FanimeCon 2012 Feedback

Started by M, May 27, 2012, 02:29:53 AM

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After swearing off cons years ago due to a number of reasons, I figured I'd give Fanime a try this year since it's local to me.  I've said the same in another thread about the Thursday registration hiccups but show staff did a great job keeping morale up and things from getting out of control during the power outage.  Yeah, the lines were long - the lines were really long since there were long periods of time without any movement and possibly the pickup system needs to be retooled.  However mailing badges out is a completely different can of worms (postage, packaging, dealing with incorrect addresses since registration can begin a year in advance, badges getting lost in the mail, mail theft, etc.) and won't necessarily make all the problems disappear instantly.  Once you got inside the pre-registration room you moved through really fast, which makes the slow moving line make little sense since the actual pickup point was moving rather quickly.

Due to the Day 0 line issues I missed Thursday Swap Meet but Friday's was excellent and the walk over to the Fairmont wasn't nearly as bad as some made it out to be - less than the distance from one end of the convention center to the other.  What was needed were more / better signs in the Fairmont pointing in the direction of the Swap Meet since hotel staff (not Fanime staff) over there didn't know what was going on.  I was disappointed that at the second overflow ballroom, staff (Fanime staff) was MIA for awhile on Friday and many people left the line to get in and walked right into the second room - no being turned away for jumping the line, no badge check.  However the line to get in was fast moving and we gained admittance to the Swap Meet within about twenty minutes.  There were some killer video game buys over there!

Video rooms were great with a nice diverse mix being shown.  I was pleased to see so many people stay for the entire two hour block of Super Dimension Century Orguss, one of my all time favorite series and one I feel is criminally overlooked (even saw a few VHS tapes of the awesome USRenditions dub in the dealer hall).  The video rooms are also, sadly, where I had my biggest issues with the con.  Staff sitting outside the door should understand that they are RIGHT outside the door and everything they say above a regular quiet voice will be amplified into the screening room.  This was also an issue with some of the smaller panels as staff checking badges at the door would get into a conversation with someone that would carry into the room and interrupt the panel in progress.  Staff sanding inside the video rooms should also understand that if they wish to have an extended conversation amongst themselves while a video is in progress, the sound of their conversation is being projected over the sitting attendees.  This was notably a problem in the Nostalgia Critic video screening and we were six rows up from the back.  If you have to talk over the sound from the video, you should probably take your conversation outside the room.  Lastly, don't bump the projectors!  Black Jack Final turned into a game of "fight getting vertigo" because the projector was getting shaken around so much.  Start it and leave it alone, please, no one likes to read vibrating subtitles.  ;)  Usual occasional extreme rudeness in a few of the rooms, namely parts of the Sailor Moon marathon but you have to expect at least a little of that from con-goers and over all it really wasn't much of an issue.

Dealer's Room was great with a nice assortment and most of the dealers were really cool and seemed to be having a great time.  The table at the front middle with all the old school stuff was of particular interest.  There were definitely some rarer items to be had at bargain prices if you really looked.  Artist Alley also had so many talented artists and cool people to chat with and buy wares from.  I heard at least one announcement about problems with Ramune bottle glass and to make sure to dispose of the bottles properly to ensure it doesn't become a banned commodity in future years, so ConOps was on top of that as well.  Panels were very enjoyable and started on time with minimal line issues prior.  Clockwork Alchemy over at the Doubletree was enjoyable but as with the events at the Fairmont they really needed some signs pointing to where things were.  Yes, if you knew what room each event or panel was taking place in you could eventually find it by walking the hotel maze and following the directions on the walls, but a simple sign with arrows leading around to the different events would have made things a lot easier.

The pocket schedules were a great reference to be able to pull out and plan you day or simply to regain your bearings over lunch or dinner.  I'm all for going green but a simple, small, paper reference like this was irreplaceable over the course of the weekend.  The reduced outdoor footprint of the convention center grounds due to construction did make the front of the convention center a bit of a choke point for getting in and out the front doors - but that's what the side entrances and hotel entrances are for.  :)  Both of which, especially the street entrance over by Peets, were the easiest way to get in and out.

So, here it is Monday afternoon after five or so days of craziness at Fanime 2012, years after swearing off cons over ten years ago.  All I can say is that I can't wait for next year and will most certainly be back for the entire convention.  I had a spectacular time and my only regret is that I haven't been attending for the past five years I've lived back in San Jose.  No more of that, see you next year.
I'm ALWAYS active on the forums!

Retro Cosplay, Easy As XYZ


-Arcade games. Would've like to see Beatmania IIDX though
-People were generally friendly
-Starbucks served at the Hilton
-Access to lightrail (My group went to Mountain View to eat irrationally large bowls of pho)
-Pocket schedule

-Day 0 badge fiascos
-Rude Rovers
-People posing in the walkways of Artist Alley and Dealer Hall
-People staring at my girlfriends chest, both when we were walking around together or when she was sitting down
-Elitists on the DDR, ParaPara, Technicka, and DancemaniaX machines, saying that beginners shouldn't be allowed to play
-Price of in-con food (although the 2-for-1 drinks at the taiyaki booth was super-welcome)
-People still don't understand the benefits of proper hygiene
-Poor organization
-Guests, panels, etc. were announced only days before the con

For my first Fanime since 2001, this was fun. I know my girlfriend and I will be back next year, but for how long is still up in the air. Hopefully guests, panels, etc. will be announced a lot quicker next time, as opposed to days before doors open.


Another Fanime has come and gone.  Anyone also experiencing post-con depression right now? :(  Anyway, here's my list:


-Registration:  I understand that the electricity went out, but something seriously needs to be done about the registration process.  I had several friends who showed on Saturday before noon and couldn't participate in the convention because it would have been 6pm by the time they got through the day pass line.  My boyfriend decided not to attend at all because of the long registration lines.
  Last year post-con, the idea of mailing out badges was brought out.  It was then immediately shot down by numerous staff members, all stating that they did not want to stuff envelopes (despite offers by several forum members to volunteer).  With regards to getting more people to staff registration, the response was that it's difficult enough getting people to staff Day Zero.  Hence, nothing really changed between last year and this year, and the registration process has continued to deteriorate.
    As someone brought up, ComicCon mails out badges and it seems to work.  With some advanced planning, it's certainly feasible.  Perhaps offer mailed out badges to people who register by March 1 and pay a $10 "processing/shipping fee".  That should be enough to pay for stamps and some food/goodies for those stuffing envelopes.  Yes, there's always a risk for lost badges, but it seems like that happened this year anyway.  
   Unfortunately, as Fanime grows, something needs to be done about registration as waiting 6 hours in line is not acceptable.  One great thing about this year was that those registered at Clockwork Alchemy were able to pick up badges at the Double Tree.  Perhaps dividing up pick-up places (such as getting the badge at the hotel you're staying up) or having more pick-up times might help the process.  These all might sound like horrible ideas to staff members who have insider behind-the-scenes information, but what it boils down to is that things can't just stay the same next year.  The cons of at-con badge pickup are starting to outweigh the pros and drive away attendees.  


-Shuttle Buses to Clockwork Alchemy:  I was pleasantly surprised by the size and frequency of the hotel shuttle buses.  The longest ever had to wait for a bus was 30 minutes during off-peak times.
-Clockwork Alchemy: Loved the integration of a steampunk convention, especially all the interactive activities.  I also loved the fact that this convention opens Fanime to a new demographic!  Hopefully Clockwork Alchemy comes back next year.
-Stage Zero Info Desk Staff:  When I went to the Info Desk with a question, the person in charge immediately delegated two people to find the answer.  I didn't expect the staff to be so adamant about getting my question answered.  It might have been because my question was about Sunday at-con registration at the Double Tree, but still!  Great professionalism and customer service!
-Allowing people to both enter and exit Artist Alley/Dealers Hall/Gaming Room from both doors: Last year, it was annoying only being allowed to exit from one door.  This year was definitely much better.
-Wi-Fi: The Wi-fi signal in the convention center was amazing.  I walked from one end of the convention to another while streaming video and did not lose my signal.
-Separate Designs for Clockwork Alchemy Badges:  Loved the artwork!

That's pretty much all I have for now.  Will post anything else I think of.  Is it Fanime 2013 yet?


Quote-Allowing people to both enter and exit Artist Alley/Dealers Hall/Gaming Room from both doors: Last year, it was annoying only being allowed to exit from one door.  This year was definitely much better.

Really? I was told "You have to exit over there" a few times, they really need to get everyone on the same page :/.


Artist Alley was the only place I was able to enter and exit from both doors. Dealer's Hall and Game Room were very strict about entering and exiting for specified doors.

Eri Kagami

Quote from: camivette on May 28, 2012, 02:50:48 PM
Sailor Moon! There was a panel and a marathon this year, which I really enjoyed.

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the Sailor Moon panel! <3

The Good
+ Glad all of my panels were a success!
+ Lots of awesome cosplayers
+ I love the San Jose Convention Center venue
+ Easy check in for press / industry (one of my press people ended up with an industry badge? huh?)
+ Masquerade went really smooth and I'm glad it went well
+ I went to a few good panels this year. Yay!
+ Lots of fun stuff at stage zero - game show, fireside chat, angel hearts, etc
+ Maid cafe always delivers. Black forest cake for the win!
+ I love the Fairmont hotel! Nice place to wind down...and take photoshoots
+ Flying Hands massage...oh yeah! XD

The Bad
+ Please publish the schedule a week before con.
+ None of the guests really caught my eye. However, I was much more excited for the TGWTG crew.
+ More of a suggestion - for panel check in, can we phone or text check in? We were trying to get out of the hotel on Monday for checkout so we can make the 10AM panel.
+ I'm not a fan of the "mixer" style dances at the ballroom dance - switching off partners mid-song got annoying
+ In addition, keep the number of exhibitionists down at the ballroom dance. I go to the dance to dance. Save exhibitionists for something like stage zero or any other event.


I'm just going to re-post this here since the other thread was locked:

I'd say this year was overall better than last year, but I have to agree with the people above about some stuff.

Lines: The biggest problem I had was with the ridiculously long registration lines. I understand the blackout situation, but I think that something should be done about the way badges are handed out, especially now since the population of the con has grown over the years. I really think mailing the badges or having a system where we can just walk by and scan a code or something would save everyone a lot of time and resources. I think my friends and I ended up waiting 7 hours in total.

Rovers: I had much better experiences this year with rovers than I did last year, and most of them were friendly, but there were a couple of them that were rude to a group of us for no reason. A group of us were standing and waiting for an elevator at The Marriott, when some rover from near the peace bonding station came out and started yelling at us for something OTHER PEOPLE DID BEFORE US. She went off on us to not push each other, and literally that whole group waiting wasn't doing anything like that. She said other people were doing it before, but how is that our fault? Also, at one point she said she needed us to: "shut the fuck up". Totally power tripping. Very rude. We weren't even doing anything. Aside from her, the other rovers were quite reasonable.

Construction: I was really sad to see the fountains go (to me they were one of the best assets to the con), and the construction site was pretty ugly, but hey, I'm sure it will look nice once they are finished and I look forward to seeing it.

Elevators: The elevator situation was pretty bad at The Marriott, but I expected it to be like that. Maybe there's some way to make it less of a problem in the future.


Organization: Despite the registration issues, I thought Fanime was much better organized this year.  It wasn't their fault that the power went out and from what I heard, staff/volunteers handled it extremely well.  This probably had an overflow effect to the next day.  That being said, I got to the pre-reg line at 3 PM on Friday and was done by shortly after 5:11.  2:11 in the registration line is longer than usual but really not that bad.  The line kept moving.  Every volunteer I talked to was extremely helpful.  For a few years it seemed that Fanime was getting a bit bigger than they knew what to do with, but in my opinion they really stepped things up a notch this year.  I do enjoy a bigger convention as long as it doesn't turn into a complete mess.  Crowd seemed a bit younger than usual, but costumes were much better this year.

However -- please post the schedule more than two days in advance!!! But thank you for including the pocket schedules.

Dealer's Hall: Very diverse selection of goods and at better prices than last year...perhaps because the exchange rate has gotten a little better from last year's all-time low.  Lots of Gloomy Bears.  But where was Cartoon Passion?  Also, while I know Fanime doesn't set the prices, I have to vent that $20+ for all T-shirts was a rip-off.

Industry: I appreciated the greater industry presence this year.  This might have been one reason why it seemed "tighter."  The industry video room was awesome and it was great to see the Gurren Lagann, Evangelion, and Fullmetal Alchemist movies.  But the Aniplex Industry Panel was incredibly annoying.  They have such good anime, but the dude in charge was annoying and mispronounced the titles and didn't really seem like he cared that much.  Their slides were pretty amateur.  This is okay for a fan panel.  Not a professional panel.  They also didn't need to tell us every five minutes that we can buy all their moves at _______, ______, and ________ booths.  It seemed more like a bad infomercial than an actual industry panel. 

GOH's: Seemed to be a bit lighter than last year, but that could have been because last year's lineup was so awesome.  But I really liked the different types of guests Fanime brought in (illustrators, directors, etc.)  Yuki Saito's Replay Girls screening & Q&A was a highlight.

MusicFest:  Mai Aizawa and Igaguri Chiba were very nice and fun to watch.  I got to attend Chiba's panel which was pretty awesome.  He his great with his fans.  But the length/non-complexity of MusicFest was a bit of a disappointment.  I know it's kind of a toss-up who Fanime's able to get and yes, I'd much rather have what we had than no MusicFest.  But after Yuya and Flow last year, and Flow and L.Mc the year before, this year just seemed a little bit underpar.  Mai Aizawa only performed like what, three songs?  Chiba's set was better.  But in total the entire show barely lasted an hour.  Some people might have missed Chiba because they expected the opener to last longer and him to come on at 8...but by 8 it was over.  The audience turnout was pretty sad.  There were no real bands with live instruments; just Mai Aizawa by herself and Chiba with two dancers.  Randomly announcing Hatsune Miku was going to appear afterwards as a surprise was awkward and seemed like a last-minute attempt to extend MusicFest. (On the other hand, scheduling Hatsune Miku for the Main Video Room or one of the other Video Rooms would have been a very good idea.)



Shopping: Artists alley was full of great stuff this year! In previous years it seemed like it was abandoned by Sunday afternoon, but even on Monday it was packed.

Hotel: We stayed at the Fairmont because the convention center hotels were booked, and it was actually far more enjoyable. Close enough to the con that walking wasn't an issue, but far enough away that we didn't have many issues with noise or crowded lobbies and elevators.

Cosplay: It seemed like there was a bit more variety in costuming this year, and the overall quality was up too.


Registration: We preregistered and had to wait in the long line on Friday. We packed our bags Friday afternoon, drove there in midday traffic on 101 South, checked into the hotel and got food in less time than it took to get our badges. It took at least 3 hours to get them, and the line wasn't very well managed. We had to ask other con-goers what the huge line outside was for, and there was only one person in the entire staff who took it upon himself to tell us why the line was so long.

Shopping: I'm not sure this is something that Fanime can do anything about, but it seemed like a lot of vendors had not included sales tax in their prices, and they didn't have any signs up to let shoppers know. Some of them were just rounding up sales tax to 10%, too. Even a $20 grab-bag I bought had hiked up tax on it. I kind of feel like it was an "idiot tax" more than anything. Sales tax in this county is only 8.25% so bumping it up has soured my opinion of some dealers a bit.

There also weren't many sales on Monday like in previous years, or I must have missed them all.

It seemed like there wasn't much variety either. It's cool to see things other than anime figurines everywhere, but several wig shops, corset shops, furry raver shops and motorized cat ear shops seemed a bit excessive. Maybe in future years the con would benefit from a separate clothing, costume and accessory dealers room/section.

Cosplayers/photographers: There were tons of great costumes as I said before, but not many people have good photography etiquette. It was very hard to move around the convention center and some of the rooms because people would stop wherever they were for photos, even if it's in the middle of an aisle or directly in front of a doorway.



As stated above, the power outage, and the line were big problems this year causing people to even miss a lot of events because they were forced to wait 5 hours just to get their badge.  Again though, it's already been said a plenty.

Just putting it out there, but I'd really like it if there was a water station in the gaming room.  There were sooo many times where I felt I was dehydrated and found myself walking out of the game room just to go find one.  Sorry, but paying 4 bucks for a water bottle or some soda is ridiculous.  It would be very convenient as there were people that were playing ninja, break dancing, hacky sack, or things that just get them tired and water is just amazing...

The rave doesnt feel as exciting as it used to be...I can't really put my finger on it, but I just feel that way.  The past years Fanime raves were exciting, these past 2 years haven't really kept up.  Probably the sheer amount of rules and restrictions that were put up.  I know they were put there because of people's stupidity from the previous years but getting some objects banned from the rave just doesnt make it feel like a rave anymore when theyre gone.

Construction, and the loss of the fountain makes me sad face, but what can ya do :\

Disorganized...I felt this year was a bit disorganized.  Though, that could be because I tried to go in line today for next year's registration because it was supposed to be at 12 and I arrive there at 12:10.  However I was then told that it was actually at 10-12, and that they had already cut off the line for next year's Fanime registration.  Saddened I essentially walked away back up figuring I'll just register online for next year only to then hear an announcement a few hours later that it had JUST then closed.  I don't know if it is misinformation or what, but I was very upset about that....

Despite all that, I would have to say that this year was very enjoyable.  Very, very enjoyable.

This sig isnt true anymore...I have to wait for a bit...


I very nearly decided against attending this year, owing to the idea that standing in line for several hours for the pleasure of shelling out forty dollars is somehow a good thing. I was talked into going by my wife and my children, whose first exposure to Fanimecon was a wait time Saturday morning of 3 hours, 22 minutes(noted by the lady behind me). I have to say we overall enjoyed the convention, once we finished the registration process and left to obtain lunch someplace with moderately reasonable prices. Sorry, but the in-con food prices are just obscene. The Sailor Moon marathon was a huge hit with my girls, and the Patlabor screenings opened me to a new anime to look up. Most of the volunteers and staff were reasonably helpful and/or polite... most. I can understand the stresses of working a major event(been there, done that), so ok, no big deal. Finding out exact times for the panels, and anything else, really, before getting hold of a pocket calendar at the convention would have been rather useful, but ok, again, no big deal. This brings me, however, to the registration process.

I've worked at, and run events with registration, both at the door and pre-reg, and I honestly have to say this is one of the poorest examples of organization I've ever seen. I can't blame the poor souls standing behind the few laptops used to process the umpteen thousands of people wanting to attend this event; they didn't organize the registration, and I can't even blame the rather large oriental lady who appeared to be a supervisor with the rather severe attitude problem and fascination with exerting her authority over EVERYTHING, no. Allow me to break down the process into steps, to detail my exact concerns:

1) Stand in line to process registration.

Ok, no big thing, everyone's gotta do it, makes sense, not really any way around this. However, given that somebody in charge knows, from past experience, that a LOT of people are going to be standing in this relatively small area for a LONG time, wouldn't it be practical to make arrangements with the building engineers to focus the a/c in this particular area? These people are paying to fund the convention. There are a LOT of people standing in this line waiting to hand over their money, and because of the reg process as a whole, they're going to be standing in line a LONG time. A five minute meeting, an email reminder or some notes would have helped this immensely.

2) Type out name & address into a pre-selected laptop that may or may not be working, to receive a registration number.

Three laptops. That's how many were working a good part of Saturday morning. Five hundred people, with more coming every second, are supposed to process their registration through three laptops, sometime on Saturday. Words fail me at this point. The purpose of the electronic registration, apparently, is to issue each person an individual number, F followed by some sequential number system. With three laptops, to process the thousands of people showing up. Not surprising to me at all that the laptops weren't working properly; I would've done the same, were I them. Here's an idea. Instead of the cost of renting out or buying(and maintaining) these laptops, why not print the registration sheets with the sequential numbers already on them, have each attendee present i.d. at the booth to register, and then go inside to pay? All the volunteers would need to do is verify i.d., make sure the form is filled out, and keep one of the sheets for records. Less stress on the volunteers, no chance of technical issues, and the line would proceed at an acceptable rate. Carving our names on rocks would be faster than the present system. You guys are trying to put on a huge, multi-day extravaganza, we get it. It's complicated and there's no end of issues and problems to deal with, we get that too. This is a perfect opportunity to eliminate one of the biggest issues we as attendees have to face, regardless of whether we pre-register or show up the day of. There's just no need to tie up manpower and resources in this way. It builds frustration on the volunteers and the people footing the bill for the show.

Or, at the very least, provide access to the registration page via the local wi-fi to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Would the system get slammed by doing so? Well yeah, obviously. Would providing a separate line for people able to do so speed things up? Yeah, I think it probably would. Again, streamlining the process and minimizing the time people spend in line. Who loses by doing that? Maybe... the janitors? I don't know, it seems like a win for everybody.

3) Pay the fee, and claim a badge.

While standing in line, and listening to the conversations going on around me, I gathered that there was a significant problem with staff giving different answers to the same questions. This happened to me personally, when I asked about the age limit for children, and received three different answers. The problem could be insufficient communication, it could be misunderstood directions, it could be lack of training - I don't know. Personally, though, when this has happened to events I've worked before, we got around it by getting some large sheets of paper, and printing answers for common questions(and solutions for simple problems) and making sure those sheets were easily accessible to all the staff. It elminated the vast majority of issues, and it cost about twenty bucks for the paper, and some markers. A simple, effective solution.

We all come together for this event because of our common interest, there's no other reason so many people trek from across the Bay Area to San Jose on Memorial Day weekend. It's in everyone's best interest for things to run as smoothly as possible. It makes the convention more enjoyable for the fans, and it makes life easier for the staff that's manning the tables and answering questions. The event is enjoyable, nobody can deny that. There are some gaping flaws, though, that are bringing down the quality of the experience as a whole. These flaws aren't all that difficult to sort out, either. It just takes some extra planning and foresight. I'd like to say I plan on attending next year, but, really, there's no excuse for the above problems being allowed to affect the experience as a whole.


Quote from: camivette on May 28, 2012, 02:50:48 PM
I understand that throwing beach balls could damage property so I wasn't surprised that a staff member confiscated it. I was actually relieved because I no longer needed to look behind me to make sure I didn't get smacked in the head. It bothered me though, when this female staff member took the ball and extended her middle finger and flipped off everyone waiting in line as she walked by. I know that there are a lot of young people volunteering to be staff, so they don't have the level of professionalism you would expect from a paid employee, but there are kids at this event and I thought it was really inappropriate.

The person who did this was not a staff member, but someone waiting in line for their badge.


I decided to be more active this time around and play sax, dance all over the place, and generally be more social. It has resulted in my best con experience yet.
The artist's alley was of high quality and absolutely superb!
Dealer's room was pretty cool, too.
Stage zero was the hotness. Well done!
I LOVE that psycho donuts was there. Now if we could only get the Mogo's truck to park at the con all weekend...
So many well designed and exuberant cosplays. Fantastic!
Mini schedule! YES!
Frequent shuttle service! YES!
Cosplay gatherings rocked!

As far as improvements...
This convention keeps getting better, and because of that it keeps getting bigger.

Crowd management. I don't know how many people ended up attending, but I am willing to guess that there was a bigger than normal jump in attendance. There were pretty huge lines on Sunday afternoon, for goodness sake. I have never seen that at another Fanime. The hallways were full of people... how about extending the "no stop zone" next to stage zero all the way through the convention center? You can make it into a highway that has fun exits and everything. ^_^

It is time to revamp the registration system.  Something that can clear more than a few hundred clients every hour. I know the reg staff worked their asses off and had a lot of setbacks that were out of their control, and I appreciate all the staff that stayed until midnight on Thursday even though you were supposed to be outta there at 8. Fanime is growing, and this process needs to grow in a way that prevents 7 hour waits for pre-reg (your most enthusiastic client base) and doesn't burn out the staff. I have every expectation that the Fanime staff will rise to this challenge, as they have improved the con over the years. I love how Fanime has grown, it is still my favorite and hands down the best con on the west coast. Keep up the good work.

It would be nice to have a dedicated space for general dancing. There is a significant contingent of lockers, poppers, breakers, kpop, jpop, house, hip hop and etc. dancers at the con. Many circles get started with anything from a small boombox to a full blown mobile DJ set, but then have to be broken up because of the obstruction they cause. I know the standard response would be "that's what the rave is for", but dancers frown on the rave a bit because
-it is too dark to see detailed moves
-the music that is being played may or may not be 'dance-able'
-heat and stench (vomit on the dance floor?! @_@)
Those are the reasons I hear dancers complain about the most. If there was a flexible space set up for instruction (a la ballroom dancing), battles, circles, and performances, then it would prevent disruption from random circles forming in the walkways in addition to creating a kick ass place to hang out and giving fanime DJs more opportunities to show off their skills.

It would be nice to have the con schedule a bit earlier. It would be extra nice if I could have an online version of the schedule in which I could click an event/panel and it would add that event to my google/iOS calendar. Wishful thinking here, it is a lot of information to process and package in such a limited time.

Overall, best Fanime experience I have had. I love the work that the staff puts in to make this event bigger and better every year.
The Fanime Sax Guy.
Bob Makihara from Tenjou Tenge (100%)
Kaoru Kaidoh from Prince of Tennis (100%)
Captain Jack Sparrow (95%)
Dee Jay from SFIV (95%)
Ren Jinguji from Uta no Prince-sama (100%)

Nina Star 9

Will likely have a more thoughtful and detailed post once I catch up on sleep, but I wanted to put in my opinion on the Swap Meet location, since it's come up.

For me, the distance wasn't a problem. The Fairmont really isn't that far away. I like that the con is willing to use space in non-connected locations for events, since the con is getting very crowded. However, I didn't even attend the Swap Meet for one important reason -- I didn't feel comfortable walking there by myself at night. I'm sure there were a lot of con-goers around, and I was perfectly comfortable walking around either at night with people I knew or by myself during the day. Friday night, though, I was in a somewhat sexy cosplay and felt uncomfortable enough getting hit on just outside of the convention center (in the former fountains area) that I would have been super uncomfortable walking even a short distance down the street to attend an event. I probably wouldn't have felt very comfortable with it even in a less sexy costume (or in regular clothing), but might have managed. Even so, I heard stories about drunk people in that area (on Friday night) bothering people I know who were in non-sexy cosplay in entirely non-sexual ways, so it may have been scary even if I had found someone to escort me. I usually enjoy the Swap Meet and wish that I was able to attend, but I wasn't about to go walk past a bunch of drunk people and potentially get harassed (or worse), no matter what I was wearing, though the sexy cosplay would have made it a lot worse.

Maybe there could be a way to beef up security around the area if the Swap Meet continues to be located off-site? It would probably take a lot of extra staffing, but I felt very uncomfortable at the idea of walking there alone in anything, certainly not in the costume I was in. I don't know how many others felt the same way, but as a smallish woman, I know that my walking alone probably wouldn't have been the best idea.

Also, not really something that Fanime itself can help, and it could just be that I haven't noticed it in my 9 Fanimes prior to this one, but I ran into a lot more drunk congoers than usual. I usually encounter some, but not quite as many as I did this year. It could be because the con is getting so large that there are more in number but the same in proportion, it could be that I just noticed it more, I don't know, but I certainly noticed more overt drunkeness this year for whatever reason. I have no problem with people drinking in moderation, but obviously drunk people at the con can pose an issue. It didn't really even put a dent in my con experience, let alone ruin it, not by a longshot, just an observation.

There also seemed to be more creepers, even in a cosplay that I've been wearing for a few years (so I have a lot of expereince wearing it to compare it to), but that is more than likely just an observational difference and a difference in what I was doing, haha. Again, nothing really that Fanime itself can do about that! Of course, it's to be expected in my Maj. Kusanagi cosplay, but even as Ulala, the one I've worn for a few years now, it seems like I got creeped on a lot more than usual. If anything can be done about it (since educating the entire Fanime population about the proper way to interact with others isn't exactly feasible!), maybe add a small section in the program guide on how to not be a creeper somewhere in between "please shower. with soap." and "this is how you politely ask someone for a photo and not block hallways while doing it"? I doubt it would help much, but I think that a lot of people don't realize they are being creepy! Adding into the etiquiette section a part to remind congoers about how cosplayers are people in costumes and not walking characters or a pretty thing might benefit many different situations, though.

...This was longer than I expected! And sounds way too much like I'm just complaining about being hit on, which isn't how I intended for it to come off at all! Maybe I need to work on that sleep part right now and revise this in the morning. ;)


I would like to also comment on poor planning this year. I must say that it took quite a while for updates to be posted on everything. The convention is getting bigger yet the accommodation are staying the same. It was often times I could hear from staff (of hotel and con) that they were not prepared for this and that. The wait for everything was quite ridiculous and I would suggest looking into either planning for a wider turn out or to limit the amount of tickets sold. I'm curious though as to the reasons why events were not updated and cut back. The viewing rooms seemed like less and the dojo was not well planned either. There were many things I felt were not quite right about the con this time. The help was lacking as well. I even tried texting a rover like the back of the badge said and never received a text yet. When trying ask a question about admission, I was sent to several different tables until I eventually stuck with one help who told me "I don't know." One night my eyes were burning and all I wanted was to used eye drops but was told to wait until a medic was available to come over at the First Aid station. What I did enjoy from my stay was the panels offered. There was a good variety of panels and good to see new and old panels offered. Hopefully next year the con will have way better planning and learn to accommodate for a MUCH larger admission!!!


Quote from: CJ on May 28, 2012, 10:13:11 AM
Lots of positives to note, so I'll save time by bringing up concerns.

1) In the main book for Fanime 2012 it lists "flats" as an acceptable shoe wear for women at the Black and White Ball, and that shoes with heels more than 4 inches would be unacceptable. However, while in line, a Rover told my girlfriend that she would not be allowed to enter because her shoes (which were flats) did not have heels and thus would scuff up the dance floor.

Don't know whether this was fault on part of the Rover, whomever wrote the booklet, or even the ballroom owners. The point is that conflicting information was given, and we were denied entrance (or rather my girlfriend was and I didn't stand for it). It also doesn't help that whether or not a pair of shoes has heels or not is not the end-all reason whether or not shoes scuff good floors.

My friend complained about a similar thing with the ball. There were many contradictions in dress code than what they rovers said were dress code appropriate.


Quote from: Crizum on May 28, 2012, 08:28:41 PM
Quote-Allowing people to both enter and exit Artist Alley/Dealers Hall/Gaming Room from both doors: Last year, it was annoying only being allowed to exit from one door.  This year was definitely much better.

Really? I was told "You have to exit over there" a few times, they really need to get everyone on the same page :/.



I've been attending Fanime since the 90s, so I'm a long-time attendee. We had a lot of fun this year, but some things could be improved.

We pre-registered, but came on Saturday afternoon to pick up our badges (we didn't stay at a hotel, but commuted from the Concord/Walnut Creek area), so we didn't have any trouble with registration and long lines like a lot of people. By that point, there was no line at all, which was great. I can definitely understand the frustration with waiting in long lines for registration, though (we waited in line 4+ hours last year on a Saturday because my friend didn't pre-register).


  • Pocket schedules - Loved the pocket schedule again this year. Very convenient. Definitely bring it back next year, if possible. Not everyone has a Smartphone or tablet to quickly check the online schedule, so this was a huge plus.
  • Artist Alley - Artist Alley was awesome this year. I was very impressed. Lots of very talented artists and a great variety of styles and subjects. Loved it!
  • Dealer's room variety – I was pretty happy with the nice selection of goods this year. They had a good variety of items and I bought several things this year (probably more than I should have, whoops).
  • Panel variety - Great variety of panels this year! I enjoyed the majority that we attended. Wish we could have gone to more, but they were scheduled at odd times or on days we couldn't attend.
  • Masquerade – I thought it was a lot better compared to previous years. Lots of great costumes and clever skits. The host was also funny and the pacing was just right (it didn't drag on like previous years, at least to me). It seemed shorter and I liked that they showed AMVs during the waiting period for judging to pass the time.
  • Sailor Moon marathon – Please bring this back next year! I love Sailor Moon and was really hoping to see more of this, but got side-tracked with other events. Ah, the nostalgia!
  • Banzai Arcade – This was our first time attending and it was a blast! Loved all the anime and video game trivia mixed with the on-screen RPG-type game. Wish we could have participated, but we arrived late from the masquerade.


  • Schedule release – If at all possible, it would be great to be able to see a finished (or semi-finished) schedule online a week before the con. This would make planning so much easier. It's hard to plan when the schedule is released one or two days before the convention starts, especially for people who are trying to decide which days to attend (for those of us that can't attend all four days).
  • Panel lines - Like someone else said, the lines for some of the more popular panels were AWFUL. It was hard to distinguish which line belonged to which panel and even staff members were confused. It was just a mess this year. The line for the panel on "What's Wrong with Square Enix?" was especially bad. Perhaps get some rope barriers or something similar to divide the lines next year, as well as signs to indicate where the line starts and ends. That would REALLY help. It was just very frustrating at times not knowing what line you're in (and other people not knowing, either).
  • Panel scheduling - A lot of the panels we wanted to go to were scheduled for Friday and even Monday morning when we couldn't attend the con. I know sometimes this can't be helped, but it was just a disappointment for us this year. It just seemed like some of the more popular panels were scheduled at odd times on less popular days. Hopefully we can go all four days next year and this won't be a problem for us. I guess we just expected more of a selection on Saturday and Sunday that interested us.
  • Dealer's room temperature - The dealer's room seemed very warm and humid this year (already mentioned, but thought I'd mention it again). I don't recall it being that bad last year. This seemed to increase the various smells (not good ones, I might add) and made it not very pleasant to be there. Bad B.O. seemed to be more of an issue this year and this just intensified the problem.
  • Masquerade volume - The volume was set WAY too high for the masquerade, especially for some of the songs. I understand you need to make it loud so everyone can hear and understand what's being said (although, even with the loud volume, it was hard to understand some of the dialogue due to static and poor audio quality), but it seemed a lot louder and more high-pitched this year compared to previous years (and we were sitting in the back of the room). We had to plug our ears during some of the louder parts because it felt like our ears were going to bleed. I know this doesn't bother a lot of people, but I prefer to keep my good hearing for a long time. Then again, I don't attend loud concerts that often or listen to blasting loud music on a regular basis, so perhaps my hearing is more sensitive than others. I enjoyed the masquerade, but left with a pretty awful headache due to the loud volume.
  • Construction / No more fountain – I know the con has nothing to do with this, but it was just kind of a bummer that they took the fountain out in front and replaced it with random plants (including Lamb's Ears, which tend to attract a LOT of bees and aren't exactly pretty plants, in my opinion). It would be nice if the hotel puts in a pretty flower garden for next year (which would be a great backdrop for cosplay photos) or brings back the fountain. I know construction is going on, so hopefully things will be better next year. I'm just curious what they will decide to do with it or if they will leave it as it is.
  • Crosswalks and jaywalking – Not anything the con can really do anything about (except maybe hire people to direct traffic and people in crosswalks on busier days... I could have sworn they did that one year, but maybe I'm mistaken), but it's really annoying when a ton of con-goers cross the street against the lights in huge groups and walk like they have all day to cross. It annoys a lot of drivers (including myself) and I'm honestly surprised nobody has gotten hit yet. If it says not to cross, DON'T, or at least hurry across the street and don't dawdle. Having to commute to the con, it really annoys me how awful this can be each year. Also, there was a lot of jaywalking, too (which is really dangerous when there is a lot of traffic and irritated drivers). I understand people are in a hurry to get to events and are in their own worlds, but please abide by the traffic lights (especially when there's a lot of traffic) and stay safe.

Sorry this was so long, but I just wanted to elaborate a bit on some of the problems we experienced. We still had an awesome time at Fanime and appreciate all the hard work you guys put into it. Keep up the great work and thanks for reading my comments! Looking forward to next year! :D


I'll start with the pros so my main complaint looks less bitchy. xD


1. Many dealers that sold wigs and books.
3. Good places to sneak away and take cosplay photos.
4. The booklet returned from it's tomb. <3
5. Got to see old buds.
6. Most of the rovers were nice and very helpful when I got lost. ><

Cons (dun, dun, dun):

1. Not too many panels interested me. I was hoping for more "advanced" cosplay panels as opposed to basics. That's just my opinion though. ^^
2. Shoving. I broke my shoulder about a week before con and ended up getting hit with a heavy box. I know the person didn't mean to and had no knowledge of my injury, but in EVERY crowd I walked through I was shoved and my husband's coat kept getting pulled on.
3. The arrow walkway had people going up and down the wrong sides.
4. People stopping in the middle of crowded spaces. This isn't the cons fault but it was very annoying.
5. Before I even start this one, let me make myself very clear. I know that weapons and peace-bonding rules are subject to change, but I never once saw an update for what I'm going to complain about. I was resting against a wall in one of the hallways on Monday when a rover approached me and asked if I had taken my cane to get peace-bonded. I replied no and explained that I need it for medical reasons. He then told me I NEEDED to get it peace-bonded, that even Fanime's chairman (who is disabaled I guess) had his peace-bonded.
First of all Fanime posted the following as part of THEIR peace-bonding rules:

"I have a cane, and I actually use it to walk. Does it need to be peace-bonded?
No. If it is medically necessary, we do not have to peace bond it."

Second the exact same rule is printed inside the FanimeCon 2012 Program Guide page 16 under FanimeCon Cosplay and Peace-Bonding FAQ.

Now maybe I missed the memo (highly possible) about this sudden change, but if I am in the right then that rover was just being a douche. I agree with having props peace-bonded if they are props, but if they are medically needed then I see no point in embarassing attendees and demanding them to do such things.

Hope to see those of you who were friendly next year!!



Plenty of Pros and cons this year. A lot has been mentioned


Pocket Schedule
- It's always great when there's an actual schedule before the con. Having a downloadable version for smartphones was a nice touch.

- The event went smoothly, the host was great, and entertain was provided during judging, which didn't take too long. A highlight event.

Guests - The guest list was small, but good quality. Great seeing Yamaga and Yokota again. Really hope to see them next year as well. Asamiya was a huge draw for me this con as well. I really like the artists that get brought in.

Use of the Fairmont
- While a bit of a distance, it's nice to continue to see all the con space get utilized. It worked well for Swap Meet and Autographs.

Yamaga Party - Always a great event. Especially for those that can't make the panels of the guests.

Tribute to Noboru Ishiguro - I was very happy to see a number of his works not only playing, but highlighted in the schedule.

Midnight Madness - Very happy to see the tradition continue.

Swap Meet open to everyone of Thursday.
- This went a long way to easing the woes over not getting ones badge on Day 0. Kudos.


My Little Pony Panels
- I want to start off by saying that I'm actually a fan of the show, and enjoyed Friday's panel, so this is not a complaint directed at the panelists. I must question it's place at the con. While I could understand if the show had a very anime like flavor, it does not. The art style is very much classic cartoons, no companies or artists of Japan are involved to my knowledge, and the show hardly, if ever, references anime or Japanese pop culture. Simply put, it has nothing to do with the convention's theme outside of being animated. I know it's popular with anime fans, and cosplayed heavily this year, but I question whether that alone warrants it being highlighted at the con.


A lot has been said of the lines for prereg, so I won't echo them here. Though I particularly didn't like asking one rover where the end of the line was, going to it, and finding it had already been cut off. Better information to the guests always helps.

Musicfest - I'll start by saying that the guests that performed were great. Mai Aizawa has a great voice and Chiba has a lot of energy and showmanship. However, it was obvious that the event was not what was planned nor even on scale from years before. The event opened with a video of a bunch of performers apologizing for not being there. Who starts a show with a list of who you won't be seeing? I'm told some of the comments weren't even subbed. It was also billed as an intermission video, so again, why open with it? Mai only sang two songs. Two. I was a little late and missed most of it, and with only two performers, that just doesn't seem right. The main act, Chiba, only performed for about half an hour. Seeing him headlined, I would've expected something a lot longer. Worse, the majority of the length of the event was a video presentation of a Vocaloid concert. I wasn't expecting a hologram event, but to switch from the high energy of Chiba to a video screening just killed the energy. Even Vocaloid cosplayers left in droves.

It just seems obvious that plans for Musicfest either feel through (understandable) or the event simply was not prioritized. While I appreciated that something was done to pad the length, an opening act of two songs followed by a main act of about 9 songs and then an hour of video does not make a music event no matter the quality of performers. It wasn't even listed as an event on the website. Ever. Musicfest has been a main event for me since it was called Gakufest, and I really hope to see it shine again next year. I'm not even saying we need A-listers, but past events have been great even with small, obscure bands.

Autograph sessions - The autograph situation really highlights how unorganized or poorly thought out some things were. I echo all of CutieBunny's concerns.

For starters, why only on Saturday and Sunday? I know not all guests stay the whole con, and guest schedules need to be worked out, but having signings on Friday and Monday would really help getting more people autographs.

The scheduling also didn't work. Why schedule autographs of sketching artists right after their panels? Since sketches take time no matter how quick, it guarantees that anyone who attended the panel will not be getting a sketch or even a signature. This is fine for Mai Aizawa and other non-artists, but even an hour apart like on Sunday for Asamiya made attending the panels impossible as anyone who got a sketch had to be in line at least three hours in advance for a maybe. I'm a big fan of Asamiya, and only was able to make his appearance at the Yamaga Party.

The length of the sessions for sketch artists was also too brief to believably allow more than a handful to get anything. If you wanted a sketch, you had to be there for hours. While it was mentioned that Yokota's first signing had a two hour window due to nothing scheduled after it, he stopped after one hour due to other commitments, so it wasn't even used and people would put on priority for the next signing (to quell Cutiebunny's peeve on that, most on that list had indeed waited hours, not minutes). It would make sense to me to devote as much free time to get through the line as possible. While they draw a line, it's not one nearly as long as a voice actor's, so even an extra hour would accommodate much more of the line. Scheduling a session right after their panel and then an interview or something else immediately after for guests that love to draw just doesn't seem well thought out a plan for getting as many happy con-goers, many who've given up the rest of the day to wait in line, including the artists' own panels, their sought out autograph. The room was also huge. Surely another table could be set up to accommodate sketches while other guests sign. Last year, that very thing happened on the fly and it worked very well in a much smaller room.

There also seemed to be plenty of miscommunication during the sessions. Asamiya's line on Saturday was told around 45 minutes in that he'd sketch for another 15 minutes after. Some apparently heard that the next ten would indeed get in (I personally don't recall this, and was among them). 5 minutes before four, we're told the autographs are done. I know he has to get out at a certain time, but why get peoples hopes off just to say something else minutes later? I did appreciate the Sunday Asamiya line being cut off at a reasonable time and people told to not expect sketches at a certain point. The Chiba signing had a 15 minute delay due to missing staffers I was told. Staffers never seemed to know exactly how many could get in, how long things would last and so on. Everything was on the fly. Seeing as Yokota in particular is a repeat guest, sure they know what to expect by now.

The worst of this miscommunication was the website and Musicfest highly promoting the sale of goods of bands that couldn't make it this year with the bonus of signed items. An awesome gesture. They never appeared. Musicfest distinctly said they'd be offered at the autograph sessions. I asked the reseller at Chiba's session after Musicfest. He said they were at the con but they didn't get them to that session in time, so they would be available at later autograph sessions. Not only were they not, the autograph staffers had no info on them at all. One told me that that was all Musicfest's department. I happened to get up to stretch my legs at one point Sunday and glanced through the door to see how it was going as I walked back. A female staffer exiting the room at the time (wearing no badge) inquired if I had a question. While I was not up specifically to ask it, I figured since she asked  I would also inquire her about the Musicfest items. She told me that the sessions they were at had already passed. I told her that I was at those sessions and was told that they weren't there and would be at Sunday's instead.  She said I had had to ask about them at those previous sessions. I said that I had at the same session and was again told they would be there on Sunday. She then said she didn't know where they were nor was there anything she could do about it (no one made any attempt to find out about these items so publicized). She then told me that there's a lot of misinformation going around and that she thought I complained too much and intentionally make myself stand out. I was rather taken aback at this nonchalant insult and even told her that I was sorry and wasn't complaining, I was simply trying to ask a question about something multiple sources had given me details about. She said she simply didn't know. It wasn't a rumor, it was on the website and publicized at the event. Surely asking what happened or if perhaps they meant the dealers room isn't "complaining". I'm utterly aghast that a staffer would be so unprofessional as to outright criticize a member for asking a question she solicited simply because he wasn't accepting the information she had that he (and she since she was present at most if not all the signings) knew wasn't fully correct. I wasn't complaining at the time, but I certainly am now.

The final issue at the signing was the handling of autographs only for Asamiya. They did this at both sessions where they announced about ten minutes in the formation of a separate line for people who only wanted autographs. I understand and approve wanting to get as many through the line as possible, and even get their defense when people took issue with it that it "only takes five seconds". However, it should be understandable that just about everyone that went into that line had been there minutes and were now guaranteed something. It may only take seconds, but when you have staffers scrambling to get people through the line, egging the artist to draw faster, or worried about closing on time, 20 people getting autographs effectively denies at least one person who'd been waiting hours a sketch when they cut twenty minute in advance the day before. No one is entitled, but the concept of first come, first served should be honored. I also heard that staffers got colored sketches right at the start of the Sunday session since he was early. With people waiting, is that truly fair? One guy even joined the autograph only line after it had been both closed and moved into the other room. He poked his head in thirty minutes in and asked if we minded. We told him, like we'd been asked by the staffers to, that it was cut and that we minded. He got one anyway (he assured me that it really only took five seconds).  At the very least, a separate line should've been made much prior to the start. Instead of pulling people from the line, and sending them in first, tell them to wait at the back and send them in last since it only takes seconds and they know no more sketches can be made. Better yet, do what wound up happening on Sunday, late in the session, tell the people waiting what to expect and at a certain point cut off sketches and make everyone after autograph only. That way, those that were late get autographs and those waiting hours don't feel like they were cut off because of the prioritizing of those that just showed up and didn't care as much. I'm happy to hear that everyone waiting on Sunday at least got an autograph, many with a quicker sketch.