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FanimeCon 2011 Day 1 Report

FanimeCon Day 1Day 1 of FanimeCon has drawn to a close. Unfortunately this day was spent mostly getting things set up logistically speaking – laying in supplies, picking up badges, etc. Our actual at-con time consisted mostly of watching the excellent Fanime Music Video (AMV) contest. (More on that later.)

Before we go any further, I’d like to take the opportunity to commend the FanimeCon staff on their refreshingly open press policy. Their policy allows even smaller organizations such as school anime clubs and smaller, lesser known anime websites (ahem, not to mention podcasts) to gain press credentials. My feeling is that the more voices a community has, the better off it is, especially if many of those voices are from smaller, less mainstream sources.

One thing I stress constantly is that when attending an anime convention, you should definitely stay at a con hotel if at al possible. This is especially true here at FanimeCon. This is a 24/7 convention, meaning that there’s always something going on, day and night. And the hotels are set up perfectly for this. The two official con hotels, the Hilton and Marriott, are directly connected to the convention center – no need to walk outside. If you must stay off-site, there are several reasonable choices in accommodation not too far away.

But, if you must stay even farther off-site, FanimeCon is probably the best con to do so at, thanks to the excellent Bay Area public transportation system. The San Jose Convention Center is directly situated on the San Jose light rail system, just two stops away from the San Jose Caltrain and Amtrak stations. Between the light rail, Caltrain, Amtrak, BART, and a handful of buses, you can easily get here from just about anywhere in the bay area. I can’t help but compare this to certain conventions I go to in the southern California area; things are getting better there, but aren’t nearly at the level as they are in northern California.

The AMV contest this year was, in a word, epic. The number and variety of videos was really impressive. Videos were organized into four categories: Action, Comedy, Drama and Experimental (similar to the “Pro” or “AMTV” categories at other conventions). Trite as it sounds, it still holds true: the creativity and technical skill of the AMV creators just keeps getting better year after year, and continues to impress me. Alot of this is thanks to the lowering cost and ready availability of high-quality digital video editing tools.

The variety of this year’s videos was really refreshing — it wasn’t the same 5 clips from Naruto set to the same 5 Linkin Park songs. This year there was a pretty good variety, not just in the types of music used, but also in the anime that was used. There were quite a few newer/less mainstream series (Angel Beats!, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Macross Frontier, NANA), as well as some old-school classics (Sailor Moon, Tenchi, etc.). This year there were some particularly touching entries. One video in particular that tugged at my heartstrings was a very touching tribute to the late Satoshi Kon, done by prolific AMV author (and Anime Expo Masquerade host extraordinaire) Brad deMoss. I’ll make a post as more of them start going up on the org. Winners will be announced on Sunday at 2 PM on Stage Zero in the SJCC.

Tomorrow is looking to be a busy day. Not only are most of the GoH panels scheduled for that day, but the always-excellent FanimeCon MusicFest is also happening Saturday evening. Tomorrow is also traditionally the busiest day of con, and is sure to be chock full of cosplayers as well. We’ll do our best to bring you as many pictures and audio/video as possible. For now, it’s way past bedtime.

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