Fanime 2010: General Impressions
First off, let me just say that FanimeCon is off-the-hook, wall-to-wall, totally extreme, random, awesome geekness. And I mean ALL of this in the best possible way. Truly.
So what is Fanime? What do they have? What do they do? Why would you EVER want to go? Fanime is an anime convention. That much is apparent from just the name, but they are so much more than JUST “cartoons”. There was cosplay. A ridiculous amount of cosplay. And gaming of ALL kinds, and artists, and comics, and a talent show, and fashion shows, and a music festival, and speakers, and a Black & White Ball, and crafts, and DIY how-to panels, and buying guide panels, and a Maid Cafe (which I was TOTALLY ignorant of, but DAMN! We will cover THAT phenomenon in an entirely separate post!) and vendors, and a dojo, and anime. A TON of anime!
The con officially opened at 8AM on Friday morning and officially closed at 3PM Monday afternoon. Can you imagine?!? 79 nonstop hours of dweeb! It was RAD! Join me after the cut for all the awesome details. You know you want to.
So first, let’s talk about games. There was one HUGE room brimming with all things gaming. There were tables set up for tabletop RPGs and more set up for card games like Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! There were areas for computer gaming, and they had things set up so that computers could be networked for some good old fashioned LAN action. Gaming consoles had their own section, which was set up with pretty much every gaming system of note from the last 5 years (including NES, Sega, and Wii). 100+ games were available for people to play and a total of 17 gaming tournaments were held for games such as Street Fighter 3, Halo 3, and Super Mario Brothers. But wait! There’s more! They had arcade games set up; 26 different arcade games with almost 40 different cabinets including Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Street Fighter4, and BlazBlue. AND they had two 6 foot tables piled 4 feet high with board games, 3-D puzzles, and dice games. AND two air hockey tables. AND Cosplay Chess! Whew! It was freaking Gonzo Nuts!
Fanime had musical guests which included Momoi Halko, who opened the musical performances on Friday afternoon. Fans were CRAZY for her and her J-pop jams. Some fan antics included synchronized light stick waving, simultaneous jumping during choruses, and massive geek-gasms, many of which I am CERTAIN were the first such events with another person in the room. It was TOTALLY awesome! And a little strange.
There were fantastic writers and artists, one of which was Wendy Pini of Elfquest and Masque of the Red Death. Ms. Pini hosted a panel Saturday morning and she also took time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about the Elfquest movie, comics, her career, and her newest venture, Masque.
- Uno The Alien – A little ditty about, well, an alien named Uno. He crash lands on Earth and lives with a robot named 808 (who is hiding out from her own alien overlords) and Tom (a disgraced former San Francisco Police Lieutenant). Uno seems fun and clever – two great tastes that go great together!
- Then there is Lackadaisy, a beautifully rendered, single color webcomic about cats. Well, not really: they are bi-pedal cats, and there is a Speakeasy called Lackadaisy, and well, how about if I let the artist and creator, Tracy Butler, explain the premise: “It’s about a gang of tenacious (if not shady) characters running a St. Louis speakeasy in the era of Prohibition. I suppose it falls somewhere in the realm of historical fiction, parody, dark comedy, and abject nonsense.“
- There was also The Meek, a sleek and beautifully colorful webcomic about a girl named Angora who has lived in a forest commune her whole life, and is now pushed out to view the world and decide whether it deserves to be saved from certain doom (Muah muah muahahaha – ahem).
- The final really excellent looking webcomic I discovered at Fanime is Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name. This is a fun and funky strip by a woman named Tessa Stone about a college-aged guy who wants to be a paranormal investigator, but it’s narrated by a zombie. That just sounds freakishly fun and a little Scooby-Doo, which in my book is TOTALLY a good thing – ZOIKS!
All of these series look amazing in COMPLETELY different ways, and I think I’m about to RSS all of them for my perusing pleasure.
Fanime ALSO had a Black & White Ball on Sunday evening. This was a formal event with a formal dress code. And lest you think it was like Junior High School dances with 15 guys terrified in the corner while the room was packed with girls who wanted to boogey, Fanime had ballroom dance lessons all day Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday in preparation for this event. So, no freakin’ excuses for not dancing! By the time this event rolled around, I was totally cracked out and just couldn’t attend. Which I am very sad about. But next year…!
OMG! I had reviewed the Fanime website and knew that they would have 8 million panels and events, but I really just did not comprehend the magnitude of the event. At all.
If you went, tell me your thoughts – good and bad. If you DIDN’T go, you NEED to make this a priority for next year. Really.