So this last weekend was FanimeCon 2009 which took place in at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center (In San Jose, CA — just in case that wasn’t totally obvious already). It ran non-stop from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon. Granted the night hours are a little slower, with only a few late night panels; mostly just the animation rooms are up and running in the wee hours. During the day things can get crazy, especially on Saturday which tends to be the busiest day of the weekend.
Last year Lauren and I decided to go for the first time. We pre-registered and showed up Saturday morning. The pre-reg line was non-existent whereas the regular ticket line was out the door, so we were very glad we had pre-registered. We didn’t spend all that much time at the con that year and even though we had weekend passes, we only went on Saturday and left by 4pm. Mostly we used that weekend for shopping. This year proved to be a little different.
First off we got more people together which was definitely a good thing (if not a bit trying at times). Going to the con with a group (the members of which shall go unnamed in this post) is definitely important for the enjoyment of the “con experience”. Secondarily, we all cosplayed. I know many “normal” people (Editor’s note: you know normal people?) think this is dorky, but what the hey — it is part of the fun. I’d say at least half, if not more, of all con attendee’s were cosplaying. By not cosplaying you’re left out of the fun. I went as Sgt. Sousuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic. Lauren went as Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist and did a damn good job of it, if I do say so myself. Sorry, no pictures get posted ^_^ .
We went on Friday afternoon thinking that it wouldn’t be too busy at the con yet, it being a work day and all. Well… it was quieter than Saturday, but by no means a slow day. Also, as it turns it out, everyone picks up their pre-registration badges on Friday, so there was a terrific line for that. Though to be fair, it moved fairly quickly. After that we spent a most of our time in the Dealers’ Hall and the Artists’ Alley. We ended up leaving the Con about 1930 that evening, if I remember correctly, for dinner. We stopped at the car on the way back from dinner at about 2100 to drop off supplies, and ended up calling it a night instead of going back to the Con. Of course no anime inspired weekend is complete without actually watching some anime…
Saturday was an entirely different ball game. We left at 0845 for the con because we wanted to get an early start. There was a bit of amusement though when we stopped at Starbucks. For once, being in military fatigues caused people to ignore me. Lauren’s outfit could pass as dress blues, as could of one of our other party members. The problem was that party member #4 was wearing what is best described as an off the shoulders kimono and long vibrant blue hair. Needless to say as soon as she walked in — everyone was staring at us, which was rather humorous. We spent the remainder of the day running about the con doing all sorts of crazy things. I went to a few panels, but nothing of major interest really stuck out (at least that I ended up getting to go to). Most of us had uncomfortable shoes and walking around that much is extremely tiring. This is about the time we realized our 3rd important lesson of con going (all of which I’ll share in a bit). We ended up going home fairly early in the evening on Saturday (as compared to Friday) because we were all so tired — but of course there was much more anime to be watched.
Unfortunately Sunday morning started off a little earlier than I would have liked. One of our party members was taking Amtrak back to where they came from, and it left San Fran at 0730. Now normally they’d just take BART to and from (which would have necessitated me only driving them a couple miles to the local BART station), but BART doesn’t start till 0800 Sunday mornings. So I got to get up at 0645 and drive to SF and back. Then it was back to sleep for me. Eventually the girls and I went back to the Con around 1600 or so and only stayed for about 3 hours; it was much easier day though as we didn’t cosplay. In fact I noticed a lot less people around in general (granted it was late) and not nearly as many were cosplaying — instead they held up signs for “Free Hugs”. No, I did not partake in said ‘free hugs’, my self-esteem is not that low. I went to check out some more panels but apparently those that were going on at this time were very popular. There was a line wrapped all around the panel area, all the way back into the con space. I never did figure out what they were lined up for. Home, Sushi, Anime, Sleep.
Monday: sleep, lots, and lots of sleep.
So what did we learn about going to the cons from these 2 years?
- Cosplay — It’s a critical element. No fun without the cosplay. Also — you’re not a “freak” because literally everyone else is doing it (though there are some very heavy set people that you wish would not cosplay — or at least pick something that involved A LOT more clothing).
- Go with a group — As with many actives it is much more fun when you have other people to enjoy it with. Plus generally most Anime involved/interested people have their own preferences in what they like to watch, so you can pick up new and interesting ideas for series to watch from these people.
- Get a Hotel Room — This is the first item on our agenda for next year’s con. I only live an hour away from the Con, but even still, it takes a lot out of you. When you are dressed up all day and have events going morning, noon and night — sometimes all you want to do is crash for a bit. The con is fun when you aren’t exhausted, and can “get away” for a bit — when you’ve got an hour drive home the only way to “get away” is go home or sit in a Starbucks — neither of which are that much fun (or restful).
- Go to the events — This is more of a personal goal for myself. The Dealers’ Hall, Artists’ Alley & Random bits can only keep you entertained for so long. That being said much of what we really wanted to go to this year in terms of events were too late in the day and we were too tired to care at that point. See you all at the con next year!