Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fanime: A convention anyone can be a fan of!

On Friday night, the wait was over, we had arrived at Line-Con! LET THE WAITING BEGIN! ...maybe 

Linecon is known throughout the land, the best grueling hours of standing in line you could ever want, those weak of spirit need not apply. Better bring your sleeping bags, water, snacks, a porta-lou, cooking utensils… what do you mean it’s canceled?
THE LINE! OH THE HORROR! Seriously, 8 minutes...
                As crazy as it sounds to anyone who has ever been to Fanime, Linecon was canceled this year, and instead replaced with one of the most amazingly fun, non-stop, glorious weekends of geekdom
indulgence you could ever hope for! From a convention that became known coast to coast (and beyond) for its insane line waits, to getting through the registration line in 8 minutes. You read right, 8 minutes after registration opened, I was walking out with a badge. This should be compared with last year, where I waited day zero in line for SIX HOURS to get a badge. The best part was that this applied to EVERYTHING. The only time you had to wait in line was if you were there before the event or hall opened, or the event was full and they could not fit any more. And I only saw the capacity problem once, which will be discussed later, keep reading if you want the dirty…
"Nudist Beach" was the new black at Fanime this year
                As always, the fan participation at Fanime was amazing! The cosplays were top teir, even if this year’s theme seemed to be “do more with less(clothing).” The more skin I blame Kill La Kill for, but that
aside, the cosplay community once again pulled out all the stops. There was nowhere you could look without seeing something truly fantastic. Massive creatures, insane props, and huge coordinated groups were all out in full force, and it was a sight to behold. More prevalent this year than in years past, was the fusion of dazzling light technology into costumes. Fanime this year had to have more EL and LED’s than anyplace other than Vegas, walking up to the San Jose Convention Center after dark was a trip in and of itself.
The League of Legends Photo shoot took place on the new terraced area
                On the note of the Convention center, SJCC was yet another bright candidate for most improved over last year’s convention. The construction is gone, the halls are open, and the new terrace
and sculpture
of front are gorgeous. As always, the wide open halls were full of bustle, but they never really got jammed to the point of being hard to navigate. The New space put to good use, and there was always something happening. Overall, the SJCC continues to be a large, well laid out platform ideal for a convention like Fanime.
The costumes in the masquerade
 were impressive as always
                And what would Fanime be without events? Every event I attended this year was top tier. The AMV contest was over an hour long, and I normally want to leave AMV contests after fifteen or twenty minutes. But I didn’t leave this one, for a good reason, I didn’t want to. The First group of “Experimental” AMV’s, the ones that are hard to define, were intriguing and original. The following groups were better. The drama’s made my eyes well up. The action AMV’s got me pumped. And you didn’t even have to see the comedy entries to know they were good, you could hear the laughter down the hall. The laughter didn’t stop there...
                While joyous (or rowdy) laughter was heard all around Fanime, another concentrated source of it was the Cosplay Spectacular. And this year lived up to it’s name. Previous years have had issues with lighting, A/V problems, and missed scripting, none of which was present this year. The organization this year was, like many other parts of Fanime this year, nearly impeccable. The skits themselves were great as well, with some truly funny humor, that went deeper than just repeated yaoi jokes that I see at so many masquerades. I would strongly recommend hunting YouTube once the official masquerade video gets uploaded, it will be worth your time.
"Dragon Ball Tea" good stuff
                Keeping time in mind, Fanime is a 24 hour convention, so night owls have plenty to do. At the top of that list is the late night dances. This year, once again, there were 2 constantly going dance halls, with different music styles between them. The larger hall was playing more popular trap and dance genres most all of the nights, while the smaller hall played a lot of hardcore and trance throughout the evenings. All of the DJ’s I had a chance to listen to were awesome, and even though the line to get in was long, it continuously was moving, so the short wait was definitely worth it. Also of note is that the dances ran for 8 hours or more each night, so you were guaranteed to get all your boogie out before the night was through. Also, the water stations were constantly stocked (it looked a little like a bucket brigade, new bottles constantly being supplied) so everyone was well hydrated, which was awesome on Fanime’s part, ensuring you never had to go far to get a drink.
                As a side note, If you were inclined to partake in drink, this year, Tanq, the bar at the Marriott, actually had a custom drink menu, with custom tailored drinks to the fan base. If you’ve got a little extra money, and feel like unwinding, I’d recommend a Dragon Ball Tea, assuming of course you are a legal age to imbibe.
Did i mention Kill La Kill?
                And for those of us adults who are in the mood for some more… adventurous entertainment, The 18+ video rooms were a blast, in a bizarre “I will never get used to this” way. From the bellowing cheers whenever an… “event” happened, the chant for the hand checks, to the just surreal environment you find yourself in, if you are of age and dig the truly weird, check it out. For those of you who kept reading just to find the “Dirty”… You’ve reached the end of your search.
The only Event that we were unable to get into this year was the HMV contest (think AMV, minus the A, plus a whole lot of H.) The room was filled to capacity right from the beginning, and we were unable to indulge in that event. We were told by people that did go that it was uproariously funny, so we will try to get in line earlier next year.
Anime or not, Fanime has it
                The only widespread complaint I heard from this year was the overcrowding of artists alley. We did not actually get around to seeing it until Monday, not due to lack of interest, but just due to there being so
much to do elsewhere. By the time we did get there, the crowd had considerably died, and it wasn’t really an issue. Like everywhere else at famine, the artist alley was top tier. All of the artwork was impressive, and walking down the aisles it was really hard not to blow the bank and just buy everything until your card was maxed.
                Overall, I can honestly say, in 8 years of going to conventions across the country, this Fanime was legitimately one of the best conventions I have ever been to. Fanime always had awesome Fan contribution, and terrible organization. This year, the Fans were as awesome as ever, but the organization is an order of magnitude better. There is still room for improvement, but at this point it is fine tuning. If next year’s convention is half as good as this one, it would still be better than 90% of the conventions out there. Urban Otaku gives Fanime 2014 a 9.5/10.

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