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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.

FanimeCon 2015 May 31, 2015

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Day 2 – May 23

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Day 3 – May 24

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.