AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

The roughly mid-90's and earlier (generally pre-Toonami, pre-anime boom) era of anime & manga fandom: early cons, clubs, tape trading, Nth Generation VHS fansubs, old magazines & fanzines, fandubs, ancient merchandise, rec.arts.anime, and more!
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zimmerit
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AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby zimmerit » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:09 pm

I attended Fanime in San Jose, CA for the first time in years last week and it got me thinking about the history of Bay Area conventions. During the early ‘90s, there were two places to be for conventions in the US, the Bay Area, and Dallas.

Of course, it’s pretty well known by now that the Gainax-sponsored AnimeCon ’91 sort of kicked things off (though wasn’t really the first), and then fan drama split it apart (Gainax’s General Products USA collapsing probably didn’t help, either) and the end result was Anime Expo and Anime America. For a while, those two battled it out in the Bay, until Expo moved to LA and America sputtered out after the ’96 event. Anime America ’96 was my first ever anime con so I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for it, but its demise made way for Fanime which is, for all intents and purposes, a pretty decent convention even though it doesn’t attract much national attention.

I've just signed the contracts for AnimeCon '92 and this is what we
have for you.
AnimeCon '92 will run July 3-6 (F-M).
It will be held in the Red Lion Inn in San Jose
Current guests that we are working on are Mr. Miyazaki, Mr. Sonoda,
Mr. Manabe and anyone else who is willing to come back.
Memberships are $30 for at least the next few months, but mailings
will be send out to all new and old members by the end of October.
The hotel is now taking reservations with negotiations pending for the
Hyatt as a back-up.
I suspect that the prices will be the same for hotel rooms.
Another posting will be following in three weeks with the final
details on hotels.
Miyazaki petitions should be sent in by the beginning of October.

September 13, 1991

In any case, I dove into rec.arts.anime during some downtime and was surprised to learn that not only was AnimeCon ’92 planned, but after that fell through, there was even talk of an AnimeCon ’93 or a joint convention if the two parties could reunite. Interestingly, at one point organizers had even hoped to bring over Hayao Miyazaki to the then-planned AnimeCon '92.

Talked to the folks at GAINAX. They said that they'd definitely help
to TRY to get Miyazaki. Please remember that Miyazaki likes fans
better than complanies, so a fan drive is the best way to go. The
following is a statement to be put on petitions aksing Miyazaki to
attend AnimeCon '92

September 5, 1991

The answer to what date to run Animecon '93 was always intended to be the
July 4th date. First, some history. John McL. founded Animecon '91 on the
Labor Day weekend 'cause it was the only viable date in '91; all of the
other dates had conventions on them in the Bay Area, or other groups were
booked into the Red Lion. When originally announced, Anime Expo '92 was
called Animecon '92, on the 4th July weekend; the org. and name of the
con changed after the split between John and Mike.

Before MT announced to anyone concerning Anime Expo '93, I had informed
him of my intention to run Animecon '93; at no time was MT unaware of my
plans. As I have stated before, he and I agreed not to make ANY
announcements concerning either con for thirty days, in hopes that we
could prevent the controversy in which we are currently embroiled. Mike
posted about Anime Expo '93 in violation of that agreement; at which
point I had no choice but to announce Animecon '93 (or cancel it
entirely), as the longer I waited, the more it would look as if I was
starting a competitive con to spite MT.

MT has gained a perceived tactical advantage by jumping the gun; first,
it looks as if I am being the "bad guy" by mounting a challange. Second,
I get to spend a lot of time justifying my actions. Dont get me wrong; I
want y'all to ask questions, and I will do my level best to answer them
ASAP, my connect-lag allowing. But I spend a lot of time and effort in
"denial" mode: "No, I am not exercising a personal vendetta against Mike"
"No, I am not doing this for the almighty $$$" "No, I do not still beat
my dog". Etc.

July 22, 1992

Confusingly, that joint convention might have been called AnimeFest, except there was and AnimeFest in November 1993, in Dallas. There is, to say the least, a lot of drama on USENET about the split. Unreturned checks. Plenty of accusations. That's probably left buried.

The end result seems pretty sweet, at least in retrospect. Anime America took place in Santa Clara the last weekend of June 1993, and then Anime Expo took place in Oakland the following weekend. So you could have seen Megumi Hayashibara, Monkey Punch, Kenichi Sonoda, Haruka Takachiho, Keita Amemiya, Yasuhiro Imagawa, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Makoto Kobayashi, and Haruhiko Mikimoto within the same week and a half stretch.

Comparatively, at least, Bay Area conventions seem a lot more low-key these days. Fanime still scores some cool guests (and Hiroyuki Yamaga shows up every year), but the other area conventions like KrakenCon and Animation on Display are smaller conventions that pull the typical voice acting talent you see in all smaller conventions. Crunchyroll’s own convention, CrunchyCon is scheduled to take place in Santa Clara later this Summer.
Sean // zimmerit.moe

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Akage
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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby Akage » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:00 pm

I have one of the AnimeCon 1991 books. Never really sought to ever own one since I'm not into the collectibles aspect of the fandom, but it had a Sonoda sketch in it..

Ah, good ol' Fanime. I attended for a couple years. I will always be grateful to Fanime 2011 with the Gainax auction with artwork donated from all their talented artists that left that same month to form Trigger. Got some really nice stuff at that charity auction, though oddly enough I had to provide Gainax with contact information that has probably been long destroyed by now. Gainax wanted to prevent anyone who won the auction artwork from not only displaying it with the autograph portion of the sketch visible, but also wanted to prevent anyone from reselling the artwork. I haven't attended Fanime since 2012, especially not once Evan took control of the artistic guest autograph portion of Fanime. Evan likes to usurp the guests for a good half hour during the autograph session, so even if you are at the front of the line, you'll get a crummy (if any) sketch. It's a sad statement when even the attendees at Animazement, a con 3000 miles away, were talking about this. Probably a good reason why we refer to this Evan as "General D-bag".


zimmerit wrote:Comparatively, at least, Bay Area conventions seem a lot more low-key these days. Fanime still scores some cool guests (and Hiroyuki Yamaga shows up every year), but the other area conventions like KrakenCon and Animation on Display are smaller conventions that pull the typical voice acting talent you see in all smaller conventions. Crunchyroll’s own convention, CrunchyCon is scheduled to take place in Santa Clara later this Summer.


I think the low-key aspect is because you're comparing the current Fanime guest list to that of AnimeCon 1991 or Anime America 1993. It's a completely different environment now than it was 25 years ago. Back then, anime artists considered it to be a huge deal to go to the US, especially for something like this. It was novel and unique, and best of all, a free trip. But with the amount of cons not only in the US and Europe, attending a convention in the US is no longer the honor that it once was. There's also a lot more paperwork involved, and in the case of musicians, visas involved (and if they're not, they learn the hard way...sorta like how AoD learned this year with Lotus Juice).

The Bay Area and LA suffer from Anime Expo-itis. AX drains the money from the fandom for months, so most conventions simply try to stay out of the fatal funnel by not scheduling their events within 1 month before/after AX. It's also why newer conventions, like the long defunct AM2 (Anaheim 2011-2012) and Japan Expo USA (Santa Clara/San Mateo 2013-2014) have a hard time establishing themselves in the state - AX is just that much of a drain. The market is very saturated here, and by scheduling itself towards the end of August, CrunchyCon has doomed itself to the same scheduling issues that Japan Expo USA suffered from. Schools all start at the end of August now, and many attendees, particularly those in college, will be moving into dorms or returning back to school the same weekend the event takes place. CrunchyCon's ticketing prices don't help, with VIP tickets ranging from $125 to $350...all for a con that has yet to announce even one guest despite being less than 3 months away.

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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby labsenpai » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:37 am

I'd agree that the novelty of a trip to the States has diminished. I'd also say the range of potential guests currently spreads to the horizon (or fandom depths IMO), beyond our 90's desire to simply meet well-known industry icons like Miyazaki.
I can only be glad for lucky coincidences, like how some mecha designers made the flight over to see fighter jets at nearby AFB hangers. I posted recently that a GAINAX alumnus is coming to Chicago...not for his anime work, but rather for his gojira movie.

/not a west coaster, had to wait till Otakon

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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby labsenpai » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:14 pm

Remembered that I saved the "Anime Con 91 Packet" that subscribers to The Rose received. Extensive event coverage (with photos) wasn't common in the fanzine later on. Excuse the image quality; I'm scanning probably third-gen xerox material.
Attachments
AC91guests.jpg
AC91guests.jpg (188.97 KiB) Viewed 473 times
AC91dealers.jpg
AC91dealers.jpg (212.8 KiB) Viewed 473 times

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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby _D_ » Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:46 pm

I'm looking at one of my 8mm tapes and it says Keycon 1991 (Winnipeg) and Animecan Trip. Dunno what's on it. I do recall getting my gear stolen in a break in on my truck which cost me the camera as well as the tapes i recorded of the con but that was a later year. I must transfer these to a more permanent format before all my 8 mm playback equipment fails...

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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby Drew_Sutton » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:39 am

This topic got me flipping through some of my old Animag magazines - specifically because I remember seeing some convention coverage when I was doing some other research looking to see if I could get any coverage of AnimeCon ('92, at least) but all of that coverage was from Anime Expo '92. Since Animag was based in the Bay Area, I wonder what kept them from going to San Jose for coverage and instead, head all the way down to SoCal for Expo?
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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby _D_ » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:57 am

Was Manabe at both cons? I have a signed comic of his here, so I did meet him somewhere...

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zimmerit
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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby zimmerit » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:47 pm

Drew_Sutton wrote:This topic got me flipping through some of my old Animag magazines - specifically because I remember seeing some convention coverage when I was doing some other research looking to see if I could get any coverage of AnimeCon ('92, at least) but all of that coverage was from Anime Expo '92. Since Animag was based in the Bay Area, I wonder what kept them from going to San Jose for coverage and instead, head all the way down to SoCal for Expo?


AnimeCon '92 only existed in the early planning stages, as far as I can tell. The split that lead to Anime Expo (and later Anime America) happened before the con was held.
Sean // zimmerit.moe

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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby Drew_Sutton » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:14 am

Ok - I must have misunderstood what you had posted from Usenet; I was under the impression that even though there were organizational issues, the 1992 show still happened. The show not happening makes a lot of sense though.
Akihabara Renditions: Japanese Animation of the Bubble Economy
Excuse me, I need to evict some juvenile delinquents from my yard.

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zimmerit
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Re: AnimeCon '92 (and '93?)

Postby zimmerit » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:33 pm

Drew_Sutton wrote:Ok - I must have misunderstood what you had posted from Usenet; I was under the impression that even though there were organizational issues, the 1992 show still happened. The show not happening makes a lot of sense though.


Sorry about that, should have been a bit clearer. I was mostly surprised to find out that they'd advertised AnimeCon '92 (and '93), having assumed the whole thing had gone kaput after AnimeCon '91 and General Products pulling out.
Sean // zimmerit.moe


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