Fanime Con 2001 Info and Fanime Con 2K Report
(I posted an earlier version of this article to the Anime Grapevine on 2/22/2001.)
Fanime Con 2001 will be held a little more than a month from now (March 30th - April 1st, 2001) at the Westin Hotel and Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Compared to Anime Expo or Otakon, Fanime Con is not a high profile convention, but it has its own unique charms. Having been around for several years now, Fanime Con has attracted enough attention that it can no longer be considered a small convention in terms of attendance or reputation. It's a full-featured convention with opening and closing ceremonies, panel discussions, cosplay (masquerade), video rooms, karaoke, an artshow, numerous forms of gaming, a dance, and even a live-band (5XL).
In terms of its atmosphere, Fanime Con (as its name suggests) is a fan-oriented convention--meaning that there's not a large corporate presence at the con. For example, there weren't any official Pioneer, Manga Entertainment, Viz, or Central Park Media booths in the dealers' room last year, and the video rooms featured a significant number of fansubs and fan-made parody videos. Independent vendors sold a large variety of goods, from your typical off-the-shelf domestically-released anime videos and manga, to rarer items such as cels, artbooks, posters, toys, models, and doujinshi. Last year, I appreciated the fact that Fanime Con had 24 hour video rooms, featuring multiple tracks of anime, and even a special room for Hong Kong action movies, old-school Japanese sci-fi special effects movies, and "puroresu" (Japanese pro-wrestling).
Particularly notable are Mari Iijima (the voice of Lynn Minmay from the original Macross TV series) and Hiroyuki Yamaga (the president of Gainax), both of whom have made previous appearances at Fanime Con.
I am most enthusiastic about seeing Hiroyuki Yamaga's panel. Last year, (as described in posts by tipatat and myself) he gave an incredible lecture--presenting his audience with an inside look at the anime-making process, the internal workings of Gainax, a brief history of anime styles, preliminary artwork and a clip from the then-unreleased FLCL, and insights regarding his future projects. According to the Fanime Con website:
"We are hoping to feature at Fanime 2001 a new "second-year" course from Yamaga, and we will re-show his 2000 lecture as part of our programming schedule so attendees can get the maximum benefit."
I'm tentatively planning to attend this convention if my schedule allows it. Maybe I'll see some of you there ^_^