Working with Comic Vine I have seen my share of comic book conventions- but I can't say I have been to very many anime conventions. This weekend I made my way down to San Jose for FanimeCon 2011- northern California's largest anime convention to see how it compares to Comic-Con. The expected turn-out was about 20,000 attendees; which is approximately the same size as San Francisco's Wonder-Con. And while the number of people that hit the big show this weekend was relatively the same as what I had been used to, the culture is vastly different. FanimeCon is a convention organized by fans and for fans, and it thrives on the passion of cosplayers and costume makers rather than being boosted by publishers. Unlike many comic book conventions where publishing companies like Image, DC and Marvel are present and prevalent- manga publishing companies like Tokyopop for example, did not have booths at FanimeCon. What is present, instead, is a plethora of independent comic book creators and self published artists and writers.
Sometimes when you hit a big comic book convention like San Diego Comic-Con, for example, you find that areas of the show floor like artist alley aren't nearly as densely populated as, say, the Warner Brothers booth. FanimeCon, however, is all about the artist and creator. Artist alley at FanimeCon is jam packed with fans looking to purchase original art work from some high profile artists as well as independent creators struggling to get their self published work seen.
Like many conventions I am used to attending, FanimeCon has panels- but they are completely different from anything I have ever seen. FanimeCon holds everything from Karaoke of your favorite Japanese anime theme song to all day screenings of new anime movies and series that have not yet made their way across the pond. Unlike Comic-Con, there is no DC or Marvel spotlight panel here at FanimeCon- but there are fashion show and costume contests galore. In fact, I actually felt a little out of place not dressing up! Many of the costumes are absolutely gorgeous- and I even got to see some cross-overs (Captain America and Iron-Man!) The experience was, overall, a lot of fun because the attendees were all about having fun, dressing up, and being themselves. I've included over 200 pictures of cosplayers from FanimeCon 2011 for your entertainment, so enjoy! Which are you favorites? Do you recognize some of these characters?