Pending car troubles and mix ups in registration, the journey to Fanime Con 2007 was hardly easy; but when time came, I arrived at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in one piece.
The first night wasn't all that eventful, as per tradition at Fanime, with very little going on beyond the swap meet, I chose to wander. For it being my fourth year at Fanime, I hardly thought that it was all that radically different, but at the same time I noticed some changes that Fanime Con implemented into their planning. Their stage zero now had seats, the panels were all centralized in the Hilton while all the viewing rooms were centralized in the Marriott side. One confusing and annoying aspect, was that the artists' alley closed awfully fast, at about six in the evening. I miss the days when the artists littered the main concourse, though that luxury I suppose had to be given up with the rapid growth Fanime has been seeing for the past few years. Overlooking that and the fact that the programs for this year weren't printed, Fanime seemed to have gotten on its way.
The swap meet had some interesting books and paraphernalia available for purchase. Some of the rarer and better finds I managed to secure for myself included Faeries by Yoshitaka Amano and an excess of all things Clamp. Other attractions available then were the Suzumiya Haruhi bunny girls and Kyon trying to sell their own wares with the use of their sex appeal. By the number of people crowding around their small patch of concrete sales floor, I'd say they succeeded quite well with that plan, though I wonder if the crowds were actually buying anything, or merely taking photos and rubber necking the sexily clad girls.
The second day came quickly, as the first day was pretty much over by the time I had gotten to the con. I woke up early and donned my cosplay (Asian news correspondent) and went down to press reg for my press badge before going around to my stomping grounds. As I am writing this con report for this site, I also have been assigned to write for another paper, and that paper needed more than a first hand account of my actions; I needed a good angle to cover the con, and I had no clue what to really do. I didn't let this phase me, and I waltzed into artists' alley. Over the years I had seen the artists alley grow, and how now the number of artists registered for table space was about two hundred participants. The skill levels and styles varied greatly; from prints to pins, from comic to furry, from cute to sexy, a wide range of artists were around for this year. Most notably a few faces from last year returned. As staff, Neo-Lucky, Usaku, to name a few, Raizy-chu, Pi-e, the people of BAAU and a great number more also strewn throughout the convention hall. The bulk of my time was spent here, idling and chatting with artists, for I am such a model worker in getting the job done.
The common consensus I saw from this year was that art is a hard sell. Pins, cute minuscule objects, things that aren't necessarily prints sold much better. Perhaps it's the price, or the originality, but even I fell in weakness to the one dollar mini-pins. I will also add though that the staff members of Artists' alley were happy to sell their own swap meet stuff while sitting in the artists' alley registration area. An overwhelming fountain of yaoi, yuri, and assorted hentai graced their large cardboard box so labeled.
The true fun really didn't start until after the sun had set and the children had gone home. At approximately 10:00 PM on Saturday night, Damn You Internets started in the ball room of the Hilton. With everything /b/ rearing its head, the audience was treated to a tribute to memes that should die, AIDS, and porn - lots and lots of porn. Not to say this panel was adults only, I recall a proud member professing his age as 17, and promptly throwing his drivers license at the panelist to prove so; however, that was on the second day.
Yes, the Damn You Internets panel was the largest panel this year, and also the longest. We met on Saturday night, and then returned on Sunday night for an extra two hours of more wankery. The second night featured the “Rule #34 Game,” a game show where contestants had to figure out if there was porn of any given character, or not. The game itself was a sea of mosiac tiles on the projector screen, leaving the audience to fill in what was happening, most of the time in utter disgust. Those two hours were possibly the best times I had during the entire convention. It was devoid of social restraint, and absurd comedy ran a-muck just as it did on the real Internet message boards.
Between the two panels, I wandered around the con, aimlessly. I set about to work on Sunday, and most of it is a blur of interviews and photography. Some of the notable people I interviewed were the people of BAAU who released their latest compilation, as well as the directors of Okashi studios who are currently making an English dating simulator. By the last day, I was wondering where the time had gone, one day was spent talking with people for fun, another was spent on work, and on Monday, my ride was packing up to leave.
Overall, Fanime has been okay. Not the most notable con experience in my life, but then again I'm not much a con goer from the start. Most of my friends have always told me: “You go to Fanime for the people, not the goods,” and that is the truth; my best times there was hanging around the other artists, just talking. Although a pricey way to converse with people (nearly $200 for four days) , it was an enjoyable time like with any social gathering.