1st time attending Fanime. Any tips?

Started by airwickkim, March 07, 2015, 11:00:45 PM

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Hello there!

This year's FanimeCon will be my first convention and I'm kinda anxious haha. I've never attending a convention so I don't know what it's like. To ease into Fanime, I recently attending a NorCal cosplay gathering to see what the cosplay/convention culture is like and I really enjoyed it! I think it was a good prep for Fanime because I was already overwhelmed just from a gathering. I only know two other friends attending Fanime and they will most likely be doing their own thing so I'm not sure what to do at Fanime, especially alone and clueless. Thus, I wanted to ask how do you go about spending your day at Fanime?

In case anyone is interested, I'm most likely going as Yu Narukami from Persona 4. :)


1. staying awake for the entire con might sound like a good idea but in the hours between 2-8am not much worth wile is going on
2. shower (nuff said)
3. you may see something you really want in the dealers hall on the first day but unless it is something really rare it is usually better to wait till Sunday or Monday
4. Unless you are looking for something specific the swap meet can be a really fun experience
5. if your going to musicfest or Cosplay Spectacular the line can form between 4-2 hours before
6. again if your not looking for something specific in the dealers hall or artist ally the pre lines before scheduled openings are a waste of time


That's sums most of it up. 

So my guess is your going the full 4 days?
A few more tips I can add in:
Get there early as possible. There have been badge pick up problems in the past 4 years so you don't have to lose half a day waiting in line. This goes for parking. Chances are you'll have to park a few blocks away due to the amount of people attending.

Personal conduct & respecting girls:
This should be common knowledge but there's always some dudes that fall through the cracks.
Don't be douche and running around bumping or knocking people over. Same goes for being drunk/high. Both applys to general day con going and the late night dances.
There will be some sexy or scantly clad cosplays out there. So don't be a creeper/stalker. They are not strippers so don't treat them like one. That goes same when taking creeper pictures.

Protestors/loudmouths  :
Every now and then there will be a few people picking or doing something nutty(religous or WWII related) While it may be tempting to troll them or mess with them, don't do it. Let them be, they go way after a few hours.  They stay longer when idiots replay to them. That's their goal. Remember it's right to be there, so let them do their thing and they'll leave if nobody gives them attention.

Any other questions feel free to ask. No matter how silly or little.
Not your typical anime junkie.
MAL:Echoshadow's Anime List


Ahhh I feel you! My first time going to Fanime was 2013 and I had lots of fun~
(I also attended the Norcal gathering for my first time~)
But yeah, Fanime is definitely a lot bigger than the gathering, and definitely a lot more to see since there are actually things to look at and not just cosplayers.

It kind of depends on what you like. I love art, so I spend a lot of time in the artist alley just looking at the art there. There's also the dealer's hall which is cool if you like buying merch and stuff~

I spent the most time probably in the game hall! Lots of games to play or to watch others and I had lots of fun dancing with random people at Just Dance, playing mahjong and board games with people. Don't be shy and just ask if you can join them to play~ Most people are nice and would love to make new friends ^^

I was also up going to the raves/black and white ball, and watching anime and stuff with friends till really late (like till 5am), so I missed a lot of the panels during the day. But once the schedule comes out, definitely plan and see what panels you want to see LOL. (I was so tired from dancing I couldn't get up ; u; )

Ah yeah, and from my other friends who are 21+, a lot of them just like to party in their hotel rooms and get drunk LOL.

I also plan to check out San Jose in general this year, since I'm not from SJ soo. Sightseeing.

And also just checking out random gatherings that happen and whatever is going on in the halls~
Fanime 2016 cosplay lineup!

~Kamui from Fire Emblem
~Hana from Prison School
~Umaru from Himouto Umaru chan


Thanks for the replies, everyone!

@commisar_maticus - How come it's better to wait until Sunday/Monday to buy merchandise?

@echoshadow - Yes, I am going the full weekend! Thankfully I'm not a creep haha :D. Anyways, I'm probably going to pick up my badge on Thursday so hopefully that'll ease up on the line waiting. You seem like an experienced Fanime attendee so I have a question for you! I'm going by myself so how do you exactly do you meet people at these things? I'm quite social and outgoing, but being in a huge place like Fanime with no one I know is a bit daunting haha. I also feel like the social dynamics of meeting people at a convention are different than outside of one.

@TsukiYuu - The Norcal gathering was lots of fun! Did you cosplay? Your time at Fanime sounds like a TON of fun. Hopefully I can get a similar experience this year! I really want to make new friends with likeminded interests so Fanime sounds like a great opportunity! Plus I like dancing too hue hue~


The biggest tip I can give is make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day, since it can get pretty warm to hot outside, especially if you attend any gatherings out in the sun.

Definitely would suggest going to some of the panels or events at the con, too. Even waiting in line can be fun, since you can just talk to the people around you and get to know them. And if Steampunk interests you at all, hop on the shuttle Fanime provides to Clockwork Alchemy (which is like the partner convention of Fanime) to check it out, since the badge to Fanime is also a badge to Clockwork Alchemy. Plus, you can talk to the people you're sitting next to on the shuttle, great way to pass the time.


sometimes Sunday evening more so on Monday some dealers drop their prices so they don't have to take as much home


Depends what you mean by "meeting people".
If you just want to hang out and have fun, just be social. Talk to people in line, at the panels, or complement people on cosplays or theirs. For the most part everyone is cool, but theres the bit of shyness that always seems strong. You'll be amazed just how friendly people are once you tell them it's your first time at Fanime.

Now if you mean meeting people as in a possible future date, it's the same as out side the con. Heck, everyone has an upper hand already, both of you like anime so there's a good common interest.
Take advantage of the social activities Fanime has to offer or the places near by. There even a speed dating event, (good luck trying to get in. It's always full. Been trying to get in for the last 4 years.) There are the dances, and nearby clubs you can find fellow attendees
Not your typical anime junkie.
MAL:Echoshadow's Anime List


I did~ I just did a simple one with a group of people~ Hanayo from Love Live, spring uniform :> Did you cosplay?

Haha if you like dancing, you'll definitely have fun ^^!

And yeah, like what Mythal said, stay hydrated! It gets really hot especially if you dance or walk around a lot @__@
( so if you're cosplaying, I suggest not wearing warm layers or stay inside in the shade ; u; )

Also I suggest bringing snacks or drinks yourself. They get expensive at the con. My friends just bring them big packs of snacks and water bottles~
Fanime 2016 cosplay lineup!

~Kamui from Fire Emblem
~Hana from Prison School
~Umaru from Himouto Umaru chan


@Mythal - Thanks for the great tip! Maybe I'll bring a camelbak. I haven't researched much on Clockwork Alchemy so I'll definitely check it out!

@commisar_maticus - That makes sense! I do want some merch so hopefully I can get some decent deals :D

@echoshadow - Just trying to meet people and have fun! I don't meet too many people with similar interests so I'm just trying to make some good friends! It's nice to be around so many people that like a lot of the same things I do!

@TsukiYuu - I didn't cosplay! I felt too noob to cosplay and didn't have time anyways as I found out about the event the night before and went on a whim. So I just went around taking selfies with my GoPro. I did meet a group of Love Live cosplayers that I took a group picture with that had a Hanayo cosplayer! I think it was Hanayo, Eli, Kotori, Nico, and a Maki? Maybe it was you haha! Are you able to bring in outside food and drinks?


I think bringing your own food and drink is allowed? Since the convention center is connected to one of the hotels. At least, I didn't encounter any problems carrying a few water bottles out in the open when I was walking around with friends.


Yes you are able to bring food and drinks. There are food stands inside the convention center and tables. But as mentioned they are a bit pricey, but not too bad.

One highlight of Fanime that I highly recommend is the Black & White Ball. It's not often you get a formal dance so check it out.
Not your typical anime junkie.
MAL:Echoshadow's Anime List


Awww haha never too noob~~ But you will cosplay for Fanime yeah? :D

Oooo maybe?? We did a Spring uniform ver cause it was also kind of last minute for us and it's the easily to do  ;;

Yeah I'm pretty sure. Although, most people are too busy with the con to be eating/drinking lol.
(I'm veeery sure actually. Cause a lot of the artists in the artist alley like to ask friendly people to bring them food cause they have to sit there all day LOL).
Fanime 2016 cosplay lineup!

~Kamui from Fire Emblem
~Hana from Prison School
~Umaru from Himouto Umaru chan


Aside from telling you to have fun and enjoy your time at Fanime? I'd say look into any gatherings that would interest you and try to make it to them. A lot of the artists in the Artist's Alley are really nice, especially if they aren't busy so it never hurts to strike up a conversation with them.

Also, eating food and drinking water are really important during the convention. Like, seriously please take care of yourself because it sucks going a whole con day without eating or drinking anything in that heat. Luckily, there are a good number of places around the convention center and the surrounding hotels that have pretty good food, maybe use Yelp or something to find places to eat. Some cosplay gatherings also go out to eat afterwards (but I'm not sure which ones specifically).


Ah! Everyone is so nice here :3 Thank you for the great tips!

@echoshadow - I heard some neat things about the Black and White ball! Are they pretty serious with the dress code?

@TsukiYu - Yes! I'm kinda anxious about cosplaying and what not, but still excited!

@Gengrawr - So I guess another big part of Fanime is going to other group gatherings and taking pictures of them?

It seems that people seem to not eat and drink water because they are enjoying their time too much at Fanime haha!


Yeah the dress code is enforced. The major issue is shoes, most of the time people get turned away because of the wrong shoe. For girls is the pointy high heals. Just make sure the heal is bigger than a nickel and your golden. For dudes, wear dress shoes not sneakers.

It's not that hard of a dress code, but people often forget to read the dress code. Well it was 50/50 on the attendee and Fanime's part. Besides the on-line info, there was little to no info on the dress code in the programing booklet. So a lot of first timers got turned away.
Not your typical anime junkie.
MAL:Echoshadow's Anime List


Oh last years con was my first time attending!  I missed out on a whole lot of events due to poor planning of my schedule T_T.  So this year things will be different! I wonder what late night animu will be showing! Overall though, I think you will have a good time! I missed out on a lot and still had a blast!


I've only been to Fanime once and the grounds are huge aha. It took my friends and I awhile to get used to it.
kal | they/them | cosplayer ♥ | (´・ω・`)
Fanime 2024 Lineup:
Friday - Priestess (IDV)
Saturday - Astarion (BG3)
Sunday - Gravekeeper (IDV) | Astarion (BG3) for B&W Ball
Monday - TBD


Some great tips in here already!

- Pick up your badge on Thursday. Last year they announced they would open at 3 PM, but they actually opened at Noon and by the time I got there (around 1 PM?) there was no line and I just breezed right through and got my badge. That being said, past performance is no guarantee of future results so do plan on being there early to get your badge.

-The schedule is your friend. As others have mentioned it's easy to lose track of time wandering around Artist Alley and the Dealers Hall, but there is always great stuff being shown in the video rooms, fun panels and of course guest panels too! When you pick up your badge there will most likely be a pocket schedule/guide in the bag. Review it! The first real "event" of Fanime is the swap meet on Thursday night, and being staff for that event I would highly encourage you to come! However, between picking up your badge and swap meet you can familiarize yourself with the goings-on of the weekend and plan accordingly.

- Food. It can easily chew away (haha) at your budget if you're not careful. Do you have a hotel room? If so, bring flats of water, buy sodas or whatever you want to drink in bulk and snacks to keep you sustained throughout the day. There are some great options for food near the con that aren't too expensive, so familiarize yourself with the area via google maps, or take advantage of that "downtime" on Thursday between picking up your badge and the swap meet. If you don't have a hotel room, a cooler in the back of your car can house your snacks/lunch throughout the day and you can come back to that as a rally point when you need to recharge.

- Now this depends on what kind of shopper you are but I generally stay away from the dealers hall for the first hour or two that it's open. The main reason being that there's usually a very large line and in my experience the "first in the door" don't really have an advantage over anyone else since the layout is different every year and there aren't too many "exclusive" items. Of course, if you want to be first in line you are welcome to do so, but be prepared to be sitting in that line for 3-5 hours in the early morning on Friday. I've found that it's better to just saunter in a bit later in the afternoon on Friday and peruse at a more leisurely pace.

- Save money for Monday. On the topic of the dealers hall, by late morning/early afternoon Monday, a lot of vendors will be having "closeout" deals. It's not guaranteed, but maybe you get a better price on some manga, or can negotiate a slightly lower price on some wall scrolls. Not only that, it's a total bummer when you're broke by Sunday afternoon and have to drag through the rest of the con with no money!

There's so much to see and do! The convention is pretty big, but once you've been wandering the first couple days you get into the swing of things by Saturday and have a good idea where everything is.

This year will be my 11th year and I still have a blast! Have a  great con!
Fanime attendee since 2004
Swap meet staff - 2014
Swap meet co-chair - 2015


Thank so much for the tips everyone! You guys are so nice :3

I'm so, so excited to go!