The FanimeCon Weekend in a Glance

There is no better way to kick off the Summer season than with a weekend at FanimeCon. One of the largest anime fan conventions in North America and described by everyone as a magical experience that no other con could offer. Once again, vendors and artists gathered for an unforgettable weekend.

Following the success of last year’s event, FanimeCon was back in full force. The weekend once again saw the community congregate in Downtown San Jose for a festive weekend. They were joined by special guests, industry professionals, and leaders of the local fandom community.

After months of planning and waiting, these are some of the highlights of the FanimeCon 2023 weekend.

Day Zero

For the most devoted of guests, Day Zero is unofficially the first day of FanimeCon. This is a day that so many come to pick up their badge, check in at their hotel, and meet up with friends. Plus it gives one the chance to have a good idea of what to expect in the surrounding area.

This year was no exception. Those who came were able to get their COVID status checked with ease. Plus they didn’t have to deal with the worst of LineCon. Once everything cleared it was time to hit the Game Room or the Swap Meet. 

Swap Meet

For many, the official start of FanimeCon is when the doors to the Swap Meet open on Day 0. Before the vendor hall and artist alley could open, attendees come here to do their shopping 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. 

Those who missed it on Day 0 could also check it out on Day 1 of the event. However, it’s best time to go on Thursday as many of the merchants will have very little left over for Friday.

Dealers Hall / Artist Ally 

FanimeCon 2022 had over 100 merchants set up in SJCC Hall along with over 70 artists in the Grand Ballroom selling a variety of goods. Figurines, old video games, and collectible merchandise are among the many gems in this treasure trove. The artist alley alone has been hailed as the crown jewel as its size and quality could be compared to Anime Expo.

Even if one had no shopping agenda, it’s still fun to look through all the cool stuff and meet the many artists.

If you ever had issues with your gaming PC then you are all too familiar with Central Computers amazing service. With a location in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, they have always had your back when it comes to all your PC needs. They were present during FanimeCon to help out the PC gamers while also let people know of their services.

Wild Bill’s Craft Beverage was back to quench everyone’s thirst with the best craft soda. Fans of the soda could either bring their mug from a previous convention. Guests could also purchase a new mug specially designed for FanimeCon. Visitors had a variety of different sodas to choose from, each having its own unique flavor.

Senpai Squad combines one’s love of anime, cars, and nightlife into one experience. Besides hosting or participating in several events, they also had a booth in the dealer’s hall. Here they were selling a variety of merchandise while also mingling with the community.

During the weekend, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) had a booth to promote its service using original anime characters. They were also giving away keychains and stickers. Due to its popularity and limited supply, the line to get a keychain would go all the way outside the dealer’s hall. 

Game Hall

The Game Hall had a variety of options from tabletop games to PC, console, and arcade games. Friends could gather for a tabletop game or have their own LAN party. Once again it was only open from 7 AM to 2 AM. Despite the limited hours, it was still the place to be for gamers. This was also the place to be for the eSport tournaments. Overall; the limited hours did not deter the experience that it’s known to provide.

Panels at FanimeCon

FanimeCon is not just about meeting new friends or exploring the dealers hall / artist ally, it’s also a chance to gain some insight or have a good laugh. The event organized a series of panels that discussed a verity of topics from major stars and industry insiders. Some panels were also events in their own right.

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 presented the classic Make Anime Great Again along with Fifth Gen Isn’t Pokémon and DIO Did Nothing Wrong just to name a few. Of course, there most popular one was once again Walugi Time.

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.

Marriage Proposals

This was more than 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.

Things to Do at FanimeCon

The weekend was not just about panels and shopping. From arcade games to a manga collection and more, there was no shortage of activities during the weekend. Here are some of the activities one could stumble upon:

FanimeCon organized many Cosplay Gatherings during the weekend based on the most popular franchises. Those wanting to participate could meet at one of three spots for a photo shoot while networking with other fans. There were also a few unofficial gatherings, these were meetups organized by fans. 

While not organized by FanimeCon, there were random moments in which guests would gather for a game of Pokemon Go. With several gyms at the convention center, there were moments when guests would gather to participate in raids. Others would take a break and catch any Pokemon within their area. 

Manga Room was the place to be for those wanting some peace and quiet. Guests could grab a manga and just kick back on a bean bag. While it could get packed at times, the sense of peace was never lost. 

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.

Cosplayers of 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. Others will add their own personal style or a special twist.

The Final Day

The last day of FanimeCon is always the most difficult as we have to say goodbye to our friends. It was a festive weekend but, it was time to part ways. It’s also a day when guests will 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.

Regardless of how it ends, the stories experienced and the memories created will only be added to the reasons why FanimeCon will always be a special weekend.

Did you get a chance to check out FanimeCon 2023? If so then share your story in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: FanimeCon provided me a pass for the weekend.

Check out the other FanimeCon 2023 articles:

8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.


  1. God to see my Desert Ranger made the front cover, makes me happy that folks still enjoy Fallout as much as I do

  2. This was the best Fanime since 2019 but they need to scrap the mask mandate because COVID is over and we like to enjoy a normal con.

  3. Glad everything was back but sucked it wasn’t 24/7.. Hope Fanime 2024 they go all out aand make it 24/7.

  4. This never gets said but FanimeCon is the most LGBTQ friendly anime convention I’ve ever been to. Its not just a panel or the one special LGBTQ events but the community overall. FanimeCon is for everyone and it has something for everyone.

  5. Glad Fanime was almost back to normal and this is hoping they ditch the mask mandate and go back to being 24/7.

  6. This was my first Fanime since 2017 and I’m glad it’s still a blast. I hope they scrap the mask mandate for next year.

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