Fanime 2016: A Convention Report

Written by Chris Kwock (@kwock)

Fanime, as it has been for the last 14 years, took place again in San Jose at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. The convention center and the locations around it were beautiful! The weather was a bit bi-polar though and I heard it isn’t usually like that. The convention center itself isn’t exactly huge, but two hotels feed straight into it on opposite sides. I didn’t do any panels, but most of them were all in the Fairmont hotel which is maybe a 10 minute walk outside of the main hotels and convention center. While I was staying in San Jose, the days got as high as the 90s and the nights got down to the high 50s.

One of few beautiful locations around the convention center

A few years ago Fanime had one of the worst lines ever, people were waiting over 8 hours for their badges. It was so bad that the staff went around handing water to everyone in line. Subsequent years they got more computers and updated software which made things really smooth. I was excited to hit up Fanime after I felt that their registration was all settled...I was poorly mistaken.

This year they decided to move the location for their registration stating that it was bigger and that it freed up the previous location for other things. All sound reasons...but then they changed their software or registration provider? Anyway it royally messed things up. Went with a friend on Thursday [day 0] expecting a nice easy walk in pick up. Saw a little bit of a line, thought, “No problem, I see the end.” Biigggg mistake. It curved into the hotel and we ended up being in line for an hour and a half (which was nothing compared to Friday). The estimated wait times on Friday were five to six hours just to get a badge. The line snaked out of the con and through the trees, where all the photographers usually use for photos, and down to the street corner before wrapping back. It really put a damper on my Friday with it being so busy and everyone stuck in line rather than cosplaying.

There were tons of cosplay gatherings going on through the weekend, maybe not quite as big as the big AX groups but pretty sizable if you ask me. Depending how big the groups were, there were different locations to choose from to accommodate their size. Locations were pretty spread out between the convention center and the Fairmont hotel.

Fanime is such a party con that doesn’t sleep. Not quite like Dragon Con where everyone is drunk though. Things like hotel parties and photoshoots were going on through the night. There was a constant flow of people even at midnight around the area. I think the bubbletea place close to my hotel made bank; there was always a line out the door even at 11 pm. If you want breakfast food, best to go at 9am before everyone wakes up and before they start flooding the breakfast spots. The bakery that was located in the Fairmont hotel was always sold out of ham and cheese croissants when I went down at 10am T_T

I really enjoyed hanging out with friends and making new ones at Fanime. It is a really nice location and the cosplays were so on point. I would definitely head back to Fanime to hang out and do more shoots and hang out. Next time I’d want to make the trek out to San Francisco though since it is so close!

Check out a few of my cosplay shots below! The rest are on my Facebook.