Fanime 2016 - Convention Review
by Bryan Mero
Fanime is the largest gathering of anime fan in Northern California. Attending for the 4th year in a row, it only seems to get bigger. Think around 30 thousand people, half or more in cosplay and ready to celebrate anime, manga, movies, etc.
Cosplay is the biggest spectacle at the con. People go to great lengths to make their cosplay incredible. Although, I saw the most elaborate costumes to the easiest (just a tag on someone's shirt saying who that are). Both were equally celebrated among their peers.
The gatherings were huge and some have grown way to much to be in the side alleyway (That would be the JoJo gathering). Give JoJo the big stage next year please! Their amazing cosplay should be in front of the people for all to see as they are now 100+ strong.
Gaming, once again was huge and a success. The amount of people who attend the gaming sessions just seems to increase and attendees keep having a great time. There are tables open for board games, areas setup for giant genga (and regular sized), arcade games, retro games...and just so much more. Hats off everyone that sets this room up. The work that must go into had to be immense and it shows. It was very well organized and if you were a gamer there was something you could do. If you were bored in that room...that would be your own fault.
The good and bad about the panels this year...first the bad: figuring out where and what time each panel was is tough at best. There was a provided schedule in the swag bag this year but nothing online. This made it very difficult to find what the current and upcoming panels were for the day. My biggest suggestion would be to post the grid of schedule events online that would be easily viewed on a mobile phone device. There was a grid like this for the cosplay gatherings and it worked great. It would be been so much better to have the same for the panels.
The Good: The amount of talent at Fanime 2017 was excellent. There was a lot of voice talent like aways but something new this year was Doug Walker aka The Nostalgia Critic. I was personally excited to see/meet Mr. Walker since I have been watching his videos on YouTube for years. I was lucky enough to see Doug Walker twice during the con. First was the panel "Movies People Fight About" and it was here that I found Doug Walker not just a good guest/panelist but genuinely a nice, patient person who really goes all out for his fans. Being at many panels in the past with a celebrity, I've heard and seen just about everything...in this case its fans trying to describe the movie they like or disliked and why. Some answers went on and on and while I would 'sigh' and roll my eyes, Doug, like a champ, helped them along to make their point and thank them for their thoughts. I don't think I could have been so generous after this happened several times. Later I got to meet him at an autograph session and I got to take a picture with him. Of all the cons I have attended and all the celebrities I have covered, Doug Walker was certainly one of the most gracious and nicest people I have met. Thanks Doug for making Fanime 2017 even better!
The PROS of the Con:
The cosplay was again incredible. The people attending are great. Even as an older guy like myself in cosplay, the younger attendees accepted me with open arms for pictures, gatherings, comments, etc. Thanks to the people of Fanime 2017 to create an atmosphere where everyone can feel comfortable and accepted.
The CONS of the Con:
Create a better way to tell us about panels and what is happening! Please put a grid of events online so I can view it via my phone! I know I missed many panels because I couldn't find the right time, location, etc. Of all the great things that Fanime 2017 got right, this is the only thing right now that is lacking. I know there's no way to put the panels and the hall together, but making it easier to find events/panels/etc. would make a huge difference.
Even with a few complaints, this is still one of the best collections of people in the Bay Area and beyond. It had something for everyone. The dealers hall was huge and had products from all over the globe. The cosplay only gets better and better with every con I attend. The craftsmanship just improves each time. Everyone was really friendly and nice, even in the midst of crowds and crowds of people. I had a Fanime Newbie with me on Saturday and he was in awe of the amount of dealers, artists, anime, etc. The biggest gathering he had ever seen and some of the nicest people from the attendees to the volunteers. Great job Fanime 2017, you did it again!