FanimeCon 2015

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FanimeCon 2015 took place a little over a week ago when 25,000+ people piled into the McEnery Convention Center and surrounding areas over Memorial Day weekend, all to share in the vastness of otakudom. 
FanimeCon, taking place in San Jose CA, is a pretty special convention that stands by it's motto, "By Fans, For Fans" without adopting that of a cold corporate feel that would effect it's abilities and feeling of friendly fellowship amongst fellow anime fans. 

Its not the red-carpet Hollywood level of Comic-Con, and it certainly isn't a titan-class in the convention industry like Anime Expo or Anime Festival Asia. 
What FanimeCon has, is that it isn't exactly tiny, with 24-hour programming, a massive Dealer's Hall, prolific Thursday and Friday night swap meets, big attraction Guests of Honor, great variety and quality of panels, fantastic architecture, its got all that and an even more fantastic community. 

My first FanimeCon was 2009, it was only a year after I started RA:N (then Run Around:Kazu) and the positive energy I came home with gave me enough strength and inspiration to work harder and better- but also effected other areas of my life as well in a positive way. 

This year we're taking a look at FanimeCon a little differently by talking about and viewing the surrounding areas that make up FanimeCon altogether, and then we'll be taking a look at some of the cosplay that was there this year, in a series of cosplay galleries. ^^ 

Hope you enjoy! 

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A wider view of the areas outside the convention center- the building to the right is a recent expansion to FanimeCon that began being built in 2012, finishing up in 2014 just in time for FanimeCon 2014 last year. 

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Fanime is right in the heart of San Jose, just off the freeway. 
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Around the same place up above, but if one were to look right you can see down the street. You can also see the rest of the new building as well. 
Photo taken while standing in front of the Civic Center, a place used for FanimeCon's Music Fest and masquerades. 

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Loving all of the new renovations to the outside area. I'll forever miss those fountains though.
Can see the Civic Center in the distance. 

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Downtown San Jose, lots of food places and hotels mainly in the convention center area. 
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The inner lobby (at night).

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View when walking into the main entrance. 

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With the renovation there are now screens everywhere. 

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Food at the convention center, now in FanimeCon font. 

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The inner "hallway" of FanimeCon that goes from one end of the event to another city block (the other end) that is enormous, and 2 leveled, which goes down 2 ways. Travelers down the inner hallway pass by every major entrance to event areas and places like the Dealer's Hall and more. Photo taken roughly at the middle. 
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One area of the convention that has a lot of tables and chairs- mainly for the nearby cafe. I once wrote a coverage post here. ^^ 

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Can sometimes get crowded, but its not that bad. 

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Lots of tables and hangout areas in the Dealer's Hall. 

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Dealer's with goodies for sale. 

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First time I've seen a Dealer rig a camera system. 

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This amazed me! I've never seen them open up their huge rooms very, by removing the dividers it became a Super Dealer's Hall! 

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See any that tickle your fancy? 

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Artbooks. *mouth waters* 

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Nice Sinon figure from SAO II spotted. 

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One of the areas in the new extension! Looks very nice in there! 

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Part of the registration area- reg has been faster than ever now, with memories of the dreaded LineCon 2013 fading fast. 

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FanimeCon's new registration system has become one of the fastest around- with new methods getting most folks through reg in a matter of minutes. 

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Kazuhiro Soeta (left), was one of this year's Guests of Honor. Soeta-san has a long history of animating and directing anime like multiple Gundam series, Black Lagoon, Outlaw Star, Inuyasha, Cowboy Bebop, Hajime no Ippo, Ninja Scroll, and more. 

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Voice Actor Patrick Seitz was also there. 

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Back-On, the band who's probably most popular for the Air Gear opening song, "Chain", was this year's musical Guests of Honor. 

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FanimeCon wouldn't be complete without it's yearly visit from Hiroyuki Yamaga!
Yamaga-san is one of Gainax's founding members- the studio that brought us Gurren Lagann, Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL, Panty & Stocking, and more. 

Mainly a director and producer, Yamaga-san has worked on titles such as those listed above, as well as Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Otaku no Video, Royal Space Force, Mahoromatic, Abenobashi, Gunbuster 1 & 2, Shikabane Hime, to name a few. 
Yamaga-san has a special relationship with FanimeCon and has literally attended since 1997, with the exception of 2008 and 2011. 

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Ai Nonaka was there as well, a Seiyuu and Singer known for her roles as Kyouko in Madoka, Fuko in Clannad, Kafuka in Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, Meme Touwa from Denpa Onna, the 100-series Realians from Xenosaga II, and Mao from Shining Wind. 

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FanimeCon happens to have some great theaters as well, usually showing the latest and greatest anime. 
At the very end of the hall is the ID-checked 18+ Hentai room.
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Some of my favorite memories of this theater room is watching AMV Hell 3 & 4 and AVGN episodes that have played here almost every year with a full crowd! 
Its like watching them all over again when the rest of the room is laughing as well. Good times. 

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Here's a small bit of the gaming room. 

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More of the gaming room- which features a load of old tvs and old consoles, PC gaming, tabletop and card gaming, and even more like arcade boxes and dance games too. 

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Another nice thing about FanimeCon is the Fanimaid Cafe! Fanimaid events are always pretty awesome, whether at the cafe or at Stage Zero. 

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FanimeCon halls at night. 

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The view at night, exiting from the main entrance. 

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San Jose night. 

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Evangelion Itasha! 

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Convention Center at night. 

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And before we finish here, here's a look inside the Civic Center where Back-On performed. 

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Cosplay Masquerade happens there as well. 

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Thanks for stopping by, stay tuned- next will be a series of posts that will be galleries of FanimeCon 2015 cosplay, and boy are they good! 

Everything about the convention this year seemed to just 'flow', with a lot of attendees happy about the Super Dealer's Room, Music Fest, fast Registration, and the rest of things.

If you get the chance to visit FanimeCon you definitely should!





Photos: Michael Ocampo
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About Hikaru Kazushime

Hikaru Kazushime is an American entrepreneur from the USA who lives in California and is the creator of Run Around:Network, a brand that brings Visual Culture to life. Kazu (called for short) is an active personality in the anime and gaming industries and sub-culture scenes. Kazu resides in his hometown of Sacramento, California where he manages RA:N from his home office. Learn more about Kazu by clicking the "About Hikaru Kazushime" link at the top under the "About" tab.

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