Welcome to Neko’s Shiritori Fanime 2015 coverage! Fanime is a convention held in the San Jose McEnery Convention Center (SJCC), in downtown San Jose so it was convenient to get to. There was no sight of registration line issues this year. Unfortunately ticket prices have hiked across the board due to Fanime’s rapidly growing attendance rate. On the upside we have also seen the fruits of Fanime’s extra efforts to further improve the overall atmosphere.
Plenty of improvements were abound in 2015, as the Artist Alley room now features a full wall of windows! Not only does this improve the general lighting of the room, but the corner no longer feels like a desolate region. The entrance was rerouted to the Grand Ballroom entrance, which is not only wider, but allows the previous entrance from last year to be used as a one way exit making it safer to navigate in an otherwise crowded room. The talent level at Artist Alley was immense, with people coming as far as internationally to display their works.
Fanime continues to utilize the San Jose Convention Center to its fullest. Panels were migrated to the Fairmont hotel so that Autograph rooms can be placed in the Marriott rooms. This allows a larger waiting area which lessens the congestion the Marriott suffered from previously. The lines for the Dealer’s Hall was not the best at times as it was placed in the general hallway of the SJCC, making it difficult to navigate to the places people wanted to go to. The situation was rectified when the line was relocated to the Gaming Hall, ending the confusion. Dealer’s Hall had refreshments available for attendee convenience and provided excellent spacing between dealers to never feel congested at any given point of time.
The Gaming Hall has become a terrific go-to place in recent years having virtually no closing time. There’s sufficient tables to cover a large amount of people, and there’s enough activity to keep everyone inside engaged. eGaming has risen further in popularity, with entire setups that allow full team matchups in games such as League of Legends or CS:GO. This gave a more tournament feel, and the large projectors made it perfect for spectating at a safe distance. This is also without compromising the tabletop area, the mahjong section, or the arcade. Players playing on console had a wide range of new and old games to choose from.
Cosplay is even more livelier than usual this year. At the entrance of the convention center, there were lots of gatherings of series ranging from Idolm@ster to Kantai Collection. The vast area allows spectators to easily see and also provide sufficient room for traffic to go in and out without obstruction.
Food selection has been the same as usual for San Jose. Hoagies, Thirstea, you name it. These businesses get particularly busy with the sheer quantity of people nearby, and there’s enough access to the highways to pick other food choices a bit further from the convention.
We attended the Sekai Project panel. The staff introduced themselves and recapped their projects to date, and announced the following titles: Resette’s Prescription (point and click adventure game), Tobari and the Night of the Curious Moon (platformer, already released on Steam), Sacrament Sheep (18+ VN release by Denpasoft), Memory’s Dogma (new IP) and an ‘UNRATED’ version of Grisaia (which will also be released by Denpasoft). Sekai Project rounded off the session with a list of goods they’re planning to stock at their Anime Expo stall and a Q&A session.
MangaGamer announced these titles: Warrior Princess Asuka Final Chapter, Sweet Sweat in Summer, and My Boss’ Wife is My Ex. An official post of this can be found on their site (NSFW warning).
Fanime continues to be an excellent convention for hanging out. Events such as Musicfest, Masquerade, and other events in the Civic Center is already worth the badge alone. Don’t forget there’s always access to Clockwork Academy. Lines have been far less of a problem in recent years, and we now know what to fully expect from Fanime.
We thank Fanime for the opportunity to allow us to cover once again and look forward to 2016. We will follow up this post with interviews of Ai Nonaka and Kazuhiro Soeta. Part 2 of our report will be from our photographer Sion’s perspective.