This was my first Fanime since 2012. I thought 2012 would be my last year attending. I had reasons for not going back. The disorganization of the new management and the lackluster offerings made convention programming not worth flying out for. Granted seeing friends always wins,but I also like to support the anime community. Without the anime community, I wouldn’t have my friends. So, what made me come back after a six year leave? For starters, the management back in 2012 was replaced, the convention center expanded, the Fairmont turned into a hotel for panel hoppers, security was much more aware of harassment cases, and Clockwork Alchemy was placed on another weekend. With that said, I have returned to Fanime and I love it!
My first Fanime was in 2003 when I was living in the Bay Area. As a kid, it was the most fun I ever had at a con – I made friends, saw guests, collected autographs, collected swag, got a boyfriend, etc. In 2018, living in Southern California, I saw Fanime as an opportunity to reuinite with friends from the past to enjoy the things we love and connect through fandom. 2018 was a strong year for my fandoms – Fate, idols, 90s anime, and more! There was even a 90s anime meet up that I really enjoyed until a creeper kept creeping on me. While I knew Fanime security was on the look out for creepers, I wish there was a staff roaming at the meet up because I was to “frozen” to move or say anything. However, I wasn’t going to let one thirsty fanboy ruin my weekend.
I liked the dealers hall – it’s much larger and roomier than previous Fanime’s. I liked looking at the variety of merch. The artist alley got wicked congested. I did like what artists I did see present. Programming was very diverse. I actually did partake on one of the martial arts workshops. I did like the late night panels I did sit on. Fanime also has strong 18+ panels in the evening. I laughed out loud at the otaku debate panel! Speaking of panelists, I was very honored to be a part of Fanime Con programming. I ran two panels with my partner, Jared the Greek. I was even thrilled when they asked us if we could run a panel at the last minute – History of Lupin III. That panel connected us to Lupin III fans at the con. I’m very glad we were given the opportunity to do it. Cosplay Wrestling Federation is THE cosplay event of this con. The Fanime masquerade is a shadow of its former self; Cosplay Wrestling Federation is one of the few events on the west coast where you can *be* your character in front of an audience.
The vibe of Fanime was much more friendlier than when we went in 2012. I did like that people were generally approachable. I can’t say the same for the cosplay photographers by the Marriott. I was asking around if they would like to collaborate during the weekend. I was usually ignored in favor of the hotter, e-famer cosplayer. It was hard finding a photographer for photoshoots here. I didn’t see any photographers that were looking for subjects to shoot. I know the landscape of cosplay photography has changed and it’s become who you know. It’s just a shame that photographers are very strict with who they want to shoot. Thankfully, I did bring my point and click Cannon so I could get some photos. I was thankful to shoot again with Blizzard for the Love Live ballgown shoot. I enjoyed cosplaying with these idols – lots of fun!
Overall, I would recommend Fanime for the convention traveler. It’s not as hectic as Anime Expo. It doesn’t get the A-list guests from Japan, but they do get a decent list of American voice actors. If you’re looking to cosplay and visit the west coast on Memorial Day Weekend, San Jose is not a bad place to have a vacation. The Winchester Mystery House and the gardens are an Uber away. It’s easy to fly in and out of San Jose Airport and arrive to the con. We ended up taking a ride share to the airport. Just budget $20 if you plan to go that route. Fanime is much more organized, the pocket guide was helpful in finding for things to do. I like how cosplay meet ups have more space – it just takes a while to find the meet up zones. Not a bad Fanime – would totally come back again!