FanimeCon 2015 May 31, 2015Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: 2015, Anime Convention, FanimeCon, San Jose
FanimeCon 2015 marks the fifth Fanime for me, and I got to say it was pretty good this year. After everything was said and done, and me thinking back on the con now at home, I can say that it was quite a satisfying Fanime. While not much in particular stood out due to the lack of a big current popular anime, FanimeCon 2015 helped me to remind myself why I like anime conventions and the creative community surrounding it. It was pretty chill and for the most part and it helped me to get back into a photographer spirit. While photography is not a main focus of mine, I still want to do more with it when the opportunity arises.
For all of my 750+ photos taken at this year’s FanimeCon, please visit my Flickr set FanimeCon 2015.
Also please check out my photo post of the con at Figure.fm: FanimeCon 2015
I’ll be writing up my experiences of each day. For my review of the con, it will be right after this part for your information. I went to con with a couple of my friends, though they only stayed for about a day from Friday to Saturday. My sister joined me from Saturday to Monday. Keep this in mind when reading the post below.
Day 1 – May 22
Me and my friends arrived at the con at around 11:30AM and got our badges first. As nothing was really happening until 2PM (Opening Ceremonies, Dealers Hall, Artists Alley), and also because our hotel’s supposed check in time was 3PM, we split off for a bit to do our own things until then. I headed over to the Fairmont which is was where I was staying, and wondered if there was a place I could have them hold one of my bags until check in time. Turns out that I was able to check in before 3PM, so I called up my friends who were planning to explore nearby San Jose State University and San Jose’s Japantown, so that they could drop off their stuff. After settling in for a bit we headed back to the con at right before 2PM. We split again, me staying at Stage Zero for Opening Ceremonies and they went into the Artist Alley and Dealer’s Hall. Opening Ceremonies definitely had good vibes going for it, the mark of a good con; from the guests of honor, to the change of Con Chairmen, and everything else announced for the con at the ceremony. I felt confident that this year was going to be a good year for Fanime, as opposed to previous years.
As with any anime convention, my main objective is to take as many photos as possible, with both quantity and quality in mind. My style of photography is that of an overall approach, that is, taking photos of the main areas of the convention, as well as some photos of the main events as well. In a word, a Photostory. I think I’ve explained this before, but I want my photos to enable people who aren’t at the event to get to feel like they were there. The general setting, the people, the events, everything. I try my best to get around to get as much of a overall coverage as possible for this reason.
During Opening Ceremonies and afterwards I took photos, so here’s a glimpse of them:
At about 6PM my friends and I headed out to dinner at a nearby Japanese place. Afterwards I headed back to the con while my friends called it for the night back at the hotel. One of my favorite things to do at Fanime is watch The Best of AVGN (Angry Video Game Nerd), which takes place the night of Day 1. While it’s actually just a video room playing random AVGN videos, something I could do from home, I enjoy unwinding on the first day here because I like to see how others react to his videos too. This also holds true to the anime rooms I every so often go to. I tend to go to anime rooms that are showing ones I’ve already watched, because I’m equally interested in re-watching it while seeing the other viewers’ reactions in mind. Animes tend to become either more funny or serious with other people around. By the time I got back to my hotel, it was already 12:30AM. I didn’t go to sleep until 2AM because I was working on posting photo highlights to my Facebook page.
Day 2 – May 23
Getting up and ready by 9AM, we had brunch at Peggy Sue’s which was a diner type place. I had the Peggy’s scramble pictured above which was very filling. From here we went to the convention center where it was back to taking photos for me while my friends went off on their own.
The plan for today was that my friends were leaving on their own to go back home via public transit, while my sister was being brought to the area by car by my family. At around 1PM I headed back to the hotel to get her settled and see my friends off. After helping her get her badge, I let her go off on her own while I did my own thing again. If you’ve noticed the trend, yes I go alone a lot as it’s easier for me to focus on photography and not worrying about leashing others to me. We met up again later and found out that she had a bit of a hard time trying to enter the Dealer’s Hall at one point because the lines were long and didn’t know where to get into it. I realized that I should of showed her around at least a bit before letting her go as it was her official first time being at Fanime. At around 6:15PM we headed back to the hotel for a quick break. I decided to go to MusicFest, Fanime’s own included-in-registration concert event which was hosting BACK-ON. My sister was still resting so I went on ahead.
Every MusicFest, there are always people who line up as much as a couple of hours before the doors open for seating. I’ve learned that you only do this if you really want to sit in the front near the stage. If you don’t care where you sit or want to sit on the second floor, then come once the lines have all dissipated. I came and got my second floor seat no problem with no waiting. Usually I’d sit on the left of the stage on the higher up second floor, but this time I decided to go sit on the right which my sister says is better because since we’re right handed we tend to look to the right, or something along those lines.
The concert was pretty fantastic, it was just as good as the only other concert I liked here when the band FLOW was a guest of honor for Fanime back in 2011. About halfway into the concert, my sister just arrived to the concert while BACK-ON was playing a Fairy Tail song of theirs. She recognized the song because she was a fan of the anime, something I did not know. We stuck around all the way until the end where BACK-ON had a group photo with the audience. Afterwards we stuck around the con for a couple more hours, taking photos and watching some anime before heading back to the hotel for the night.
Day 3 – May 24
Getting up a bit later than usual, I had breakfast in the hotel room from the bunch of donuts that my family bought on Day 1 from the nearby Psycho Donuts. Seriously though, those donuts are too much for me. I can only eat like a half before the sugar hurts my teeth. Anyways getting to the con at about past 10AM, it was photo time!
The masquerade started quite sooner than expected, as I heard that people were allowed into the auditorium at around 3PM or so. I didn’t know exactly when it started, though I didn’t really care as much since masquerades are a hit or miss, mostly misses for me. I got there just past 5PM and stuck around for about an hour, but I should of left earlier as most of the entries were just walk on cosplays. The only acts I saw that I liked was the Rap Battle between Sailor Moon and Madoka, and the martial arts group with the swords and spears. Also witnessed a real proposal on stage as well, which was nice, but got me thinking, aren’t those kinds of things a trap for the one who is proposed to?
After having dinner at another nearby Japanese place, and checking of the con for a bit afterwards, we called it for the night and got back to the hotel just past 10PM, the last night of the con.
Day 4 – May 25
Morning of Day 4, I got up early to start packing up for home. Since check out time was 12PM, and my ride wasn’t suppose to arrive until 11AM or so, we decided to get breakfast at Peggy Sue’s, a first for my sister, then head to the con where we were suppose to meet up with my ride so that we could get our stuff out of the hotel before check out time, and enjoy the con until it closes at 4PM. That was the plan. However, things didn’t go as smoothly as it should of, as my ride only arrived almost a quarter before 12PM, which got me panicking about checking out on time. After a mad dash from the convention center back to the hotel room, throwing everything out of the hotel room, leaving the stuff on the 9th floor with my family so that I could run down the stairs instead of use the crowded elevators to get to the registration desk, I checked out a few minutes after noon to find out that I could of just checked out prior to going up to my hotel room in the first place rather than rush it. I would of still had access to the room, which is what I was worried about not having if I did it as so. I went back up to the room and did a double take to check if anything was forgotten, and also to take a breather before lugging everything back to the convention center parking lot.
By the time the dust settled from checking out and getting everything in the car, it was already past 1PM, only a few hours left for the Dealers Hall and the con itself. I did my last minute shopping by getting a grab bag for myself, as I didn’t really have anything in particular I wanted, but still wanted to get something regardless. After getting some last minute cosplay shots while my little bro and sis go shopping in the Dealers Hall themselves, we went to the closing ceremonies which beforehand had almost no line at all, a stark difference to previous years. Maybe it had something to do with it not being in the schedule? Anyways I stayed for most of it, just to hear and see how the con went from the people running it. I left when Q&A started. I didn’t leave San Jose right away, as we ate lunch at Peggy Sue’s, the second time eating there in the same day, before leaving the area for good. That is, until next year.
FanimeCon 2015 – Overview and Review
If I were to describe this year’s FanimeCon, it would be “satisfying”. This year’s con felt more lax, but it also felt that it was more in control of itself. Continuing from last year, linecon never really returned, at least for registration which was always a problem in previous years. It also felt that less people were around overall, though Saturday was the most crowded out of all the days. The guests of honor were relatively good, at least for Fanime standards, though I didn’t really invest time to go to their panels or autograph sessions, or go to any panels for that matter. One of my favorite events of this year’s con was MusicFest, as I mentioned earlier. I hope that we can get good musical artists like them in future years.
The cosplay were just as good and diverse as expected, and there was not a lot of any particular series due to the fact that there isn’t any super good *hyped* animes going on at the moment, unlike previous years. I thought at the very least that the KanColle series would of had more cosplayers, but maybe it’s not as popular as I thought. Maybe at Anime Expo we’ll see more. I did some a decent number of Nisekoi cosplayers, especially of Haru which at that point did not see the episode where she was introduced properly which was already out. Don’t think I got any photos of them though.
A surprising thing was that the Dealers Hall was twice as big as it usually was, using two halls instead of one. I had already heard that Anime Expo was also expanding their space for their Dealers Hall, so it was nice experiencing a space that was already the size of how AX did their Dealers Hall in previous years. The Artist Alley, using the new area in the expansion of the convention center felt a little crowded, but I didn’t mind as Artist Alleys aren’t really my thing to browse in. I didn’t really go into the Gaming Hall that much, in comparison to years before, just because I was focused on cosplay photography and also because there was always people crowding the video games anyways.
For most of the con I was pretty much circling between the main lobby of the convention center and the whole outside front entrance of the convention center. The weather throughout the con kept switching between overcast and sunny, the most hot day being Saturday. I didn’t get any sunburn or obvious tan, so I felt that at most it was an inconvenience for comfortability.
While I was bumbling around, I noticed my usual habits of a casual cosplay photographer, and I feel that I should write a separate post about it sometime before Anime Expo, the big one this July in Los Angeles. I want to talk about why and how I do photography at events like this. At the very least, I am deeply appreciative of one’s efforts in creating, wearing, and making it through con all while dodging personal and con life all at the same time. While sometimes I’d like to cosplay, I learned that I probably can only do casual light cosplays at most, due to fact that I don’t want to lose the ability to take photographs as well. I’ll leave it at that for now, and expand in a future post about this subject.
I will probably return for next year’s FanimeCon, but I don’t know if I will do it as I have during the past few years, where I stay at a hotel. As I live in San Francisco, the trip takes about an hour or so by car, but it would still be cheaper than having a hotel. It would only be worth it if I had multiple people staying in the hotel to split costs, but that became an issue for me. I will gauge the situation and figure it out as next year’s FanimeCon creeps up again, but I can never say for sure what the situation will be for me then.