This is the second Fanime I have attended since coming back from living in New England. There’s a lot of elements of Fanime that still make it feel like the con I associate my college years with (so much so, I ditched graduation to be at Fanime). I have friends and colleagues within fandom that make it feel like home. After all this time, it’s nice to be contributing panels and talks at Stage Zero for Fanime. After last year, we knew we wanted to visit Fanime again. J was pretty hyped to run three panels. I was pretty hyped to be a part of a few cosplay photoshoots. Programming is pretty strong, but there are curveballs that one cannot control.
What really dampened our experience was the lack of service at the Fairmont Hotel. Normally, I would recommend the Fairmont Hotel if you enjoy panel hopping. However, there was a worker strike that effected the quality of service for those staying at the Fairmont. This meant no fresh towels, refills for toilet paper, etc. Our hotel-mates ended up using the toilet in the main lobby because of this. This was bad because one of our hotel-mates has a medical condition as well. Additionally, the Fairmont got rid of mini fridges to store food. I brought in salads and burritos that had to be eaten up right away. I did not like wasting food that had to last us until the end of the con. This really killed my dinning and diet plan for Fanime. I didn’t like having to resort to soda and fruit snacks for temporary sentience, as lines do get long for local eateries, but this was the most irritating part of Fanime ’19.
Otherwise, Fanime continues to deliver quality programming all day long. I liked stopping by Stage Zero to check out speed runs, game shows, and streaming. I really liked the guy who was streaming a Jurassic Park game that was a lot like Roller Coaster Tycoon but dinosaurs. There were a few insightful fan panels I did check out. The Magical Girl LGBTQ panel was very insightful and educational. Because of that panel, I begun to marathon through Yuri Kuma Arashi right after Fanime. I would love to have Fanime have more academic and cerebral panels such as this one.
I liked the cosplay photoshoots I attended. Old School Anime, Love Live, Kancolle vs. Azur Lane, etc were very well run. I liked that cosplay meetups are on the schedule and you can find out where they are without having to resort to finding the meet up info on Facebook. I liked that Fanime had official photographers taking photos of the meet ups. Even as press, I can’t get all of the shots with me in it. I’m very thankful for the photos of others!
I feel you can’t get bored at Fanime. There’s always something to do. The dealers hall and artist alley are packed! I liked browsing around the dealers hall. I was able to get a hold of a hard to find Azur Lane art book. They also sold keychains and charms of Revue Starlight characters. I also liked how they had food options in the dealers hall. I was a regular at the takoyaki quick service. I mainly lived off takoyaki during the convention. A set of six was very filling. There were other things I wanted to check out such as the ballroom dance and swap meet, but so much to do in so little time! This is a four day convention and Fanime’s programming team really wants to get your dollar’s worth!
Overall, I would recommend Fanime. I’m not sure if we will be staying at the Fairmont next year. I did like my experience at the Marriott last year. Depending when the press block opens, I would prioritize either the Marriott or the Westin. If you’re local to the Bay Area, Fanime is not one to miss! If you are coming up from Southern California, it’s an easy five hour drive, but do keep in mind the cost of daily parking. It might end up costing the same price as a Southwest Flight all things considered. I would recommend booking months in advance if you are flying up to Fanime. $150 round trip to San Jose is pretty standard. If you are from out of state and want a much more “chill” but lively con to attend and not want to deal with the stress that comes with Anime Expo, Fanime is a neat alternative.
Shoutout to the programming team for letting us have leftover pizza. Believe it or not, we very much value people who will not let food go to waste. We very much appreciate your hospitality during our bout as panelists. Also, shoutout to my followers on Instagram. I’m not used to having “fans.” As far as I know, you are all just friends that I haven’t met! I appreciate your love and support, I hope we can run into each other again. Also, thank you to my cousin for the hotel room, but no thanks to the Fairmont for not filling our toilet paper. Of course, thank you, Fanime. Congratulations to 25 years!