I’ve had a mix set of experiences at Fanime. It’s never been wholly bad or good, but in my mind I tend to think of Fanime as a ‘not fun’ event. This was my return and I wanted to attend with an open mind as the convention has changed while I was away. It is always interesting to see how an event evolves or falls apart as time passes. Due to that I was excited about flying back to San Jose. This year I had a complicated trip, but it all worked out and I arrived ready to explore the convention on the morning of day one.
The convention was held at the San Jose Convention Center as it had been for over a decade. The big difference for me was that the expansion was complete, but despite that things essentially looked the same to me. The panels were located in the Fairmont and most other events were held in the convention center and the connected hotels. The biggest problem that I faced during the event was crowding in the convention center and the immediate outside area. Things could get overwhelming and outside of capping attendance there isn’t much that can be done about that. Despite the foot traffic it was still possible to get around it just took a little clever maneuvering.
The panel line up was pretty good this year. There were plenty of technical panels connected to building computers and advanced crafting of costumes. However, there were plenty of discussion panels ranging from video games to anime to general pop culture. Our panels went really well and it reminded me why I like running panels at Fanime. There was always something to do between all the panels, Stage Zero, and the sheer amount of other events. The big problem is that you will have to either stick with panels at the Fairmont or run about all over the convention area trying to hit as many different events as possible. You will see more if stick with panels, but not exploring ruins some of the fun of going to a convention. However, with four days your options expand significantly and you will likely find more than enough to populate each day of your convention.
The convention center housed the artist alley and dealer hall both of whom were up to the standards I expect from Fanime. The dealer hall had large aisles and plenty of booths with a good variety of merchandise. They also had a few really good food booths that had long lines most of the time. The artist alley had much smaller aisles making it difficult to navigate at times. However, this packed area had plenty of great booths with more than just the usual art prints. The biggest bummer of shopping was that the swap meet was stuffed behind the convention center and not easy to reach. Due to this we skipped on checking out the deals offered by our fellow nerds.
The vibe of Fanime is a bit hard to place. There were so many people and the crowding could get a little overwhelming making many people very irritated. However, most attendees had a very friendly attitude and it wasn’t difficult to feel at ease around the convention space. The abundance of street dog venders ensures that a rancid stink will fill the whole convention area and they tend to block valuable walking space. This is not an attitude heavy event, but there is more than enough to put you in a bad mood or just give you a disgusting feeling. This is a convention of ups and downs so just bear that in mind when you attend Fanime.
After taking a long break from Fanime I feel that I can come in with a more clear mind when it comes to this event. There are plenty of things to like, but there is also quite a bit that needs work and sadly some things the convention cannot change. Overall, I am glad that I went as I enjoyed running panels and exploring the convention area. Next year, I may aim for the Fairmont that way I can do more late night panels and not have to worry about the walk back in the dark or losing my way due to being too tired. I can’t give this event my full recommendation as there are plenty of problems and it might not be a fun experience for all who attend. If you are willing to take the risk or if you live close enough to San Jose then give Fanime a chance, but unless you really need to meet a specific guest I don’t recommend those further out hitting this event. Until next time I will leave you with my list and remind you to give my love to Stage Zero.
- Back again
- See Dub Eff!!
- 3 panels
- No babysitting
- Elevators worked this time
- Good to see my friends again
- So much walking
- Crowds, crowds, crowds
- So much to see
- Oh yeah I did go to the game room
- That smell
- Next cosplay: something for summer
- RE: 14- I say that every year, it never happens
- Well, that’s the joke
- Almost bought something, but didn’t
- The swap meet is where?
- Up late, good times
- 5 cosplays this time
- Didn’t run into the people I wanted to avoid
- I wanted to do more
- Rush, rush, rush
- So many ideas for next year
- Note to self: packing food was a great idea
- Not sure what I was looking for…
- Press corps coming through
- I need to bring back my press hat
- I’ll admit it, I’m glad I went
- Foot pain
- This is the beginning of something new