There is no better way to kick-off the Summer season then with a weekend at FanimeCon 2019, one of the largest anime fan conventions in North America and described by everyone as a magical experiences that no other con could offer. Hence it was 8Bit/Digi‘s obligation to cover the entire weekend.
The event had vendors from all over the West Coast along with artist to sell copies of their work and a diverse group of special guests who were eager to meet their fans. This years event was also special because this was the Sliver Celebration, marking 25 years of being one of the most unforgettable anime conventions.
For the most devoted of attendees, Day Zero is unofficially the first day of FanimeCon. This is day that so many come to pick up their badge, check in the their hotel and try to meet up with friends they haven’t seen since last year. Even though most of the area is closed, the gaming hall kicks-off at 6:30 while there is no shortage of random encounters.
Before the vendor hall and artist alley could open, attendees come to the Swap Meet to do their shopping done early. This is the perfect chance to find something rare or unique among the many independent vendors who just wanted to unload their unwanted stuff. The best time to go is on Thursday as many of the merchants will have sold out with very little left over for Friday.
Tribute to Monkey Punch
Last month, the entertainment world was heartbroken when Kazuhiko Katō (better known by his pen name Monkey Punch) passed away at the age of 81. In honor of his legacy, FanimeCon paid tribute to his lifework in several different ways. A special panel looked backed at his life work and the impact he had while Crunchyroll presented a special screening of The Castle of Cagliostro.
There was no shortage of activities during the weekend, from board games to foam sword fights and video games. Being bored during this weekend was a personal choice and a sign of one being a buzzkill. Here are some of the activities one could stumble upon:
Fanimaid Cafe is the official maid cafe of the convention and was located at the Fairmount Hotel. Guest got to enjoy some tasty treats while playing fun games or watching a live performance by the staff.
One of the most popular events have been the numerous cosplay gatherings organized by the FanimeCon staff. These are the perfect opportunity to showcase your work and to mingle with other fans of your favorite franchise.
Speed Dating was the perfect opportunity for singles to hook up during the FanimeCon weekend. Several sessions were set up that gave singles the opportunity to meet a new friend or that special someone.
While not organized by the FanimeCon staff, there were many random moments in which guests would gather for a raid in Pokemon Go. With several gyms located at the Convention Center and Downtown Area, fans would get together to participate in either raids or attempt to take a gym for their team.
FanimeCon 2019 had over 100 merchants set up in SJCC Hall 1 & 2 along with over 50 artists in the Grand Ballroom selling a verity of goods. Figurines, old video games, and collectible merchandise are among the many gems in this treasurer trove. Or one could pick up some amazing designs from a respected artists. Even if you had no shopping agenda, it’s still fun to look through all the cool stuff and meet the many artists.
The Game Hall had a verity of options from table top games to PC, console and arcade games. Friends could get gather for a table top game or have their own LAN party. Best of all, the Game Hall was open 24/7 which is perfect for anyone who wants to play Overwatch at 5am.
The Game Hall also had several vendors setup and among them were:
One of the founding teams of the Overwatch League, San Francisco Shock was present at FanimeCon during the weekend. Fans got the chance to meet some of the players on the team and get a photo-op.
Being the heart of the gaming community of the South Bay, the team from AFKgg were at FanimeCon all weekend. They were there to reach out to their fans while also answering any questions about their new location in Campbell.
Digital Storm provided the PC’s used in the gaming hall while also hosting a booth to showcase their work. They are well known for making one of the best gaming PC’s and they are based here in the Bay Area.
Cons are not just about meeting new friends or going into bankruptcy after buying a bunch of collectible memorabilia, it’s also a chance to gain some insight. FanimeCon 2019 organized a series of panels that discussed a verity of topics from major stars and industry insiders.
These are some of the panels I got to checkout during the weekend:
The Foundation for the Preservation of Gen 1 Pokemon have been a staple of FanimeCon for sometime and this year was no exception. This year they debuted several new panels while bringing back some classics.
Cthulhu for President! was back for another year of trying to convince the audience on why we need to elect the Dark Lord Cthulhu as President of the United States. If elected, Cthulhu vows to end the worlds stupid and make America go crazy again. The panel ends with a Q&A that was more about the audience being ridiculed for asking a question.
Cosplaying at FanimeCon
Cosplaying has always been a tradition at fan conventions but to say FanimeCon is no exception would be an understatement. Many work months to either create the best or most off-beat that will premier during this special weekend. Those who are dedicated will work to bring their favorite character to life while others will add their own personal style or a special twist.
This was more then just a weekend to geek out but also the ideal setting for one to ask that special someone for their hand in marriage. A tradition during FanimeCon has been moments in which someone would propose to their significant other and several did take place during the weekend.
The last day of FanimeCon 2019 was one of the most difficult moments as friends have to say goodbye to each other. After having so much fun and creating new memories, it’s time to part ways and go back to normal life.
It’s also a day that guests try to do their last minute shopping or showcase one last cosplay. The vendors are still open and trying to sell-off the last of their haul while cosplayers are still hanging out around the area.
Regardless how it ends, the stories experienced and the memories created will only be added to the reasons why FanimeCon will always a special weekend.
Did you get a chance to check out FanimeCon 2019? If so then share your story in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: FanimeCon provided me a pass for the weekend.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gaming community and industry of the Bay Area. If you like our work and want to support independent journalism then would you kindly support 8Bit/Digi by donating to our Ko-Fi Page.