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Anime IRL

- Caroline V

Like costumes, artwork and games? If you’re in San Jose, CA, or just in the Bay Area and don’t mind a drive, Check out FanimeCon. It’s an anime convention in the San Jose Center that takes place over Memorial Day weekend. You don’t have to be interested in anime to go, either. Besides anime fans, there are fans of all different shows, games and books that aren’t anime like Doctor Who, Halo, and the movie Aliens. Throughout the weekend, there are different anime screenings and workshops you can drop in on, in addition to the three exhibit halls.

The exhibit halls are home to the Dealer’s Hall, The Gaming room, and the Artist Gallery. These three rooms are open all weekend. The Dealer’s Hall contains rows of booths that fill up the entire room. Each booth sells different merchandise, from binders to posters. If you’re looking for a poster of your favorite anime, or a mini statue of your favorite anime character, looking there would be your best bet.

The Gaming Hall is just what it sounds like. It’s a giant room filled with different games. There are rows of video games you can play, as well as tables of card games and board games that you can join. In 2012, there was a hacky sack corner with games going all day.

Three cosplayers at FanimeCon 2012, two as the Doctor and one as a weeping angel.

Personally, the Artist Gallery was my favorite. It was set up the same way as the Dealer’s Hall, with booths of sellers, except they were selling their own art. You could buy originals or prints of the artists work, or just walk around admiring the artwork. A lot of artists sell little buttons with characters of different shows on them, and some even sell small character stickers.

If you’re into dancing, or just want to have a good time, visit the Black and White Ball. The date and place will be posted on their website once it’s finalized. You can get dressed up in a nice dress or suit, or if you choose, dress cosplay (costume). It is formal, so it would be useful to know how to dance. But if you don’t, don’t worry. FanimeCon holds open dance classes during the convention leading up to the ball. They are free with your FanimeCon ticket, as well as admission to the Black and White Ball. The instructors are friendly and you learn enough to get across the dance floor, but not too much that you get confused.

An elaborate costume from the movie “Aliens.” It even had a tongue that came out!

If you’ve already walked through all of the exhibit halls and there aren’t any shows or workshops you want to go to, walking around the halls and watching people can be really fun; a lot of people are dressed in elaborate costumes. There are costumes for everything from digital anime popstars (if you are familiar  with Hatsune Miku) to cape-adorned superheroes.

Of course, this isn’t for free. At least, not all of it. To get into the exhibit halls, anime screenings, and everything except walking through the halls just to see the costumes, you need to buy a pass. You can buy different passes for different days. Be aware the prices go up as the event comes closer. A full weekend pass cost around $70 if you wait until a few weeks before. Any other questions can be answered by going to and talking to the support team.

Click here to see what Fanime looks like: FanimeCon 2012




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