019

It’s that time of year again: The beginning of summer where everyone will be enjoying their time off of school to be engaging with their summer plans. For anime fans like us, what comes to mind is the convention season and Fanimecon would be the one to begin it all. For 10 straight years, I’ve attended Fanime and almost every year, I’ve always left the con feeling impressed. So what will my 10th year at Fanime bring me to celebrate this occassion? 

Day 0

Day 0 actually did not start off right at the San Jose convention center for me this time around. Usually I’d arrive at SJCC in the afternoon getting our hotel room and getting my badge before hanging around the con center meeting up with friends. Instead, I had to be an adult and work a full day at my job before heading to Fanime. Once work was over, I drove back to pick up a friend, went back home to get everything for Fanime, and then headed straight to San Jose. It helped that I had a friend with me to carpool so that we could get through the traffic heading down to the town. Once I arrived, I was able to move into my hotel room and pick up badge marking the start of Fanimecon! 
Who wants some cheap weeb swag? 

The con would begin for me here on day 0 as after I grabbed a quick bite to eat, me and my friend would partake in Swap Meet. The swap meet would be located at the back of the convention center in the South Hall where we both would sell off our anime goods for a good buck. This would be beneficial because of a trip that we will be engaging in later in September that I will talk about later. In our 3 hours of selling there, we would end up getting some decent money and that’s because it was just a Thursday night and not everyone attending Fanime would be there yet. Still, it was a pretty busy night and we still had a productive swap meet. Afterwards, we would pack up and bring our stuff back to our cars before spending the night away hanging with friends in their rooms and exploring the convention grounds before everyone else comes in. But we didn’t really go hard late on that night as Day 1 of Fanime approaches.... 

Day 1

Day 1 begins with me getting prepared for my first cosplay of this convention. I didn’t really get ready till 10am since there really wasn’t anything to do early at the con due to Fanime opening up later in the day at 2pm. So I took my time and got into my Platelet cosplay from the anime, Cells at Work
Platelet at work to patch your scabs up!

Once I got into my cosplay, I would be with my platelet group that I joined in and the group would all be hanging out before we got to our cosplay gathering for Cells at Work. The gathering was really fun with over 50+ cosplayers who showed their love for the show cosplaying various cells from the red blood cell, to the white blood cell, platelets, macrophanges, Killer T cells, and many more. The overall gathering was manageable and fun overall! 
White Blood Cells and Macrophanges
Red and White Blood Cells working together
Cutest Cells family at work!
Selfie with my fellow blood cells!

After the gathering, I would split with my platelet group and would check out the con center roaming around the dealer’s hall seeing what dealers had this year as well as a quick glance over at artist alley. But during this free time, I was looking for wig extensions for my wig that I was working on for a cosplay that I was going to wear on Sunday. It was unfortunate that the supplier for my wig did not provide the wig extensions  that I ordered along with the base wig. Long story short, I have the base wig but the extensions did not make it in time. So I tried my best to find a pair of wig extensions that matched the ones I ordered to no avail. In fact, there wasn’t much when it comes to dealer’s selling cosplay wigs. Maybe more variety in that next time in the dealer’s hall hopefully.

Met Fat Thor at Swap meet day 2 

After grabbing dinner, me and my friend would be back at Swap Meet selling our anime goods but this time in a much bigger crowd as most of the weekend con attendees arrived and are shopping for good deals. We were doing the same as we did the previous day but we ended up getting more money which helped our cause for September’s event. After cleaning up, I would meet up with the rest of the press crew (Matthew and Ryan) and I would chill with them for the night before hitting the hay. Because the next day, our press work begins. 
Alert! Viruses in the Cells at work Gathering!
SF Shock from the Overwatch League is representing here at Fanimecon!

Day 2

A Peggie Sue's omelette to start the day

I would wake up at 8am to meet up with the press crew for our traditional breakfast out together. We would have breakfast at Peggie Sue’s, a local diner in downtown San Jose just 1 block away from the convention center. From there, we talked about our interviews for the day including Toshiro Kawamoto (exclusive animator of Bones), Giles Poitras (a Fanime guest every year), and Chris Patton (Voice actor, ADR Director). All of these interviews were to occur during this morning and we have prepared our questions ready for the interview with these big guests of honor. 

Our first one was Toshiro Kawamoto who has worked as an animator in many hit animes including most notably Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain, Ouran High School Host Club, and Space Dandy. You can see our transcript of the interview here.

After the hour long interview, we only had 30 minutes of a break before we interviewed Giles Poitras whom we talked about how anime is rolling these days with more Isekai animes being the norm, his time running an anime club in UC Berkeley, his books relating to anime and manga, and his time at Fanime. You can see the interview here: 

We would have around an hour before our next interview with Chris Patton and we decided to check out the lobby of the con to see how everything is going so far. It was already past 1pm after our interview with Poitras and as usual on a Saturday of con, it’s very busy! Already we saw two gatherings happening including Azure Lane and one I don’t recognize. People were already sitting in the sit down areas of the con and people were going though the con like it’s Friday afternoon traffic. The busiest day of con has begun! And we were only out for an hour before we got back to the press room to talk with Chris Patton. 
In our Chris Patton interview, we would talk to him about his time with ADV films from when he began working there to it’s sudden bankruptcy, how it is to work as an ADR Director, how voice acting is in the business, and many more. You can see our interview with Chris Patton here (coming soon) 

Afterwards, the press team would split and I would get myself ready for my cosplay of the day. I would get into my battle suit Deku cosplay from My Hero Academia. It did take me a while to get into the outfit since it was a lot of pieces plus had to work on my makeup but was able to get it done in an hour. Afterwards, I would head over to the MHA gathering which overtook the whole gathering spot in the grass area of the new building of the convention center. And….it was absolutely overwhelming. At least I would meet up with my friends and took a couple of selfies with them but the gathering itself was ridiculous! The whole area was full of cosplayers and fans that wanted to take photos and really, there was no space at all to move around that area. So I decided to just stay off to the side. I didn’t even want to go in through that crowd because of how packed the gathering was. So I just decided to take some selfies and just left. 
Debuting a new suit Deku on Day 2 of Fanime!
Found my friends who were also cosplaying My Hero Academia today!
Sometime I wonder if I should continue with cosplay....

I would meet up with my friend who cosplay from My Hero Academia: Vigilantes and we would walk around the con for a bit before I met with my photographer friend and took some shots of my Deku cosplay in a private area where there are not much people around and would take some good photos of my Deku cosplay there. Afterwards, it was getting a little hot in my costume that I started to get uncomfortable so I decided to just call it a day and went back to my casual wear. 

After getting out of my cosplay, I would meet up with my press team and all of us would head over to a certain area in Downtown San Jose which has the best places for food. Since we were all getting hungry, its about time for us to head to San Pedro Square Market and pick out our places to eat. I would go to my usual Konjoe burger and grab a meal with the konjoe burger with egg because every burger is better with an egg on it. (Sorry there was no picture of the food, I quickly ate it but it’s a great recommendation when you’re at Fanime) 
San Pedro Square, a Fanime Hotspot
(not a good sign to put up knowing that the San Jose Sharks were eliminated before Fanime began)

On our walk back to Fanime, we would visit La Vics because one of our press team has not tasted the orange sauce yet which is a staple for the restaurant. So we immediately went to the restaurant, my friend got a bottle of orange sauce and a burrito and behold his reaction: 

It’s already 11pm and I would head back to my room to dress up for the Persona Midnight gathering in which Matthew was a host of. I would be in my human Morgana cosplay from Persona 5 The Royal and would meet up with all of the persona cosplayers on the gathering. It was the same ol’ shenanigans that always occurs in these gatherings with shoots, hangouts with friends, and all things Persona. We did get halted a bit from the fire marshall that came by and we needed to do some movement before continuing with the gathering but it was nothing too big but overall a fun midnight gathering! 
All the Protags from P3-P5
There's already a Katsumi Cosplayer from P5R!
Wait what? I don't agree to this bad ending in P5!

Afterwards, the rest of the night was with me and the press team hanging out at their hotel room grabbing a few drink and chilling for the rest of the night after a busy day at the con. 

You know it's Fanime time when these signs are around!
Ami and Yumi cosplayers from Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi
Nesoberi Train from the Love Live Gathering!

Day 3

There was nothing going on in the morning but I did want to see my friend’s finished Fire Emblem cosplay as she was going to partake in the Fire Emblem gathering that was actually going to happen that morning so I dressed up in my cosplay for the day, Yuri Katsuki from Yuri on Ice! And headed out to the Fire Emblem gathering. From there, I saw many cospayers cosplaying from the famous video game franchise, some more recognizable because they are playable characters in Super Smash Bros.. I was able to see my friend’s cosplay which was a twisted version of King Garon but she pulled it off perfectly I must say. Plus this was also a support for Fire Emblem fans since the new game, Three Houses, was coming out soon and there’s a possible chance one already has cosplayed from it. Unfortunately, no one did but wait till you see my CRX report in Part 2. 
Glad to see there's still a big presence of Fire Emblem Cosplayers!

Heroes vs. Villains
Dang Garon, When did you look so fine?
Remember that Donnel is still the strongest boy in Fire Emblem!

I had more time to kill so I ended up exploring more around the con checking out artist alley and dealer’s hall figuring out what to buy now and when to wait till Sunday. I would meet up with Matthew later and attend his Yuri on Ice! Gathering which was pretty alright. The thing that kind of stood out to me was that the number of attendees for this gathering dipped significantly. Around 20 cosplayers were there cosplaying from the two Yuris and Viktor. Seriously, there was no other skater cosplays besides those 3. To me it was pretty disappointing but this comes to show that the Yuri on Ice! fandom has declined pretty significantly. Maybe there was another sports series that has gotten everyone’s attention. Did Free! Come back? 

Yuri and Yurio cosplayers
The trio in skates skating in grace
More photos of the trio (Yuri, Yurio, and Viktor)

Afterwards, I would get prepared for our final interview. I would meet up with Matt and Ryan from the press crew to interview one more guest of honor in this year’s Fanime: Nobutoshi Canna, Japanese Voice actor to various animes. You may know him as the voice actor as Archer from Fate/Stay Night, Guts from Berserk, and Knuckles Echinda from Sonic The Hedgehog. You can be able to see our whole interview here.

After our interview, we dropped off our interview equipment and immediately headed to the Fairmont Hotel because another grand show is happening for it’s 6th year. It’s always an excitement to see and the show definitely has a ton of fans here at Fanime. I’m talking about CWF and we had the chance to see this great show live!

So just a tl;dr of CWF: It’s pretty much cosplayers showing off why they’re the best by smacktalk. The judges of CWF pick the winners who will move on based on the audience reaction. They must do well in impromptu comedy in order for them to win the audience. In the end, the best of the contestants face off with the main champion. Whoever wins will take or retain the CWF championship Belt. 

Many contestants have tried most notably those that have been popular in the CWF cast. Some include: Sailor Moon, Tommy Wisseau, Lupin III, Mumen Rider, Reality, All Might, and Skeletor. Although many newbies tried their best in the ring like Bobby Flay, Incineroar, and Inko Midoriya (Yeah, Deku’s mom!). Some notable moments: 

  • The annoucement of the new CWF tag team belts whom was won by Lupin III and Jigen

  • Inko was eliminated early after being knocked out from Franziska von Karma (I was bummed about that, I was rooting for her to win) 

  • Reality still continues to lose 

  • Skeletor used his money case that he won in an earlier CWF event to cash in to this year’s Fanimania. 

In the end, it all went down to 3 finalists: Von Karma, Skeletor, and All Might. All 3 faced off in the final matchup and from the audience reaction, LeShayda made the announcement that SKELETOR WINS THIS YEAR’S FANIMANIA! It was absolute insanity all around with the audience being very engaging as always in every CWF match. The contestants were all great in their respective roles and did their very best, but the ruler of Castle Greyskull has taken his belt and is now the CWF reigning champion! 

The NEW CWF Champion, Skeletor!!!!

Afterwards, I would kick back and relax for a bit after the busy day I had. Eventually I would pack up my stuff before heading out of the hotel and visiting with all my friends that I could whom I have not seen when I was at Fanime. I would end up visiting a couple of hotel rooms chilling with them for a bit, having a drink here or there, all the way till whenever the night died down. I did promise Ryan a little game of Weiss Schwarz before the night ended which we did play in the Marriott Lobby. He ended up winning all the games, which means I need to work on my decks…..

Day 4

Alas, All must come to an end….

That’s what I always say when the final day of con comes. After dressing up into my final cosplay of the day, Tom Nook from Animal Crossing, I would do a final cleanup and say goodbye to most of my roommates as they would depart from the con after checking out. To say the least, these roommates that I had this Fanime has either always been my roommates every Fanime or they have always been really chill to me and I was definitely glad to have them room with me and making sure they had a great time at this year’s Fanime. 

I would meet up with the press team one last time for one last debriefing and a little talk about how Fanime was this year before Matt and Ryan departed through the Marriott front doors back home. It’s definitely hits that we had a successful time at this year’s Fanime and it wouldn’t be successful without these guys and I was glad to see them again and will do so in a couple of months for CRX. 
One last selfie for the road, boys

As they left, I only had two hours left till the con ends. So I would end up going through as much as I could and find what I could buy from artworks and keychains in the artist alley to anime merch in the Dealer’s Hall. I would end up shopping as much as I could until they kicked us out. As usual, the con ended at 4pm but Dealer’s and artist’s ended an hour early at 3pm. Once that time hit, I would end up meeting up with my squad and just chill with them until we thought about dinner plans. I would decide with my friend whom I was carpooling with to have KBBQ with a couple of friends that came from SoCal to visit us here at Fanime. I have always thought that KBBQ is the perfect way to end the con with the last moments of socializing before everyone goes home and back to reality, sadly. So we ended our night with full bellies of meat as I would end up driving my friend and myself home to end off our coverage of Fanime 2019!


A Samurai outfit made entirely out of Fanimecon badges!

This is a con I have been in for 10 years and I still love this convention ever since I started going in 2009. It has brought me so much joy being an anime fan, engaging in what Fanimecon has offered from Musicfest, Swap Meet, the hotel room parties, and all things in between. And throughout those years, I’ve met up with so many amazing friends and acquaintances. Like I only had a few amount of friends that were into anime when I was in high school. When I went to college and heard about Fanime, I immediately hopped on to see what it was all about and I never expected it to become a part of my life, to come every year and see all my friends again for another great time out in San Jose and enjoy the good times that Fanime would offer to us. And yes, Fanime has been through a whole lot. I remember the construction years where Fanime continued to run even if half of the convention center was closed off from the construction in the front. I remember the power outage at the convention center when getting badges and that it took hours to get badges. I remember the long huge line that attendees had to face in the fairmont to get their badges. To say the least, Registration went through hell. And of course that led to negative reviews. But when the construction was over, things got so much better for the con. And ever since, the con has been great for me. It has been an institution that has given me a connection to the anime community. From cosplaying to social connections and all the hotel parties that made me socialize more with the con, I would have to thank Fanime for these great times. It has been a yearly event that I have always enjoyed and I don’t see myself leaving just yet, maybe even another 10 more years. So yeah, as long as Fanime is here to stay, I’ll always be there. It may not be as perfect as some anime conventions can be, but I’ll still be there to support the con good or bad. 

25 years strong of Fanimecon and more years to come!

What I’m hoping for is that Fanime can try to pull something that can make this year’s Fanime more attractive. Because if I were to complain about this year’s fanime, it seems that it has always been the same and that they should think about trying something new. Sure, they did make a new thing for the 18+ crowd called Silver Island but what didn’t attract me to it was because it wasn’t around the Downtown San Jose area. Silver Island was in the Doubletree hotel, close to the San Jose airport. I do want to give credit to the staff that gave free bus rides back and forth from the con to the Doubletree but what’s unfortunate is that it takes quite a while to get to the doubletree. What would be better for new events is to at least place it during the late night of Fanime in the convention center or in one of the conference rooms in the Fairmont. I do want to credit them in their lineup of special guests that got many fans to come to Fanime like Aya Hirano and Toshiro Kawamoto. If big guests like these come in, this would help make Fanime more attracting, even for me who would love to get an autograph for any of these guests. Maybe this is a turning point for Fanime in their guest of honor lineup with more noteable voice actors and staff members in animes coming to the con as well as a possible good musicfest lineup. This year, 3 bands performed including The Beat Garden which did perform in animes. It would be great if we had the good bands that are well known in animes like FLOW, Home Made Kazoku, Rookiez is Punk’d, and more. And yes, they have performed at Fanime previously. If we had guests like these again, maybe Fanime would be more exciting. 

Till the next con......

Besides that, I had a fun time nonetheless. It wasn’t as I expected for my 10th year at Fanime because I thought that this year would be big for this con. Instead, I felt it was the same. But don’t get me wrong, the hangouts with friends, making new friends, and interviewing the guests of honor has made this Fanime fun. I’ll definitely be back for the fun times again next year. Till the next con, thank you again Fanime Staff and to all the guests that attended! Hope you had a fun Fanime as much as I did!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.