The Cel Shaded report, 5/26: California dreamin’

May 26th, 2011
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FanimeCon, one of Northern California’s largest anime conventions, is taking place this weekend in San Jose, Calif.

Remember a few weeks ago, when I mentioned that I was jealous of anyone who could attend the Maui Matsuri? Suffice it to say that I’m really really really jealous of anyone able to attend Fanime this weekend. Unlike the Maui Matsuri, I actually did attend Fanime for the first time last year. I loved the experience so much, I would’ve liked to have gone again this year as well. But alas, Kawaii Kon and Fanime were less than a month apart this year, and I’d much prefer to space out my precious vacation time throughout the year rather than take two lengthy vacations so close to each other, so that was that.

There’s actually a nice 808-state connection with the event this year, what with nemu*nemu‘s Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga returning for another year in the dealer’s room and the idkwhat2wear gang making their mainland con debut in Artist Alley. Friends of the blog Rachael Ing and Jaymee Masui will probably be there as well, Rachael running around shooting many pretty pictures of cosplayers, Jaymee holding down a Artist Alley table.

For those of you who’ve only experienced Kawaii Kon, I cannot emphasize enough: Kawaii Kon is a nice enough convention as it stands, but if you consider yourself a real fan of anime and manga, you owe it to yourself to make it to at least one large mainland convention in your lifetime. Fanime is juuuuuuuuust a tad bit bigger than Kawaii Kon, as this shot outside the McEnery Convention Center can attest.

Like, say, a little over three times bigger. There were more than 16,000 attendees last year, after all. It makes for a neat dynamic in the surrounding neighborhood during con weekend as cosplayers cross the street going to and from nearby hotels. It’s like an impromptu cosplay parade.

And those costumes? Impeccable. Check a few of them out — along with some other Fanime thoughts (and some actual news, about other things going on locally!) after the break.

I have so many favorites that to comment on them all would take … well, a year, really. Considering it’s already been a year since I took these pictures, I’ll just forego the usual commentary, get out of the way and post this roll as is.

But what makes Fanime so special? Part of it is its “by fans, for fans” mantra, which makes the whole affair seem like one big four-day anime party. (Yes, this con actually runs over four days. It’s quite exhilarating and exhausting.) So while you get some special guests like Hiroyuki Yamaga from Gainax …

… you also get your fair share of panels featuring all sorts of topics.

And then there’s the Big Honking Room of Awesome. It’s not really called that, but with an arcade in there all four days and an anime swap meet in there for the first two, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Sealing the deal for me in the arcade were two games that you just don’t see around these parts: a Para Para Paradise 2nd Mix machine …

… and a Dance Maniax 2nd Mix machine.

Then there was the swap meet, which is just as lovely as you’d expect: all manner of gently-used swag changing hands between fans.

I picked up a bunch of Sailor Moon volumes for $1 each (you have to remember that this was in the days before Kodansha USA announced it would be bringing back the series, so any Sailor Moon volumes were pretty hard to come by … never mind for $1 each), as well as a bunch of Super Eurobeat CDs (because let’s face it, any racing game without a Super Eurobeat custom soundtrack playing behind it is just not the same — yes, I blame the Initial D anime for spoiling me on this point).

There was much more I did at Fanime — including getting to meet a bunch of the California anime/manga bloggers for lunch one time and some adult beverages another time — but it was a vacation, so I didn’t take too many pictures. But would I go back next year? Absolutely. Will I? As anime producer David Williams is fond of saying, “I can neither confirm … nor deny.”

Anime Roll Call

>> Oahu Anime Explorer meets from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at HMC Academy, 555 N. King St. Visit www.oahuanimeexplorer.com.

>> Hey, fans of Star-Advertiser cartoonist Jon J. Murakami’s Gordon Rider who are also off-island! Ever wanted to buy series swag, but never were able to make it out to Oahu to pick anything up? The official Gordon Rider online store opened earlier this week to fix that, with shirts (“hen-tie” … *snicker*), buttons, and the five-year anniversary art book and issue #5 now available to meet your purchasing needs. Visit gordonrider.bigcartel.com.

One Response to “The Cel Shaded report, 5/26: California dreamin’”

  1. AniMatsuri:

    You know a Con is a big deal when they hang banners around the city.

    Anime Swap Meet! Now there’s something I wish they would bring over to Kawaii Kon.


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