FanimeCon 2017, Northern California’s largest anime convention, took place over the Memorial Weekend at San Jose’s Convention Center. “Fanime” is a personal favorite of mine, and after my experiences at last year’s ‘con’ I was thrilled to join the event again in 2017 and lucky enough this year to attend a “Guest of Honor” panel with voice actress Kanae Ito (伊藤 かな恵).
My cosplay schedule is typically packed with big cosplay groups or photoshoots, but for FanimeCon 2017, I decided to relax and enjoy the whole convention experience without being rushed. I brought along only three cosplays to San Jose, and felt very comfortable in costumes for characters that I truly admire.
On Day 1 I cosplayed Nozomi Tojo from Love Live! together with some friends in order to represent the third year students from school idol unit, “μ’s” (pronounced ‘“Muse”). It was all very chill. We largely refrained from photoshoots and cosplayed for only a few hours.
Day 2’s cosplay was Sheryl Nome, one of the main protagonists from Macross Frontier. It was the first time in four years for me to cosplay this specific costume in public! Macross Frontier celebrates its 10th anniversary this year which has seen Sheryl Nome come back along with a new song, so I thought it would be the perfect time to re-cosplay her.
On our last day, I cosplayed my “waifu” (fandom slang), Sena Kashiwazaki from Haganai. I fell in love with Sena after watching Haganai Season 2 in 2013, and I have had her wig and costume since. Never feeling quite confident enough to pull her off, these cosplay items had been sleeping in my closet for some time. However, after the announcement that “Fanime” would see an appearance from the character’s voice actress, Kanae Ito, it felt like this year was the time cosplay her, finally. Accompanied by a friend cosplaying Kobato Hasegawa from the same series, it was fun to be in a character with her at the convention.
We also attended Kanae Ito’s Q&A panel session. With the space largely occupied by Ito’s male fans, we really stood out, especially in our Haganai cosplay. Still, as Ito took to the stage I was excited to hear her call out to me, “Sena!”, after immediately recognizing my cosplay outfit.
During the panel session, Ito brought up the series “Shugo Chara!” on more than one occasion when addressing questions from fans about which roles the voice actress most strongly relates to, explaining that she sees Amu from Shugo Chara! as having a similar personality to her. Something even members of Ito’s family have remarked upon.
When asked about her impressions of "Fanime" and San Jose, Ito answered that she enjoyed seeing cosplayers everywhere around the city, something which is rarely seen in Japan due to lots of restrictions on cosplay in the country.
Perhaps the session’s most curious question was in regards to adapted anime series, “The World God Only Knows” in which Ito voices the character of Elsie who likes fire trucks. When asked which fire trucks she likes better, Japanese or American, Ito looked surprised (perhaps unsurprisingly) and confused and in the end answered that they both have their good points, so would be unable to pick one.
This cosplayer was also given the chance to direct a question to Ito.
“If you were a 2D character, what kind of character do you think you would be, including (your character’s) appearance?”
She replied, “Since I’m short, maybe my character is short too. And my friends say I have cat’s personality, so I might be a tsundere girl like a cat!”
Despite plenty of people still waiting in line to ask questions, the session had to be wrapped up after around one hour. An hour in which it was amazing to see all the energy and love for Ito coming out from the crowd.
After the panel, I had a chance to talk with Ito directly during which time she complimented our cosplay by saying, “You guys look perfect as Sena and Kobato! So cute!!”. Needless to say, it really made my day! Well, I think she already brightened my day when she first called out, “Sena!”, at the beginning of the panel!
Overall I had an amazing weekend thanks to Fanime this year again. All of my cosplay was very comfortable to walk around, and I had shoots whenever I felt like instead of booking the shoots prior. It was also my first time to attend Guest of Honor’s panel at anime convention, so it was an interesting experience. I already cannot wait to go back to Fanime 2018!
FanimeCon official site