May 30, 2012

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Fanime Report: Friday & Saturday

Fanime is people, LOTS of people
While we have an

anime category, we don’t talk about it in excess (only 26 posts over 7 years). Be that as it may, Fanime is a big event each year for the staff of Snowulf. We’re all fans of anime, no shame in that, but our fandom is something on the quieter side as we’ve gotten older. Fanime gives us a chance to, once a year, really cut loose and geek out on anime. In 2011, the Fanime coverage was a lone post by John (as I was unable to attend). This year will be a little bit more extensive than last, in fact, if you remember the 5 part Fanime 2010 series, this will be much the same. We’ll be covering Fanime from both authors, across the entire weekend. I’ll be covering Friday & Saturday in this post with John covering Monday & the post-mortem. Enjoy!

== Friday ==

A line of gnomes, unrelated
For us, Friday started about 3:30 PM when we showed up for tickets. In past years there was a small line for pre-registration, but nothing significant. This year was a little different.

Instead of a line that ended within sight of the ticket pickup window… we had a line so long it took 5 full minutes to find the end of it. Yes, it was horrendous. The line started at the pickup window, ran down one wall, into an S turn queue, out the turns and down one wall, across the hall, up the center, back down the center, up one wall, made a few turns around some obstacles, along another wall (directly across from the pickup widow), turned out into the lobby… OUT THE FRONT DOOR… and then around the front door until the end of the line was basically standing in the street. It was an estimated 3 hour line, we lucked out at 2 hours and 45 minutes. Of course once we got there I found out that they lost my nice pre-printed badge and was instead given a paper pass. Lame.

So why was the line so long? Three reasons that I can find.

  1. There was a power outage on Thursday, so (almost) no one could register then.

  2. There are only 8 ticket agents and maybe 3-4 runners (for finding and retrieving the passes).

  3. Fanime pre-registration numbers have grown significantly and the organizers haven’t scaled with it.

Protesters were out in force, girls made out to protest the protesters
After we finally had our tickets, it was nearly 7 PM. We scoped out the dealers hall for a few minutes, but

John really wanted to go to the swap meet. I spent most of my time elsewhere which turned out to be a good thing since the swap meet was more disorganization and another MASSIVE line. What I discovered was that the swap meet was taking place in two large (ball)rooms in the hotel, one room had a massive line for people and the other had none. No one really seemed to be managing the lines, so attendees just lined up in the one line they saw. Eventually a staff member directed some people into the second room, but it didn’t help long term. The swap meet is better off in one large room (like previous years) rather than two separate rooms.

== Saturday ==

Saturday started early, before 9 AM. Since I had a morbid curiosity, I started by checking out the pre-registration line, which was nearly out the door again (though they had improved the pathing, slightly). People were generally awake and excited. Events were really getting into full swing.

A perfect (and accidental) example of why you should wear undergarments. Yes, this girl is, but if she wasn’t… it’d be no fun for her.
My first stop of the day was a panel on Cosplayer Photography, from both the perspective of the cosplayers and the photographers. It wasn’t particularly full nor exciting, but I think it did provide some good information. One of the key tips that stuck with me was for cosplayers. If you’ve got a costume that could possibly show anything, wear appropriate undergarments —

ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE UNDERAGE. Showing naughty bits is probably not something you want on the internet (especially by accident) and it’ll probably ruin what could otherwise be a good photo if you’re doing a shoot. Additionally for photographers, naughty bits + underage = child porn. We don’t want child porn, by purpose, by accident, or by any other means — so wear something underneath.

Beyond that one panel, I spent the majority of the day skulking about between the dealers hall, artists alley, and the game room. The dealers hall has improved in my book. There now seems to be a greater variety of shops and goods for sale with much less duplication. I never really did see the need to have 5 different booths selling models, most of them carrying the same stuff as each other. The booths have also branched out in terms of what type of goods they carry, for example there was two corset booths, an art supply booth, a group selling nothing, but sound sensitive T-shirts and last but not least… the Necomimi booth.

Necomimi appears to be the brand name under which Neurosky (those lovely brain controlling people who

sponsored my trip to GDC) is selling the “adorable brain controlled cat ears” I saw at GDC. Whomever at Neurosky thought to come sell at Fanime was a genius. I saw these little ears freaking EVERYWHERE by the end of the day. The Neomimi ears weren’t cheap, but this was certainly the audience in which to sell them. By the end of Sunday you couldn’t go more than a few feet without seeing at least one pair running around the convention hall. More importantly on Sunday I started to see the ears popping up in modded forms. One person simply dyed the ears (which are initially while) black to match their costume. An even more industrious person had removed the “stock” set of ears and replaced them with a hand made replacement set which matched their cosplay.

== A comment on cosplay costumes ==

In costume T&A - A-OK
If you followed my twitter feed, you probably saw me complaining about gratuitous tits and ass at Fanime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude, I’m a guy and I do enjoy some T&A — but things are getting a little ridiculous. Fanime is supposed to be a family friendly event. I understand that some anime characters wear risque outfits and I’ve got nothing against that (Heck, I enjoy those anime/characters), but some people have taken things a step or two too far.

Didn’t get a great picture, but you get the idea.
One of the first things I saw was a person I titled “overflow pikachu”. She was wearing a yellow skintight suit. Sexy pikachu is a thing, a thing that I enjoy, but this person needs to look in a mirror. This girl, as you can see in the picture is what you’d typically call “well endowed”. The trouble (and the title) comes from the fact that her suit was a bit too tight and her endowment was overflowing it. I don’t like to be the fashion police, but if you’re going to spend the time, money, and energy to dress provocatively at a CONVENTION in front of tens of thousands of people… please take the extra 5 minutes to make sure you fit into it.

I assure you, the picture and the skirt end at the same point.
The second person I must point out is where I get more than a little irritated. This… lady… as you can see was not wearing any discernible costume. Her outfit consisted of a lace bra (With mesh back), a leather mini skirt, and heels. That’s it. I will admit that it is entirely possible that she was playing a character of some sort, but not one of the 4 other anime friends/fans I was with could think of anyone remotely close. A bikini top is okay, that’s swimwear, that’s beachwear… but a lace bra, that’s UNDERWEAR. I like to see people put some work and skill into their costume, not just throw on half a club outfit and call it good. Heck, even the

Team Rocket cosplayers put more effort into their costumes.