Every year thousands of fans pour into San Jose, hungry for anime, a blood-lust for Pocky, and a camera with a memory card empty and ready for Cosplay pictures. Friday, May 27th 2005, I was there bright and early with the rest of them, except I had a higher calling. I had a table to set up and website to promote, a spot in Artists Row calling my name like a sirens song. Once the table is set up the day truly begins, I’m in my spectacular Hawkeye costume armed with fliers and cards to hand out. Within three hours all 200 of my collector cards are gone, and the response of energetic people is a positive enforcement, even the people from FUNimation pop by to say hello. Two o’clock rolls around and it’s time for our first on the spot, random, Fan Art contest. How did the contest work? Simple, I gather a crowd, I tell everyone who wants to be a contestant to jump up and down screaming, “Pick me, pick me, pick me!” I pick the three most energetic people to compete against each other in drawing their best “angry Edward”, then I hold up the pictures and let the crowd decide which picture they like the best by the sound of their cheering. The winner gets a rare collector FMA foil card. Oddly, Friday’s winner is a drawing of a piece of cake, quite literally a drawing of a piece of cake. What the audience wants, the audience gets. At 3pm I close up shop for the day, stupidly leaving the guest books and the banner out. Later that night my red guest book has grown legs and walked away, I take the black one upstairs under my wing, leaving the banner to save our table for Saturday.
Saturday, I venture in the morning to my table, supplies in hand, only to discover that my banner is gone. My beautiful, full color, 6 foot long banner has been taken! Obviously I was upset, but Young Wang from Funimation cheered me up with an origami squirrel. (Thanks young!) The day zips along and more fliers are handed out. Today we have two art contests, one at noon and one at two. Bigger crowds are starting to form as word has spread that I have goodies. The winners of Saturday are actually pictures of angry Edward, and two more people have a collector foil card. Saturday also was the day of the FMA gathering. In the lobby about 50 FMA cosplayers met to do a massive group picture, from Edward to Winry, and Wrath to Gluttony, the whole cast was there, and as a FMA fan I can say it was beautiful. 3 pm once again came to my little table and the con and freedom called, this time when I closed shop, everything came with me, and only signs of paper were left behind to mark my spot. But the work turned out not to be done as I discovered an event called, “An evening with FUNimation: Galaxy Expressways”. It was the premier preview of the dubbed version of the anime, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Once my trusty note book was filled with notes to write an article I made my way out to the main hall of the con and ran into a group of cosplayers, some FMA, some others, and hung out and chatted and was basically a fan girl until I grew too sleepy and found my way back to my hotel room.
Then it was Sunday, the second biggest day for the convention. This was the morning where I gained minions, first a dancing one, who wore a sign on his back that quite literally read, “Dancing minion, visit the FMA table!” and second a girl who handed out fliers for us and wore a sign and walked around the con to promote the random fan art contest later in the day. Once again FUNimations Young Wang stops by with Squirrels, this time they’re FMA squirrels. One made of red paper with an alchemy symbol on it, and the other made out of silver paper and much bigger then the red one (Edward and Al), thoroughly amused I put them on display at our table. Sunday morning was not to be spent entirely at the table though, no instead I had managed to gain access to the press conference with J-Rock sensation ZZ (view the interview here), and managed to ask some amusing and interesting questions. After the conference I rushed back to the table, it was almost time for the first fan art contest of the day. On Friday there was cake, on Saturday there was Milk. A carton of milk won the noon contest, milk makes Edward angry after all. Now one might ask where I found time to eat during the con, on Sunday the answer to food was brought to me in the form of French fries which I once again say thank you to FUNimation. Time flew and I acquired 3 more minions, two sisters and their friend, they too walked the con with a sign promoting the art contest, and the 2pm audience was larger then any of the others. Never would I have imagined making 30-40 people jump up and down screaming, “Pick me, pick me, pick me” This time though, I upped the number of contestants. I had four compete for the prize instead of three. Through much deliberating and comparing we had a winner, and this time it was a picture of an angry flailing Edward. By 3 pm, we were flat out of fliers, over 1,200 had gone to the hands of interested fans and my mission was complete. I could enjoy the con knowing it was a job well done.
Which, of course, brought us to the final day of the con, Monday. Monday was short, I attended that day for a grand total of two hours. Just long enough to cruise the dealers room one last time and also say my farewells to the awesome FUNimation crew. I was tired, and had the dreaded Fanime hang over. Now the Fanime hangover doesn’t come from drinking at the con, in fact no consumption of alcohol is needed. You merely need to stay up way too late watching anime and party all day. Over all I would say Fanime was a blast, despite having things stolen. Would I do it again? In a heart beat, in fact you’d have to cut off my arms and legs to keep me away. Huzzah for Fanime 2005!