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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Razgriez's Avatar

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    Default Otakon 20: The Post Convention Discussion

    Hello my fellow play grounders of the anime fandom, and those who visited Baltimore, Maryland this weekend for Otakon's 20th gathering, I hope all who attended have (or will) had a safe trip to, and from the convention. So, without wasting too much time on intro's, let us begin the discussion! The Good, the Bad, The Ugly, the Unique, the Awesome, or just the plain strange. Commence the bragging of your treasures gained!


    So to start off, here's my initial feelings:

    The Good:
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    I survived my 6th Otakon (And with most of my sanity to boot, only a few very minor blisters, no Con Plague it seems on my end!

    FINALLY got to see some series I haven't had a chance to watch yet that everyone keeps suggesting including, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Gundam Unicorn, and SMT's Devil Survivor. (Must get some sort of anime streaming service....)

    The fan panels I attended were pretty good. Almost no complaints I can give on them.


    The Bad:

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    "Can not comply with Panel Attendence Request: Population Limits Reached"- With more and more people every year, Panels become harder to get into due to space limitations. The Capacity issues are becoming more apparent. Only a few years ago, to see the Main act concert in Hall D was easy. Get in line and/or walk in. Done!. Now, you needed another pass just to see Sunday's performance, or watch it via simulcast feed in Hall A. And the first half, there was general feeling of disappointment, when all we had was just visualizations images on the screen, and no live video from Hall D for Chiaki Ishikawa's performance . Though that changed for Yoko Kanno's "Piano Me" thankfully, and did have live video feed for that.

    The Ugly:

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    Getting into Saturday Afternoon's double concert featuring Home Made Kazoku and T.M. Revolution was trial in patience, and trying to find the truth through false rumors, and dealing with an completely different venue staff that gave off a unwelcoming feeling. I nearly didn't go to it at first, because while asking one of the Otakon staff members at an info desk, they said they had been hearing that backpacks and other bags were NOT being allowed into the 1st Mariner Arena, and sent me to ask... cosplay safety/prop check (I wasn't even in cosplay!).

    On a guess that it might have just been a rumor, I walked over to the Arena, and got in line. Good news is, my guess was right, and bags are allowed to be brought in. Bad news is, was dealing with the Arena staff and security, who seemed, not to happy to be dealing with the concert. Nothing kills the excitement for a concert than to have security barking for you to toss all food and drink (Empty or full, in my case, 2 bottles of water, and 4 granola bars) and THEN have that same security, kinda in a rude way, sarcastically tell you "Just buy more water/soda/snacks inside from us" If someone from the Arena is wondering why people don't want to buy food and drink at the arena, and reading this, now you know why.

    And of course, the Arena seating is not the best for a concert facing the main stage, since the side seats force you to be turning your body 45 degrees constantly to watch, or to stay standing.


    THE EPIC AWESOME!:
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    So despite my issues with the Arena, that said, let's talk about the concert themselves.

    Home Made Kazoku coming back and performing again? Awesome

    T.M. Revolution also coming back and performing a few minutes after Home Made Kazoku? Also very awesome.

    Home Made Kazoku and T.M. Revolution both performing on stage together for a song? Epic win

    Likewise Sunday's concert was similar pretty good. Yoko Kanno's "Piano Me" was especially great to watch. (Pretty cool idea to use the Piano as a visualization screen, that actually reacted in time with the music, or attendees applause )

    Also got to meet Mystic Revolution's author Jen Brazas and getting both Vol. 1 and 2 signed with artwork by her, and talking about gaming (and also helping me become less of a newb to Attack on Titan when I stood there wondering what was with all the brown jackets and shirts with the large wing or sword crests on them at the convention). The two books helped prevent boredom while waiting in lines for panels and got me caught up with a fair amount of Mystic Revolutions story.


    The Interesting and misc. Feelings
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    Otakon is going to be running 2 conventions a year, with the announcement of Otakon Las Vegas, starting next year in January. Because you know, the Dealers room, Artist Ally, hotel/parking/light rail fees, just weren't quite making your wallet lighter fast enough, you now have gambling as well. Good luck to Otakon out west

    And on a mixed feeling note, Otakorp announced changes for Otakon back for the Mid-Atlantic region as well. Starting in 2017, Otakon is moving to D.C. to a bigger venue as part of 5 yr contract, in hopes of fixing some of the space issues, and to keep all of the convention under one roof. Though it has been mentioned that if Baltimore can expand/rebuild/etc the BCC in the time Otakon is away, it hopes to come back to Baltimore


    And finally: Ye olde Con treasure!
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    a Otakon T shirt of +20 Celebrating
    A Tshirt marking the wearer as an "Essential NPC" (Do not harm as the wearer is required to complete the main quest!.) You may have seen me wearing it on Saturday for those who attended)
    Freebie Sword Art Online "Do Not Disturb" doorknob hanger. (one side with Kirito: "I am in a battle!" and the other with Asuna "I am taking a nap."
    -A limited edition SAO/Otakon poster by SAO Anime's Chief Animation Director and Character Designer Shingo Adachi, featuring Otakon's mascot characters cosplaying as Kirito and Asuna
    -a Otakon bar "Rock" glass meaning to add to the collection
    -Gran Turismo 2 Sound track
    -And as mentioned above: Mystic Revolution Vol's 1 and 2. signed by the author, Jen, and with FFXI artwork drawn in to the cover by her as well
    Awesome Final Fantasy XIV Dragoon custom avatar made by Iruka. Thank you very much Iruka.

    Coach of the Dwarven Brewmaster Brawlers of the GITP BloodBowl Open League

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Joran's Avatar

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    Default Re: Otakon 20: The Post Convention Discussion

    This was my 7th Otakon; my first Otakon was Otakon 12, back 8 years ago. I was in college then and heavily into anime. Cartoon Network was showing DBZ on Toonami and Cowboy Bebop on Adult Swim. A lot of cosplayers were cosplaying as characters from Kingdom Hearts 2.

    Now, I'm a father of two children, the last anime I watched was Ponyo, and I haven't watched an anime series in years. I don't recognize most of what people are cosplaying as and my friends abandoned me 3 years ago.

    That said, I keep going because it's fun to see people sharing a love of what I did, the cosplayers as always are amazing, and the panels are a mixture of hilarious and informative.

    The Bad

    Lines, lines, and crowds. Par for the course for Otakon unfortunately.

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    Let's get this out of the way: the line situation is an absolute mess. Otakon doesn't mail badges so there's a line wrapping around the convention on the first day. Last year, I wasn't sure I could make Otakon so I declined to pre-order. That was the best decision I've ever made for Otakon; the registration line was only 30 minutes long, the pre-registration line was over 2 hours long in steamy hot temperatures. This year, once again, the pre-registration line was longer than the registration line. This is absolutely intolerable. Pre-registration should never be longer than registration line; the people who pre-register are the hardcore customers, they should be treated better.

    Otakon has also outgrown the BCC. The normal chokepoints at the walkways are always there. I'm used to it, but it could be better.

    Yoko Kanno tickets were insane to get, since there was no way the room they had selected could meet the demand. There was no fair way to allocate these scarce tickets so I have no complaints. The simulcast was great for Yoko Kanno, but terrible for whoever was the opening act. It mostly showed music video type videos that made my head hurt and supposedly it never showed the actual artist. I didn't stick around to find out; I ignored the usher who told me that they'd start showing the artist when she appeared on stage (she was already on stage, but we didn't know that), went to Artist Alley and came back for Yoko Kanno's performance.


    The Good

    Yoko Kanno: Honestly, I thought she'd have a voice like the singer on the Real Folk Blues, but she ended up having a cutesy voice. She played the Real Folk Blues, Tank, and sang a song from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, so she was everything I wanted. She seemed very energetic and happy to be there and I enjoyed her performance.

    Panels: The best panel hands down was the one about Western literature adaptations into Japanese anime. Did you there is a Les Miserables fighting game? Also, the Count of Monte Crisco became a space vampire and somehow Moby **** was translated into a space pirate show with the whale as a spaceship. This panel was an example of the best panels I enjoyed: enthusiastic, funny presenter as well as showing me things I hadn't seen before.

    Cosplay: As always, the cosplay was amazing. Oddly this year, a lot more Thors than Lokis. I remarked last year that there were a lot more Lokis (Marvel version), especially crossplays, than Thors. I was thrilled to see the animes I enjoyed like Witch Hunter Robin and Trigun represented as well as the normal Bleach. League of Legends is a welcome addition, although odd since I started playing it a couple weeks after beta and I am shocked it's become as big as it has. Home Stuck and Adventure Time were also well-represented and I have no idea what those are.

    Swag: I got a copy of the Last Unicorn signed by frequent guest Peter S. Beagle made out to my son; my daughter already has a bunch of Neil Gaiman books signed to her and this was his first. We talked about fantasy writers and their beards (Patrick Rothfuss and George R.R. Martin bearing the ones that he dubbed "spanish moss beards"). I got a couple prints from Artist Alley for the kids as well.

    Unknown

    I live closer to DC, but I hate taking the Metro, so I'm mixed about the move into D.C. It'll be a bigger pain to drive in and park, since the BCC was just a straight shot up I-95 and then park. I would have preferred National Harbor, since it'd be easy to drive to and I could get my gamble on. A larger space is definitely welcome since the chokepoints are annoying and always have been. I'll miss having an excuse to go to Baltimore each year.

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