An Emotional Reunion Three Years in the Making
It has been a long three years since the last time the Fanime community was able to congregate. Despite the challenges and tribulations, FanimeCon 2022 was an emotionally grateful weekend for so many who attended. It was the first time so many have seen each other since 2019 and for many, it was one of the first live events in years.
There is no better way to kick off the Summer season than with a weekend at FanimeCon 2022, 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 from all over North America gathered at this convention. They were joined by special guests, industry professionals, and leaders of the local fandom community.
After years of planning and waiting, it all resulted in one of the best FanimeCon weekends.
For the most devoted of guests, 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 meet up with friends. This year was no exception despite there not being a Swap Meet. For those who did came, they were able to get their COVID status checked with ease. Plus they did have to deal with the worst of LineCon. Once everything cleared it was time to hit the Game Room or the Dance Floor.
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.
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. The event 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 presented the classic Make Anime Great Again along with Fifth Gen Isn’t Pokémon and DIO Did Nothing Wrong just to name a few.
Anime in the Era of VR was hosted by Ryan Sternlicht and it looks into the relationship that anime and manga has with virtual reality. Specifically, VR as central story element in numerous anime and manga. Plus it also examines how iconic works influenced those who have advanced the technology of VR. It also looks at how new experiences can be told through the medium of virtual reality thanks to Meta Quest and the HTC Vive.
Japan & the Arabian Nights looks the influence the iconic collection on Japanese pop-culture. One Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights) is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales that has had an major influence on pop-culture. Indie author Ahmed Al-Sheikh presents an inside look at the collections publication history in Japan along with the influence it has had in creating some of the most iconic works.
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. Others will add their own personal style or a special twist.
The Game Hall had a variety of options from tabletop games to PC, console, and arcade games. Friends could get gather for a tabletop game or have their own LAN party. While in past years it was open 24/7, this year it was only open from 7 AM to 2 AM. Despite the limited hours, it was still the place to be for gamers.
Also present in the Game Hall were booths for MagWest (promoting their upcoming event) and Digital Storm (showcasing their custom PC). 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.
The Final Day
The day of FanimeCon is always the most difficult but this year it hit the hardest for so many. It was the first time many have seen their friends since 2019 while others were experiencing the wonders of Fanime for the first time. But after a weekend of fun and creating new memories, it’s 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 2022? 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 2022 articles:
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the video game community and industry of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Stan Rezaee is the founder and Editor of 8Bit/Digi. He is a journalist and gamer from the Bay Area who has been writing about the medium for over five years.