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FanimeCon 2013 May 31, 2013

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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This year’s FanimeCon was something, something that seems to be getting worse with every year. This was my third FanimeCon and it was OK but just that. If you went to Fanime this year, you should also know what problems the con had this year. This post will pretty much illustrate my experience of FanimeCon 2013. If you want to see all 900+ photos I took, check out my Flickr Set FanimeCon 2013

Day 1 – Friday May 24

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I arrived in San Jose with a friend for Fanime on Day 1 at before 11 AM. After finding parking, I emerged to find a long line sprawling all over the place on the side of the Fairmont Hotel for badge pick up and registration. Normally this would be happening at the convention center, but as you can see in the first photo, major renovation and construction was going on causing Fanime to have to use other spaces in other places. It took me almost 3 hours to get my badge as seen by my timer that I used to see how long “Linecon” would be. That was the pre-reg line. My friend who did not pre-reg had to wait in line for 6 1/2 hours for his, having to wait partly in the sun too. I heard stories that people the day before at Day 0 had to wait 7 hours. The only funny thing for me that happened during the whole ordeal was the fact that while I was waiting directly outside the exit for registration for my friend, a few people mistook me for being a volunteer/staff  and started asking me questions that should be directed to such people. I guess it was because I had my headphone wires dangling around which looked like a headset and also because I was hanging around other staff members as well.

Last year there was an blackout on Day 0 which caused issues with people getting their badges as well, which also affected Day 1’s registration too. I remember I had to wait almost as long as I did this year to get my badge. I had hoped that I wouldn’t have this issue this year, but it just got worse.

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By the time I got into the convention center for the first time, it was already mid-afternoon. I felt like most of my day was wasted which irritated me the most. Whenever I’m at an event like this, my main priority is my photography. Thinking that I’ve missed so many photo opportunities, I felt discouraged to do much and just really wandered the con to scout what was going on and how things were set up, basically getting familiar with the layout of this year’s Fanime. At 9PM I decided to relax with a favorite viewing of mine of Fanime’s, watching the best of Angry Video Game Nerd until midnight.

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On my way back to my hotel room after the AVGN viewing, I happened to hear some Gangnam Style at Stage Zero and saw a PSY cosplayer dancing to it with other people, followed by Gentleman as well. That kind of cheered me up, and it was a bit surprising as well that PSY’s latest songs wern’t dead yet in the con scene. I’d be really cool in my mind if we had a large amount of people at a con doing Gangnam Style seeing as the song came out right after the con season was slowly ending last year.

Day 2 – Saturday May 25

For Day 2, I had a couple of things planned for the morning that I wanted to attend. Before all that though, I had breakfast with my hotel mates at a nearby diner called Peggy Sue’s. I had a nice breakfast burrito which I didn’t finish, so took the rest with me for later. The cool thing was that also the burrito came with a cup drink which I could come and refill all day as long as I had my receipt. I did come in a couple more times during the day to refill my cup, but I didn’t have to show my receipt as it was quite busy in there when I did come in. It was nice to have free drinks the rest of the day so I wouldn’t have to spend money on drinks, and good thing too that Peggy Sue’s is pretty close to both the convention center and the hotel.

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Once at the convention center, I wanted to take some pictures of the Sword Art Online cosplay gathering. There was a lot of Kirito cosplayers versus other characters from the series, but that was kind of expected seeing from other cons before this one had a lot of Kiritos too. I noticed that there was no Silica during the gathering, nor a single Suguha/Leafa around the entire con weekend.

Right after I attended the only panel I wanted to go to, it was about how to work with EVA foam for cosplay purposes. Basically it’s the stuff you see used as mats for like gyms and stuff, but it can also be used to create intricate armor pieces, something I’m working on for my Solar Marine cosplay. As I’m a beginner in crafting and costume making, it was a helpful panel that showed to basics to working with the foam to create something fantastic. I felt motivated to work on my cosplay, though it would have to wait until I got home after con.

After the panel it was time to make up for the lost time yesterday. I went around and took as many shots as possible. Because I do photography at cons in a photostory style, I always take pictures generally of all areas of the con to give my viewers a sense of the convention floor as a whole, to give perspective. I took a good couple of hours wandering the dealer’s hall taking photos of most of the booths, though its pretty much the same as any con’s so it felt a bit repetitive for me. That’s another factor I account for when taking photos, repetitiveness. Especially with cosplay, if it is something that is extremely common that I’ve seen at many cons before, such as cosplay of Naruto or Vocaloid, I tend to look the other way to find something more interesting. Unless it is extremely well made or a unique variation on the character, I always try to go for the new and/or polished cosplays which are usually swarmed by other photographers as well. Here are a few shots I took during Day 2:

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I took a decent amount of photos to feel like I sort of made up for Day 1. I had to return home late on Day 2 because I wanted to attend my cousin’s graduation from college the following early morning.

Day 3 – Sunday May 26

I arrived back at FanimeCon from home later than I wanted to, around 2:30 PM. As soon as I got parking, I quickly headed back to the convention center. As usual, photos were my main objective, so here are some shots I took on Sunday:

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In this photo above, a guy proposed in front of con goers before Masquerade. Apparently these two met at a previous Fanime. I didn’t actually attend the Masquerade, so no pictures from it. Anyways, I’m always far away so until I become press, there isn’t much I can take pictures of from a Masquerade.

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This was the last night of the con. My dinner came from one of those hot dog stands run by some Mexcians right outside the con. I didn’t want to spend my money on expensive convention food. Afterwards, I relaxed the night away by watching some Railgun S in the Fansub room, where I was able to at least watch one episode that I haven’t seen yet. After that I hit the hay back at the hotel to prepare for the final day.

Day 4 – Monday May 27

Morning of Moday was basically just getting ready to vacate the hotel room. Luckily my car was parked pretty close so packing me and my friend’s stuff in it wasn’t going to be too difficult to do before going to the convention center. Because I stayed 2 of the three nights at my friend’s hotel room, I only paid a little under $40 for my entire stay with him. (We had a bunch of people staying in the room which cut the costs a lot between everyone.) After paying and packing, me and my friend headed over to the convention center for the last few hours of Fanime. We split during the time so that we could do our own things before the closing ceremonies at 3pm. I did my last rounds around the con, taking photos as I did. I managed to take a few good shots before I had to go to closing ceremonies:

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Overall, FanimeCon this year was OK, and just that. While nothing really went wrong on my side, with the weather also being quite cool and enjoyable, the con itself had flaws that made it less enjoyable than my previous experiences. While a lot of it has to do with the ongoing renovation and construction going on at the convention center, there were some things that the con itself was at fault for. The handling of reg was bad. Lines should not be long because you only have several people handling thousands of people’s registrations. Also, events this year at con were not as appealing mainly because of the lack of good guests of honor. I only attended one panel and that was for working with EVA foam for cosplay purposes. Day 1 for me was pretty much defined by Linecon and because of that, I missed a lot of photo opportunities which bummed me out. Also because I had to return home late Saturday and return early afternoon Sunday, I missed even more chances at photos. Whenever I’m in a con or event, taking pictures is my number one priority, because I’m dedicated to showing and sharing as much as possible to others worldwide. My goal for next year is to get myself up to “Press” status. With being a press gives you perks at a con, but it also means that I have a more official reason to taking photos. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and I believe that my work is ready to take the next step. I have friends and acquaintances who are professional photographers and are press, so I know what they do at cons as such people. I hope to bring my A game to Anime Expo this year, where I’ll be both doing photography and cosplay. Hope to see you there!

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