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What: Fanime Convention 2015
When: May 22 to 25, 2015
Where: San Jose McEnery Convention Center


This is my second time attending the Fanime Con. There isn't much history there, so I based it on categories that I personally look for when attending conventions: Management-Customer Service-Crowd Control, Cosplay Turn Out, Film Line-Up and Dealer Room.

I'll leave the Game Room to the avid gamers. Casual gamers like me should be good and slouch quietly off to the way-side.

Fanime is a growing and well-attended convention, the number of attendees each year seems to improve and as mentioned in the news - generates an estimate of $5M for the city of San Jose. This is the kind of convention that transforms the city and serves as catalyst for other establishments (namely other hotels and restaurants) to alter their operations in order to cater to Fanime attendees. Fanime's gotten such attention that it's beginning to draw crowds that are supposedly loyal to other - bigger and popular conventions such as Anime Expo, OtaCon, ComiCon, etc.

That's awesome, right?


Management/Customer Service/Crowd Control

So I am a little disappointed with Fanime's internal operations and service that should cater to this growing event. Given that Fanime is a convention "For Fans By Fans" - setting aside time, money and manpower for proper orientation, representation and training is a must. The Convention can afford it. The Convention should properly budget for such an improvement, in the long run they will benefit from it.

Personal experience has left me very much saddened by Customer Service found near the badging area because as I asked for help regarding Shuttle Service (going to different hotels), I was given a very insignificant grammar lesson instead of the schedule. The staff assigned to the table also busied themselves with photographing cosplayers than answering pretty important and significant questions by people who paid for a promising Fanime experience. It was a very amateur way of dealing with customers and that is unacceptable for a paid convention. Yes, this is about fun, but it is also a business. That's fact.

Crowd Control for the Dealer Room specially on May 23 - Saturday was dismal and funny. Where it needed to not be technical - they did a lot of over-thinking - leaving the crowd disappointed but nonetheless a lot of us just wanted to get inside the Dealer Room, so we held on to good spirits. In general, Crowd Control people need not be mean or demeaning - they just need to be less confusing about WHERE we should stand and form a line NOT YELL at us like we were insolent fools munching on the table cloth. It was a good thing that Jesus (a cosplayer) was there to make us all understand that taking the thorny road to paradise is the only way to go.

Crowd Control at the Film Rooms were okay - just an isolated incident on May 22 - Friday. This during the viewing of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno/Legend Ends in the Asian Films Room. The movie is a double feature so all of us in that room were in for the 5 to 6 hour back breaking task of watching. I take it that those who sat through those hours are there because they love the franchise. In other words we weren't there to sleep, we were paying attention to the production and the dialogue. And in the middle of a very wordy scene, a callous and insensitive individual right outside the doors of the Asian Films Room, began talking about how he was waiting on a scholarship for an art school - his voice so loud that he was really drowning out what Shishio was saying. Sadly, the individual he was talking to was Staff for Fanime.

Isn't it logical to actually make this douche shut up because people inside the AFR are watching? Isn't it part of the Staff responsible for the AFR to get off his chair and teach this douche how to behave like a considerate human being? Sadly, it took a very annoyed attendee to stand up and walk up to the guy making noise and tell him to stop talking so loud. Was I sorry that she beat me to it? No. I'm glad she did because she looked more intimidating that I will ever be.

Handclaps for that fine attendee.

Overall, there is so much room for improvement with regards to operations and volunteer training. This is not an impossible problem to overcome, it's just a matter of caring enough about the convention and wanting it to happen.



Cosplay Turn-out

I was more than pleased with the Cosplayers this year. Though I thought there would be more Assassin's Creed Unity cosplayers - then again the game bombed late 2014 so I understand why a lot of fans just defaulted to Ezio. But there was one individual that turned up as Arno. YAY! Also very proud of the Tokyo Ghoul cosplayers. The Kaneki ones were amazing, specially those who turned up with their Quinque! I knew that they would represent! I spotted Anbu Kakashi cosplayers (Male and Female version) that was pretty cool.

Other favorites:

- Lupin and Jigen cosplay
- Silent Hill's Pyramid Head and Dark Nurse
- Kingdom Hearts cosplayers…I love you all!
- Mugen (Samurai Champloo) cosplay
- Hyuuga Hinata (time skip) cosplay
- Totoro cosplay
- Joker and Harley Quinn cosplayers
- Loki cosplayers…I love you all
- Naruto cosplayers…I love you all
- Waldo cosplayers
and my favorite this year Jesus Christ!

I really enjoy watching the cosplayers. I hope that there will be so much more next year.



Film Line Up

I love this year's line up. Though, these films are accessible online and can be viewed at home, it's nice to be in the company of other enthusiasts. You tend to realize that your sense of humor is not all that OFF because jeebus some other person is laughing at that mundane thing that Integra of Alucard did. It's nice to know that Gintama fans are regular joes and janes just like you. I mean, it's really the experience and meeting people that love the things that you love, which is really one major reason why this convention exists.

There were a ton of series featured and it's impossible to watch them all so here's a list of what I watched:
- Gin No Saji (Silver Spoon)
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and The Legend Ends
- Hellsing Ultimate (Marathon)
- Gintama
- Wolf Children
- Mushi-Shi
- Naruto Shipuuden
- Kuroko No Basket

Most of the series were of good quality but the Rurouni Kenshin one was a bit troublesome. Pixelated fight scenes are just too weird to watch because Kenshin is known for his speed and fluid style, so when the video starts acting up it ruins a pivotal moment that is an important aspect of Kenshin's character. Maybe better file downloads next year?



Dealer Room

I admit that I am one of those people that carefully surveys the Dealer Room for good and rare purchases. I am always on the look out for Art books of my favorite series. Because I believe that cons are the best places to buy the books - new or used - it's where you can find good deals. Good thing there were a lot of book dealers this year and I scored a couple of Naruto art books and a Tokyo Ghoul one.

I try and avoid buying figures because I have doubts with the authenticity. I'll only buy if they are boxed. Figures are costly at $15 to $139 (varying sizes) a piece plus tax. I wouldn't buy those at that price if they're coming from a giant plastic bag without any tag, literature or box to go with it.

Apart from the ludicrous crowd control fiasco on Saturday, Dealers Room was as organized as Quincy Archer Ishida's sewing kit!



Overall

Fanime Con is a wonderful thing to experience - San Jose becomes this surreal place where kids are walking around in costumes and if you look to your right - you will see Batman using the ATM and right behind him is Dante Sparda waiting his turn. It's the penultimate level of escapism but it's also evolved into a safe place where kids don't judge one another based on what is 'standard' they simply are and they simply be.

It's a place to maybe find a piece of their childhood and the opportunity to take it back with them, just before you get back to your reality.

I guess it's old nerds like me that make Cons like this complicated - it's natural for people grow up and they become picky or cranky about a lot of things in life. But the love for the sub-culture remains, otherwise I won't be there to support it.

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