Fan Expo has always lacked social charm when compared to Anime North. As I said in my Anime North feature, Anime North is considered a social convention, while Fan Expo looks at various forms of geekery as a business. Rightfully so, might I add, considering the guests that have attended this convention, such as Bruce Campbell, Henry Winkler, Elijah Wood, to Adam West, and Kevin Sorbo, both personal favorites of mine. Hush! They were both staples of my childhood.
Fan Expo is an amalgamation of geek culture. Sci-fi nerds have to share convention space with gamers, otakus, zombies and comic book dweebs in a battle of worldly proportions. Well, not quite, but it does sound more interesting that way. Fan Expo attempts to cater to sci-fi, horror, anime, comic book and gaming fans, but it has never been able to accommodate the types of insanity that Anime North often gets away with. From the ridiculous lineups to the massive disorganization, it is safe to say that Hobbystar wasn't expecting the turn out they received, which was well over 50,000 attendees.
One thing Fan Expo lacks compared to Anime North is costumers. There were a lot of fantastic costumers at Fan Expo, but unlike Anime North, the population cosplaying is a lot smaller due to the demographic that the show gravitates towards. Despite the lack of costumers, I can safely say the costumes I did see that weekend were phenomenal, and it was as though someone was peeking into my childhood when I saw costumers paying homage to the 90s X-Men, one of my all-time favourite cartoons as a child next to Tiny Toons and Darkwing Duck.
I spent most of Fan Expo out of costume, though on Saturday I donned the Persona of Mitsuru Kirijo once again. You know what is awesome? Being media in disguise. While dressed as Mitsuru, I participated in a Persona (or PURSONUH, as the joke was all day) photoshoot. Sadly, there were only two Persona 3 characters at the shoot, but the adorable Minato cosplayer and I made the situation work. We decided that if regular posing wasn't fun, ganster posing was better. Though, frankly, I can't picture Minato or Mitsuru being excellent gangsters even if Misturu likes to threaten her enemies with execution.
The Persona 4 group was also fantastic. Nearly every main character there, but most intriguing was there being a Margaret, two Nanakos, a Naoto, and even a Kanji! Even greater was just watching the interaction between everyone. I could tell everyone was having a lot of fun, and there were even some joke shots, as Naoto and Rise decided to make Kanji "a man" if you catch my drift. No, not like that you dirty perverts. We also had lots of cute Chies and even a *spoiler* Teddie. It was really a pleasure spending a good portion of my day hanging out with all these wonderful people, and I owe them quite the thank you for all the amusement that went down.
I did, however, do the media thing all weekend. On Friday before the convention I had a run in with Electric Playgrounds', Victor Lucas, whose work I've been admiring for many years. I didn't get the chance to talk to him at the convention sadly, as he was swamped with fans of EP and Reviews on the Run. I also had the chance to spend a ton of time over at the BioWare booth, where I made friends with the crew. I had some good discussion with them about Dragon Age, as well as Mass Effect 2 and even some older titles like Jade Empire. They were also giving out inflatable swords as swag to all the fans who visited their booth. Pretty awesome swag, huh?
I also spent some time over at the Sega booth, where I had the chance to try out Bleach: The 3rd Phantom and Sands of Destruction. While I wasn't too fond of Bleach, Sands of Destruction impressed me. Love at first sight, perhaps?
Moving away from the gaming side of things, I spent a good chunk of time in Artist Alley. Artist Alley is always my favourite thing to visit at any convention, and once again Fan Expo had some fantastic artists with a variety of styles. I got two pieces commissioned over the weekend, one of Yuri and Karin from Shadow Hearts: Covenant, and the other was Dorothy from RIZ-ZOAWD (or Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road). Both pieces were drawn by my amazingly talented friend, Maiji. I recognize my snapshots do not do these pieces justice, but my scanner seems to hate watercolor. I also found a table that made its own Mr. Saturn from Earthbound and Slime from Dragon Quest plushies. I ended up buying a Mr. Saturn, and my friend Dylan bought a Slime. They also had a giant Mr. Saturn, and smaller Ness and Starman plushies as well. One thing I love, however, is trinkets. Buttons, keychains, pins, these are items that suck me in, and there were lots of them, including t-shirts of an octopus riding a loaf of bread. Yes, you read that correctly.
Fan Expo was far from a perfect experience, but I had a lot more fun then I thought I was going to considering previous years. Meeting companies like BioWare, and making friends with the Persona cosplayers really helped make the weekend special for me. That being said, this wraps up RPGamer's Fan Expo coverage. Check out my impressions from the weekend as well as the photo gallery. If you have any questions or would like your picture removed, send me an e-mail. See you all at Fan Expo 2010!