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MAGWest 2019 September 15, 2019

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“MAGWest spawned from MAGFest, the Music and Gaming Festival currently on the East Coast. MAGWest [2019, Sept 13-15] is a three day event dedicated to the appreciation of video game music, gaming of all types, and the gaming community. MAGWest is the West’s flavor of video game music, gaming, and non-stop party action! The event runs 24 hours a day, and offers consoles, arcades, tabletop, LAN, live video game cover bands, chiptunes, guest speakers, pool concerts, and so much more!” – via MAGWest Website

MAGWest started in 2017, this marking its third year running. I heard about MAGWest during its first year as it was running at the same time as Crunchyroll Expo, just next door to it at a neighboring hotel. This year’s was the first for me to attend, buying my badge way back in May when there was a sale going on. I have friends and acquaintances running parts of the event, so that’s partly the reason for wanting to finally check it out. Being a fan of video games and music is mainly why I went, and it’s easy to see how both come together. Even though the event was three days long I only went on Day 2 (Saturday Sept 14th), as I got the most out of it in a single day. I took photos to show how the event looks, so if you want to check it out see my album MAGWest 2019.


Day 2 – Saturday, Sept 14th

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Looking at the schedule online, there wasn’t much that interested me in terms of panels and events, so there was no rush getting to the venue. I had a friend tag along and so after stopping by a Costco to grab lunch for the day, we got to MAGWest held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in San Jose, CA at around 11:30am.

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As we entered the hotel, you can quickly tell that the event is very much a small one, reminiscent of the first anime convention I attended back in 2011. We picked up our badges and proceeded to check out everything. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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Custom MAGWest video game challenges. Win one, get a prize.

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Saori Kobayashi concert. Never heard of her before, but her music was fantastic. While listening it really got me imagining being in an RPG kind of game.

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Apparently MAGWest didn’t have enough lanyards so this was one of their alternative solutions. There was even a cardboard box asking people to return their lanyard if they don’t plan on returning.

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Overall the event was fun but very small. Because I’m used to much bigger events, I got to see pretty much what the event had to offer in a few hours. I was expecting a bit more people at least, but I guess the combination of it being in a hotel away from convenient amenities and it also being fan run rather than one with sponsors and whatnot explains it. I did enjoy myself playing the games that we did get to play, but most of the ones that were at the events were either retro games, music/rhythm games, or fighting games. The arcade area was quite small but still packed as many games as it could. Just wish that there was more wiggle room. One of the other lively parts of MAGWest was the pool party complete with music and summer heat. The rest of the areas of the event though tended to only have a few people or were just dead. For example, passing by the panel rooms at times there was only a couple of people sitting in.

I didn’t buy anything at MAGWest, but got a few freebies in the form of deck boxes and card covers that I got from the Tabletop main table that they were letting people take, as they said that they got too much from donations. I did however have to pay a pretty penny for parking ($18), and that’s more than I would pay if I was going to the San Jose Convention Center area for a whole four days as I know where to find cheap parking in that area due to going there every year.

MAGWest 2019 was a fun experience but I think it needs more down the road to attract more people. As it seems to establish itself as a “by fans, for fans” event, I think that catering to a more broader audience would help bring in more people. I know that the theme of MAGWest is primarily about video games with an emphasis on its music, but I think when I say “broader” that it needs a better balance of retro games (console/arcade), modern console games, PC gaming, etc. Yes it had all of this but weighted more towards the retro side. And while I did not mention indie and tabletop games, I felt that as they had their own areas that they were covered fine. I was expecting at least a dedicated PC gaming area with modern games, and not just the LAN area being the only area with PC gaming. The LAN area had spaces for 36 computers, but I only saw maybe 8 set up, and at least four of them was brought in by one guy for retro games such as Quake.

Will I return to MAGWest in the future? I’m not sure, but if I do I’d probably come for just a day like I did this year. If MAGWest can also bring in more guests that would be sweet. I was also thinking that because MAGWest is small, if I wanted to run a panel or gaming event that it would be a good way to practice on smaller audiences if I wanted to go that route. As MAGWest is a offspring event from its parent MAGFest, I’m mildly interested in going to it but I know that would take some dedication in order to do so, as it’s all the way on the East coast. I guess that would be a good excuse to visit Washington D.C. as it’s in the area. Either way, MAGFest/MAGWest is on my event radar now, so I’ll look forward to their future endeavors.

Crunchyroll Expo 2019 September 8, 2019

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Taking place on August 30th through September 1st at the San Jose Convention Center, Crunchyroll Expo (CRX) brings anime fans together for three days of exhibits, screenings, panels, premieres, and guest appearances by some of the biggest personalities in the US and Japan. I went with friends all three days for this third annual event.

CRX made a lot of announcements that interested me in the weeks prior to the con, so my schedule was quite packed when compared to other anime conventions I’ve attended. There were some consecutive days of announcements that made me excited for this year’s CRX. Most of them were premieres for future anime series or showings of anime movies, something I remember I enjoyed from last years CRX.

For all my photos taken from Crunchyroll Expo 2019, please check out my Flickr set Crunchyroll Expo 2019.


Day 1 – Friday, August 30th

I got myself up at around 7am to get ready for Day 1. The plan was to leave at around 9am and arrive in the area at around 10am. I had a friend meet up with me and we left on time. I knew that the con wasn’t really open until around 11am so it gave some leeway time to park and explore the area. We got to San Jose at the expected time and parked at SJSU’s parking lot, the cheapest one I knew about in the area ($8 for all day). It’s about a 10 minute walk away from the con and it passes some restaurants and the like.

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We arrived at the con at about 10:30am, where we could see a large crowd in front of the center. I assumed that they were waiting to enter through security, but wasn’t sure if they were even letting people in yet. I remember from last year that you could also enter through the side entrances so I suggested to try them. On the Hilton side entrance to the convention center, there was no one around besides the people working the security gate. I thought that maybe this was because this was a special entry for staff and the like, but as I approached them to ask it became apparent that it was a normal entrance that no one knew about. We got though no problem, and just after us was some more who followed suit.

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Since most things were still in the process of opening, we decided to check out the Dealers Hall which was accessible (though according to the schedule it wasn’t suppose to open until 11am). This was one of the things that my friend and I was hyped about when first hearing about the “New Crunchy City” theme. I had thought that they were going to do actual multistory booths to simulate a cityscape reminiscent of Tokyo. Maybe that was a little much for me to imagine, but the thought was cool. What they had actually did was put up giant four sided sign that extended from the top of the booths to the ceiling to simulate a tall building-like booth. In the center was an area designed like a street crossing like Shibuya Crossing, complete with the white lines on the floor and itasha cars. This space was shared by the Artist Alley which took up about a third of the room. The Artist Alley wasn’t open at the time so we would return to it later.

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We briefly checked out the Laid-Back Camp area, which was a quiet camp themed room to unwind in. Across from it was the Arcade area which was massively improved from last year. It had its own room with plenty of space and machines, unlike the small corner they used last year. It makes me feel like last year’s arcade was just a afterthought when thinking about how to use that space in the main hall. A couple of rooms next to the camp area was the Junji Ito Gallery which had a line to get in. I suggested to go to it tomorrow as that was when we would have another friend join us. At about 11:30am we split up to do our own thing. I decided to go around a take more pictures of the con before my scheduled events.

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The main events I wanted to attend today were all premieres in the same room, Cinema 1. While I was in line for the first one, I wondered about the room clearing policy, about whether or not they would clear the room after each screening. The staff wasn’t sure about it at first saying that they were basing their rules on what was written, and since apparently this policy wasn’t mentioned they said they weren’t going to clear the room afterwards. Upon entering the room, I was glad that the screen was much larger and in the center unlike last year’s screening room. (For these premieres, I will link their MAL.net page for info about it. I will only give a brief impression about them.) The first was at 1pm of the first episode of an anime series called “Somali and the Forest Spirit“, airing in January 2020 (Winter 2020 anime season). It was alright. I can tell it will be one of those father/daughter relationship shows. I’m definitely interested in the history of the human race’s demise, as I like shows and movies that deal with world catastrophes and the like.

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I stayed in the room after the first screening to wait for the next one at 2pm, so about a half hour wait. This one was called “The Wonderland“, but oddly enough when the title came up in the movie it was actually titled “Birthday Wonderland”. I guess one is the English title and the other is the original title. Why they had to be different I have no idea, as “Birthday Wonderland” makes more sense in terms of what the movie is about, and it’s not as if it’s not in English. This movie starts out slow, but ramps up with fantasy elements that is mostly for laughs. I enjoyed it for what it was, a silly adventure that grows the main character in some way. For all these premieres, I went in them with no expectations or research into what they are beyond their descriptions in the CRX program; in short, I like being surprised. There’s not a lot I hate in terms of anime, but for the genres I don’t have taste for I’ll avoid for the most part (extreme psychological/gore).

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The movie ended at 4pm and I needed a break in between screenings, so I left Cinema 1 for a restroom/food break. I got myself a con food sandwich and returned to Cinema 1 only to find a lot of people lined up in boxes. I guessed that they had changed their mind and start enforcing the room clearing policy. I had found my friend just outside of the line and we tried to figure out where we could wait for the 5pm premiere. After the boxes filled up, everyone was lining up behind box 1. Staff came out later and told us that as the waiting boxes were full there was no overflow line and that we should return later closer to 5pm. We were initially worried that we wouldn’t get in, but to our surprise when we were let in we still got good seats despite not being in the front part of the lines.

The 5pm premiere was for the anime movie BLACKFOX. Crunchyroll had released a trailer and 7min teaser on YouTube which I felt helped to grow interest in this premiere, hence the large amount of people attending. I thought that it had its moments, mainly in its action scenes and fight choreography. However I felt that the animation, especially in the background elements were its weakest parts. I also felt that this movie would of probably worked better as a anime series instead as the movie had obvious breaks in it.

After the movie we called it for the day and went back home to rest for the next.

 

Day 2 – Saturday, August 31st

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For Day 2, we left earlier at around 8:30am as we wanted to give ourselves time to eat breakfast at Peggy Sue’s (and get parking validation) before heading over to the con. We got to CRX just past 10am and went to the Junji Ito Gallery which we waited a few minutes to get in. We were allowed to take photos so here’s a few of what was there. Junji Ito was a very popular guest at CRX this year, and while my two other friends who came with me are fans of his work, I’m just not into his works’ genre. We only stayed in there for about 10 minutes before heading out.

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There was a couple of panels I wanted to check out at around 11am, so we split up and went off to do our own things. The first panel I wanted to check out was “So, You Want to Work for Crunchyroll”. I didn’t think there would be that many people going to it, but to my surprise it was a full house. There was even people sitting on the floor and in the doorway. I couldn’t hear anything from the entrance so I gave up and went up to see the Crunchyroll Industry Panel. Most of this panel was advertising their games and anime and the like. I didn’t stay long in this panel either and decided to wander the con until the next scheduled event that I wanted to see which was a 1pm premiere.

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The first premiere of the day for me was “Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!” Yes it’s a long title and yes it is an Isekai (Other world anime). I was expecting some cutesy slice-of-life anime, and for the most part it probably will be. However what drew my attention was the humor, as this show seems to be a making fun at the Isekai genre, a parody if you will. It will be airing this October so I’ll be watching out for it.

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After the premiere I briefly met up with my friends again and we went to the the Dealers Hall for a lottery drawing for a chance to win prizes. Of course we didn’t win, but I wonder if a lot of people who got the tickets even came back. Crunchyroll was giving the tickets with free drawstring bags like they have given away at their previous events, and with everything else going on at the con I could imagine forgetting to return for the drawing. Since I still had time before the next thing I wanted to go to I headed back to my car to drop off some stuff and eat my leftover from breakfast.

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The final premiere I went to was Ep. 1-2 of “In/Spectre” This premiere was something that I was thinking I would skip if necessary for time as I wasn’t too interested in its premise. It turned out to be a decent show but quite dialogue heavy due to one of the character’s professions. I’ll probably watch this one when it officially begins in the Winter Anime Season.

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Afterwards I met up with my friends and we went out to dinner at the KBBQ/hot pot restaurant Q-Pot. You can tell a few people from con was also here as well, some in partial cosplay or with their badges still on. We had to wait a little over an hour for our table but it’s always worth it. Good food with great company goes a long way for a enjoyable weekend.

Day 3 – Sunday, September 1st

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Originally we were going to take it easy for the last day and come later than we have been for the first two days, but there was some stuff that my friends wanted to check out in the morning. We arrived in San Jose just after 10am and had a quick breakfast bite at the usual place before heading over to the con.

After wandering the Dealers Hall for a bit together, we split off. The first thing I wanted to check out for the day was a premiere at 1pm for Ep. 1 of “Ascendance of a Bookworm“. A while before I expected lines to start forming for this premiere, I checked out the front of Cinema 1. I found out that they had changed their mind again about the room clearing policy for Cinema 1. For the rest of the day they would no longer clear the room after each screening, which meant that I didn’t have to worry so much about being intimidated by large amounts of people grouping up outside the room. Even when Cinema 1 is mostly full there was always some good seats left in the middle as people usually left spaces between themselves and others.

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Since I knew I could come back closer to when the premiere would start, I went over to the Shield Hero panel next door. As I entered I saw MADKID on stage, the performers of both the Opening themes of the anime series. I was able to catch them performing the second OP “FAITH” which was cool. I left shortly after that for the 1pm Cinema 1 premiere.

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I was able to go in right away and get a seat in the middle per usual. As we were waiting for the time to start, I could still hear the Shield Hero panel next door, mainly from people cheering loudly. Close to the end of that panel and start of this premiere, I heard an especially loud cheer which I figured was something along the lines of a second season announcement. This information was confirmed later when I was wandering the Dealers Hall and overheard attendees talking about it. (I also learned later that season 2 and 3 of Shield Hero was announced. I’m thinking though this may mean that each season might be only 12ish episodes long rather than the 25 we got in the first, based on the fact that they were announced at the same time.) The Bookworm premiere was another Isekai type show, about a girl obsessed with books who reincarnates into a world without much books. You can figure out the humor from there, and it will be an anime I’ll watch when it starts in the Fall Anime Season.

I had some time before the next couple viewings I wanted to see at Cinema 1, so I took this time to do some final shopping and finish my breakfast leftovers.

I planned to see the “Sound! Euphonium The Movie – Our Promise: A Brand New Day” which was to start at 4:15pm, but as the room clearing policy was abolished I was afraid that some people would stay in the room after the previous premiering anime series “High School Prodigies Have it Easy Even in Another World” which would start at 3:30pm and end at around 4pm. I originally wasn’t going to see the 3:30pm premiere, but since I had nothing else I planned to do and wanted good seats for the Sound! Euphonium Movie, I decided it was the best course of action. HS Prodigies was the only Isekai premiere at CRX I saw that had blatant fanservice, as well as a unique (but ridiculous in a funny way) premise. The title pretty much sums up what it’s about, and I’ll see more of it when it airs in the Fall Season as well.

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Not as many people coming to watch the Sound! Euphonium Movie as I thought would.

After the HS Prodigies premiere, I was expecting Cinema 1 to be fairly full for the following Sound! Euphonium Movie, however that was not the case. The room wasn’t even half full, unlike every other premiere and/or screening I saw in this room. I wanted to watch the movie as I watched the series, as well as showing my support for the anime studio who worked on it, Kyoto Animation, who was going through bad times due to a recent arson attack about a month and a half ago. Maybe it was because it was close to the end of the con that not many people decided to go to this movie, deciding to do last minute shopping or going to other events going on at the time. Before the movie started there was a group of people who decided to leave, though one of them stayed a bit saying that he wanted to show his support for Kyoto Animation. He did eventually follow suit, but it was probably due to group mentality rather than what he wanted.

This Sound! Euphonium movie takes place during Kumiko’s second year, where she becomes a senpai to the incoming freshman of the Kitauji High School concert band. As usual mostly everything about this movie was fantastic; story, animation, music, etc. It felt like a condensed version of season 1, but with new characters and old characters in different positions. We even had some graduates make a cameo of sorts, which was one the highlights of the movie. I enjoyed this movie not only as an anime film, but also as a work of art by people who might have perished in the KyoAni Fire. Whether that incident will affect future works of Kyoto Animation to the point where we don’t have the subtleties that we see in their works like this one, I’m not sure. But you know, sometimes you miss things once they’re gone, which I hope will not be the case.

As I exited Cinema 1, it was already almost 6pm and the con was already cleaning up. The main areas like the Dealers Hall/Artist Alley was already closed so most people were on the way out. I met up with my friends in the still lively Arcade, and left the con shortly afterwards.

 


Extra thoughts and Conclusion

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Unlike last year where it was their first time at the San Jose Convention Center and I was actively comparing them with FanimeCon, this year I barely even thought about it. I can definitely say that CRX is its own thing now. I’m glad that they ran the con Fri-Sun rather than Sat-Mon, as it gave me a day after to rest up and work on posting stuff from the con before the work week begins for me (Monday is Labor Day). I’m also grateful that this con has good perimeter security, though mainly in presence. There was only one instance I heard of during the con that had me worried for a bit on morning of Day 1, something about restrictions on cameras. I think it got sorted out quickly as I didn’t have any issues with me carrying around my DSLR that day.

Another improvement over last year was the ability to use the CRX app. Last year it was unusable due to it crashing constantly, but this year had no such issues. I was able to use it to plan out my schedule, look up maps, etc.

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Program guide for CRX 2019 as a newspaper.

I definitely enjoyed myself at CRX 2019. I like the effort Crunchyroll did to visually theme the con as a city. The map looking like a big metro station, the Dealers Hall having those building banners, the Artist Alley having low key lighting and plenty of space for artist and attendee alike, etc. There was also a lot of events/premieres that interested me as well, so I didn’t have a lot of down time where I didn’t have much to do. There was also a decent amount of things I bought at this con, mostly just apparel and stuff from series I follow, probably spending about $75 or so, not including food and the like. Of course there are a few things that I hope will improve in the future, like line management for the premieres and autograph ticket options.

Overall I feel that CRX is moving in the right direction, and it definitely has potential to rival similar anime industry cons like Anime Expo. Crunchyroll Expo is quickly becoming one of my favorite anime conventions, namely for its home in Northern California (my home), power to bring Industry level guests and vendors, and lack of crowding. I also think that because CRX happens in the middle of the Summer Anime Season that we are able to connect together as attendees to talk about currently airing animes and stuff, instead of when Anime Expo happens which is just at the start of it. I also personally think that the people at CRX both staff and attendees are more chill and less stressed due to the reasons mentioned. Sometimes when I was in line or just waiting for a premiere to start, I would start a conversation with a neighbor quite easily and it was fun to just casually talk about anime and the like.

I will plan to return to Crunchyroll Expo next year, but either as a attendee or staff, that will remain to be seen. Either way I’m excited for what the new year brings.

FanimeCon 2019 June 2, 2019

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FanimeCon 2019 took place May 24th – 27th at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. FanimeCon is an anime convention “by fans, for fans”. I’ve been attending this anime convention since 2011, and I do intend to attend it annually as long as I’m able to, as it is one of my favorite cons around.

For all of my photos taken at the con, please check out my Flickr set FanimeCon 2019.


Day 1 – May 24th

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Day 1 started with me waking up at around 7am, a time I’ve been used to waking up to due to work. I aimed to get to the con by 10am, and since it takes about an hour to drive down to San Jose I planned to leave SF no later than 9am. I had all my stuff ready to go the night before, so after a quick bite to eat and putting everything in my car, I set off.

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Parking in the area has always been a thing of concern for me, since I commute back and forth everyday to the con than staying at a hotel. I had heard that San Jose State University’s parking was either cheap (or free from what I heard on FanimeCon’s Unofficial FB Page). Turns out that information was right as I was able to park without needing to pay, confirmed by some garage staff who I asked. Since SJSU was only a few blocks away from the con, it was definitely a good option to park at than paying $20 for parking at the convention center’s parking garage as I did last year.

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As usual, picking up my pre-reg badge took no time at all. No lines meant that in less than 3 min from entering the line area, I had my badge and con bag in hand and was already ready to go. As it was still fairly early on the first day, I walked around the con to scout the area. The only major area that’s open in the con at this time was the Gaming Hall, the Dealers Hall and Artist Alley don’t open until 2pm. And since not much changes year to year, it’s more so to kill time until Opening Ceremonies that happens at 2pm.

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After the ceremony concluded, I checked out the Dealer’s Hall. Besides the usual vendors of anime merchandise, towards the back were some food vendors. We had Okamoto Kitchen, Wild Bill’s Old Fashioned Soda Pop, and Psycho Donuts, a local specialty donuts shop. There was also Hirotako Co., a Takoyaki stand who also seemed to operate the neighboring Giant Baby Bottle, where they were selling 1 gallon sized baby bottles filled with organic fruit drinks that you could get unlimited refills for for $30. I saw that they lowered their price later on in the weekend to $25 because sales were probably slow.

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Most of the day I was either scouting around for photo taking, or taking a break at the anime viewing rooms. I picked up dinner at Okamoto Kitchen as I had a dollar off coupon for them. I didn’t know how much their bentos were until I got to the cashier. For about $15 you get this, which wasn’t too bad but the size is quite small.

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When things started to die down I called it for the day and went back to my car, which to my excitement seemed to duplicate itself, with someone else parking their same model same color car next to mine, complete with stickers and plushies. I left the con just prior to 6:30pm to get home and rest for the next day, knowing that it will be much more busier.

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Day 2 – May 25th

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For Day 2, I had a friend riding with me to Fanime. We arrived at the con area at around 10am. The plan for parking was to park at a garage located at the Peggy Sue’s Diner, as they had free parking with validation during the weekend. Unlike last year where (I thought) the garage was blocked by a running event called The Color Run, it didn’t seem to happen this year so parking there was easy. In case that the running event did take place, I found out that there are multiple entrances/exits to that garage that I could use, but luckily I didn’t need to go to those this time. We ate breakfast at Peggy Sue’s Diner and afterwards headed to the con.

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On the schedule only a couple of things piqued my interest, which were all cosplay gatherings. Those gatherings were the Azur Lane/Kantai Collection and the All Isekai Series groups. Talking about the cosplay gatherings this year, there was a lot that I didn’t recognize or think would have a lot of people to have a gathering. I was also surprised that series that usually has many cosplayers such as Sword Art Online was not even present as a gathering. It’s not like the series is not active, as we have Alicization that recently aired with its second part happening in the Fall. To be fair SAO cosplayers were very few this year, but maybe that’s because there was no gathering. Or maybe it’s because it’s the other way around. I don’t know, maybe I’m starting to get out of touch with the younger anime community, despite not really feeling old myself.

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Besides the gatherings, there wasn’t much I was planning to go to. Last year I went to MusicFest because they had a musical artist that I recognized, but not this year. I circled the front for shots of cosplayers of all kinds.

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Later in the day though I met up with my friend who was with one of his cosplaying friends. We had dinner together and afterwards accompanied them to a short photo-shoot (Not mine, I didn’t take any shots). After seeing her off, we left for home.

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Day 3 – May 26th

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Today my car was filled up by two more friends coming along for a total of four of us going to Fanime. The weather forecast for today had me worried because it looked like it would rain all day. It didn’t help that the commute to San Jose had on and off strong showers. After a bit of traffic, we arrived at the con area and parked at the usual place next to Peggy Sue’s for breakfast.

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Afterwards we split off to do our own things. I challenged myself today by not going upstairs (to the badged area), as most of the cosplay was either in the lobby or just outside the entrance. Because of the on/off rain, you could tell that there was a little less people around today. At least it wasn’t raining strongly or consistently. At one point I thought that the rain had stopped for good, but we got sprinkles every so often. I still was able to get some decent shots.

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We had already decided on where we were going to dinner, Kura Sushi in Cupertino. Because wait times there are usually very long, we put our names on the list at around 5pm, with a wait time of approximately 2 hours. (Kura Sushi has an app that you can use to put your name on the list, very useful.) At around 6pm we left Fanime for the restaurant, which was about a 15 min drive away. When we got there, we still had to wait about another hour until we were called. Overall it didn’t really feel that long to wait, compared to the wait time of approximately 3 hours that we saw at the restaurant if you put your name on the list at that time. I don’t think you could even get in if you did so as the place closed at 10:30pm. (It was 7:30pm when we were called.)

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The food was good, especially with great company. I think my friends are getting used to how I operate at anime conventions. Usually I feel obliged to show them around, but I guess the combination of them being at Fanime before and knowing that I do my own thing allowed us to enjoy doing what we want to do without having to worry about each other. They are casual anime fans at best, while I’m more into the “Otaku” level anime fan. Allowing us to enjoy the convention at our own paces I think is best for everyone.

Day 4 – May 27th

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The last day I went to Fanime solo. I didn’t know where cheap parking would be on Memorial Day, so I parked where I did last year, at the outdoor parking lot adjacent to the convention center. Surprisingly, the fee was $15 rather than $10 that I paid the same time same place last year.

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Upon arriving at Fanime at 10am, you can tell that the energy has died down. There wasn’t many people around, most of them in the Dealers Hall getting their last minute shopping done, me included. I also figured that people were also getting ready to check out of their hotel rooms by 12pm, so probably afterwards I’d see more people after that.

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Sure enough after noon the crowds started to come back. Oddly enough I felt that the protesters was helping in adding energy to the con goers, even if it was in a negative way (sort of). I was able to take a few decent shots of cosplayers before getting in line for Closing Ceremonies that was to start at 3pm. The theme for next year’s con was announced, which is food. I left for home afterwards at around 4pm. The next time I’ll be here will be for Crunchyroll Expo 2019 in late August/early September.

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Afterwords and Overall Thoughts

With FanimeCon 2019 being my 9th year attending the event, it seemed to come and go like the wind. Everything went more or less according to plan with no major hiccups. As such it was enjoyable to a certain extent, helped by the presence of my friends who came along with me on Day 2 and Day 3.

With that said, I’m starting to feel my age. As mentioned, I didn’t really recognize a lot of cosplay gatherings this year, and I feel that those groups are some sort of indication of what’s currently popular. I really started getting into anime probably around 2010, and with next year being the tenth year foe me attending FanimeCon, I feel that changes for me are necessary to move forward in life. Don’t get me wrong, I love this community and media, but just like a lot of people would say as they get older, things never stay the same. I’m reaching that point in life where I’m asking myself the big questions. I think Uncle Iroh from ATLA asked it best: “Who are you? And what do you want?” While this question is no easily answered, it doesn’t mean I have no idea what I want. At the very least I plan to work more behind the scenes at events like this, like staffing and such. I enjoyed doing work like that when I worked at anime conventions such as Animation on Display and Anime Expo. Besides being compensated, I felt I was also gaining new work experience which is valuable to me to apply to future work. It should also help with networking, which will allow for even more hopeful opportunities.

I’ll be at FanimeCon 2020, but I’m seriously thinking about applying for staff, or at the very least volunteer. Taking photos of the con is still something I’d like to do, but because things seem to stay the same year to year I want to do something different. I take my photos in a event photography style, to tell a story through chronological photos. To share my personal experience online to others who are not able to attend. I was motivated to do this back when Danny Choo was blogging regularly about his life in Japan, and I still do it to this day, at least when it comes to events and trips. I’d like to tell a new story, this time from working the con than just being an attendee.