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Is Fanime worth going to anymore?

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citrus:
I've been going to Fanimecon for 2007 and always had an immensely good time. But ever since 2011 the convention has being bringing me mostly disappointment after disappointment. And even though it's 2015 and the convention hasn't even STARTED. I'm already becoming disappointed with the results. This is the second time the hotel registration site crashed and its even worse then last time. Not only that, in my opinion most of the guest roster for 2014 was absolutely TERRIBLE compared to the previous years. It was almost as bad as the 2012 guest roster. Possibly even worse.

The only saving grace fanimecon had during 2014 was their musicfest. I was incredibly disappointed with the first act. I found it to be extremely cheap and it's someone you would see at a much smaller convention. And overall disappointing. Trust me I was not the only one who was disappointed. I literally heard at least one person booing the first act. Which has NEVER happened in any of the previous musicfests. If someone's booing then it's clear fanime is doing something wrong! But thank god Home Made Kazoku made everything up for it.

I might as well also give my small feedback about fanime 2014 since no one had made a proper forum for it.

Pros: - the main act of musicfest

- The vendor hall and much more organized and what looks like an even bigger artist alley

- They FINALLY fixed the registration line!

And... that's pretty much it.

Cons: programming for the first day SUCKS! I was so bored and I had nothing to do most of the time. So all I did was shop at the vendor hall and artist alley. But oh wait! That probably benefited fanime since I'm spend A LOT of money there! Because of how bored I was. I think that effected me spending more compulsively then usual...

- This was probably fanime's 2nd worst musicfest yet. And I say 2nd because at least they had a super amazing act. in the 2012 one, fanime pulled a giant middle finger towards everyone and even lied to their fans.

- Like I said in the top. The guest roster was terrible and we got some guests NOBODY cared for or even heard of.

- The effort it took to get a hotel.

And so this brings up to my point and the original topic I was going to discuss. I apologized if I rant but I felt like I had to get it out of my system.

And so my question to all of you is. Is Fanimecon even worth going to anymore? I've been going for so many years now but I feel I should just cross fanime off my list and find another convention that has a better guest roster and OVERALL more organized and better overall. For example one forum member from another convention website that he/she was so dissapointed  that he/she flew all the away to North Carolina for animazement and was not the only one. Quite a few fanimecon attendees did the same. And I might as well start doing the same. What do you guys think? is the convention worth going to? Or should I take my business elsewhere. If yes it's not worth going to. What other conventions do you recommend going?

Imperial:
Some points you made are true, some, not so much.

On Hotel site: For me, It didnt crash this year. It was strained, but it did not crash to the point of not working for several hours as of past years. I Stress tested it after initial rush, and I didn't crash it then as well with it being hit with 5k browsers hitting it at the same time. practical. But in general, It will always be easier to get a hotel for next fanime During the current fanime. We kinda are stuck at the convention center, as its the largest venue in the bay area, and the hotels are already strained from other local things at the time.

On guest Roster/music guests: 2 years ago had a pretty good roster IMO, last year I was too busy running from gathering to gathering to sit down and go to see them, so again, I cant Testify to whether or not they were good. Although, they were really late in getting them last year, so there is that. Apparently from the meetings, Guest are already "set" as of feburary for this con, they just will announce them later. Its one thing I have hammered in at staff meetings and other staff things, if we want guest fans request, we need to get them by January as most are planned by then now in days...because we are in the hunt with many other cons for limited time. That, and people who were vocal last year on guest they wanted, got what they wanted. If you want someone, SAY SOMETHING, and SAY IT EARLY. all is fair in the game, so long as your starting in it.

on Feedback: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/board,27.0.html is where I went for seeing Feedback, and again, starting early is a good thing on giving feedback, allows us to make sure that we see it, take note, and improve. This post is REALLY late in the game for this year. Plus, I believe they sent out an email requesting feedback, but don't quote me here.

On day 1 programing: in a way, its meant to be an appetizer for the rest of con, due to the fact that the biggest surge of people come Sat. & Sun. I can't stress that there is more than just panels at fanime, and the major reason I keep going is the gatherings. How much time and effort are put into these cosplays are just amazing, and just going to see one of an anime you have never seen might get you to see it. I picked up Touhou, KLK, Kuroshitsuji, SMT, and so much just from going to the gatherings. Don't feel like your bound to only going panels/Day 1 programming. Sometimes just exploring the town can make Con even more fun.

Your ending statement: The feedback I have seen of last fanime was 90% positive, praises all around, there was somewhat an exodus 2 years ago because of linecon, and I understand that. But last year actually was pretty great IMO, minus some bullpucky that happened (nother story, nother time). This year, I know we have more vendors coming, and the gatherings are just blooming. I dont know anything on the panels yet, nor the guest as thats pretty shut right now. Honestly, I believe Fanime had a downtime with the construction, and without it now, It is worth going to. To a degree, it still is made by the fans, for the fans. Its your money however, and I can't spend it. Anime North is the same time, and from friends its sliding downwards, thats all i know of cons at the same time slot.

Although, reading through this, I realized I am more weighted towards cosplay than general con events, so take it with a grain of salt. TBH, cosplay is why I go to cons, help cons get started locally, and develop from what I can to make the con better. Guess I got addicted ever since I took the picture of a first time cosplayer exclusively, and the smile on her face was wider than the river Nile.

In the end, Go on what you think is worth going to.

echoshadow:
I can see where your coming from, I felt that way the last few years too.
One thing that seem to make sense is that just because Fanime is now a huge con, it's still not a  major con like AX or Otakon. It's really just a 2 day con spread out to cover 4 days. That's Fanime in a nut shell.

Fanime is the biggest hangout con there is. You really can't expect huge voice actor/industry guest, music guest, or anime premiers. I guess that's why a lot of people expect big names for a con this size. If all you want to do is look,be in, take pic of cosplays then that's Fanime's main dish. But if cosplay is just on day of Fanime then the rest is kind of meh.

I agree with you on the programing last year. There was not much to go around. Unless you love fan panels. Which are fine and fun, but two or there homestuck/MLP panels a day, it kind of feels like there are filling in time. Makes you think why the official schedule has been released 2-3 prior to the start of the con, for the last 4 years. 

Not sure what else is out there, but for me Fanime is financially cheaper than going out of state. Unless Fanime is the only con you go to, I would try to make some out of state cons. I would never make Fanime my only con I go to. Not really worth it, what I get out of it. 

I guess what it comes down to is this: don't expect huge names coming to Fanime. Instead expect a hangout con with little interesting programing. Explore the city, eat out, sure beats walking around the con ten times in order kill time. If you come with this mind set then your experience would be better.

@tjimmy2 As for the hotel booking going live... Yeah it crashed within 3 minutes. I guess you where not on FB/twitter/forums to read 1000+ people saying it crashed. Or where smoking some good stuff. It's been that crappy the last 4 years. Not sure why you would even say it worked this year, let alone in years past.

Sunara Ishi:

--- Quote from: echoshadow on March 10, 2015, 08:46:08 PM ---Fanime is the biggest hangout con there is. You really can't expect huge voice actor/industry guest, music guest, or anime premiers. I guess that's why a lot of people expect big names for a con this size. If all you want to do is look,be in, take pic of cosplays then that's Fanime's main dish. But if cosplay is just on day of Fanime then the rest is kind of meh.

I agree with you on the programing last year. There was not much to go around. Unless you love fan panels. Which are fine and fun, but two or there homestuck/MLP panels a day, it kind of feels like there are filling in time. Makes you think why the official schedule has been released 2-3 prior to the start of the con, for the last 4 years. 

--- End quote ---
Actually, they had some awesome music guests, voice actors, mangaka, etc. in the years past. (I've been attending for about 12 years...) They can get them but it requires a lot of outreach. And it is probably harder now with so many more conventions competing. Though my biggest issue with the past few years was that they were promoting more American industry versus Japanese industry. And the behavior of their fans does impact who they can get. (such as the booing Citrus mentioned. )

Programming can be a hit and miss. And it really requires input from the fans. What they want, etc. Day 1 used to be dead because everyone used to be checking into their hotels, stuck in reg, or at school. And the big events have always been on the weekends. Now that reg. is shorter, maybe they can do more?

I believe a lot of the late schedule release issues actually had to do with guests and guest panels & autograph sessions.

@citrus: Whether it is worth going to is really up to you.
You could find a facet of the con that you enjoy (artist alley, cosplay, etc. ) or join staff to try to make it better/ how you'd like it.

Kuudere:
The real question you should be asking is if it's worth going to Fanime to you. If you feel your points are valid and justified, then perhaps it is best to forgo Fanime for you. You don't need our approval or agreement to determine what's best for you. Your opinion alone should be what matters in that decision, since it's you who is spending money to attend these conventions. The following is only my response to your listed concerns, which hopefully help to explain some of these things from a different perspective.

Disclaimer: I am not staff, nor have I worked for any convention aside from a small, local con, so consider the following information to be mostly casual research done by an outsider, rather than someone with inside knowledge in the structure of Fanime and other cons.

Fanime, as it states in its slogan, is "by fans, for fans." This is actually a big deal, considering some of the largest cons are basically run by organizations and corporations these days. Which, while that gives those conventions more power in the guest relations department, it can also take away a lot of control from the people who attend the event. Fanime has the advantage that they can listen to their attendees, because they don't have bigger organizations as their primary interest. They're fan-focused.

"Well, they don't do a good job in giving us what we want," you may be thinking. There are several comments I'd like to make to that, primarily that you're not going to like everyone they get. That's a fact. They cannot please everyone. But for every time you hate a guest they chose, there are at least several dozen that genuinely enjoy that guest choice. One of the biggest complaints are when cons go with American VAs over Japanese VAs. Sure, those might not appeal to older fans who are die-hard sub watchers, but have you noticed that conventions are tending to draw younger crowds? I won't speak for every young person, but I know that many of them are exposed to anime through American programming, which is by-far dubbed. Same-day dubbing is actually revolutionizing the industry and making the same shows you watch available to all types of viewers. American VAs are what they know. These guests are a big deal to them.  I don't think it's fair to focus solely on the older crowd (and by older, I don't just mean age, I mean time spent in the anime fandom) when it comes to determining guests, especially when our guest choices are much more expensive and difficult to bring.

Second, they have designated places that they encourage you to request the guest you want to appear (and they actually monitor and keep record of the suggestions). I don't see where that option exists for Anime Expo. Unfortunately, I don't see enough people take advantage of that offer, or if they do, they request guests in February when it's really late to be securing guests. Perhaps staff can make more of an effort to promote that option to people early on in the planning stages. Anyway, they at least make an effort to find out what guests that their attendees are interested in.


As others have stated, the main programming is reserved mostly for Saturday and Sunday, as those are the days with highest attendee count. Many people are in school or they work during the week, so it wouldn't make sense to put the biggest events on a Friday when many can't even attend. And with 24-hour schedules (which not every convention has), it's impossible to pack things that are relevant to every attendee in every hour.

There are a lot of things that this convention offers outside of Japanese guests. It is in a fantastic location, surrounded by hotels within walking distance and close to a large variety of food sources. There are excellent places for photoshoots for cosplayers and photographers. I've heard from many people that Fanime is pretty well-known for having excellent cosplayers attend. It's not extremely overcrowded. 24-hour programming. A wonderful artist alley and a huge dealer's hall. Typically great weather. Attention given to attendees. It actually had an enviable line-control system last year (heard from plenty of people who went to other cons that they wished that those cons were more like Fanime in that respect).

And hey, they even get some amazing guests to come to the US for the first time (and come back, like FLOW did, meaning the guests enjoy the experience as well). Those are just some great perks that Fanime has to offer.

I absolutely agree on the housing website mess, though. I think Fanime has long outgrown the services they get from CMR and either need to upgrade, if possible, or move to another provider. Whatever servers they're currently using are way below what is necessary to accommodate the amount of traffic the site now gets. Also, I'm hoping that they eventually roll-out the badge-before-hotel system they've been trying to implement (maybe badge-buyers get access to a unique code that gives them access to the hotel page before it's open to the general public, and there's a limit to how many rooms can be reserved under that code? I don't know.)

Those heading the convention this year are different from the previous few years, so I'm kind of excited to see what changes happen. So far, the website (a huge complaint that I, and many others, had last year) is revealed around the time it used to be revealed years ago (yay!). They've been a bit more transparent on progress than in the past, in my opinion. So other than the hotel problems, I think that these point to a promising year.

So, if, knowing this information, you are still not happy with the direction that Fanime has taken, then I think it would be a good idea to see what other conventions are a better fit for you. If it's Japanese guests you like, AX tends to do well with that because they've got connections and the budget. People talk positively about ColossalCon in Ohio, but that's less because of the guest list and more because it's hosted in a giant indoor waterpark. There's also ACen in Chicago and Otakon, which are both popular conventions.

Sorry for the wall of text.

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