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.
September 13, 1991I'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.
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.
September 5, 1991Talked 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
July 22, 1992The 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.
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.