Annie here 🙂
So, as Kelli said in post# 002A, we went to Fanime for a day a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time, though our experiences were very different. Kelli’d never been to an anime convention before, and I’d been to Anime Central once before. On top of that, of the two of us I’m the more knowledgable about anime/manga because of the time I’d spent in college watching/reading. So I at least knew what to expect, while Kelli went in with more of general idea.
First of all, the culture’s a bit different from ACen’s. To be honest, not that many Asians live in the Midwest, and so a majority of the convention-goers then had been predominantly white (though it may have changed since then – after all, I went in 2007, so it’s been 5 years). Fanime has a much larger Asian American attendance rate since it’s based in NorCal. And while you wouldn’t think that would change the vibe of the convention since it’s more about the collective love of anime/manga, it kind of did. It felt like there was a lot less mistaken stereotyping of Japanese culture, which I think some American otaku are in the guilty of doing. Also, it seemed like there was a broader representation of women…but I think that speaks more to anime/manga becoming more popular among girls in general now rather than there being more girls into it on the West Coast than in the Midwest.
So, before I’d gone to ACen, my roommate insisted we buy our passes ahead of time to avoid lines later. It’s only after having gone to Fanime for a day that I realized how wise that was. We waited in line at least an hour to register, and then another 20 minutes to pay, which is kind of crazy. But it was worth it because I got to see Kelli’s reaction to things. Her fascination with the cosplayers was fun to see, and I realized that her excitement over them made me feel nostalgic and rekindled my own fascination. The amount of time and effort so many people put into their clothes was amazing. Here’s a good example:
First, it’s pretty rare to see this character, Prince Ashitaka (of Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke”). Maybe back when the movie had just been released it had been popular, but nowadays it’s a throwback…like trick-or-treating as Doug Funnie. Plus, I think it’s more common for girls to want to cosplay as San, since it was more of a girl-power kind of movie. The costume’s pretty awesome and I loved it! But the great thing about anime conventions is that the attitude is sort of “anything goes”. So we saw a couple of “Where’s Waldo”s roaming around, as well as South Park characters, Star Wars characters, myriad video game characters, and Adventure Time characters.
We hung around Stage Zero a lot, which I suppose to more seasoned convention goers might seem boring, but was just the right thing to do for a newbie like Kelli and a semi-newbie like myself. We saw some audience-participation games going on to keep up a fun atmosphere in main lobby of the convention, plus the charity auction and the AMV awards. AMVs are always so interesting to me, because it’s kind of like the mash-ups – taking things admittedly created by other people, breaking them apart, jumbling them up, and putting them back together artfully to entertain, inspire, and eventually draw out emotions from the audience. I think it’s where great film editors are born. Kelli posted her favorite from the show, so here’s mine:
It’s by Shin & Gunther’s AMVs 🙂 I’m a sucker for romance and the idea of fate is a sweet sort of idea that carries over in so many anime/manga. I also love the song and even though I only vaguely know about the anime used, it pulled it together and let even people who don’t know the stories really enjoy it.
Anywho, that’s that 🙂 I enjoyed Fanime a lot, and can’t wait for next year! I’m thinking about going as an Eito Ranger! (Orange, of course – I ❤ Maru-chan.)