This weekend Geeks With Wives had the opportunity to visit the 11th annual Ani-Jam Anime festival in Fresno California. I spend so much of my con season allocating time (and money) traveling out of town to conventions. So, it is beyond refreshing and definitely easier on my wallet to have one in my own back yard. As someone who is admittedly not a super huge fan of Anime, I always feel a bit lost at those type of cons. In no way would I let that stop me from enjoying what this con had to offer.
This being my second year as an attendee I noticed one really awesome thing. There were so many cosplayers!! And not just ani-me cosplayers, I saw costumes from every genre. From video games to Disney and Marvel, all types of fans were in attendance. It is clear from their presence at Ani-Jam that the cosplay movement is finally hitting Fresno in a big way. In the past I would attend events and would be one of the few people who came out to cosplay. Thankfully this is not so much the case any more.
The nice thing about a smaller con like this, is it gives you more time to talk with your friends and fellow cosplayers. Something that falls by the wayside at the large cons like San Diego Comic Con. There was a vendors room offering everything from action figures to plushies, as well as swords and other geek apparel. Some of the vendors where very unique, offering a plethora of items to help enhance or create your own cosplay. Steampunk and Victoria era items seemed to be popular with these do it yourself vendors as their were multiple booths geared towards these genres of cosplay.
Vendors and Cosplayers wasn’t the only thing Ani-Jam was offering. Throughout the day, different bands took the stage and entertained the attendees with hard rockin anime inspired music. Attendees could also participate in table top gaming, video game tournaments and of course a variety of panels. Panels included your usual fair of Cosplay workshops, special guest speakers, and how to break into the industry. All in all there seemed to be something for everyone.
I for one am very excited that cons like Ani-Jam as well as the upcoming Zappcon (Oct. 18th-19th) are finally starting to make a big mark on Fresno. It’s obvious that the Central Valley is in need of top quality geek entertainment and Ani-Jam is one such premiere event. A huge thanks to all the event organizers and staff for putting on a fun show and bringing Anime to the Central Valley.
*Photograpy by: Casey Walsh