Fanime Con 2013 (AKA “Line Con”)

 Warning : picture heavy post ahead

Ezra and I LOVE attending cosplay events.  The very first one we went to was the 6th Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention (ToyCon) back in 2007.  Kurt dressed up as Tezuka and welcomed us to the world of cosplay.  Since then, we’ve attended the ToyCon every year,  along with a few other events (Otaku Expo, Ozine Fest, etc.)  It’s been a dream of ours to attend a cosplay event outside of the Philippines and see what the similarities and differences are.  So when Kurt told us that he would take us to Fanime last May, Ezra and I could barely contain our excitement 😀

Fanime takes place at the San Jose Convention Center, which is about a 6 hour drive from Los Angeles.  We left Ninang’s house in the early afternoon so we would make it to San Jose by dinner.  We were a little sad about having to leave so early because Ate Zsa Zsa and her family arrived from Las Vegas earlier that morning.

IMG_8708

We wanted to stay and play with cutie MacKayla

IMG_8711

Awwww

But we knew we had to get going before it got too late.  It was Memorial Day weekend so we knew traffic was going to be bad.

IMG_8723

I got quite excited when I saw this sign because The Big Bang Theory had an episode called The Bakersfield Expedition 😀 Supposedly Star Trek filmed a few scenes here.

IMG_8726

We passed by this area with lots of cows.  Even with the windows closed and the air conditioner on, it was VERY STINKY~ It was so bad that Ezra, who was sleeping in the backseat, woke up just to complain about the smell.

We made it to San Jose at around 10pm (we had a couple of stops along the way).  Originally we were planning on staying at a hotel but my aunt offered us her place, yay!  It’s a good thing too because I heard that getting a hotel room during Fanime weekend is almost impossible unless you book weeks in advance.

The next day we were up bright and early, excited to go to the event.  We don’t usually go to these things in costume (meaning we don’t dress up with a specific character in mind), but we do like dressing up. IMG_8731

I was a random witch girl

IMG_8733

And Ezra dressed up as a typical anime school girl.  Although she and Kurt could probably pass for an AKB48 member and her manager

IMG_8736

Saw these signs on the way to the convention center.  So excited!

IMG_8738

Full body shot of my outfit.  I’m lucky that we were staying with my aunt because I left my shoes in LA!  I only realized that I forgot to pack them when we were about 3 hours away.  Fortunately, my aunt is as kikay as me and she had all these boots to choose from.  Most of them have really high heels so I just chose the comfiest looking one.  They’re a little big on me, but I stuffed some tissue in them so they would fit better

After finding a place to park the car, we lined up to register for the event
IMG_8747

There were lots of people there already

IMG_8750

The line leads to this building

We thought this was the entire line and that we’d be good to go once we made it inside – WE WERE SO WRONG!  We were in line for 6 excruciating hours!  Some people even started calling the event “Line Con” instead of Fanime Con.  One blogger/reporter described it as “a nightmare of fubar-like levels“.  I’m not really sure if this is a regular occurrence for anime conventions in the US, but from the reviews I read online, Fanime is just know to have a terrible registration process.  Kurt has attended a couple of anime conventions in the States before, but he’s never had to wait in line for this long.

IMG_8758

The three of us kept staring at this window on the 2nd floor because we could see cosplayers looking down at us.  We thought that they were people that already made it through registration and were mocking those of us who were still in line.  Turns out this was still part of the line!

IMG_8754

Hello Haruhi

Of course, when you’re stuck in line for that long, what else is there to do but take pictures?
IMG_8761

There were a few volunteers who made sure the line remained organized.  They were people who registered the day before so they understood the pain we were going through.  A volunteer cosplaying Yuki Cross (Vampire Knight) told us that she was in line for 7 hours the day before.

IMG_8763

IMG_8764

The dude in his underwear must have been freezing.  It was pretty cold that day

After about 2 hours, we made it inside the building.

IMG_8770

We saw this sign, and thought “Cool, we must be close”.  WRONG AGAIN!

IMG_8772

The line wrapped around the entire 2nd floor hallway

IMG_8773

We tried to make the best of it by keeping each other entertained

IMG_8775

I was so hungryyyyy by this point.  I had very little for breakfast since I was too excited for the event T__T

IMG_8776

Saw this half eaten chocnut on one of the pots in the hallway and though “there must be a Filipino here”.  Don’t worry, I didn’t eat it, even though I was very tempted to.

We made it to the window we were looking at earlier.  Our turn to look outside and make people jealous 😄

IMG_8783

Check out that line

IMG_8781

Hello Ms. Pacman

IMG_8790
IMG_8785

IMG_8786

IMG_8787

IMG_8803

There were photo shoots happening all over the place
IMG_8804

 Dark Alice

IMG_8807

 Adorable little Captain America

IMG_8811

 The pink haired volunteer we saw earlier

IMG_8798

Poor Sailor Moon was cold.  Tuxedo Mask to the rescue!

Finally after about 2 more hours, we were allowed to go inside this ballroom, where Line Con continued.  (I like how this one guy on Yelp described it as “Apparently Fanimecon staff heard we liked lines, so they decided to make us wait in a line for a line for a line.“)

IMG_8817

We got tired of standing so we made ourselves comfortable on the floor.  We passed the time playing Words With Friends, Icon Pop Quiz and Game of Nerds.

IMG_8821

Saw this macho/sexeh guy there

IMG_8825

We made friends with this guy who was in line with us. (I forgot his name though, I’m so sorry.)  He came alone and after about 4 hours of having no one to talk to, he started a conversation with us.

IMG_8826

He was really nice and friendly, and he got excited when he learned that we were from the Philippines.  He told us that we were the first foreigners he met.  He asked us a lot of questions about the Philippines and we gladly answered them 🙂

Finally, after 6 agonizing hours, we made it to the front of the line

IMG_8829

IMG_8832

We got the one day pass.  I can’t remember how much the tickets were, but I think it was between $50 to $60 for one day. (The event lasts for 4 days)

 After registration, you have to get your badge

IMG_8830

IMG_8845

Personalized badges, cool~  In the Philippines we usually just get a stamp on our hand 😄

IMG_8846
IMG_8835

Got goody bags which contained the program and some brochures

IMG_8837

IMG_8847

IMG_8849

IMG_8839

Another friend we made in line.  She was behind us.  She came alone too, so we started talking to each other after 3 hours.  She started the conversation by asking me if I made my costume.  I forgot her name (I know, I’m a horrible person), but I remember her telling me that she’s from San Francisco and that this is her first anime convention.  She had a friend who was already inside waiting for her.

So what was the first thing we did after getting our badges?  Look for a place to eat of course!  We were famished!  I survived the 6-hour wait because I remembered that my aunt made me pack a small sandwich in my bag that morning after she saw how little I ate for breakfast.  She knew about my hyperacidity so she told me to bring some food just in case.  Thank you Mama Darling!  You saved me~

IMG_8858

 The closest fast food place we found was Johnny Rockets.

IMG_8863

The place was packed!  Luckily Ezra managed to get us seats at the counter

IMG_8860

We browsed the program guide and brochures while we ate

After we finished our meal, we walked around and tried to look for the Dealer’s Hall to see the goodies they had for sale.  It was in an entirely different building, and we couldn’t figure out how to get there based on the map they gave us.  We got turned around a couple of times, but we didn’t really mind.  There were lots of cosplayers walking around the area and we enjoyed taking pictures of them as we looked for the building.

(At this point we wondered if we could have skipped out on the entire registration process and just waited to take pictures of the cosplayers outside since a lot of them were just wandering around the city.)

IMG_8857

Kurt got excited when he saw the Queen’s Blade cosplayer

IMG_8865

We came across this group of foreign cosplayers.  I think they were from Taiwan.  They didn’t seem to speak that much English.

IMG_8871

Ezra found FFX-2’s Yuna
IMG_8873

We saw some cosplayers getting coffee

IMG_8877

Poor Magikarp got caught by this Pokemon trainerIMG_8879

I spotted this girl across the street and zoomed in because her costume really stood out.  Not sure who she is though.

IMG_8883

Zack.  Waiting for Aeris.  Or Cloud?
IMG_8887

We saw this moogle girl while we were waiting to cross the street.  I love her costume.  I should try going to an event dressed like this sometime.

IMG_8889

Look at the details on her armor!

We finally made it to the convention center by following the other cosplayers

IMG_8892

Inside we found this group from Wreck it Ralph.  I want that car!

IMG_8893

Kurt was excited to see Catherine
IMG_8898

Check out Vanellope’s awesome dressIMG_8904

I love her boots!

IMG_8908

That little Minecraft dude is so cute.  No wonder these girls were fawning over him

IMG_8911

Good thing we just ate because her costume would have made me even hungrier

IMG_9218

Finally made it to Dealer’s Hall.  You weren’t allowed in without a badge, so I guess the registration was worth it.  There were lots of cool things to see inside.

10248918_612651685488747_1024166245_n

967741_612651565488759_1796304985_n

IMG_8916

There were colorful wigs

IMG_8917Cute pins and keychainsIMG_8919

Lots of clothes

IMG_8918

Ezra really wanted them.  They were totally her style
IMG_8920

IMG_8921

IMG_8940

I wanted this piano dress!  But it was $50 and I don’t like spending that much on clothes…

IMG_8930

I wanted that pink hoodie too

IMG_8936

They also had lots of great costumesIMG_8937

IMG_8938

IMG_8950

It’s a Squall hoodie!!
IMG_8915

There was a lot of artwork being sold there too.  Many popular dA artists attend these events.  I got all giddy and excited whenever I saw piece being sold that I knew was part of my Favorites on dA.

IMG_8923

IMG_8957

There were also mangas and art books

IMG_8922

We found a lot of cute plushies

IMG_8943

I was seriously considering getting this adorable moogle plush.

IMG_8933

There were cute bags and pouchesIMG_8934

IMG_8947

And lots of action figures

IMG_8926
IMG_8951

I was quite interested in the accessories
IMG_8998

IMG_9000

IMG_8964

I had to get a picture of his horse mask because I see it all the time on 9gag 😄

IMG_8952

Necomimi!  They’re cat ears that respond according to your brain waves.  The ears stand up, droop down or wiggle depending on your thoughts.  I didn’t believe it at first so the guy let Ezra and me try it out

IMG_8953

From what I saw, it has two sensors – one on your forehead, and another one that clips on your ear

IMG_8956

It works pretty well.  I looked it up and supposedly they use some kind of brain wave sensor.  According to Wikipedia it works by measuring your scalp’s “voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain“.  Cool~

IMG_8969

Looks like Ezra found her happy place

IMG_8959

Oh yeah~

IMG_8995

IMG_8996

IMG_8997
IMG_8968

Kurt found his happy place too

We also took some pictures of the cosplayers we saw wandering around the area
IMG_8973

Yuna from FFX

IMG_8945

 Durarara!! cosplayer

IMG_8979

We saw Yaya Han!  She was being interviewed in her booth so we waited for it to be over before asking her for a photo.  She was so sweet and accomodating.  In the Philippines it’s difficult to get a photo taken with a well-known cosplayer (especially of her caliber) because they would be surrounded by so many people.  We didn’t think we’d be allowed to get our photo taken with her, but when we asked her she was so nice and even stepped out of her booth for us!IMG_8990

IMG_8992

Thanks Yaya Han! 😀
IMG_9007

Not sure who she is but I thought she looks a bit like Ezra at first glance

IMG_9014

Awesome Edward and Van Hohenheim cosplayers.  It’s funny because they didn’t know each other before this.  They were walking around the hall and when they saw each other, ‘Edward’ yelled “You’re not my father!” then started to pretend to hit him.

IMG_9020

IMG_9023

After they were done, he saw Kurt with his camera and he asked “Did you get that?”  LOL

IMG_9040

Chi from Chobits

Ezra and I were sitting down at the snack area when she got all excited.  Turns out it was because she spotted this SeeD cadet a few tables down from usIMG_9031

Of course we had to rush over there to ask him for a photo.  He was just about to sit down down and have a snack with his buddies, but he was more than willing to pose for us.

IMG_9029SeeD salute!  He was surprised that we actually recognized his costume.  Apparently not a lot of people these days are familiar with SeeD uniforms.  That’s crazy!  How can people live without knowing the awesomeness that is FF8!  It may be old but it’s still my favorite game up to this day.

IMG_9039

Pretty elf girl

IMG_9048

Amazing Cammy cosplayer (Street Fighter)

IMG_9051

IMG_9059

I want that armor!

IMG_9060

Saw these guys on the first floor.  Are they Pokemons?

IMG_9069

Kurt got really excited when he saw this guy with Steadicam gear.  His dream is to someday upgrade his video equipment to this.

IMG_9071

A mecha exploded here

It was getting a little crowded inside so we decided to go outside for a while

IMG_9072

We found Fang from FF13
IMG_9078

And this fabulous Mad Moxxi cosplayer

IMG_9081

IMG_9085

I’m not familiar with the character she’s cosplaying but I think she looks fantastic

IMG_9088

Ezra was happy to see Happy 😀
IMG_9094

Asuka from EvangelionIMG_9098

I ran into a group of friendly Stormtroopers

IMG_9100

And introduced myself to Vincent Valentine

IMG_9102

Ezra found Nana and Yasu wandering around

IMG_9106

*GASP*  It’s Cloud with his awzum hair!IMG_9109

Of course we had to ask him for a photo

IMG_9112

Kurt saw these lovely girls from One Piece

Back inside the convention hall, we found a karaoke room!

IMG_9178

We told Kurt that he should go up there and sing, and he agreed

IMG_9125

Looking for a song to sing

IMG_9129

There were lots of people who signed up before him, so we sat around and watched the other performances first.  It was also a good chance to rest my feet since they were beginning to hurt.

IMG_9137

Cute girl who sang Suteki Da Ne

IMG_9144

Yukio (Ao no Exorcist) cosplayer has a nice voiceIMG_9149

This girl had a voice that would be perfect for Disney!

IMG_9116

IMG_9152

IMG_9159

Ooh, it’s the Taiwanese cosplayers we saw earlier that day
IMG_9162

IMG_9163

After about 20 minutes, we realized that Kurt was still a long way down the list, so we went outside to look around some more

IMG_9183

Samus Aran in a bikini (Metroid)

IMG_9186

Tomodachi Sukunai cosplayers

IMG_9188

We found some kigurumi

IMG_9207
IMG_9190

Princess Zelda graced us with her presence

I was in the bathroom when Ezra ran in and asked me for my camera.  Turns out she spotted Merida

IMG_9193

IMG_9195Ezra’s a big Brave fan so she was really excited and was worried that Merida would get away before I returned

IMG_9200

Hats off to this amazing Dark Sora cosplayer

IMG_9212

I think these are characters from League of Legends

IMG_9216

We ran into our line-friend and her cute Pikachu friend again inside the convention.  She told us she volunteered to help out with the event to get her money back.  (People can volunteer and get a full reimbursement of their entrance fee.  According to their site, you can get your one-day pass reimbursed in exchange for 5 hours of volunteer work, or you can get the entire Fanime pass for 20 hours.)
IMG_9220

Hello there Captain

Kurt disappeared for a while.  Ezra and I found him in the crowd taking videos of this

IMG_9234

Evangelion girlsIMG_9238

No wonder Kurt left us

IMG_9250

IMG_9257

Ezra found this super tall girl!

IMG_9261

And she ran into Dark Alice.  (It’s a different cosplayer from the one we saw earlier though.)

IMG_9264

Pretty Harley Quinn cosplayer

IMG_9272

We found another Captain America.  He was talking to someone so I had to wait for their conversation to be over before I approached him for a photo.  They must have been talking about something really interesting because I had to wait a long time.  I kept leaving and coming back every couple of minutes to check if they were done.  But it was worth it.  He’s so dreamy~

We went back outside after this to look for more cosplayers
IMG_9276

IMG_9281

More photoshoots happening.  The guy went all out and even bought his own lighting equipment 😀

IMG_9274

Ezra – tired but happy

We hung around the area for a bit, but since the sun started to set, a lot of our photos turned out blurry.  Plus it started to get chilly so eventually we went back inside.

IMG_9286

Spotted this Gothic Victorian couple

IMG_9297

I love her little wing!

IMG_9293

We found Daisy and Mario sitting around, chatting with each other.  We figured they were old friends, but apparently they just met each other that day.  They became friends through their shared love of the game.

While they were posing for us, another pair of Mario and Luigi showed up and joined them.

IMG_9295

I love how people can instantly connect in these events 😀

Finally, we went back to karaoke room since it was almost Kurt’s turn to sing
IMG_9303

This girl sang Girls Generation’s “Gee!”

IMG_9307

While these guys danced

IMG_9308

IMG_9312

IMG_9321

IMG_9322

We saw this elderly couple there.  They were wearing costumes!  How adorable is that!

IMG_9323

I wonder if they also lined up for 6 hours to register for this event.  I feel kinda sorry for them if they did.  But I notice that the lady’s badge is blue instead of red.  I’m not sure if that means it’s a weekend pass, or if she’s part of the Fanime staff.

Finally it was Kurt’s turn!!!

IMG_9326

He chose to sing 1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou from Rurouni Kenshin

IMG_9333

IMG_9344

The karaoke screen was a little glitchy, but luckily he had the lyrics on his phone

IMG_9352

Of course Ezra captured the whole thing on video

After Kurt’s performance, we decided that we should probably start thinking about leaving.  We wanted to stay longer but my aunt was waiting for us and we didn’t want to keep her up too late.

IMG_9363

On our way back to the car, we passed by the place where we lined up earlier.  It was empty and it looked beautiful!

IMG_9359

We decided to stop for a while and take some pictures and videos, since we spent quite a bit of time here that morning

IMG_9357

After this we dropped by Denny’s for a quick dinner before heading back to my aunt’s place.

So, now that I’ve experienced Fanime, what are my thoughts?  And how does it compare to Anime conventions in the Philippines?

  • Costumes.  The costumes at Fanime were jaw droppingly good!  I know that we have a lot great cosplayers in the Philippines too, but we are limited by certain factors.  The climate, for example.  It’s extremely hot and humid in Manila, so not a lot of people are willing to put on layers and layers of costume and makeup for one event.  Plus, a lot of our conventions take place inside shopping malls, where it’s extremely crowded, so bulky costumes are usually not a good idea.
  • The venue.  Fanime is HUUUUGE!  Like I said, most of our cosplay events in the Philippines take place in shopping malls (Megamall, MOA, etc), so it gets extremely crowded. The San Jose Convention Center was very spacious.  Plus, a lot of the cosplayers wandered around outside, so it felt like the whole city was the venue for the event.
  • The price.  The entrance fee for Fanime is more than 10 times the regular entrance for most cosplay events in the Philippines.  You can get in most events in the Philippines for less than P200 (~$5), which is super cheap!  Also, a lot of the merchandise being sold in the Dealer’s Hall were pricier than what I’m used to in the Philippines, like the clothes and accessories.  Accessories and novelty items are SO much cheaper in local conventions.  In fact, one of the main reason Ezra and I go to these events is to shop, because we can usually find amazing deals in cosplay events.  But to be fair, the accessories and clothes being sold at Fanime appear to be of better quality than the ones I see at local conventions.  As for the action figures, mangas, and artbooks – they seem to go for the same price as the events in the Philippines.
  • The people.  Others may disagree, but I found that the people at Fanime were much friendlier and more approachable.  And they seemed to be having more fun too.  We’d find groups of people randomly dancing, or singing, or just having fun with each other.  Most of them have never met each other before the event, and yet they’ve created this bond through their shared interests.  I think it’s amazing.  But that might just be a cultural thing.  Most Filipinos I know are friendly, but we’re not the sort of people who randomly talk to strangers.  In general, I find that Americans are more open to small talk while Filipinos tend to mind their own business.
  • And lastly, THE LINE.  Oh gosh, where do I even begin?  This was definitely the worst part about the whole Fanime experience.  I have NEVER experienced having to line up for an event for this long.  Usually it takes us 15 minutes tops to get our tickets in the Philippines.  Granted, this is a much bigger event and there are more con-goers, but that just means that the staff should be more organized and efficient.  There are thousands of people attending this event, but there were only about 10 registration booths, and one table for badge pickup.  No wonder it took forever.

Given these points, would I attend another Fanime event?  Probably not.  I had an amazing time, and I’m glad we got this chance to go, but I think once was enough.  First of all, San Jose is too far from Los Angeles.  Kurt was willing to drive us this time, but I’m not sure he’d be willing to do it again this year.  Secondly, THE LINE!  We spent practically half our time waiting in line that day.  Fanime is great, but I’m sorry, our vacation time is very limited and just too precious to waste on something like that.

Nevertheless, Ezra and I did have a lot of fun at Fanime.  After we got over the fact that we just spent 6 hours sitting around, we really did enjoy ourselves.  Thank you very much Kurt for taking us!  I’m very thankful for this experience.  I would love to go to another anime convention in the States this summer, but preferably a more organized one closer to Los Angeles.  Kurt has been searching online for such an event, but so far no luck 😦  Hopefully we’ll find one before summer is over.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you to enjoy another wonderful video that Kurt made of our Fanime adventure.

Make sure you watch the entire thing, even after the “credits” 😀  Also, please excuse my awkward twirling from 3:20 onwards.  I love the effect of the lights and how Kurt captured the place, but I had to ruin it with my klutzy spinning. It looked cute when Ezra did it, hmf.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Fanime Con 2013 (AKA “Line Con”)

  1. Pingback: Monterey Bay Aquarium | What I have shown you is reality ...

  2. Pingback: What 2013 was like for me :D | What I have shown you is reality ...

  3. Pingback: Anime Expo 2015 | What I have shown you is reality ...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s