Fanime 2013 Overall Experience (and the horrors of Yaoi Bingo)

No, I didn't go to the maid cafe. T_T

No, we did­n’t go to the maid cafe. T_T

Truth be told, I was look­ing for­ward to going to Ani­me Expo 2013 dur­ing the ear­li­er parts of the year — going to Fanime again this year was some­what of a last minute thing. We end­ed up not hav­ing enough funds to afford going to LA and spend­ing our time at the con­ven­tion as pre-reg­is­tered mem­bers. Fanime’s always fun, so I did­n’t mind much. How­ev­er, it did sour the expe­ri­ence in anoth­er way. Since we could­n’t book a room at the Mar­riott, Hilton, or any oth­er near­by hotels this year (by the time we decid­ed to go to Fanime again, all the reser­va­tions were full), we had to book a room at a motel called the “Hotel Elan” (yes, they call them­selves a hotel) which was some­what of a dis­tance away from the San Jose Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. It was­n’t too bad of a place nor was it miles away, but it was still far enough (approx­i­mate­ly one mile) that we had to walk over there and take the bus every morn­ing. We nev­er got to the con at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble time, and since the neigh­bor­hood was pret­ty damn dan­ger­ous, we nev­er stayed out too late. From now on, we’re def­i­nite­ly mak­ing plans for Fanime every year except when we’re 100% sure we’re going to anoth­er con.

Fanime was basically Comiket on Thursday

This year’s Fanime was def­i­nite­ly a cool year for non-pre­reg­is­tered atten­dees, at least that’s what I’m assum­ing. Unlike oth­er years, Thurs­day was a badge-less day where any­one could roam around the rooms and such with­out a badge. Of course, we were busy that day lin­ing up to get our badges since we were pre-reg­is­tered mem­bers that planned to attend the entire con­ven­tion… a line which sucked. See, among my group of three, I reg­is­tered sep­a­rate­ly, and decid­ed to wait at the reg­is­tra­tion loca­tion ear­li­er than the oth­ers. Because, ya’ know, the ear­ly bird gets the worm and all that jazz. Yeah, I was wrong. There was appar­ent­ly some sort of bad orga­ni­za­tion going on dur­ing badge pick-up, because the line was mov­ing at a snail’s pace! It took me around eight hours to final­ly get my badge, and with­in that time peri­od I camped at the same spot three times. There was a count­less amount of peo­ple, and my friends start­ed going to the badge pick-up line a few hours after I start­ed wait­ing (I start­ed wait­ing at around 2 or 3, the actu­al line was sup­posed to start mov­ing at 7PM, but appar­ent­ly not). They end­ed up get­ting their badges around 30 to 50 min­utes after me. In ret­ro­spect, I’m glad they did­n’t have to be in there until 1 AM or some­thing, but what the hell was that?! Peo­ple who wait in line at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble time should­n’t end up get­ting their badges just half an hour before peo­ple that show up way lat­er. That’s BS and kills the point. Even then, there appar­ent­ly were peo­ple who did­n’t get their badges until 1AM to 3AM. What the hell was going on with the system?!

As fun as the event end­ed up being, that was a real big mishap on who­ev­er was in charge of the reg­is­tra­tion, and a bad way to start the Fanime expe­ri­ence. God bless the vol­un­teers that chose to work that long.

COOLEST NAME EVER, HUH?!

They did­n’t even get the name on my badge right — they used my real name. I signed up with Gyou­seiK­i­ba as my fan nick, but I end­ed up being bor­ing ol’ John­ny Nguyen the whole convention.

Aside from the per-reg­is­tra­tion fias­co, my Fanime expe­ri­ence end­ed up pret­ty fun. I met some cool new peo­ple (some that actu­al­ly played visu­al nov­els, even) and met some old friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m telling you, I was not expect­ing a glomp at Fanime, espe­cial­ly since they’re kind of not allowed. If the girl that glomped me were a stranger, she’d be out of there for vio­lat­ing my per­son­al space (or not, depend­ing on how much I enjoyed it).

I wished I went to as many pan­els as I went to last year. Not being at the Mar­riott cer­tain­ly did­n’t help me be at the pan­els I was the most inter­est­ed in. I did man­age to go to the Char­ac­ter Ben­to Secrets pan­el, which was extreme­ly help­ful to me since I’ll (hope­ful­ly) have kids in the future, as it gave some awe­some tid­bits of how to make inter­est­ing and art­sy food to picky chil­dren with food aller­gies. Not to mention,the food in the ben­to box­es end­ed up look­ing extreme­ly adorable, which put a smile on my face. As an enthu­si­ast of every­thing Japan­ese, I appre­ci­at­ed the pan­el immense­ly. There was also the His­to­ry of Lolis pan­el which I caught the last thir­ty min­utes of, which was sur­pris­ing­ly not as awk­ward or dirty as I expect­ed it to be since it was 16+ this year (though I have a feel­ing I’ll always feel dirty com­ing out of these kinds of pan­els, as open as I am to my inter­ests in famil­iar set­tings!). Except for the guy next to me that was con­stant­ly shar­ing his cutesy loli pic­tures on his smart­phone with me. He was a nice guy and all (if not a bit awk­ward), but damn, I just want­ed to pay atten­tion to the last bits of the panel.

Gohan, is that you?

Gohan, is that you?

With­in the same day, I man­aged to catch the air­ing of Haiy­ore! Nyaruko-san W (first four episodes) and Evan­ge­lion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. As always, Nyaruko-san is full of obscure Kamen Rid­er and ani­me ref­er­ences (I swear, that’s an Oozaru tak­en straight out from Drag­on Ball). 3.0 was exact­ly what I expect­ed it to be — a real­ly amaz­ing film (I may or may not do a blog post about it in the near future — I’m plan­ning on doing one when the Rebuild series reached its con­clu­sion). I must say, every­one real­ly loved the Rebuild ver­sion of Asu­ka. All the fans in the screen­ing room were cheer­ing loud­ly and applaud­ing dur­ing her open­ing scenes in the film pilot­ing her EVA. Also, many fan­girls were swoon­ing over Kaworu’s dou­ble-enten­dre dia­logue… and I don’t blame them, they do sound like *that* com­ing from him. 

When the Deal­er’s Hall was closed, we spent a lot of our time at the Gam­ing Hall when­ev­er we had noth­ing to do. Play­ing table­top games con­tributed to some of our most sil­li­est moments — hard­core Jen­ga tow­ers (no… Jen­go tow­ers), Apples to Apples Niños (with­out know­ing Span­ish!), and the real­iza­tion that “Sor­ry!” was the most retard­ed board game in the world. Oh yeah, and we caught a Team Fortress 2 tour­na­ment going on at the PC cor­ner. Don’t real­ly play the game, msyelf, but it was fun to watch.

やおいビンゴがやばい。

STORY TIME: THE HORRORS OF YAOI BINGO

One of the most trau­ma­tiz­ing moments had to be Yaoi Bin­go. Through a fun­ny turn of events, I was at the Con­ven­tion Cen­ter alone and ran into some friends while I try­ing to go into the karaoke room. Being some­what lone­ly and hav­ing noth­ing to do, I decid­ed to tag along. Nat­u­ral­ly I ask, “what is this line for?” My friend replies, “Yaoi Bingo.”

Yaoi Bin­go.

I was about to high­tail it out of there. I’m not homo­pho­bic; in fact, I love yuri, have an online friend who is open­ly bisex­u­al, and I am a sup­port­er of doing what­ev­er the hell you want. But, of course, being a straight male, I real­ly don’t have any inter­est in yaoi. I don’t think I would have been com­fort­able with the idea of tak­ing part in what­ev­er was going on in there. Seems anoth­er female friend from that group was in the same boat as me, but I won­dered why she was there in the first place.

Don’t wor­ry! It’s 16+. And there’s PRIZES.”

Oh, that’s why. The greedy side of my heart won me over. Prizes you say? Well, that sounds inter­est­ing. And it’s 16+. It hon­est­ly can’t be too dirty in there, right? I’ll just win a cou­ple of prizes and leave. Man­ga, plushies, COOKIES, etc.? Obvi­ous­ly, the thought of some of the prizes being yaoi-relat­ed crossed my mind, It was Yaoi Bin­go after all.

(scrunched up face) “W‑what if I win the gay shit?”

Just give it to Michelle.”

Fair enough. So I wait­ed in line. Even­tu­al­ly details of the trip and PRIZES got through to Face­book, and Mr. Lex (with his smart­phone that has Face­book on 24/7) end­ed up catch­ing up to me… at the Yaoi Bin­go line, of all places.

(jok­ing) “What if John­ny’s in the Yaoi Bin­go line right no-…”

*sees me*

UM. YEAH. Had to go through some expla­na­tions so he did­n’t feel uncom­fort­able shar­ing a motel room with me.

So we both end­ed up being suck­ered into Yaoi Bin­go. We’re used to strange ani­me-relat­ed stuff, and this is Fanime Con right? We’ll be able to han­dle it. Plus, if we win any of the yaoi-relat­ed things, we’ll just give it to Michelle, right? So we head into the room… wait, we’re get­ting our IDs checked? Isn’t this event sup­posed to be 16+? Oh dear god…

The event start­ed off fun­ny enough. A sailor was the host and the song at the begin­ning was the most hilar­i­ous thing I’ve ever heard. It was so fun­ny, you had to be there in order to know why I was laugh­ing so much. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the humor­ous­ness of the flam­boy­ant homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and innu­en­do did­n’t last long. It sim­ply got way too weird as it went on, and this is com­ing from a guy who usu­al­ly has a weird sense of humor.

One of the peo­ple who were pass­ing out the bin­go sheets was a dude wear­ing a maid out­fit. He bent over and SHOWED EVERYTHING. The guy did­n’t shave, I’ll tell you that. Mr. Lex, Michelle, and I were get­ting more uncom­fort­able than ever at this point. At the very least, the per­son who passed us our bin­go sheets had the sense to real­ize that we were uncom­fort­able and straight, and had the com­mon cour­tesy to avoid rub­bing his ass all over our per­son­al space. He still did that to Michelle though, but she turned her head away. Either way, I sup­pose that’s what every­one there should have been expect­ing when they walked into Yaoi Bin­go. Thank you for not shak­ing that ass near my crotch, even if I’m not underaged.

The two oth­er peo­ple that were with us left halfway through the first round. Real­ly? You’re gonna leave the three most uncom­fort­able peo­ple here, one of which you dragged along, to win all the prizes for you? 

Yeah, screw you.”

This espe­cial­ly rang true when some fan­girl end­ed up win­ning the first round… not only did she win a tea set prize…

SHE WONMAN.

A MAN. A shirt­less man who gave her a deep embrace that last­ed for more than a few moments. Appar­ent­ly, if they weren’t half-naked already, they were even­tu­al­ly going to strip down either way, whether you were a male or female.

You… win a man? THOSE DIRTY LIARS!”

Nope. NOPE. NOOOOOOPE. Fck this. We’re leav­ing. The three of us. Nev­er com­ing back to this room, ever.

END OF STORY

You don’t know how trau­ma­tized Mr. Lex and I were after that inci­dent. Ugh. We can nev­er turn back. We can nev­er refute any gay jokes ever again. 

Nev­er­the­less, I sup­pose it added… mem­o­ra­bil­i­ty to the Fanime expe­ri­ence despite how hor­ri­fy­ing it was. That and the rest of the con was as enjoy­able as it always was, so the good out­weighed the bad expe­ri­ences over­all. Last year was sup­pos­ed­ly the worst year Fanime ever had, at least accord­ing to the con-goers. Regard­less, we still had fun that year as our first full-time con vis­it. This year was a lot bet­ter from what I saw, there were a lot more events going on despite us not being able to make it to a lot of them due to our poor orga­ni­za­tion of the trip. 

I par­tic­u­lar­ly like it how Fanime was spread across areas of Down­town San Jose besides the Con­ven­tion Cen­ter this year. As I’ve said before, it was a treat see­ing Down­town San Jose being invad­ed by my fel­low weebs and cos­play­ers, more-so than any oth­er year, espe­cial­ly due to the annoy­ing con­struc­tion (my only com­plaint was that it was real­ly hard to keep up with what was going on and where, such as cos­play meet-ups). For exam­ple, there was a Sum­mer Wars screen­ing out­side a few blocks away. The Artist Alley was twice as big as last year due to being moved from its orig­i­nal loca­tion, although I ques­tion why all that space was wast­ed on the food court (where the Artist Alley was orig­i­nal­ly locat­ed; half of it was a food court, half of it was empty). 

We all had a blast dur­ing the Fanime week­end, and we look for­ward to next year. A bunch of crazy things cer­tain­ly hap­pened this year. We even had fun dur­ing that bath­room-prank-gone-wrong where one of my friends was almost killed by a coked-out crazy guy, but that’s a sto­ry for anoth­er time.

P.S. At the end of each day, we were scared shit­less by a big black cat every time we went back to the motel room (heck, it looked like a pan­ther from where we were stand­ing). By the end of Sun­day night, we found out it was the motel’s pet and was the friend­liest lit­tle thing ever. All our shame.

5 thoughts on “Fanime 2013 Overall Experience (and the horrors of Yaoi Bingo)

  1. Omg that sto­ry about yaoi bin­go, ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS XD That def­i­nite­ly does seem like an expe­ri­ence. If only it was yuri bingo…

    1. @Shikon: I cer­tain­ly would have loved Yuri Bin­go. Con­sid­er­ing the sexy things that must have went on in the (18+) Ani­me Swim­suit Con­test they had, I would­n’t doubt that some girls there would be will­ing to do some of the crap that the guys at Yaoi Bin­go were will­ing to do.
      I heard from my friend that many of the guys that vol­un­teer to be part of Yaoi Bin­go are actu­al­ly het­ero­sex­u­al, they’re just there to affirm their mas­culin­i­ty. How­ev­er, when they’re forced to strip down, they nev­er turn back…

  2. Affirm they’re mas­culin­i­ty? Wow alright, I mean that would take some real guts (among oth­er things) for a straight guy to do those sorts of things XD.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.