I’m gunna try to go through my time at Otakon as fast as possible. There are a number of things that deserve their own posts, some of which I’m sure someone else will do better (such as someone who’s camera didn’t run out of memory during Yamakan’s QnA.) This was an extremely fun and extremely fast otakon that, while not legendary like last year’s, was still a much-needed thing in my life and unforgettable. Pics will come in a second post, later.
Unfortunately, I can’t find my schedule that would make it much easier to chronicle events, but I’ll try my best to do so. We took off for Baltimore in my SUV from VA Beach with myself, Funeral, No Name, my brother, and Funeral’s pseudo-girlfriend packed in (I forced my way into the front seat both times). All of us were very wary of some inherent awkwardness in our group. Funeral is not really as into anime as he was at last year’s otakon which had made him decide to be a full-fledged otaku which diminished over time, and his pseudo-GF (we will call *NAME REMOVED BY REQUEST*) isn’t really into anime at all, only having seen some basic shit and the weird pornographic stuff like Urotsukidouji. I’d had No Name burn me 3 compilation CDs of anime songs for the trip, and there was a thick air of awkwardness as we could tell Funeral and ******** had no desire to hear them.
We arrived in Baltimore for our stay at the Sheraton hotel which was in the same block as the Convention Center, meaning we could easily go back to the hotel at any time for whatever reason, which was awesome. Once Patz showed up, we compiled our shit in the room and headed to prereg after a bit. The second we were together, Patz and I proceeded to talk incessantly about all kinds of otaku stuff, which was kind of hilarious. It was like that the whole con – any time we got near each-other we wouldn’t shut the fuck up XD.
The prereg line was absurdly long for an absurdly long time. We headed off to get food and wait for it to move more, but it hadn’t really when we got back and reports say it never really did get short. What immediately became obvious was that there would be various groups at this con. Last year, at the beginning, baka-raptor, Patz, Funeral, and No Name kept following me around at first since no one knew what to do and I have a tendency to wonder aimlessly, so it bothered me until I eventually lost them. Patz broke off from us immediately this time, but Funeral and ******** were at first sort of mindlessly following the other 3 of us. I put effort into sending people in different directions so that it would be more evident that I wanted people split up, though I forced my brother to stick with me at all times, which really didn’t bother either of us since we walk at the same pace and have the same interests.
In the prereg line, I ran into Roast-Beefy-Weefs who was with the guy that had my custom badge, which was cool~ unfortunately, I didn’t run into beefy any other times during the con. Friday morning, we all left pretty early to line up to get in the door with the exception of Patz who had a press pass and No Name who left later. The first day, they opened the door about 45 minutes late, which resulted in general pissed-offness. Once we were in, I showed my bro around the place a bit, seeing as how I still knew the whole thing like I lived there. The first panel we headed for was Know Your Creators, lead by Daryl Surat and his AWO crew. It was really cool, even though I already know my creators and didn’t really need to be there.
This is where I made a huge mistake – I’d intended to see both Kikuko Inoue and Yutaka Yamamoto at their second panels, so instead of sitting through either, I headed to the Gundam panel, which turned out to be really boring and I left early. I believe the next panel we attended was the Madhouse panel with Masao Maruyama. It was really… okay, but kind of pointless. They played trailers for Rideback and Souten Kouro, which seemed really pointless with neither of them being licensed and not being the only recent or current Madhouse shows, and then there were some cool ones like Summer Wars and Redline among other upcoming movies. Maruyama seemed like a fun guy, and talked some in the QnA about how he doesn’t like doing sequels, but also how Hajime no Ippo will keep coming out as long as the stations want it.
After this we (I and bro) went to the dealers room, which is where my earlier mistake came back to bite me in the ass. I was going to head the Kikuko Inoue’s second panel, but a mixture of me not being able to find the exit, it being close to the time I needed to be there, really wanting to browse more, and the convincing fact that I don’t really know many of Inoue’s roles (and especially not her defining ones) compounded and made me stay in the dealer’s room for about 3 hours. On this first run, I picked up a Lucky Star wallscroll, J-list’s Lucky Eva T-shirt, a (very cheap) Yuki Nagato figure, the shiny Hatsune Miku figure, and the KEI artbook which features a lot of vocaloids and smoking girls. My brother picked up model kits of the Nirvash, God Gundam, Star Gaogaigar, and a Gurren Lagann beanie, effectively meaning he’d bought one item from each of his favorite series.
We dropped our stuff off at the hotel, where we found Funeral and Bathoree had already resigned for the day. As I’d pretty much expected, they only spent a couple hours at the con each day. I can’t really remember if we did anything after we ate and went back to the con, but we next got in line and attended the MELL concert where No Name was as well. MELL deserves her own post, but the basics are that they were good, and convinced me I should listen to them more. Mell herself sang her ass off, but for me her FABULOUS keyboardist stole the show with his energetic and extremely gay dancing that got me more into the experience. A lot of dumbasses left before the excellent encore, including No Name who didn’t really like the performance anyway. Red Fraction was excellent as expected and drove the crowd nuts. We went to bed after the show.
Saturday morning, I sent my brother to the ‘How to Survive a Mecha Attack’ panel while I attended the Impact of Evangelion panel which was a very well-done and interesting panel about the psychological impact of Evangelion on the minds of it’s audience and how this effected the trends of anime, and the very interesting comparison of Evangelion to The Watchmen. I headed straight from there to Funimation’s industry panel where only one really exciting announcement happened, but it was kept entertaining by the energetic speaker. The one really great announcement was the licensing of Casshern Sins, to be released next year. Please release in Blu-ray, Funi!!!
I then headed to the dealer’s room for a while where I picked up the Ohtsuki Kenji to Zetsubou Shoujo-tachi album, a Konata figure, the Kagamiku figma, volume 2 of Faust, and all of Brigadoon (which I later found out was missing volume 3 and had two of volume 6 WHAT THE FUCK). I was going to head to Anime’s Craziest Deaths lead by Daryl Surat, but by the time I got there the line was going almost the length of the fucking convention center, WAY beyond the room’s capacity. I later heard that the panel was shut down almost immediately because of the nature of the clips shown in a daytime panel. Yikes. While I was wandering after that, I ran into TheBigN and the two of us headed to MELL’s Q and A out of boredom.
TheBigN is a really awkward guy, lol. He always seemed like he had absolutely no idea what to say, but really wanted to say just something! MELL’s QnA was a lot of fun, she’s really great and nice and funny. Once again, though, she really deserves her own post. I guess I dropped my stuff off at the hotel and re-teamed with my bro, then and headed back for The Melancholy of Yoshinobu Nishizaki, an absolutely hilarious panel lead once more by Daryl Surat and friends. It was less about the most shocking parts of The Nish’s life (his imprisonment) than an analysis of his works, the highs (Yamato) and lows (Odin) and simple quirks (Urotsukidouji). Very fun, with plenty of cool clips and incentive to watch Odin for awesomely bad factor.
After that, my brother and I headed for Yutaka Yamamoto’s second panel, which I tried to film before my camera ran out of memory and batteries. It was probably my favorite panel of the con and extremely informative, but very deserving of it’s own post once I find someone else’s footage of it online. We headed straight from there to the tail end of the Anime Old Timers panel which was another total blast. The old timers were all around 60 and had been watching anime for over or around 30 years, so they knew everything about the old days. A lot of the crowd were old timers too, adding to the fun. I even got to ask them about what shows I should use to get modern viewers to look back at the past, which they told me to do with Yawara (which is why it’s now atop my to watch list alongside Ranma 1/2). There we met up with No Name and headed for karaoke (it was now about 7PM?)
I had wanted to sing several Nico songs, but I forgot my CD, so I signed up for Kuusou Rumba instead. I spent the rest of the night in the karaoke room, hanging out with No Name and my bro at first, until No Name left when they interjected the karaoke with an hour of band performances, and then I hung out with Patz. There were epic performances of Gaogaigar (in which a great Kamina cosplayer sang and danced along), The SoulTaker, Live and Learn (the Sonic Adventure 2 Battle theme), and Omo’s crew did their annual performance of Skill, all of which I actively sang along with and pumped fists. My performance of Kuusou Rumba was… extremely creepy, as you can see in the video above! After I performed, we went back to bed (but PAtz and I talked for 2 hours before getting to sleep >_<)
Sunday morning my brother and I hung around and got in line for the dealer’s room – a line which pretty much became it’s own 4chan panel, lol. this time in the dealer’s room I bought a Kawazoe Tamaki PVC and a Haruhi Live-a-live figure, putting me out of money besides the hundred dollars I gave to No Name for the soon-to-arrive Black Rock Shooter figure I preordered long ago (my brother spent the last of his cash on a cool Gurren Lagann backpack.) I then headed to an unforgettable Hidenori Matsubara Q and A wherein only 10 other people showed up. Rather than he get on stage, we all pulled out chairs into a circle in the center of the room and had sort of a round-table chat. It was great. I’ll definitely do a post on it, especially with Matsubara’s hilaroius transfixion on my Lucky Eva shirt.
At this point, Patz had evidently already left and we’d already cleared out the hotel, so we all ended up in the viewing booth for the traditional con-ender, Otaku no Video. Interestingly, while No Name met with us there purposefully, we didn’t actually know that funeral and ********* had been there with us until we all met at the car. As always, Otaku no Video was amazing. Then we drove back home, this time with no music, playing ‘guess what name I’m thinking of’ for three hours with 90% of the answers being memes thanks to ********’s b-tardom, lol.
Minor notes: – It was interesting how my knowledge from last year and perfect knowledge of the convention center made the whole trip entirely less overwhelming or unorganized. The whole thing felt much shorter because I always had something to do and knew where to do it. So I didn’t see as much cosplay or get distracted as much, but it was still a lot of fun.
– Fuck, it was hot those first two days!!
– I could feel the awkwardness lessening between ********** and Funeral and the rest of us as the weekend went on (that awkwardness largely having been because she knows that I openly hate her, lol.) However, they made a point not to get in the rest of our way and said nothing when Patz and I stayed up till 3 AM on Saturday night because our conversation would not end XD. Plus both of them were starting to feel themselves opening (in Funeral’s case, back) up to anime culture.
– Link from Megatokyo was at almost every single fucking panel I went to, no joke, even the Matsubara one. He very clearly avoided me and never made eye contact. I felt kind of bad about it, because there should be so much potential for us to be friends, but I couldn’t bring myself to go and apologize to him. Maybe next year we’ll be on better terms.
– I talked to a lot of random people in lines and such this year, but no cute girls T_T and there sure were a lot of them there! After my karaoke performance, one girl actually ran up and hugged me saying ‘that was amazing!’ but she was kind of ‘not sure if want’.
– If my otaku fire had been at all dwindling before this, it’s rekindled now!
So, I’ll be doing some posts. I’ll do a post on Mell no matter what, I may do a short one on Matsubara, I’ll do one on Yamakan once I’ve seen what others say about him, meaning it could be a while before that one. There will also be likely posts with references to things I learned at otakon. Before all that, I should hopefully get an image post up once I get all the stuff from No Name’s camera. Can’t wait till next year’s otakon, and hopefully I’ll attend some other cons in the interim, especially since Patz and I REALLY want to run a panel at a con. Until then, that’s all!