FanimeCon was a strange case of being highly involved, but noticeably absent. Fanime is our local convention and is an anime event that is well supported by the city ; San Jose posts banners all across the city, local businesses often welcome attendees and the beautiful Fairmont hotel is a host for the panels and guests. Over the years it has become a destination point for fans of the culture. Established roughly 20 years ago in 1994 with 200 initial attendees, it has seen a large increase in attendance over the past two decades becoming a premiere destinations for fans. Living up to their motto “For fans, by fans”, the organization provides programming for all ages and interests, and earned a great reputation for encouraging attendance throughout the extended memorial weekend.
This con had a lot of different aspects to it that made it both a great experience, but also extremely stressful. Fanime 2015 marked the first group we had put together, team CFVY from RWBY and the first time we had been panelists. After some mistakes and success, we decided to go bigger the next year. During 2016, we had planned for this convention months in advance, as Jeanette and I decided to make the group of her dreams, as well as create more panels to present. While most of our friends are not cosplayers per se, they enthusiastically agreed and we spent months slowly making props and costumes, procuring the pieces we couldn’t/ wouldn’t make. This convention also marks a point where I was becoming overwhelmed with life. I had a family member pass away right before the convention, and as a result a lot of commitments were up in the air, both personal and professional, as my family sorted out the arrangements. Fortunately, things lined up and were taken care of and we were able to finish up costumes and able to attend the convention. We’re thankful for our friends support and how they most definitely helped us put everything together for this project. They helped make a “fantasy” a reality.
We organized 3 panels for this convention, one more from our previous outing. I typically do a panel on literary examination, using Naruto as my subject matter. It’s not too interesting to summarize, but I usually get a decent crowd, and great participation. I even had a few people show up again, which made me feel a little bad for not having fresh material. Last year, I had a few random giveaways, this year, since I was teaching a class again, I commissioned a local artist @KellyBellyDraws to do a sensei/senpai set to giveaway. We also did a Local Cosplay Resources panel to talk about all the little nooks and crannies we find our stuff in. We packed a few items and relevant costumes for examples, but I sadly forgot my chest piece, and cursed the parking garage for my error. Not sure how much we provided, but we also did a podcast on the same topic, so anyone can take a listen. The third, and most diverse one was a Back in my Day Anime panel, where we talked about our old favorites and how we fell in love with anime, as well as ones we feel are great to come back to. We had a few friends participate with us, and that definitely made for a great well rounded feel. It was nice to be able to cover our history with the medium/genre and consider how and why we connected to it in the first place, and earnestly how it defined us. Our friends Asobinas, SkullsandCircuits , a member of TheLaughingFoxCosplay helped make this one of our best panels. This is hands down the most we’ve ever done for a convention and it was very fulfilling to earn our badge. Being in panels, however, also meant we had to prepare and allot time because of our responsibilities. We didn’t spend too much time out and about this year and that was somewhat unfortunate because this is a great convention to wander.
We did manage to wander about one of the days, and caught a lot of great cosplayers. We fortunately bumped into people we most definitely had affections for. And of course, customary con libations for celebration.
If you’ve never been to FanimeCon, it is definitely a great event, especially if you are in the Bay Area. The level of cosplay is high, and a local, as well as stand out creator VampyBitMe will be one of the guests of honor this year. The environment is lively and very meta, so you can always get a good chuckle at being in the know. I like to sell it like a 24 hour convention; there are activities at all hours of the day for all sorts of people. They have table top, console and arcade gaming, dance rooms, anime viewing rooms and occasionally late night panels. Every year there is something new to do,but the same old things still stay pretty fresh. If you’ve never participated on a panel, their programming is diverse and you can help them and yourself by becoming a part of one. The 2017 panel registration ends 03/31/2017, so if you have a great idea, apply. http://www.fanime.com/panels/panelist-information/
How was your last Fanime trip? What is the con you’d love to be a part of? What questions do you have? Leave a comment, wherever you happen to stumble on this, and thanks for reading.