jump to navigation

FanimeCon 2017 June 2, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

FanimeCon 2017 388

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.

FanimeCon 2017 015

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.)

FanimeCon 2017 039

FanimeCon 2017 050

FanimeCon 2017 086

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.

FanimeCon 2017 100

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

FanimeCon 2017 157

FanimeCon 2017 158

FanimeCon 2017 159

FanimeCon 2017 162

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.

FanimeCon 2017 140

FanimeCon 2017 210

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.

FanimeCon 2017 242

FanimeCon 2017 267

FanimeCon 2017 280

FanimeCon 2017 289

FanimeCon 2017 337

FanimeCon 2017 365

FanimeCon 2017 387

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.

FanimeCon 2017 420

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.

FanimeCon 2017 457

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

FanimeCon 2017 459

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.

FanimeCon 2017 498

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.

FanimeCon 2017 593

FanimeCon 2017 607

FanimeCon 2017 611

FanimeCon 2017 624

FanimeCon 2017 639

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

FanimeCon 2017 660

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.

FanimeCon 2017 664

FanimeCon 2017 665

FanimeCon 2017 673

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.

FanimeCon 2017 685

FanimeCon 2017 686

FanimeCon 2017 692

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).

FanimeCon 2017 696

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 2015 May 31, 2015

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Fanime 2015 075

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

Fanime 2015 027

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.

Fanime 2015 041
Fanime 2015 050

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:

Fanime 2015 095
Fanime 2015 138
Fanime 2015 152

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.

Fanime 2015 172


Day 2 – May 23

Fanime 2015 180

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.

Fanime 2015 190
Fanime 2015 226
Fanime 2015 230
Fanime 2015 241
Fanime 2015 271
Fanime 2015 277
Fanime 2015 331
Fanime 2015 334
Fanime 2015 339
Fanime 2015 342
Fanime 2015 346
Fanime 2015 352

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.

Fanime 2015 347
Fanime 2015 359

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.

Fanime 2015 366

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.

Fanime 2015 373


Day 3 – May 24

Fanime 2015 006

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!

Fanime 2015 386
Fanime 2015 507
Fanime 2015 514
Fanime 2015 543
Fanime 2015 555
Fanime 2015 579
Fanime 2015 670
Fanime 2015 675
Fanime 2015 679

The masquerade started quite sooner than expected, as I heard that people were allowed into the auditorium at around 3PM or so. I didn’t know exactly when it started, though I didn’t really care as much since masquerades are a hit or miss, mostly misses for me. I got there just past 5PM and stuck around for about an hour, but I should of left earlier as most of the entries were just walk on cosplays. The only acts I saw that I liked was the Rap Battle between Sailor Moon and Madoka, and the martial arts group with the swords and spears. Also witnessed a real proposal on stage as well, which was nice, but got me thinking, aren’t those kinds of things a trap for the one who is proposed to?

After having dinner at another nearby Japanese place, and checking of the con for a bit afterwards, we called it for the night and got back to the hotel just past 10PM, the last night of the con.


Day 4 – May 25

Morning of Day 4, I got up early to start packing up for home. Since check out time was 12PM, and my ride wasn’t suppose to arrive until 11AM or so, we decided to get breakfast at Peggy Sue’s, a first for my sister, then head to the con where we were suppose to meet up with my ride so that we could get our stuff out of the hotel before check out time, and enjoy the con until it closes at 4PM. That was the plan. However, things didn’t go as smoothly as it should of, as my ride only arrived almost a quarter before 12PM, which got me panicking about checking out on time. After a mad dash from the convention center back to the hotel room, throwing everything out of the hotel room, leaving the stuff on the 9th floor with my family so that I could run down the stairs instead of use the crowded elevators to get to the registration desk, I checked out a few minutes after noon to find out that I could of just checked out prior to going up to my hotel room in the first place rather than rush it. I would of still had access to the room, which is what I was worried about not having if I did it as so. I went back up to the room and did a double take to check if anything was forgotten, and also to take a breather before lugging everything back to the convention center parking lot.

Fanime 2015 731
Fanime 2015 727
Fanime 2015 749
Fanime 2015 753
Fanime 2015 759

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.

Fanime 2015 764

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.

FanimeCon 2013 May 31, 2013

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

FanimeCon 2013 030

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

Day 1 – Friday May 24

FanimeCon 2013 023

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

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

FanimeCon 2013 059

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

FanimeCon 2013 113

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

Day 2 – Saturday May 25

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

FanimeCon 2013 177

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

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

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

FanimeCon 2013 298

FanimeCon 2013 343

FanimeCon 2013 385

FanimeCon 2013 412

FanimeCon 2013 422

FanimeCon 2013 472

FanimeCon 2013 527

FanimeCon 2013 570

FanimeCon 2013 585

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

Day 3 – Sunday May 26

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

FanimeCon 2013 673

FanimeCon 2013 674

FanimeCon 2013 679

FanimeCon 2013 700

FanimeCon 2013 736

FanimeCon 2013 752

FanimeCon 2013 783

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

FanimeCon 2013 787

FanimeCon 2013 791

FanimeCon 2013 797

FanimeCon 2013 809

FanimeCon 2013 813

FanimeCon 2013 829

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

Day 4 – Monday May 27

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

FanimeCon 2013 876

FanimeCon 2013 887

FanimeCon 2013 894

FanimeCon 2013 902

FanimeCon 2013 923

FanimeCon 2013 964

FanimeCon 2013 986

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