A convention by fans and for fans set in the progressive Bay Area, Fanime’s top fandoms include Love Live, My Hero Academia, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and more. While the newer titles have cosplays that are easier to acquire via Chinese ebay and aliexpress sources, on Day 1, there was a Old School Anime cosplay meet up. This brought in plenty of 80s and 90s kids who had a fondness for Evangelion, Trigun, Sailor Moon, Yuyu Hakusho, Cowboy Bebop, and more. I was cosplaying as Fujiko Mine (though mistaken for Black Widow several times…) and linked up with a handful of lovely Lupin III cosplayers. This is a meet up that has “my people,” 90s kids who grew up with tape trading and hold a fondess to the early days of Toonami. Of course, you will also find cosplayers from Urusei Yatsura, classic Gundam, Cyborg 009, ec here too!
Fanime also had their first ever Fanime Museum. I have attended since 2003. It was really interesting to see artifacts from Fanime and Anime America past. The con wars of the early 90s is a fascinating history! There was a rare program for Anime Con ’91 on display. I was in awe of the guest line up for the first anime focused convention. While Anime America is not the first Fanime, it was the first huge anime event in the Bay Area taking place at the now San Jose Doubletree (aka where the 18+ events were happening). I also saw old posters, badges, and programs here at the museum. Fanime has a rich history and I’m happy that for their 25th anniversary, has their memories immortalized here.
Jared the Greek
I was lucky enough to attend the KanColle/Azur Lane cosplay gathering this year. It was hosted by a friend of mine and I went in a vintage World War II Navy Admiral’s uniform representing the Eagle Union from Azur Lane. I showed up with my stuffed eagle Sam and I wore my sunglasses indoors due to a headache. The gathering was held inside the lower level of the convention center near the stairs allowing for some great pictures of the large group. There was a good amount of cosplayers going as various boats and everyone was having a good time talking about their favorite characters. It was a fun experience and made me regret not doing more than one gathering this year. While some gatherings can get chaotic, and this was no exception, it was nice to meet up with other cosplayers and have a good time talking about our favorite naval warfare games.
Of course no trip to Fanime is complete without going to Stage Zero. This year the stage had its usual mix of video games, dancing, and music. The game content seemed to be much greater this year with the staff playing everything from Killer Instinct to a Jurassic World them park game. It was fun and relaxing to watch various matches and the hosts usually kept things lively for the crowd. The blasting music on the other hand could get irritating as it was often far too loud. However, it was the cue for many attendees to jump on stage and show off their dance skills. They also had professional dance troupes, but the one I saw wasn’t very good. It’s sad when armatures can put on a better show than professionals. The big surprise at Stage Zero this year was that we got invited to join Rob Miles on one of his morning Fireside Chats. We had a nice discussion about how we got into fandom, why we started covering conventions, and our favorite anime series. It was a great experience and I hope we can do more with Stage Zero in the future.