Oh hey look, another con post with a risque title instead!
~Living in California has its perks as I’ve come to realize during my years in the anime, J-rock, and K-pop fandoms. Not only do we get a good percentage of foreign bands’ concert stops, but Cali also hosts quite a number of cons such as the famous Anime Expo in Los Angeles. To break my con virginity however, I opted for something not quite as extravagant, but just as fun by driving six hours to San Jose for the Fanime convention!
One of the most entertaining places to be is the courtyard, where cosplayers of all kind showcase their efforts to dress up as their favorite characters (and where extreme religious protestors go to try and preach the word of God to less-than-amused convention goers). I was surprised at the number of Madoka (KYUBEY AS WELL YOU GUYS), Durarara!!, and Star Driver cosplayers. I’m a pretty picky person when it comes to cosplay so I only managed to capture the outfits that really made me jump and say “Awesomeeee!”. Sadly, I missed my chance to capture a picture of a Takagi from Bakuman, Hoshi from Arakawa, and Mayaya from Kuragehime due to the fact I had to wait in line for MusicFest…
Favorite Cosplays of the weekend! Show ▼
Dealer’s Room, Artist Alley, and…Anime Jeopardy?:
Before getting into the good stuff, I must tell you, they had the anime version of Jeopardy. Don’t know the game show? Basically, you have a board with rows of certain themed questions, and each question is worth a certain amount of money, like 100$, 200$. The more expensive the question, the harder it is. I literally laughed when I caught the game going on and decided to watch. What’s worse though is that I knew about 40% of those questions…I kept going to my cousin like, “Oh! That’s Madoka, that’s K-ON!, that’s Durarara!!”. I’m pretty sure I proved my otaku-ness that day. (Funniest moment however was when the announcer said he would’ve taken points off for this guy’s answer because he said ‘Naruto’ wrong).
Anyways, the Dealer Room is where 100$ will be spent in a matter of hours as you browse booths and booths of fantastic, odd, and just plain awesome merchandise from plushies to body pillows to keychains to rare Gundamn kits and massive wall scrolls. Artist Alley is another interesting place as artists all around sell prints, keychains, and pins of their fabulous artwork. This place you will find more current anime merchandise than in the Dealer’s Room, which mainly has items from anime currently licensed in the U.S. It’s how I managed to scope out two Ao no Exorcist phone charms and how everyone else managed to grab their hysterical Kyubey fanarts.
I wasn’t able to go to many panels due to the fact I was in MANY long lines and was browsing the Dealer Room and Artist Alley a bit too much, but I did catch the two I mainly wanted to attend; the HANGRY & ANGRY Fashion show and the Jpop Vs. Kpop Battle Royale.
One of the Guests of Honor for Fanime was GASHICON, the creator of the comic/fashion brand HANGRY & ANGRY, if any of you out there are familiar with it or the two member music group. They put on a simple, but awesome fashion show, showcasing some of the clothing from her brand.
Some samples of the fashion show~ Show ▼
Afterwards was Q&A with GASHICON, who is one adorable and elegant lady I have to say. She told the backstory of HANGRY & ANGRY, mentioned her inspiration to get into fashion designing, how she came to be the graphic designer for h.NAOTO (a fashion brand, if you aren’t familiar with Japanese fashion brands), and gave some inspirational advice for any future fashion designers. I really enjoyed her presence, and her speaking. I mean, her voice is just adorable without sounding so high-pitched (I was surprised at how deep her voice was, but I just love it).
I, OF COURSE, needed to attend the Jpop vs. Kpop Battle Royale to support my love for Kpop, and surprisingly, I wasn’t the one with the same idea. The number of Kpop supporters in the room was outstanding and we all had a good time singing along and dancing to 5Dolls, 4Minute, Jay Park, TVXQ, Block B, f(x), BEAST, Girls’ Generation, 2PM, and TEEN TOP. There were even prize giveaways of Kpop CDs, which turned from answering simple Kpop questions into singing contests and one epic dance battle of SHINee’s Lucifer (BEST. MOMENT. EVER). Kpop
obviously ended up winning unanimously and after the battle was complete, the hosts opted to showing random music videos that, as I said, everyone had fun watching on the huge projector~.
So I won’t lie, one of the main reasons I decided to go to Fanime, despite the pretty lengthy trip to get there, was to see Yuya Matsu-freaking-shita. Being a Yuya fangirl, how could I miss this?! While there was his performance at MusicFest to attend, you could also grab his autograph, if you made it early in time that is. I ended up having to go to the autograph session the next day on Sunday due to the fact he already had more than 400 people lined up on Saturday, and they would barely accept 300 in this first one hour session. My cousin and I went the next day around 11AM and was met with a ten person line already starting (one girl was there since 9AM since she also missed yesterday’s deadline). We literally waited 2 hours for 5 seconds of bliss as he quickly had to sign our CD covers to speed the process up (Poor guy, seriously). Let me tell you from a fangirl’s state of mind though: IT WAS WORTH IT. (He’s quite thin actually! And oh so cute up close<3). I also managed to catch GASHICON’s autograph on the bag I was handed when buying an ANGRY pouch at the brand’s booth. It was definitely worth getting up early to get her adorable sketch and signature. Not only that, but I was even allowed a picture! (I will not show it however for personal reasons…)
For this year’s MusicFest, Yuya Matsushita and FLOW would be performing, so being the concert veterans my cousin and I are, after attending the HANGRY & ANGRY Fashion show and grabbing some lunch on Saturday, we decided to grab our place in line in front of the Civic Auditorium around 2PM, which already had a good-sized line to the end of the building. This line by 6:30PM would stretch past the building and loop around another building. Trust me (NO PUN INTENDED), this line was LONG, and for a good reason. Not only were there Yuya fangirls, but FLOW fangirls and fanboys as well, who from what I heard from fellow line goers, put on an amazing show last year.
Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to record or take photos of the concert so I can only offer you my best description of the amazing-ness that was Yuya and FLOW. First off, Yuya…has MOVES. If his dancing in his videos is impressive, nothing compares to this man LIVE. So much hip thrusting, twirling, and YUYA JAZZ FINGERS~. He was definitely the sexy eye-candy of the night, but he also showed his cute side with his adorable Engrish (which he read off of notecards, NOTECARDS. I’m still laughing). He even tried teaching us how to say “I’m one hell of a butler” in Japanese but of course the fangirls couldn’t take it once he said it in his Sebastian tone. I have to say Yuya sounds absolutely gorgeous live, especially when singing his more ballad-y songs like ‘Bird’ and ‘Hallucination’. I’m glad to have seen him live, and would love to see him again.
While Yuya was the eye-candy, FLOW was pure rock and roll fun. I’m not sure whether it’s the fact a lot of their songs are energetic or the fact these guys are absolutely entertaining to watch on-stage, but they literally had everyone jumping up and down, fist-pumping, and dancing around, even the security guards watching for people recording! The song though that brought everyone together definitely was “GO!!”. We all belted our lungs out singing “FIGHTING DREAMERS!” and mouthing the quick Japanese afterwards. Even after the concert had ended and people were still inside the auditorium, they played the audio of the song and a lot of us inside (including my cousin and I) sung the song, still dancing and head-banging around. I honestly cannot describe that…energetic feeling that erupted from performing that song. It is one of those ‘You had to be there’ moments. Out of the bands/singers that I’ve seen in concert, FLOW has to be the best. I had never felt so energetic and happy and pumped UP before at any of the concerts I’ve been to. If you were to see one band live in concert, it should be FLOW, seriously. I guarantee you will have one of the best times of your life~.
Overall and Tips?:
Being my very first anime convention, I definitely had a great time, though I do wish I had more money and more time to visit all the panels I had planned to go to but didn’t to grab those autographs and get a good seat for MusicFest. Honestly, everything I had imagined turned out to be completely different and wacky from my original thoughts. I had heard stories, read some con posts, but nothing, NOTHING prepares you for what you’re actually going to see, but that’s the fun of it. It’s better to be surprised by the amount of random cosplayers out there and the pretty wacky people you’ll see. My cousin and I were literally awe-struck coming in, and left laughing with so many funny stories to tell.
Now, I feel like I have to give some future tips to any first-timers, even though that has been my very first experience.
- Print out the panel schedules and convention center map before hand! – I’ve been taught to plan everything ahead of time from my father, so I had printed out the schedule for all the events going on before hand. Not only is it good so you can manage your time before you get to the con, but I found that the schedules were constantly out at the Information Desk and people were forced to find an Internet connection to see it online. It’s especially good when you’re going with another person, as I went along with my cousin, so you both can discuss where you want to go, and how to manage your time so you can both go to the panels you want.
- Free time on the first day? EXPLORE! – Since it was a long drive, we arrived quite late at the convention and had missed a lot of the panels for Friday. Instead, we decided to explore the convention center and the hotels connected to it since a lot of the panels and autograph sessions were hosted in the hotels. It’s great to do, especially if you’re crunching on time so you won’t be late for any panels or autograph sessions.
- Don’t be nervous for anything – Honestly, I regret being nervous and scared to go to certain panels or take pictures of fantastic cosplays. My cousin would constantly scold me for this, and I didn’t listen. Here you should be willing to try anything and see everything you can (without going annoyingly overboard of course) so you can have the most fun. I mean, these people, I guess you can say, are like your friends. You all share the love for anime and while you may not all like the same shows, or the same characters, you all are here because you love anime so much to the point where you’ll show your otaku-ness to everyone there.
Will I come to Fanime, or any anime convention again for that matter? YES. There is just this feeling you get being with others who love the same fandom as you, and even the same shows as you. While you do have the internet and ani-blogs like Metanorn to share in fangirling/fanboying, it’s something quite different when you can actually BE with others to make anime jokes or rant with. I believe an anime fan should visit at least one con in their lifetime, whether it be a small city one or a big city one, whether it’s 1 mile away or 100 miles away, or whether it’ll cost you a lot or not. I hope you all get your chance to attend one, and that I’ll get to meet you there! This has been Hoshi, reporting Fanime from the sunny, hot-as-hell southern California. OLE~!