This year FanimeCon celebrated its 20th anniversary at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center- and boy was it an experience.
I’m going to be honest- compared to the others around here I am a convention novice. I haven’t been to many cons before, Fanime being only my second and I wish that I had read some of the “How to Prepare for the Con” articles around here a little more in depth so that I could have been a bit more prepared for what I was getting myself into!
Arriving on Day One, I didn’t know what to expect. I had only attended Anime Expo once before last year, and for this con I had randomly decided to just go and take photos of all the different cosplayers there. Even though I found parking a ways off from the con, I knew exactly what direction to head in as the banners for Fanime started appearing on light posts and the hoards of people in costumes crossed streets eagerly. Arriving at the Convention Center, I took the dive and decided to get a pass for the weekend, quickly picking up the energy from the people around me.
Unfortunately, I figured the larger program would have the information that I needed for panels and such but didn’t realize until later that it was in the smaller pocket guide. Luckily, that was online and I was able to pull it up on my phone. I figured that I would just follow the Fanime Twitter account, but starting from the beginning they were posting incorrect information and I decided not to trust it. When they post that they’re major events are on days and times that are completely incorrect, I think it’s fair to just ignore what else comes from it.
The Center was packed and while I was standing there among the groups of people, I started to become self conscious. Immediately, I decided that the next day that I’d attend, I would bring someone with me. In a huge convention like Fanime, going by yourself can seem pretty dang intimidating, especially when you’re just the one taking photos instead of being in cosplay. I wasn’t one of the big shot photographers either, but luckily after building myself up I was able to get a few good shots of some awesome Kill la Kill cosplayers (by far among the majority of costumes there) and enjoy the Dealers Hall and Artist Alley where I was able to pick up some pretty sweet merchandise (including Cutey Honey figurines which I never see anywhere and especially for how cheap they were).
I left at the end of the day feeling slightly anxious, believing that I was inherently weird for being there alone and vowing to return with a group the next day. Unfortunately, I had to skip Day 2 but was following along on Twitter when it was announced that Crunchyroll would be adding Sailor Moon Crystal to their Summer 2014 Anime lineup! The series is scheduled to broadcast simultaneously as a the premier on July 5th at 6 AM (EST), but no more information has been given, leading people to wonder whether or not you need to buy the membership to watch the premier or no. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on that.
Day 3 though was when the magic happened for me. I convinced my boyfriend’s roommate to join me and at 9 AM I emerged from the bathroom transformed into a blue-eyed, black haired scientist by the name of Himeko Nayotake (which I will cover in a different post). After getting there and meeting up with another friend, we began our day. The con didn’t really pick up until around noon though, so we were able to peruse through the Dealers Hall and Artist Alley without the stress of large crowds and bulky costumes. As more people showed up though, I realized it was easier to ask people to take their photo when I had people there with me, and especially so in costume. I wasn’t someone just there to take photos, I was a brother in arms so to speak.
As our day wound down (cons take a surprising amount of energy out of you!) we began our trek back to the car when we ran into some more amazing Kill la Kill cosplays getting ready for the Gathering and got to talk to some Nudist Beach cosplayers blasting the soundtrack on a boombox at their feet. At the end of the day, the cosplayers and the amazing people that I met (including an amazing woman who recognized my cosplay and I got to talk to for 20 minutes) made the weekend for me. To see the dedication and time that people put into their cosplays to show their love for the series and characters was amazing.
At the end of it, even though I had some negative experiences- grumpy dealers, the good ol’ “Do you even geek?” treatment, and the ten minutes I thought I lost my credit card only to realize I left it at home, it was a great weekend. I gained immeasurable insight on how to prepare for a con, had someone casually see my badge and go “I read that blog!” (badge name being Nerdophiles), and most importantly, learned to not take myself so seriously. As I stare at my haul from the weekend, I have to smile and just remember one thing; at the end of the day, being a nerd isn’t so bad.
(More photos from the weekend uploaded on the Nerdophiles Facebook page! Go check them out!)