Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fanime Convention 2017 Review

FanimeCon 2017
May 26-29, 2017
San Jose McEnery Convention Center
San Jose, CA

June 1, 2017
by James Vallesteros

On Memorial Day weekend, thousands of people pack the San Jose McEnery Convention Center for the annual convention that is proudly marked as “By Fans, for Fans” known as FanimeCon to rejoice in the awareness of Japanese Art and Popular Culture. With various offerings from music, video games, panels, tournaments, anime, manga, cosplay and international guests, it has earned the title as the largest anime convention in Northern California. The inaugural Fanime began in 1994 attracting attendance in the low hundreds and 23 years later, the attendance has exponentially grown to almost 30,000. 

Photos courtesy of Daniel Craig

Fanime is labeled as a 24-hour convention as the exhibit doors close, the panels and other events continue into the early hours of the next day. This allows all attendees to absorb all that is to be offered. There is plenty of entertainment going on all day for all ages such as panels, the ongoing onstage performance of various acts, and the endless list of vendors on the exhibit floor selling a wide range of merchandise. The nightlife after the convention hours is more catered to the 18 and 21 and over with music, dancing, and get-togethers at the hotel lobby’s bars and restaurants. There are also panels still going strong and some that are targeted for a more adult crowd. Needless to say, Fanime provides valued entertainment all day. 

Photos courtesy of JamesVallesteros.com

Although the main focus is to spread awareness of Japanese Art and Popular Culture, it doesn’t stop others from bringing fandoms that may not be Japanese made, but definitely Japanese inspired. There are many artworks from your favorite Anime or Manga as well as the licensed merchandise from these franchises. The 24-Hour game room is a popular attraction as it is filled with classic arcade games ranging from shooters, claw-grabs, and fighter-style games. If arcade gaming is not your taste, Fanime has got you covered with fully decked out computers with high-end peripherals to satisfy your PC Gaming needs. Let’s not forget the board games. These strategic games are available for anyone to play, learn, and to network with others.

Photos courtesy of JamesVallesteros.com

The Cosplay Scene at Fanime is a colorful presentation of fandom and creativity. Cosplayers who have been working hours on their craft proudly display their work for others to enjoy, but more importantly, to show pride in their craftsmanship and their love for the character that they are cosplaying. This community is filled with creative individuals who are more likely to find others with the same interests that lead to networking and friendship. All the cosplayers we experienced were courteous and never denied a photo-op. 

Photos courtesy of JamesVallesteros.com

A veteran in the convention scene, Fanime and its staff are a well-oiled machine. They bring out staff that is knowledgeable and are always helpful and courteous when help is needed. The crowd control is amicable and they are on top when it’s pertaining to providing a friendly and safe environment. The peace-bonding stations for cosplay props and weapons followed a strict guideline that resulted an atmosphere that is felt safe and sound. 

Photos courtesy of JamesVallesteros.com

If FanimeCon’s goal is to make one single individual be aware of Japanese Art and Pop Culture, let’s just say that they reach their goal thousands of times over each year. It is a beautiful form of Popular Culture that ranges in various attributes. FanimeCon adds compliments to your Memorial Day Weekend and it’s a weekend that many attendees look forward to the next.

FanimeCon is set to return May 25-28 in 2018. For the latest information, visit www.fanime.com.


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