Fanime 2013 Overall Experience (and the horrors of Yaoi Bingo)

No, I didn't go to the maid cafe. T_T

No, we didn’t go to the maid cafe. T_T

Truth be told, I was looking forward to going to Anime Expo 2013 during the earlier parts of the year – going to Fanime again this year was somewhat of a last minute thing. We ended up not having enough funds to afford going to LA and spending our time at the convention as pre-registered members. Fanime’s always fun, so I didn’t mind much. However, it did sour the experience in another way. Since we couldn’t book a room at the Marriott, Hilton, or any other nearby hotels this year (by the time we decided to go to Fanime again, all the reservations were full), we had to book a room at a motel called the “Hotel Elan” (yes, they call themselves a hotel) which was somewhat of a distance away from the San Jose Convention Center. It wasn’t too bad of a place nor was it miles away, but it was still far enough (approximately one mile) that we had to walk over there and take the bus every morning. We never got to the con at the earliest possible time, and since the neighborhood was pretty damn dangerous, we never stayed out too late. From now on, we’re definitely making plans for Fanime every year except when we’re 100% sure we’re going to another con.

Fanime was basically Comiket on Thursday

This year’s Fanime was definitely a cool year for non-preregistered attendees, at least that’s what I’m assuming. Unlike other years, Thursday was a badge-less day where anyone could roam around the rooms and such without a badge. Of course, we were busy that day lining up to get our badges since we were pre-registered members that planned to attend the entire convention… a line which sucked. See, among my group of three, I registered separately, and decided to wait at the registration location earlier than the others. Because, ya’ know, the early bird gets the worm and all that jazz. Yeah, I was wrong. There was apparently some sort of bad organization going on during badge pick-up, because the line was moving at a snail’s pace! It took me around eight hours to finally get my badge, and within that time period I camped at the same spot three times. There was a countless amount of people, and my friends started going to the badge pick-up line a few hours after I started waiting (I started waiting at around 2 or 3, the actual line was supposed to start moving at 7PM, but apparently not). They ended up getting their badges around 30 to 50 minutes after me. In retrospect, I’m glad they didn’t have to be in there until 1 AM or something, but what the hell was that?! People who wait in line at the earliest possible time shouldn’t end up getting their badges just half an hour before people that show up way later. That’s BS and kills the point. Even then, there apparently were people who didn’t get their badges until 1AM to 3AM. What the hell was going on with the system?!

As fun as the event ended up being, that was a real big mishap on whoever was in charge of the registration, and a bad way to start the Fanime experience. God bless the volunteers that chose to work that long.

COOLEST NAME EVER, HUH?!

They didn’t even get the name on my badge right – they used my real name. I signed up with GyouseiKiba as my fan nick, but I ended up being boring ol’ Johnny Nguyen the whole convention.

Aside from the per-registration fiasco, my Fanime experience ended up pretty fun. I met some cool new people (some that actually played visual novels, even) and met some old friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m telling you, I was not expecting a glomp at Fanime, especially since they’re kind of not allowed. If the girl that glomped me were a stranger, she’d be out of there for violating my personal space (or not, depending on how much I enjoyed it).

I wished I went to as many panels as I went to last year. Not being at the Marriott certainly didn’t help me be at the panels I was the most interested in. I did manage to go to the Character Bento Secrets panel, which was extremely helpful to me since I’ll (hopefully) have kids in the future, as it gave some awesome tidbits of how to make interesting and artsy food to picky children with food allergies. Not to mention,the food in the bento boxes ended up looking extremely adorable, which put a smile on my face. As an enthusiast of everything Japanese, I appreciated the panel immensely. There was also the History of Lolis panel which I caught the last thirty minutes of, which was surprisingly not as awkward or dirty as I expected it to be since it was 16+ this year (though I have a feeling I’ll always feel dirty coming out of these kinds of panels, as open as I am to my interests in familiar settings!). Except for the guy next to me that was constantly sharing his cutesy loli pictures on his smartphone with me. He was a nice guy and all (if not a bit awkward), but damn, I just wanted to pay attention to the last bits of the panel.

Gohan, is that you?

Gohan, is that you?

Within the same day, I managed to catch the airing of Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W (first four episodes) and Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. As always, Nyaruko-san is full of obscure Kamen Rider and anime references (I swear, that’s an Oozaru taken straight out from Dragon Ball). 3.0 was exactly what I expected it to be – a really amazing film (I may or may not do a blog post about it in the near future – I’m planning on doing one when the Rebuild series reached its conclusion). I must say, everyone really loved the Rebuild version of Asuka. All the fans in the screening room were cheering loudly and applauding during her opening scenes in the film piloting her EVA. Also, many fangirls were swooning over Kaworu’s double-entendre dialogue… and I don’t blame them, they do sound like *that* coming from him.

When the Dealer’s Hall was closed, we spent a lot of our time at the Gaming Hall whenever we had nothing to do. Playing tabletop games contributed to some of our most silliest moments – hardcore Jenga towers (no… Jengo towers), Apples to Apples Niños (without knowing Spanish!), and the realization that “Sorry!” was the most retarded board game in the world. Oh yeah, and we caught a Team Fortress 2 tournament going on at the PC corner. Don’t really play the game, msyelf, but it was fun to watch.

やおいビンゴがやばい。

STORY TIME: THE HORRORS OF YAOI BINGO

One of the most traumatizing moments had to be Yaoi Bingo. Through a funny turn of events, I was at the Convention Center alone and ran into some friends while I trying to go into the karaoke room. Being somewhat lonely and having nothing to do, I decided to tag along. Naturally I ask, “what is this line for?” My friend replies, “Yaoi Bingo.”

Yaoi Bingo.

I was about to hightail it out of there. I’m not homophobic; in fact, I love yuri, have an online friend who is openly bisexual, and I am a supporter of doing whatever the hell you want. But, of course, being a straight male, I really don’t have any interest in yaoi. I don’t think I would have been comfortable with the idea of taking part in whatever was going on in there. Seems another female friend from that group was in the same boat as me, but I wondered why she was there in the first place.

“Don’t worry! It’s 16+. And there’s PRIZES.”

Oh, that’s why. The greedy side of my heart won me over. Prizes you say? Well, that sounds interesting. And it’s 16+. It honestly can’t be too dirty in there, right? I’ll just win a couple of prizes and leave. Manga, plushies, COOKIES, etc.? Obviously, the thought of some of the prizes being yaoi-related crossed my mind, It was Yaoi Bingo after all.

(scrunched up face) “W-what if I win the gay shit?”

“Just give it to Michelle.”

Fair enough. So I waited in line. Eventually details of the trip and PRIZES got through to Facebook, and Mr. Lex (with his smartphone that has Facebook on 24/7) ended up catching up to me… at the Yaoi Bingo line, of all places.

(joking) “What if Johnny’s in the Yaoi Bingo line right no-…”

*sees me*

UM. YEAH. Had to go through some explanations so he didn’t feel uncomfortable sharing a motel room with me.

So we both ended up being suckered into Yaoi Bingo. We’re used to strange anime-related stuff, and this is Fanime Con right? We’ll be able to handle it. Plus, if we win any of the yaoi-related things, we’ll just give it to Michelle, right? So we head into the room… wait, we’re getting our IDs checked? Isn’t this event supposed to be 16+? Oh dear god…

The event started off funny enough. A sailor was the host and the song at the beginning was the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard. It was so funny, you had to be there in order to know why I was laughing so much. Unfortunately, the humorousness of the flamboyant homosexuality and innuendo didn’t last long. It simply got way too weird as it went on, and this is coming from a guy who usually has a weird sense of humor.

One of the people who were passing out the bingo sheets was a dude wearing a maid outfit. He bent over and SHOWED EVERYTHING. The guy didn’t shave, I’ll tell you that. Mr. Lex, Michelle, and I were getting more uncomfortable than ever at this point. At the very least, the person who passed us our bingo sheets had the sense to realize that we were uncomfortable and straight, and had the common courtesy to avoid rubbing his ass all over our personal space. He still did that to Michelle though, but she turned her head away. Either way, I suppose that’s what everyone there should have been expecting when they walked into Yaoi Bingo. Thank you for not shaking that ass near my crotch, even if I’m not underaged.

The two other people that were with us left halfway through the first round. Really? You’re gonna leave the three most uncomfortable people here, one of which you dragged along, to win all the prizes for you?

“Yeah, screw you.”

This especially rang true when some fangirl ended up winning the first round… not only did she win a tea set prize…

SHE WON A MAN.

A MAN. A shirtless man who gave her a deep embrace that lasted for more than a few moments. Apparently, if they weren’t half-naked already, they were eventually going to strip down either way, whether you were a male or female.

“You… win a man? THOSE DIRTY LIARS!”

Nope. NOPE. NOOOOOOPE. Fck this. We’re leaving. The three of us. Never coming back to this room, ever.

END OF STORY

You don’t know how traumatized Mr. Lex and I were after that incident. Ugh. We can never turn back. We can never refute any gay jokes ever again.

Nevertheless, I suppose it added… memorability to the Fanime experience despite how horrifying it was. That and the rest of the con was as enjoyable as it always was, so the good outweighed the bad experiences overall. Last year was supposedly the worst year Fanime ever had, at least according to the con-goers. Regardless, we still had fun that year as our first full-time con visit. This year was a lot better from what I saw, there were a lot more events going on despite us not being able to make it to a lot of them due to our poor organization of the trip.

I particularly like it how Fanime was spread across areas of Downtown San Jose besides the Convention Center this year. As I’ve said before, it was a treat seeing Downtown San Jose being invaded by my fellow weebs and cosplayers, more-so than any other year, especially due to the annoying construction (my only complaint was that it was really hard to keep up with what was going on and where, such as cosplay meet-ups). For example, there was a Summer Wars screening outside a few blocks away. The Artist Alley was twice as big as last year due to being moved from its original location, although I question why all that space was wasted on the food court (where the Artist Alley was originally located; half of it was a food court, half of it was empty).

We all had a blast during the Fanime weekend, and we look forward to next year. A bunch of crazy things certainly happened this year. We even had fun during that bathroom-prank-gone-wrong where one of my friends was almost killed by a coked-out crazy guy, but that’s a story for another time.

P.S. At the end of each day, we were scared shitless by a big black cat every time we went back to the motel room (heck, it looked like a panther from where we were standing). By the end of Sunday night, we found out it was the motel’s pet and was the friendliest little thing ever. All our shame.

5 thoughts on “Fanime 2013 Overall Experience (and the horrors of Yaoi Bingo)”

  1. Omg that story about yaoi bingo, ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS XD That definitely does seem like an experience. If only it was yuri bingo…

  2. @Shikon: I certainly would have loved Yuri Bingo. Considering the sexy things that must have went on in the (18+) Anime Swimsuit Contest they had, I wouldn’t doubt that some girls there would be willing to do some of the crap that the guys at Yaoi Bingo were willing to do.
    I heard from my friend that many of the guys that volunteer to be part of Yaoi Bingo are actually heterosexual, they’re just there to affirm their masculinity. However, when they’re forced to strip down, they never turn back…

  3. Affirm they’re masculinity? Wow alright, I mean that would take some real guts (among other things) for a straight guy to do those sorts of things XD.

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