Well, Christine & I had a great otaku-style Memorial Day Weekend holiday! Late
Thursday night we checked into the San Jose Marriott hotel and during the day on
Friday, we attended the Fanime convention (www.fanime.com) held in the adjacent
San Jose Convention Center (SJCC). We've never been to this show before and
wanted to check it out, to see what it had to offer.
Fanime is lower-key than LA's AX (Anime Expo), it is a more fan focused
convention than industry oriented tradeshow, we heard it has about 13,000
attendees (vs. AX's 45,000). After taking 2 hours to brave the registrations
lines (which is on par for most conventions), we then stopped in on the numerous
video projection rooms (at least 7, from my count), offering new dubs, subs,
fab-subs, live-action sub movies, Anime music videos, marathon showings, and
We walked completely around the San Jose Convention a couple times to get idea
of where everything was, videos, gaming, speakers/panels, dealers', and artist
rooms. Most activities were on the SJCC's second floor, with convention
registration (and lines) on the first floor. Overall most placements of all
functions were well conceived & spacious.
Convention programs were well designed, attractive, and informative. Pocket
schedules/maps were also provided to fans to easily carry around throughout the
day without the programs extra bulk. Another big plus I found, was a hourly
updated schedule on a mobile convention website (m.fanime.com), which allowed
attendees to keep up with the most up-to-date event program and changes on their
At 2PM the dealers' room open and almost the entire attendance converged there,
let's just say things got real friendly for the first couple hours there, while
everyone had their first tour of this Anime "Toy Land".
The (cos)play is the thing… that's where the real show is, several hundred
colorful, imaginative, Anime costume of every shape, size, and complexity. An
endless stream of cosplay parading around the convention floor for your viewing
pleasure. I've also noticed over the last couple decades at Anime conventions,
cosplay has gone from something that 1-in-50 hardcore otakus did, to a ratio
nowadays that's more like 1-in-4. Also, from my reckoning, women cosplayers now
outnumber the males that use to dominate Anime cosplay, good show girls!
Overall, even though Christine & I only spent one day there, our first
impression of Fanime was a good one. We'll probably carve out time in the years
to come to attend future Fanime conventions.
Late Friday afternoon, we bailed on Fanime in favor of shopping in San Jose's
Japan Town, with the obligatory stop at Nikaku Japanese Arts and a nice dinner
at Minato's Restaurant. After that, we drove into San Francisco proper, checking
into our suite at Hotel Kabuki, in the heart of Japan Center.
Finally, Saturday was Otaku shop-til-you-drop day. We hit the ground running
with breakfast at the hotel's O Izakaya Lounge. We made major supply hauls at
Daiso 100 Yen Store, Ichi-Ban-Kan, and Nijiya Market. Both of us purchase new
Yukatas at Shige Kimono. I bought the DVD of 20th Century Boys 3: Redemption at
Japan Video. We rounded out our Japan Center shopping with stops at Townhouse
Living, Katsura Garden, and the New People Store. We stopped for dinner at one
of our favorite Japanese restaurants, Izumiya.
To conclude our great all-things-Japanese adventure, we heading to the
underground of the New People building, seated ourselves into 2 of the 143
comfortable reclining seats of the state-of-the-art, THX certified Viz Cinema
(www.vizcinema.com). We sat there for the next 163 minutes, slurping on milk tea
and munching on mitarashi dango, as we watched in awe of the first U.S.A showing
of the film of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi's first movie was
great, as was the rest of our special weekend, we had a really great time, `nuff
Gregory, Group Moderator
Christine & I thought FanimeCon was well planned, pretty good organization, had a great venue/hotels, & lots of heart for heart for such a big show (I heard 13,000+ attended this year). It appeared to me they needed more bodies helping out on the floor with crowd control, though the fans were pretty well mannered. We wish them every success & plan on attending future shows...
We could have used a few more Rovers I think as well. It is a lot of floor area to cover, especially when you add the dealer/art rooms, video rooms and panels/events going on.
As for my off-duty experience, I liked how much space they allowed for the arcarde/game room. It was usually the least crowded space and I enjoyed going in there to get a little breathing room.
I have to say, I really saw some AMAZING cosplay out there! Fred was able to get a few pics, but missed a few I really thought were awesome. He got more time to enjoy the con as a spectator, I'll see if I can get him to sign on here and write a review
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience as a Rover. You certainly get to learn about how much really goes into keeping an event this large running smoothly.
I've posted my photographs from FanimeCon 2010 into a album of the same name, under our photo areas (on both Crunchyroll & Yahoo). Enjoy & feel free to add your own FanimeCon 2010 photos to the album...