For those of you that do not know, there is an anime convention that is held every year during Memorial Day weekend at the San Jose Convention Center. That convention is known as Fanime and my friends have been going to it for years. I am a huge fan of basically everything that you can find at Fanime. Anime, Manga, Comics, My Little Pony, League of Legends, and I even read Homestuck. Although I am not the biggest fan of it. The thing is, I had never been to Fanime before this year. Even though my friends always went, it seemed like I was too busy to go. I have been trying to go for the past six years and this was my first time there. We ended up in line for way too many hours to get our badges after a car ride that started at 6:00 am for me because I was the driver. We hit a few bumps along the way, but everything turned out alright in the end. I went with a bunch of friends including some of the guys from the site. Make sure to check out the posts from Bryan and Daniel unless you only like me which is bad because that makes you a racist just like Dung(Inside Joke).Let’s take a look back at the cool stuff that happened over the course of the four-day weekend.
Day 1 – Time to Hit the Swap Meet
If you want to buy cool things, then Fanime is the place to be. They have the Dealer’s Hall and the Artist’s Alley where you can purchase things that strike your fancy. I spent a good amount of time in both on Friday and that resulted in money leaving my wallet. I picked up two models at this booth in the Dealer’s Hall that had some pretty crazy prices going on. A 1/144 scale Nobell Gundam and a model of Boa Hancock’s ship ran me a total of $37.00. I ended up picking up a few prints in Artist’s Alley as well. You can find great stuff from local artists there that rage from My Little Pony to League of Legends to Young Justice. I didn’t mention anime stuff because that is obvious. I will warn you that both places have some adult material and it is a little more well-hidden at the Dealer’s Hall.
What happened besides fueling capitalism? Well, a bunch of us learned how to play a new card game. We have all been fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! and I played Magic with Dung, but we needed something fresh. So, we did what any person that loves anime would do. We participated in the Weiss Schwarz workshop. For those of you that don’t know what Weiss Schwarz is, it is a card game that functions a lot like Cardfight Vanguard. Are you still lost? Well, the fun part about it is the fact that all of the cards are full art and based on anime. Yes, there is a set for Sword Art Online, Persona 4, the idolm@ster, and so on. We didn’t care what the game was like because the cards looked so cool. The picture directly above the description for this day gives you an example of some of the cards. They are mostly in Japanese still, but we don’t card. That is what google translate is for.
Well, I hope you didn’t think that I was done spending money. Friday is the only day that the swap meet is open. That is a place where people sell and trade their collectibles. Why is this great? Well, you can get things that are pretty damn rare and it only happens once a year. I was a man on a mission during this particular event because one of the sellers had Weiss Schwarz cards. Most of the Dealer’s Hall booths lacked the merchandise or were over charging for it. So I walked briskly up and down the aisles until I found it and then I got into a frenzy. I started grabbing things and handing them to the guy in charge. I was picking up boosters, card sleeves, boxes, and anything else that caught my eye. I was up there for at least twenty minutes and I started to sweat. This was some intense shopping. Don’t think that it wasn’t warranted though. Things were selling out while I was buying stuff and the place looked like a madhouse. I got out of their pretty satisfied and that was basically the end of my first day at Fanime.
Day 2 – Let’s Take Some Pictures
Honestly, I was pretty burnt out on shopping after the first day. What is there besides shopping at Fanime? Well, I actually skipped out on most of the panels and screenings on Saturday. I spent most of my time hanging out with Dung. We walked around the place and took a lot of pictures. What do I mean by a lot? I had uploaded a grand total of zero pictures to Facebook prior to this trip. Dung took over one hundred pictures of me with cosplayers on Saturday alone. I can’t put all of them into this post because it would be way too long, but if you really want to see more of them, I may do something about that if this gets enough feedback asking for them. By the way, all of the pictures of a fat guy with cosplayers in this post are of me.
I obviously didn’t spend an entire day just taking pictures. That would almost be a waste of a Saturday. So, we got in line to watch the concert at around 6:00 pm. Rookiez is Punk’d and 7!!(pronounced seven oops) were the two bands that performed at said concert. Rookiez is Punk’d did Complication from Durarara!! and 7!! did Sayonara Memories from Naruto Shippuden as an example of their music. We waited in line for a little over an hour, but it wasn’t too bad. The line didn’t start moving until around 7:00 pm and it went fast when it started. Our spot in line was up against a shady wall so we got to sit down comfortably for an hour. That is a pretty sweet spot if you ask me. We got floor seats and the concert was really intense. It was the first modern concert that I had ever been to and it was a great experience. Good music, good friends, and the concert is free to enter with your Fanime membership. I did prefer Rookiez is Punk’d, but that may just be due to the fact that my ears haven’t recovered from the screeches that came out of the drummer from 7!!.
What could be the greatest end to a day filled with fun pictures and an epic concert? Some fun TV with friends. Bryan, Duc, Dung, and I went back to the hotel right after the concert and we caught the Black Dynamite Christmas Episode on Adult Swim. Let’s just say that it was hilarious and fans of the Boondocks should definitely check it out. I haven’t seen an animated OJ Simpson since that golfing episode on Family Guy. We needed the rest in all honesty. Dung knocked out when we got back to our room. I don’t know how the other guys had the energy to go back to the convention after the concert.
Day 3 – Dinner with Vaughn
Sunday was a pretty special day if you ask me. A bunch of us decided to actually hit up some panels. There was a Q&A with both bands from the concert that progressed in a similar fashion. The one with 7!! was an actual Q&A all the way through with questions asked by the guy in charge and questions asked from audience members. Some people asked too many questions and a certain fan got a little carried away, but everything ended up alright. The Rookiez is Punk’d one had a slightly different set up. The first half consisted of the band talking about their connection to anime and the second half was all about the fan questions. One very emotional girl told the band about how their music helped her through some rough times. Those moments are always awkward because no one knows what to do. It doesn’t always seem right to clap, but silence is really awkward. Plus, it was a Q&A, so the band was waiting on a question. It ended with the band telling the interpreter that they make music for people like her that are going through rough times and it ended up being a pretty nice moment.
What made this day really special was the fact that we got to see our friend Vaughn. San Jose is fairly close to Stanford, so Dung, Brian, and I drove out to have an early dinner with our hot friend Vaughn. It was great because I was starving and we went to this all you can eat Mongolian Barbecue place in Mountain View. They do a great job for the most part and it was nice having some real food. We brought fruit and junk food to the hotel for breakfast and dinner and we ate fast food for lunch on most days. Our stomachs thanked us for breather. I got to show Vaughn the pictures that the guys took of me with cosplayers and we talked about everything that we did thus far. I hope that we can all go together someday because we would all enjoy it.
What else is there to do at Famine? Well, there are screenings and panels that happen all the way through the night from Sunday to Monday. There were some interesting things going on when we got back, but most of the panels were either too simple or very sexual. Dung and I split off when we got back to take more pictures because we didn’t need to learn about fan fiction or watch the bikini contest. Those are real things at Fanime. We ended up watching the last part of an episode of Toaru Majutsu no Railgun S with Bryan and Duc. After that, we ended up at a pretty boring archery demo that we left early from. We needed to check out before 8:00 am on Monday, so we should have been taking that early leave as a blessing and gotten more sleep. However, we stayed up and talked until around 2 am. Having friends will do that to you.
Day 4 – Last Call
Friday and Monday are the slow days for the convention. People are still at work and school on Monday, so the big draw is the swap meet. Monday is the day that some vendors take off and most people go back to their regular lives because they are exhausted. Well, we decided to stay for all four days because we paid for it. The draw of the final day of Fanime if the fact that there are often sales at both the Dealer’s Hall and Artist’s Alley. It is the final day there, so you want to push as much merchandise as possible. The draw of sales is reflected by the crazy lines that you have to wait in in order to even get inside. By this time, we had done our window shopping and we knew what we were getting at the Dealer’s Hall. Dung and I made a mad dash for the model stores, but things did not always go our way. Dung’s prized Red Frame model was not there, but the Blue Frame was a nice consolation. I picked up a few things including a Buster Gundam that only cost $10.00 because the box was messed up. The contents were fine and that was all that mattered to me.
Our next stop was Artist’s Alley. This was the place that we basically set up as a base where we all met up before we left because I was parked right next to it. There was a lot of stuff left and people did some last-minute shopping. I ended up with some fun iPhone cases and Dung took me back to the Dealer’s Hall. It was our final trip there because he had to get something for his brother. I didn’t mind going with him because I was dragging Dung around everyday we were there. Things cooled down as people slowly left the convention center. Everything was only open until 3:00 pm that day, but we ended up leaving around 1:00 pm. We had all handled what we needed to and we did not feel like staying for the closing ceremonies. Maybe I will go to that one day, but we were all exhausted. Guess who was really exhausted. The guy that had to drive back from the convention for over an hour. everyone else slept for most of the car ride.
I know what you are saying. “If they already left the convention, why is he still talking about day four?” Well, things didn’t end after we left the convention. We went to Dung’s house to enjoy some great food because his family was having a party. I have been to quite a few Vietnamese restaurants in my day, but we got some food that I have never seen before. I say that, but it was all pretty damn good. I had the spiciest fish sauce that I have ever encountered and lots of other great stuff. It sure would have been nice if Dung knew what everything was called, but I will just have to guess if I ever want to order it somewhere. I was born in Oklahoma and all of this foreign food is introduced to me by my friends. I eat meat and potatoes at home. Overall, having great food with great friends was the best way to end a fantastic weekend. Well, that would have been the case had I not spilled fish sauce all over my shorts.
Fanime is a great place to go if you love anime. The convention does a great job of providing enough space to handle all of the people in terms of housing and room on the convention floor. You should definitely get their early to pick up your badge because the line goes outside of the hotel on the first day of badge pickup. They tell you to shower at least once a day, but it smells like that rule isn’t always followed. I showered twice a day and kept a sweat towel handy. That was to save everyone else from my sweaty fatness. I had a great time and I definitely want to go again. Maybe I will see some of you at the next Fanime. Like I said earlier, I have over one hundred pictures and I will share them with you if I get enough feedback asking for them. Or not, most people would rather see me cropped out of the photos because I distract from the sweet cosplay. The some of the photos were taken by Duc, Mark, Brian, Brian, and Daniel, but most of them were taken by Dung. A big thanks to Dung for guiding me around all weekend long.