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FanimeCon 2018 June 10, 2018

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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FanimeCon 2018 took place May 25th – 28th 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. This year’s con was smooth, but for me I have mixed feelings. Partly because of a few minor hickups, but mostly because of the expectations I have on myself for what my goals are at cons, photography wise.

For all of my photos taken at the con, please check out my Flickr set FanimeCon 2018.


Day 1 – May 25th

My first day started with me waking up at around 7am, a time I’ve been used to waking up to recently with the return of my seasonal retail 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. My plan for parking today was to try for the convention center’s garage. As I wasn’t sure about how full it was going to be, I asked about the situation there via Facebook, to which I got no direct reply. I ate a quick breakfast of leftovers before leaving for the con.

Upon arriving at the con at around 10am, I found that there was plenty of parking in its garage and got a space relatively close to the doors leading into the main hall. The reason why I choose to park at the con center rather than anywhere else was because it was going to be just as expensive, if not more at the other parking places in the area, mainly because it was a weekday.

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I was able to pick up my badge in record time; from entering the convention center from the garage to having my badge in hand took less than 2 minutes. If I only counted the time from entering the pre-reg badge pickup line to badge pickup, then it took less than half that time. They were using the same system from last year, which is why linecon is dead at FanimeCon.

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As usual, my next event I was planning to head to was Opening Ceremonies, however that was more than 3 1/2 hours away at 2pm. I decided it was a good time to get acquainted with the whole con area in the meanwhile. Because things don’t change that much layout wise year to year, it didn’t take much to find out and see what was where this year. Most of where I was planning to be was all in close proximity, literally spinning in circles.

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Opening Ceremonies started a little late and kicked off the FanimeCon weekend by introducing the Guests of Honor, Black and White Ball, and Fanimaid.

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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 Hirotoko Co., a Takoyaki stand; JT Express, known for their Sushi Burritos and Spam Musubi; and Psycho Donuts, a local specialty donuts shop know for their unique bakery bites, which I heard that their closest location to the con closed down for relocation.

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For the rest of the afternoon, I took photos of whatever looked interesting. My criteria and priority for cosplay shots are usually ones that I have not generally shot before, especially unique ones. Meme cosplay are a particular one I definitely go out of my to shoot because they tend to be easier to shoot because people tend to gravitate towards high quality cosplay which makes those cosplayers harder to deal with in my opinion.

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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. It rained a little in the afternoon, which dampened the crowds a bit. I left the con at around 6:30pm to get home and rest for the next day, knowing that it will be much more busier.

Day 2 – May 26th

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I arrived back 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. However, the garage was blocked by The Color Run, a running event that took place that morning. They were already cleaning up but the road would not open anytime soon. I ended up parking at another garage nearby that I was familiar with, but at a cost of $8 for the day. I ate breakfast at Peggy Sue’s Diner and afterwards headed to the con.

The weather was perfect today, in comparison to yesterday’s grey and random rain; Not too hot or cold with mostly clear skies. I planned to check out a couple of things today like the Overwatch cosplay gathering, as well as the MusicFest Concert that was at 7pm staring Nano.

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Shooting the Overwatch cosplay gathering was much easier than last year’s ones for a couple reasons: For one it was smaller as the hype was not as big as it was during last year’s first year one, so the group was more manageable. Secondly, the group was being managed by a couple staff photographers which were calling the shots for the gathering, basically making sure that they were not too wide, minimizing background elements, etc. Luckily I was standing right next to them, so I benefited for my photo taking purposes.

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At about 10 minutes before 7pm, I headed to the City National Civic right across the street from the con for the concert, just after dropping off my DSLR camera at my car, due to the usual strict photography policies the venue usually has. As usual most people were seated, but there’s plenty of seats to go around at this auditorium. Seating started at 6:30pm, but some people wait as early as a few hours before then. I suppose if you wanted to get the front rows, that’s the way to go, but there hasn’t been a musical guest at Fanime that made me justify waiting for a ground level seat. Originally there was going to be another musical performer named Yuyoyuppe at MusicFest, but due to unforeseen circumstances he couldn’t make it.

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The Nano concert started on time and last almost a full two hours, with an encore included. It was a really great experience being there; She had a lot of energy and was super grateful for being able to perform in her country of birth for the first time. I have some of her songs on my iPod, so I was looking forward to hearing her live. I was tapping my foot and nodding my head to most of her songs which had a great rocking beat. I also love the lyrics she uses, which are a mix of English and Japanese. They tended to relay the message of always try to strive for your dreams, the same for how she feels how she made it to where she is today. There was one song in particular that I was hoping to hear that I originally heard through an fan made Overwatch anime style opening, but I don’t think it was part of her set list.

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After the concert was over, I headed home once I confirmed that there was nothing left for me to do at the con, arriving back at base at about 10:30pm.

 

Day 3 – May 27th

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Day 3 started almost like yesterday, but without the problem of parking. I was able to park at the garage that allowed for free weekend parking with validation, ate at the busy Peggy Sue’s again, and afterwards headed back to the con for another round of photography. The weather on this day was notably starting to get warmer than comfortable, so to escape the heat it was an in-and-out of the convention center kind of plan, chilling every so often in the anime viewing rooms. Doing so was great because I was able to take a load off and sit down in a cool place watching animes, but it definitely a struggle for my eyes adjusting from pitch black to full sunlight in a matter of a minute.

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By 7:30pm I called it for the day, and went home to rest for the final day of Fanime.

 

Day 4 – May 28th

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When I woke up morning of Day 4, I saw a post from someone on the FanimeCon (Unofficial Fan Group) Facebook page asking for a ride back from the con to SF. I, a willing member, decided to respond to said post saying that I can help them out. No immediate response, so I headed out. The plan for the morning was to fill up on gas at Costco before heading to the con. However I forgot that they were closed due to the Memorial Day holiday, which meant that I had to go to a local station to partially fill up on more expensive gas. I arrived at the San Jose Convention Center about a quarter before 10am, and parked at the neighboring Almaden/Woz Lot.

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Upon arrival to the front of the con, the area was mostly dead with activity, though there was still plenty of photographers around. To bide my time I wandered the convention to see what was going on, and when I was done walking I gravitated back to the anime viewing rooms. Every so often I would come out to check if there was some good cosplays around, but they were few and far between.

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I got a response to the FB post saying that indeed they needed help carpooling back to SF, and if I was willing to wait until 8pm for them. This was a stretch for me as I originally planned to stay until after closing ceremonies which would end at around 4pm. I decided to wait for them since I had no major plans afterwards, thinking that I could just lounge around the convention area until the time.

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The closing ceremony started a little late but got underway, showing photo highlights, as well as having some guests of honor say a few things about their experience of this year’s FanimeCon. It ended with the announcement of next year’s theme for FanimeCon 2019: Silver Celebration, their 25th anniversary.

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Afterwards I thought that I could loiter around the convention center for a while, but as cleanup was underway con security was ushering us attendees out of the premises. I did a little walk around the outside area, but eventually just went back to my car which was sitting in the hot sun all day. With the temperature in the 90s, I moved it to a place with shade and proceeded to wait out the few hour wait time by listening to music and thinking and writing my experience of the con that just ended. A few hours later I picked up my “stranger” passenger and we left for SF. We had a nice conversation throughout the drive and arrived home without issues by 10:30pm.


Afterwords and Overall Thoughts

FanimeCon is my favorite con for a few reasons: For one it is local, so it’s easy to get to without worrying about accommodations. Secondly, the cosplay here is on point every time, comparable to what you see at Japan anime events like Comiket. The third is the community, just as others can say it feels like a family. Most of everyone here is friendly and helpful, but just like a real one it does have it’s flaws. I was actively checking and posting on FanimeCon’s Unofficial FB group, and I am impressed how positive community like we all are there.

Security had a consistent presence all over the venue, and it’s a welcome thing in this day and age. They didn’t get in the way, but maintained the peace by being visible everywhere, even with guard dogs. Luckily I myself didn’t see any major trouble, but apparently things were going down on the night of the third day that involved a dozen of cop cars. These were things I saw through Facebook.

If I haven’t made it obvious, I commuted every day from my home in SF to San Jose. I like driving and it only takes about 50 minutes or so to drive the distance. I encountered no traffic on my route to and from on all days. I also did not notice much of a police/CHP presence like I did last year when I got my speeding ticket. The only thing I have to worry about is the parking situation which I usually have down at this point. One thing I have to remember in the future is that Costco is closed on Memorial Day, so morning of Day 3 is when I should get gas, just a note to myself.

I felt that the quality of my photos have improved from my previous events I’ve shot, for a couple of reasons: Better equipment and better camera settings. However that did not exactly translate into more photos as my approach to approaching cosplayers is still lacking. More and more are cosplayers taken by professional photographers, or are in groups of friends and acquaintances which can make it intimidating to ask. I know the worst that can happen is that they say no, and actually no one I’ve asked to take a photo of has said that to me. I tend to be a person who thinks about what is more convenient for others, and hence if I see a cosplayer that I’d like to take a photo of but looks like they aren’t in the best situation for it, I end up walking away. It’s a negative trait of mine I know, but it’s somewhat natural for a introvert like me.

I’ve been an attendee of FanimeCon since 2011, that’s 8 years straight. When I go to cons I like to think of myself as the eyes and ears for people who aren’t at the event. I want to show a little of everything to convey the event as a whole; that includes the setting (location), people and cosplayers, and spontaneous events. This is similar to the style of a blog I used to check on a regular basis, Danny Choo’s. There was a time where my photo post of FanimeCon 2012 was shared by the man on his blog here, which made me quite happy. I’m starting to think though that I should try something a bit more productive. As I sometimes call my photography “freelance event photography”, I’m thinking of trying and move on up to Staff Photographer for the con. I’ve seen photos that the con puts out and I think that I can match or better their quality with my experience. I rarely do touchups with my photos mainly because I don’t have the skills yet to do it properly, so I rely on my photography skills to get the job done. Setting, lighting, composition are a few things that go through my mind when looking through my viewfinder of my camera, and when it all comes together it’s a great feeling. Being able to up my game by being an official part of the con feels like the right direction for me to go if I want to better myself in general, to be a bit more than a face in the crowd. I know that the drawbacks of doing this may restrict my style of event photography, being able to be everywhere at once. But the truth to the matter is I can never be everywhere. Anyways with the sheer amount of cameras everyone has, it’s nearly impossible to compete in trying to show unique content that others haven’t seen yet. By trying out to become a FanimeCon Staff Photographer, I can meet new people and experience up. This is not something that I’ve decided for certain, but it’s definitely something I’ll be considering in the future.

Overall, FanimeCon 2018 came and went without a notable hitch. As for me, I mentioned that I had mixed feelings about my experience of this year’s con. Maybe it’s because there wasn’t a big hype over a couple recent select anime like what happens with shows like Sword Art Online or Attack on Titan. Yeah there was a lot of My Hero Academia cosplayers, but even then it wasn’t as big as it could have been like with how animes were a few years ago. I feel like currently anime is in a lull of big hit shows. My last personal favorite was Re:Creators, and even that wasn’t well known at all. Energy levels were medium level at best all around the con, with the exception of the Nano concert which was fantastic, a high point for any person who attended it. I’ll still be going to FanimeCon in the future years to come, but in what capacity no one can tell.

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FanimeCon 2017 June 2, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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This year’s FanimeCon took place May 26th – 29th 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 2017


Day 1 – May 26th

My first day started with me waking up at around 7am, a time I’ve been used to waking up to recently with the return of my seasonal retail work. I aimed to get to the con by 10am, and since it takes about an hour to drive down to San Jose I needed to leave the city no later than 9am. Because I also wanted to pick up a breakfast burrito at my local Safeway, that meant that I needed to leave my house earlier than that, at about 8:30am. I ate some of the burrito before starting the drive down, and I got to say it wasn’t as good as it should of been. It was dry with the filling far in between. Alright enough about breakfast, let’s go to the con.

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I got to Fanime at around 10am, and proceeded to first pick up my badge. I was wondering how the lines were going to be this morning based on the pictures and video from Day 0 yesterday of the lines and such. I did hear later that the lines didn’t last long after registration opened, and low and behold upon walking into the convention center, there was no lines to see. The process was quick and efficient; I walked into the pre-reg area where they have multiple tables of laptops setup each with a barcode/QR scanner. You scan your E-mailed QR code to check in and your badge immediately prints out on a card and is given to you by a staff member. You are then pointed toward a table next to the exit where you can pick up a FanimeCon plastic bag with a program and lanyard. All of this took no time at all and it goes to show that issues that were problematic before can be fixed in a fantastic way. Now if only if Anime Expo could have a reg as fast as this…. (I know that it’s much more massive of a con than Fanime, but one can dream.)

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As usual, my next event I was planning to head to was Opening Ceremonies, however that was more than 3 1/2 hours away at 2pm. I decided it was a good time to get acquainted with the whole con area in the meanwhile. Because things don’t change that much layout wise year to year, it didn’t take much to find out and see what was where this year. Most of where I was planning to be was all in close proximity, literally spinning in circles.

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Opening Ceremonies started on time and kicked off the Fanime weekend by introducing the guests of honor, Black and White Ball, and Fanimaid.

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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 corner were some food vendors. We had Hirotoko Co., a Takoyaki stand; JT Express, known for their Sushi Burritos and Spam Musubi; Super Cue, a Boba Tea place; and Psycho Donuts, a local specialty donuts shop know for their unique bakery bites.

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For the rest of the afternoon, I took photos of whatever looked interesting. My criteria and priority for cosplay shots are usually ones that I have not generally shot before, especially unique ones. Meme cosplay are a particular one I definitely go out of my to shoot because they tend to be easier to shoot because people tend to gravitate towards high quality cosplay which makes those cosplayers harder to deal with in my opinion.

I left the con by 8:30pm to get home and rest for the next day, knowing that it will be much more busier than today.

Day 2 – May 27th

Day 2 started similarly to Day 1, getting up fairly early to plan to get to the con by 10am. Had to stop by a Costco Gas Station on the way to refuel though, cheapest gas you’ll ever find around here.

I planned to check out three scheduled events today: The NieR:Automata cosplay gathering at 3pm, MusicFest at 7pm, and The Best of the Angry Video Game Nerd video screening at 10:00pm. Between the times I was just wandering around and taking pictures.

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I ended up not going to the NieR gathering, partly because it was in an area that tends to get hot and is a bit out of the way, but more so because I got lazy to go. As for MusicFest, I already knew that based on experience, there was no need to line up for it prior to the venue’s opening and just wait it out. Even though the line stretched almost around the entire block, when I got into the City National Civic it wasn’t remotely full at all. I didn’t stay for long though, as all I wanted from coming here was photo ops. I would of stayed for part of the performance at least had they not banned the use of professional grade cameras; they only allowed use of cell phone cameras. I got this one shot of the stage right before an usher told me I couldn’t use it, that’s when I left shortly after.

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I went out to shoot some more as the daylight dimmed. I had a great opportunity during this time to photograph a D.Va cosplayer in the most amazingly built D.Va mech prop, complete with lights all over. I heard from the creator of the suit that he will bring it to BlizzCon and retire it afterwards.

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I went to the AVGN screening after 10pm, but left earlier than planned at around 11:30pm to avoid a second parking charge after midnight. Once I got home I didn’t do much before going to sleep.

Day 3 – May 28th

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I got to the Fanime area quite early on Day 3, parking at a different parking garage than the last two days because I could get free parking by validation if I eat at the local diner Peggy Sue’s and park in the adjacent parking structure. Today I planned to go to the Overwatch cosplay gathering at 12PM (High Noon), which I knew was going to be a big one based on the fact that Overwatch cosplay dominated this year’s cosplayers because of it being the first full year of the game being out.

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The Overwatch gathering was massive, being the biggest cosplay gathering out of all of them this year at FanimeCon. It was hard to get any good shots of the cosplayers without having someone blocking my view with either their head or camera. For the most part I just shot what I could, trying to either focus shots on the interesting/unique or doing piece by piece panoramic photos. The D.Va mech from yesterday didn’t make an appearance, but it was understandable with how crazy the crowds were. Time was also limited for the gathering which made it hard to give all the OW cosplayers a photo op. There was a great Reinhardt Wujing (Chinese Lunar New Year skin) cosplay that didn’t get the limelight it deserved, probably due to time constraints. I was able to move up to the front towards the end of the gathering, so I got some better shots then.

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After sticking around the con for photos and watching some anime in the viewing rooms, I left fairly early at about 7:30pm, as things were wrapping down for the night. This would give me more time to work on some Fanime stuff at home and rest up as well for the final day ahead.

Day 4 – May 29th

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On this last day of the con, a couple of my friends planned to tag along. Not to go to the con but rather enjoy the museums and other sights around the downtown San Jose area. We met up at around 9:30am, stopped by Safeway to grab some food (not me though), and left to try and arrive at Fanime by 11am.

That was the plan, but on the way there I was driving quite fast to get the attention of the CHP (California Highway Patrol). I got myself my first speeding ticket, and I wasn’t even listening to the Eurobeat music I had just recently added to my iPod Touch….

We got to the Fanime area just before 11:30am, and me and friends split from there. I walked around a bit with the recent event in mind. I wasn’t really scared or nervous about it, but I can’t say it didn’t weigh on my mind either. I told myself that this was a learning experience for me and that I’ll get through it one way or another. I just wish that it didn’t happen on the one day I had others with me in the car, how embarrassing.

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Day 4 was more or less quite dead compared to the previous days, but in hindsight that’s how it always is. For the majority of the time I just tried to relax at the anime viewing rooms, while coming out every so often to see what was going on in the cosplay scene. I was planning to stay until Closing Ceremonies at 3pm, so I had a few hours to kill just cycling around the front area of the convention center. At 2:30pm I decided to see if the line was forming for Closing Ceremony and it was. Once 3pm came and past a bit, one of the people in line ahead of me starting complaining about it not starting yet, with the person next to me mentioning how Fanime Closing Ceremonies never start on time, which is somewhat true but never hurt my experience of it. It wasn’t too long until we were finally allowed to enter the room and sit. By 3:20pm the ceremony started, where guests of honor who were still around talked about their experience of this year’s con and were presented with a special shiny poster version of the Fanime front program artwork. Fanime also announced the theme for next year’s con: “Gaming”, as well as the first guest of honor for FanimeCon 2018: Caitlin Glass.

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At 4pm I met up with my friends at my car and we left the convention center to try out a sushi place called Kula Revolving Sushi Bar in nearby Cupertino. The wait was quite long, over an hour for us to get a seat. One of the cool things I have not seen a restaurant do that this place did was how you sign in for a wait time. There’s a tablet near the front door where you put your name and cell phone number. You get a text that sends you a link that tells you in real time approximate waiting time and how many parties are ahead of you. As there’s a mall nearby, you could go walking around there or wait in your car instead of waiting around the front door of the place if you wanted to. We decided just to sit nearby as many others were and we were thinking the wait could be shorter than what was estimated (48 min).

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Kula Sushi is similar to your other sushi boat places, but there’s a few things that made this place unique for me. First was that besides your usual sushi conveyor belt system, there was a second separate belt that was used for bringing separate orders made on a touch screen to specific customers. On the touch screen you could order stuff that also is part of the sushi conveyor belt if you wanted it fresh or if you had a hard time getting them from the regular belt because it was always empty. There was also exclusive menu items on their as well that were not part of the regular like ramen and desserts. The food was really good, though I’m not sure if being hungry from the con made it taste better? Either way, I enjoyed all the food there. Another thing that seems unique to this place was that there is a slot to put your empty plates. The screen would count how many plates, and every 15 would get you a prize from a gachapon machine directly above and behind the screen. We had at least 30 plates, so we got a couple prizes like stickers and a ramen keychain that attached to your phone via headphone jack.

After an enjoyable lunch/dinner, we headed back home. I dropped off my friends at their houses and got home by around 7:30pm.


FanimeCon this year was more or less enjoyable. Most of my plans went as expected. I did feel that this year was a little underwhelming, but that’s probably because there hasn’t been an anime that recently defined the fandom. Just like how in previous years you would find tons of either SAO or AOT cosplay, this year was more or less defined by Overwatch, and it’s not even an anime. Maybe that’s why Fanime decided next year’s theme to be gaming based on the rise in popularity in cosplay from said genre.

During my drive back home on Day 3, I became inspired to strive to better myself in terms of photography. One thing that has stayed the same for the past several years was how I did my photography. It was quite basic, and while I do not think of myself as a cosplay photographer, I’d like to be able to do many forms of photography in a skilled way. I’m never fully satisfied with my photos, and I think that is a good thing. It keeps me from going into a comfort zone, keeps me on my feet, to keep moving forward and want to try new things. Besides improving my skills, my camera equipment also needs tuning up and upgrading. I’m noticing dust on my DSLR’s camera sensor, and I have never done major maintenance on it since I got the camera years ago. Lighting is another issue I need to address, as it can make or break a shot. I’m always at the mercy of natural lighting, and I’ll never depend on the built in flash on my camera as it gives the worst results. That’s why I’m noticing much more people bringing in their light stands and umbrellas at cons like these. Fanime has the benefit of having very nice natural lighting at the major areas near and in the front of the con center, but that’s also a limitation as many people tend to flock there as well, making it hard to take shots, especially if it looks like another pro photographer is set up there. I’m going to probably look into camera flash systems and get myself some reflectors as well. I’ll set myself up to improve my photography for next year’s FanimeCon.

FanimeCon 2016 June 5, 2016

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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It’s that time of year again! I attended this year’s FanimeCon which took place May 27th – 30th 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 2016.


Day 1 – May 27

Got up early in preparation for the first day of Fanime at around 6am. After showering, I had to do some quick shopping at my local Safeway. I waited for the arrival of my friend who was tagging along for the first day of the con before we headed to Safeway, also grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast there. I came back to my place to drop off the groceries and grab the things I needed for Fanime. We left SF at around 8am.

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After about an hour drive, I was able to find parking within the San Jose Convention Center quite close to the doors that lead from the parking lot directly into the con center. We proceeded to line up to pick up our pre-reg badge. Because I heard of the long lines from social media the day before during Day 0, I brought mini chairs in anticipation of being in line for a while. During the wait, I was on my 3DS sorting through Streetpasses on multiple games. I never really used the chairs I brought because the line was consistently moving every couple of minutes. 1 hour and 27 minutes later, we got our badges.

Because most major events were not happening until a few hours later, we decided to tour around San Jose State University, which is only a few blocks away from the convention center. Afterwards my friend and I split up to do our own things.

At this point it was about 11:45am, still more than two hours until Opening Ceremonies which I planned to attend. In the meanwhile I went around getting myself familiar with the area.

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Quarter before 2pm I made my way to Stage Zero to prepare for Opening Ceremonies. I always like to attend the opening and closing ceremonies because I they make it truly feel like the con has officially started/ended. It also is a way for me to preview the guests of honor, as well as feel the vibe the con has.

After the Opening Ceremonies concluded, I made my usual rounds of checking out the Dealers Hall and doing cosplay shots primarily in the convention center lobby. Normally there would also be a bunch of cosplayers in the tree area on the left of the entrance of the convention center, but unfortunately it was occupied by the badge pick up lines. At least this would only affect Day 1, as the rest of the days of the convention they moved the entire line inside, for both the sakes of the people in line from the heat outside, and the cosplayers and photographers who use that area as a backdrop.

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At 7pm I called it for the day, called my friend to regroup, and headed back to SF. It wasn’t quite the end of the day yet for me as we called my other friends to come over so that we could go out have dinner at local restaurant. By the time I got home, I didn’t have much energy to do much else than go to sleep with Day 2 directly ahead.

Day 2 – May 28

Day 2 started almost the same as the previous day did, though I did wake up slightly later to give myself some more sleep. This time my sister was tagging along for the day. We left for Fanime at around 9:15am and arrived just after 10am. I parked at a different parking lot about a block away from the convention center as it was going to be cheaper than the convention center’s $20 parking. To my surprise, this parking area was nearly empty despite it being a peak time for people to park. I guess its because it is sort of hidden, and some people would rather park in the obvious places.

I helped her get her at-con badge, which luckily had a much shorter line than the pre-reg badge pick up line, though it still took about an hour for her to do so. Afterwards we went around the con a bit together before grabbing some lunch from a food area in the back of the Dealers Hall. We split off afterwards, so I went back to do my rounds of photography.

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There were a few cosplay gatherings I wanted to check out. That’s one of the things that makes Fanime great in my opinion, the cosplay and the gatherings that form at this anime convention. Most of them are visible and easy to get to. Maybe it’s more so than other cons I’ve been to because I’m somewhat familiar with the area, but also because everything is generally in one place. I don’t have to commute back and forth a large distance every time I wanted to check something out on the other side of the con.

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Once things started to settle down, we decided to leave at around 8pm. To my pleasant surprise, when paying my parking fee, it was only $7 for pretty much the entire day. Compare that to $20 at the convention center and it was an easy guess for where I will park in the future for Fanime.

Day 3 – May 29

I felt good after two days of relatively solid shooting of pictures, already about 1K taken. I was actually worried that I’d fill my 8GB SD card to the max for once. I also have a 32GB, but delegated it to my small point and shoot for video shooting purposes back when I went to Sakura-con. I didn’t think I’d need to use my 32GB SD on my DSLR, so I kept it in my small camera from then. I’ll have to buy either at least a 16GB or another 32GB for my DSLR now, so that I don’t run into this issue again.

For today I was going alone, which is an advantage for me as I would have less to worry about. Leaving at around 9am, I decided to stop by a local McDonald’s to pick up breakfast as I didn’t eat before I left home. I got back to Fanime at around 10:30am, on time for another cosplay gathering I wanted to go to at 11am. As I was getting out of my car and gathering my stuff, I noticed I didn’t see my DSLR camera bag. Looking around the car it was nowhere to be found. To my horror, I realized that I probably left it at home, which is roughly an hour drive back, two hours round trip. I called home to confirm that I left it there and sure enough I did. I wasn’t about to go through a whole day without my DSLR, especially as a photographer. I knew that going back and getting it would cost me about two hours, but it was worth it in my opinion. Since I was already here though, I decided to go to the cosplay gathering at that was happening soon. I figured my point and shoot would be good enough for that. Luckily by 11:30am it was over for the most part, so I bolted for my car for home to get my camera.

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I got back to Fanime with my DSLR in hand before 2pm and I immediately went to work. If you didn’t know, this year’s Fanime was quite hot, literally. Temperatures were running in the mid 80s, though being directly in the sun made it much worse. Cosplayers were mostly in the lobby area inside the convention center, or in shady areas in the outside. I didn’t get any sunburn because I avoided being in the sun for an extended period of time. I do feel bad for the people who were wearing cosplays that made them hot, as is one of the few reasons why I don’t cosplay much myself.

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I got myself an early dinner from Subway, and afterwards shot some more before going to The Best of the Angry Video Game Nerd showing at 9pm, something that I go watch every year. I prefer the older episodes of AVGN (1 to 100), but this year they were showing some of the new ones I haven’t watched yet which were good too. I left the con at around 10:30pm and got home an hour later. I was very tired after the events of the day so I think I went to sleep right away.

Day 4 – May 30

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 The final day of con finally arrived. A couple of my friends wanted to tag along, one of which came on the first day. We left a little past 9am to arrive as usual an hour later. I planned to park at the cheaper parking lot, but it was closed probably due to Memorial Day holiday. I ended up parking at the Convention Center, which is at least convenient if not for the price. At con, It was pretty dead looking during the last day. Combined with that and the badge requirement, the main floor of the con had the least amount of people I’ve seen during all the times I’ve been to Fanime. My friends went to do their own thing, and I went off to do my own, photos and stuff.

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I stayed around for Closing Ceremonies, which is usually not really eventful besides officially ending the con. They had a little (poorly put together) slideshow of some photos from the con, as well as a couple of performances and speeches from the remaining guests of honor. Q&A took place at the end, but that’s when most people leave, myself included. The only somewhat important info that was revealed at the Closing Ceremonies was the theme for next year’s FanimeCon, Magic, as well as the announcement for the first guest of honor, an American voice actor (don’t remember the name). It does sound like Fanime wants to fix the issues that plagued it this year, by also giving some information early for Fanime con goers of next year. Even the website is updated with the date of next year’s con and info.

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I met up with my friends shortly after I left the con at my car, and we headed in the direction of home. We went to a Red Robin to eat some dinner, while the Golden State Warriors were playing game 7 for the chance to be in the NBA Finals. They won by the way if you don’t know. Afterwards grabbing a pie from a place called Nations which are very good. We headed home and I showed some of the pictures that I took before disbanding. That is the end of my FanimeCon 2016 story.


This year’s FanimeCon felt a bit off, and seeing other people I know say the same thing online on social media at least tells me that I’m not alone. I guess some of this stems from issues that were arising even before the start of the con. The first I remember was the housing problems with hotels reservations. This was the first year that I did not attempt to reserve a hotel, and I’m glad I did so. Fanime did a thing where people were given priority to reserve hotels if they also had a registration badge with the con. While this sounds like fine idea to avoid scalpers (people who go to con without a badge) to book hotels, it also made problems to people who also reg with Fanime as well. Bear in mind that this information is some that I’ve heard on social media, so I’m going solely on that. In the end, some were not able to get the rooms that they were probably able to get in previous years, some even learning they got double booked day of. Definitely not fun.

The second thing was the changes made to registration. For the past two years, Fanime put a lid on what’s known as LineCon, long lines from people picking up their registration badge. I was expecting the same this year, as many were probably too. Unfortunately last minute changes to the registration system caused LineCon to return in a explosive fashion. I remember monitoring social media on Day 0, reading about how long the lines were. Wait times of a few hours were reported, and videos coming from the pre-con were not very comforting to people who were to face the lines the next day. It was explained that there was some sort of software/equipment malfunction with the previous system and had to be replaced entirely with a new system, which explains the new barcodes that were E-mailed a few days before the start of the con.

Personally I didn’t have much problems with the con. I thought the new policy about the second floor being badge only fine. It definitely lessened the amount of people on the floor, though the Dealers Hall wasn’t too different in terms of it being crowded. For the most part the staff had most entrances to the second floor locked down. Though there was one point where I thought I found a hole in their net with the elevators, the ones near the convention center parking lot. I took it up to see if someone could get on to the second floor unchecked, but low and behold there was a staff there the moment the doors open up. I had my badge then so no worries on my end, though I thought I did see some people without badges try this.

I also didn’t attend any panels/events at all, besides going to the viewing rooms every once in a while. While they had some decent guests of honor this year, they just didn’t pique my interest enough for me to check them out. Nothing really different from previous years, but at least the main reason why I come to Fanime is still fantastic.

Overall, FanimeCon 2016 was alright, but it feels a little underwhelming when compared to my previous years going to it. Maybe it’s because I didn’t stay at a hotel this year thus breaking the full experience, or that I had to take a detour to go back home to retrieve my camera. Could of also been LineCon or the bad things I was hearing about before Fanime started too. A mix of all these things could of caused my feelings to by mixed on the matter. All I know is that I still enjoyed myself, and that I will plan to come to Fanime next year. Until then, see you all later.