Anime conventions are something I look forward to every year now. I might go to Anime Expo someday, but for now, Fanime is the best local alternative and I honestly never regret it.
I was extra pumped this year ever since FanimeCon 2015 announced that Nonaka Ai would be attending the con as a guest. Holy heck, first time since 2012 that a Japanese voice actor/actress attended this convention! I missed out on Aizawa Mai the first time I went to FanimeCon, and Momoi Haruko stopped going to the convention before I even started attending the con as a full-weekend member (I forgot why she stopped going…). No offense to the English voice actors, but unless you’re Kenvin Conroy (who does not do voices in anime) or Steve Blum, I’m only going to care about meeting the vocal talents that hail from the country where Japanese entertainment originates from. Where my Sawashiro Miyuki at?!
Well, anyway, here are some highlights of my experiences at FanimeCon 2015: the good, the bad, and the weird.
The DoubleTree hotel respects all religions
Hotel Bookings and Lining up for Badges
We haven’t been able to book a room at the Hilton, Fairmont, or Marriot after our first year of staying at FanimeCon since they get filled up pretty quickly when registration opens. I guess we were lucky to have been able to book a room at the Marriot our first year here — that, or the convention’s been growing since then. Either way, like last year, we ended up staying at a hotel further away from the con called the DoubleTree (which is apparently a baby Hilton of sorts), which has shuttles going to and from the con the entire weekend. Better than FanimeCon 2013 where we had to stay a dinky motel and had no transport other than VTA public transits.
DoubleTree has its perks in that FanimeCon’s steampunk-orientated sister convention, Clockwork Alchemy, was being held there, which meant we could get our Fanime badges there as well without the hassle of LineCon. Although, last year LineCon was non-existent at the San Jose Convention Center, so I’m not sure if the case was the same this year. Either way, it’s a safe non-claustrophobic way of getting our badges quickly and using the rest of the time to do other things, like shopping for snacks for rest of the weekend.
Unfortunately, I lost my badge on Monday, but one of my friends who left the con earlier lent me his badge to use for the Dealer’s Hall and the gaming room during Fanime’s final moments. This is what our badges looked like. My nickname for Fanime was AzumaYugi, the same as my Twitter.
As always, the artist alley is brimming with talented artists advertising themselves by selling prints, handing out business cards, and whatnot. One of the artists showcasing their works was a friend of one one of my friends, and she goes by the name Oiichyo. Did her a favor and bought some cute buttons to stick on my bag.
Starship Design for Sci-Fi
We went to this on Saturday Night. This was a decent panel that was very informative about the in-and-outs of designing ships for science fiction stories, although it felt too much like they grabbed information from common sources at times. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to stay for too long since something came up with one of our friends.
On Sunday, I rushed over to the Dealer’s Hall to buy any product with Nonaka Ai-voiced characters on it (I was planning on bringing some Puella Magi Madoka Magica merch for her to sign, but forgot it at home along with my phone charger., whoops!) and ran over to the Marriot’s autograph signings as fast as I could.
And man, did I almost screw myself over. The “official” line was already inside the room getting Aipon’s signatures, and I was apparently in one of the two “maybe” lines. At the time, I didn’t know there were two lines, and saw that the other line had people waiting to get Aipon’s signature. So I asked them if “this was the front/end of the line” and ended up going to the second line… and right after, the line I was originally in went in. I was such a dumbass. Needless to say, I was nearly in the cut-off point where they started kicking people out because Aipon wasn’t going to take anymore signatures (her Q&A panel started at 4:00 PM sharp) and it didn’t help that a few obnoxious girls rushed in front of me the moment our line was aloud to go in. Good thing the bro that was in front of me knew I was originally behind him, so he let me back-cut him.
I ended up being one of the last people to get Nonaka Ai’s signature, so I was satisfied, but I felt sorry for the people who got screwed over by those assholes cutting in line. Seriously, those girls can go fuck themselves.
Anyways, I managed to get the autograph, but I couldn’t make it into her Q&A panel because the room got filled up. Which sucks, because I heard from someone who actually made it into the panel that one of the first requests was for her to do a Wakamoto Norio impression. All my sads…
Cringeworthy Games Cutscenes
Okay, I was planning on going to this since I couldn’t get into Nonaka Ai’s Q&A panel, and it was literally next door, but my cellphone was dead and I needed to be at an easy-to-find area for us to meet back at. Strangely enough… they were at this panel, and they enjoyed it quite a big.
Notable cringeworthy cutscenes include possibly a chunk of Animal Soccer World and this awkward number from Final Fantasy X:
Now this panel turned out to be fucking silly. Instead of any serious announcements (aside from Euphoria, I guess), pretty much the only VNs they talked about were nukige. It started out vanilla enough, but then it got worse and worse, until the last title to finish it all off was basically some nukige with really bad art, exaggerated boobs, contorted facial expressions, and tentacle rape. Don’t worry, I have pics of when they started dropping the ball (censored, can’t host porn on here).
Oh, cum on!
Dear Diary: Jackpot.
“Life is short. Have an affair.”
“THE FINAL CHAPTER” True ending ;-;7
The rest of the panel was Q&A, though most of it was just silly discussions about fetishes and whatnot. My friend Mr. Lex got some good questions in, but of course all the MangaGamer representatives managed to answer with was “fuck literature, the money is where it’s at”. Not worded like that, but basically the gist of it.
“Why translate one long story-based visual novel, when you can translate three short nukige at the same time with just as much profit?” Hm. Have you ever thought that people might go out of their way to buy your porn games thinking that the moolah will help you bring the more serious games? I mean, personally if I wanted porn, I’d pirate it. Literally already seen CGs of a couple of those announcements during my private excursions into hentai land, for instance.
I think the best part that came out of going to this panel was making friends with two other guys that were similar to us.
The Dealer’s Hall is consistently great every year, and my favorite dealer will always be Kinokuniya (which is funny, because they’re local anyway…).
Unique to this year is the Chalk Twins, who were doing live-drawings within the Dealer’s hall. I must say, their skill at chalk pastel is unmatched. (y)
The Dealer hall’s seemed to be twice as big this year, and seemed to have switched the entrance and exit for no particular reason. This also seemed to change the general location of some dealers from where they usually set themselves up every year. One of the artbook dealers I usually take a peek at that usually sets up in front of the entrance, for instance, moved their location to where the exit used to be (which is now the entrance).
Inferno Cop invades the 3D realm
Like every year, the Gaming Hall is our go-to place whenever there was nothing else for us to do at the moment. Filling our pockets with quarters, we either played as many games as we could or watched tournaments (there was a Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oe tournament).
The PCs from the AFK Gamer Lounge ran pretty good, and I loved how all the console games were the good ones.
Surprisingly, I didn’t get to watch much anime at FanimeCon this year — we only watched a few episodes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
There was a Cardcaptor Sakura screening by NISA, which I bet you were all expecting me to be at. However, since I own the whole series on Blu-ray already and would honestly have shed a tear if the room wasn’t packed, I opted not to go to it.
Other than that, I planned to watch Lupin III, but it was dubbed. See, I wouldn’t have minded it that much, but the person in charge of the movie projector said it would be subbed when we asked him, but apparently he didn’t want to mess with the DVD’s default settings so it ended up being dubbed. Okay…
lol that’s not charizard
Anime conventions will always have their fair share of awkward people. Don’t want to be mean, but it’s true that some people just lack social etiquette and awareness.
When I was heading over to Nonaka Ai’s Q&A panel, and at the crosswalk, there was a female that was cosplaying the Moon Spirit girl from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Kind of a cute girl, and some dude with a very slow and nasally voice just comes up to her and asks for her picture. Normal enough. But here’s how the rest of the conversation went.
Guy: So, uh, who are you supposed to be??
Girl: Yue from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Guy: Oh! Uh, yeah, that’s who you are. I love that series.
Girl: It’s a really good show.
Guy: Yeah, it has very consistent writing, the animation is great… (continues to talk as the pedestrian crossing signal comes up and crosses the street, then turns out)
[Girl is walking towards a completely different directions]
(turns around and runs after her) Oh, hey, wait!
That’s just fucking creepy, dude. lol I would’ve tried to get the dude to back off from her if I wasn’t in such a hurry for Aipon.
Then there’s the Victory Pose dude in the arcade room. The gaming room seems like it’s generally the place with the least awkward people funnily enough, but this year there was always this one guy playing Crisis Zone (iirc) that would strike victory poses every time he would clear a stage. When he cleared all the stages and the credits rolled, he would start doing what would be reminiscent of a training montage. It’s especially funny since he looked like that stereotypical chuuni guy in Oregairu.
Then there’s Greymon. No, the cosplayer wasn’t awkward. But when we saw his cosplay, my friend jokingly yelled out “Oh ey, it’s Charizard!”
And then, some dude walked by and said “lol That’s noooooot Charizard”.
In which a random girl replied “That isn’t Charizard, that’s…”
The dude cuts in, “No, I know, it’s just that somebody thought this was Charizard.” And then turns to us, “Could you guys believe it? Some guy thought this was Charizard! Ha ha ha ha ha”
I hate the ravers
Sunday morning, 12~1 AM. Fanime’s registration line is all but barren, except for one lost soul pacing aimlessly through the caution tape as if he was in the Vietnam war. Performing sliding kicks under the caution tape? Check. Doing backflips over the caution tape? Check. Attempting to breakdance but ending up rolling around the floor instead? Check.
Ever since Fanime’s rave has gotten more popular over the years, we’ve gotten more people who could two fucks about anime attend the con solely for the rave, and then loiter around high off their asses at night.
It’s slightly amusing, but more annoying than not.
See, two of my friends decided to buy two felyne PJs from Monster Hunter and fuck around during the nighttime con, waggling their backsides like kittens and generally taking part in silly antics, strutting their stuff while meowing. Outside the main entrance of the San Jose Convention Center, some random dude called it sexy.
Uh, okay. Thought he was joking at first. But half an hour later, I turn my head around and see him suddenly grab another guy and started making out with him. Then my friends slowly took notice as they all turned their heads one by one, and we all hightailed it out of there.
Anyways, Fanime should really move the rave outside of the con… just my two cents.
I had a consistently great time attending Fanime this year, despite the weekend feeling as if it went by too fast (it’s unfortunate that the one time it felt like it was going at a decent pace was when I was having a hangover and puking everywhere Saturday morning, ugh, screw liquor).
Bought plenty of merch, saw a lot of great cosplay, met some cool people (you cute nerdy girls are the best), and best of all, I got an autograph from a Japanese voice actress! It also served as a great and brief means of escapism from home and school too. I always love eating the food downtown whenever I attend the con (Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria is pretty damn good).
Although I did have some regrets, this year’s Fanime was extra fun for me, and I’m already looking forward to next year! Assuming I’m not going to AX 2016.