Otakon 2008

lolikit took that picture. I met some other bloggers as well…

The dealers room stretched as far as the eye can see, which would probably be awesome if I cared.

Shopping blows. When I get married, I’m giving my wife all my money and making her do all my shopping for me. I know it sounds mean, perhaps even sadistic, but as long as I don’t have to shop, I don’t care how much she suffers at the mall all day with wads of cash and unlimited spending discretion.

JAM Project rocked. They were just as manly as I’d envisioned, even though they didn’t sing Fire Wars.

The schedule was a huge disappointment. Most of it consisted of:

  • Specific interest panels that I didn’t care about
  • Q&A sessions with people I’ve never heard of
  • Industry panels with prohibitively long lines
  • Cool panels placed in the same time slots as other cool panels, just to screw with us

The AMV Contest showed at the same time as 5cm per Second and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Another time slot featured such exciting panels as “Walk in 8-inch heels”,  “Ambush Anime RPGs”, “Masao Maruyama Q&A”, and “The Future of J-Rock”. The Fansubbers and the Industry Discussion panel was lame (not enough catfighting). The yuri panel was lame (not enough ShizNat). The only panel I attended that was awesome beyond a reasonable doubt was the game show.

I didn’t get to watch any hentai or gore flicks because the ID check stand closed at 12PM, the exact time I found out that I needed a special wristband to get into 18+ events. I had no choice but to watch the only non-18+ show still screening: Bubblegum Crisis.

Warning: if you ever attend Otakon, do not go to the pizza place across the street. First of all, they shamelessly overcharge ($2.75 for a slice with toppings, $1.85 for a small soda). Then they skimped on the toppings. I wanted to order two pepperoni-sausage slices, but they only had one pepperoni-sausage slice left, so I got my second slice with pure pepperoni. Here’s what they looked like:

There were only five pepperoni slices on the pepperoni slice. I counted again. Still five. Only three were full. And it was the same price as the pepperoni-sausage slice. And it was cold. How that hell are you supposed to warm up room-temperature pizza with less than one minute in the oven? Baltimore sucks.

I was certain I’d built up enough good karma to keep this kind of shit from happening. The previous day a half-crying Haruhi cosplayer asked me for help when she got lost while looking for a sushi restaurant. I didn’t know where it was, so I kept walking down the street. A few minutes later I saw the restaurant and turned back to help her despite the objections of the other guys I was with. Just as I was about to catch up with her, she located one of her friends. If I’d taken five more steps, she surely would’ve seen me and thanked me for helping her out, but instead, I decided that as long a she’d found her way, there was no need for thanks, so I headed back to the convention center with my gracious deed going unnoticed. I can’t believe how kind and humble I am.

I probably won’t go to any more cons until next year, but if there’s a convincing level of suckupitude, I may attend Anime Weekend Atlanta. Here’s the suck up form if you’re interested:

By the way Os, this is why I call you OS instead of os.

41 people love sucking up to me

  1. Baltimore isn’t my favorite place. But that’s just because I don’t like Camden Yards…BWI is okay though. Atlanta is the worst though. Pollen = lose. [SPARE YOURSELF]

  2. I always wanted to cosplay as Osamu Tezuka, but I’d need a beret and the same skin paint James Bond uses in You Only Live Twice to disguise himself as Japanese. But hey, I saw a black dude cosplaying as Naruto, so I might not need the skin paint after all, especially since it has to be acquired from Tiger Tanaka, and I’m not well linked to the Japanese Secret Service.

  3. Thought I’d comment about AWA since you’re considering going. I haven’t looked at the guest list yet, but certain things tend to stay the same from year to year. It’s a mid-size con, not as big as the “name” cons like Otakon, Anime Expo, or ACEN, but it’s not a piddly con either. It is definitely growing- last year was the first time I felt a little uncomfortable with the foot traffic, though there were were no actual jams.

    The guest list tends to be light on Japanese guests; it’s mostly English VAs and industry people. We tend to get a lot of the same people year after year; this is both AWA’s strength and weakness. Again, I haven’t checked to see who’s coming, but there shouldn’t be too many surprises since it’s a month and a half away. AWA averages about 1 well-known Japanese guest per con, last year’s was the head(?) of a studio responsible for Mushishi and a bunch of shows I can’t remember. He actually gave out some cels at the end, causing a near-stampede. The guest bands are generally not as well known as JAM Project. I believe there were 3 last year, including Peelander Z, which seems to be part performance artist, part punk. I wish I’d waited in line.

    AWA is probably best known for AMV’s, although I can’t say I agree with the judges’ tastes, but that’s true everywhere. There’s AMV Hell, a mishmash of very short funny AMV clips all glued together. It’s best watched in a crowd- for some reason this stuff doesn’t stand up as well when you’re watching by yourself.

    The costume contest is just that- a contest, no funny skits.

    Dealer’s rooms are overpriced no matter where you go; I guess it’s because it costs money to haul their wares around. As a buyer it generally doesn’t pay to get the DVDs or books you can get elsewhere. The best stuff is the stuff you didn’t know existed.

    For accommodations, I heard the Waverly, the con the hotel is in, is sold out. There are a bunch of hotels within a couple miles, if you don’t mind driving. There’s a sports bar & grill near the hotel and a mall across the road. The food court closes early but a few restaurants attached to it stay open later. Oh yeah, I don’t think there are any “I was afraid to walk 9 blocks so I took a taxi instead” problems the way people complained about Baltimore.

    Panels? I guess panels are what make the con. I’m not sure what to say since I don’t have anything to compare against, but I think you hit the nail on the head with your listing. There’s a finite number of types of panels; you either like the topic or you’re bored by it. One thing we have that you didn’t mention is the “we show you horrible clips and make fun of them” panel. You would think they would run out of stuff by now but they don’t.

    I can describe the basic layout of the panel rooms, since that constrains what you can do with them. The main ballroom is big enough to fit pretty much anyone who wants to show up- that’s where the name guests and the costume contest go. Most of the panel rooms are only big enough to fit about 20-30 people, so those are the special interest panels. For obvious reasons, last year’s Haruhi panel and some guest panels couldn’t accommodate everyone who wanted to show up. There’s also a mid-sized room tucked away in a corner of the building; I mention it only because it’s the second biggest room, the layout is strange and people can go in and out from one side and annoy the people in there.

    That’s it in a nutshell. Someone on the staff said it’s only as fun as you’re willing to make it or let it be, and he’s probably right.

  4. I feel the need to address the pollen issue. It’s true, it’s damn true. I don’t think it’s a problem for visitors, but for people who live in Atlanta, it’s a serious problem. The cars don’t get “a little yellow” in the spring, they’re coated so much that you have to rinse your windshield. (The ban on outdoor water use during the drought sure didn’t help). The allergy season is pretty long too. I’m no botanist, but my theory is the geniuses in charge of planting trees decided that fruit-bearing trees were more of a nuisance than pollen-heavy trees, and this is the result. At least LA has something cool like smog to blame for its air quality.

  5. >The previous day a half-crying Haruhi cosplayer asked me for help when she got lost while looking for a sushi restaurant. I didn’t know where it was, so I kept walking down the street. A few minutes later I saw the restaurant and turned back to help her despite the objections of the other guys I was with. Just as I was about to catch up with her, she located one of her friends. If I’d taken five more steps, she surely would’ve seen me and thanked me for helping her out, but instead, I decided that as long a she’d found her way, there was no need for thanks, so I headed back to the convention center with my gracious deed going unnoticed. I can’t believe how kind and humble I am.

    if nothing else, you earned my eternal respect.

  6. OK, so it seems like Otakon sucked with the exception of:

    1) JAM Project
    2) JAM Project
    3) JAM Project
    4) Other anime bloggers
    5) JAM Project

    Did I get that right?

  7. You should come to a British Con. We get absolutely NO Japanese guests ever, only some american VA who doesn’t get a panel, this is because all our panels are the same every year. The only sexually explicit one was YAOI. And then it fucking rains!

    But you know, becuase it all kinda sucks so much, we make up for it by getting completely Rat-arsed every night and having some GREAT parties.

    Poor Baka-Raptor sounds like he just needs a little Dutch courage, then maybe there would be a Miss-Raptor and Baka-children and a Dai-Baka-zoku.


    On second thoughts – you’re not invited to any British cons, we don’t want anymore stupid lizards.

    Please come to a British con? I’ll suck up to you and pay for your food!

  8. IcyStorm: Depends on what you mean by “sucked”. 😛

    And I’m glad you enjoyed the Game Show. If you stayed long enough, keep in mind that “Yuri Matsuri” was my creation. Seriously. :3

  9. @lelangir: Got a website these days?

    @Asperger’s: I saw a black Wolfwood at Otakon. Looked pretty damn cool. Race isn’t as much of a limiting factor as body type. If you look good, you can get away with cosplaying as anyone.

    @Os: I don’t. Which amazingly good pizza might you be talking about?

    @Hoshi: After connecting the dots, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to look. Congratulations!

    @Niles: Gee, I’d like to read that AWA-related comment, but I can’t until you connect the dots. I won’t be able to make it on Friday the 19th (or at least not until late at night), and depending on my job interview schedule, I may not be able to make it at all. If I don’t go this year, I’ll definitely go next year.

    @Link: Four.

    @digitalboy: Shit, I left out the ‘s’ in “as long as”. I blame it on your negative influence (you called me “Baka-Rator” in your Otakon post).

    @IcyStorm: The game show was cool. They also showed 5 episodes of Touch, always a good move. That JAM Project was also pretty good.

    @blissmo: Manifest has an event called Cosplay Chess. How many Lelouches do you expect to show up?

    @Ez: Wait ’til you see me as Maid Guy.

    @Teeif: I’ll think about it.

    @TheBigN: It’s a shame I didn’t get any candy. Next year you need to have a dinosaur throwing it.

  10. Heh, I saw you there in the dealers room. Would have stopped and bowed down but I was in a bit of a rush. I was cosplaying Gurren Lagann’s timeskip Simon.

  11. @MoeCakeLobster: I might’ve seen you. There were a bunch of Gurren Lagann cosplayers. I’ll just assume you were the best one.

    @The Sojourner & Michael: I blacked out their eyes for anonymity. You’re not supposed to be able to tell who they are. But if you’re looking for some hints, see a few other guys’ Otakon posts.

  12. bwahaha! I never spell shit correctly, dammit, not my fault. (in the event that every word in this comment os spelled correctly, please observe that ‘dammit’ is not really a word.)

  13. I think I spy myself in that Dealer Room shot… But so very true with the overpricing ($3.75 for 20 oz bottle of warm soda). Also, getting that special blue age 18+ wristband is less important than waiting hours in line >_<. I was going to corrupt some friends to the dark side of anime with “Hardcore Yaoi! Yer Doing it Wrong!” but our group got shooed away :(. When we decided to take a peek at the hentai showing, we found out that the line stretched around most of the convention center… 20 minutes before the program started.

    For my first time to Otakon, it really destroyed my manly pride to have some 10-year-old girl explain everything to me while waiting in the pre-registration line.

  14. It was definitely a pleasure to meet you my friend. Thought helping the Haruhi was cool and great deed. Sucks you didn’t have fun at the con, but maybe next year.

  15. @digitalboy: You know, when you spell a word incorrectly in my comment box, a red line appears under it…

    @FFVIIKnight: I saw that ridiculous hentai line. They know it’s going to be big; why not stick it Video Room 1 or some other place that could handle that capacity? I was actually planning to watch Tokyo Gore Police instead of the hentai. The description in the pamphlet really hyped it up by calling it a veritable Niagara of blood, or something like that.

    @Funeral: I had fun; it’s just that most of the fun wasn’t panel-related.

  16. Nice shoes.
    Funny how that’s really all that caught my interest, with the exception of JAM Project, who I’d murder any number of small domestic animals to see perform live.

  17. Holy Shit JAM project. Looks like you all had great fun.

    Sadly events over here are primarily centered around cosplay with a few kickass artist booths. No panels though. If there were panels, I’d sign up for a SG Animeblogger one.

  18. @LJ: So you noticed my shoes but not the ShizNat, the connect-the-dots game, or the bird trashing Baltimore…

    @C.I.: Recently I’ve decided that cosplay is the coolest thing about anime conventions. Panels are cool in theory, but waiting in line sucks, and if you’re mildly unfamiliar with the panel topics, most of them will go over your head.

    @Yamcha: So are you going to Otakon 09 or Anime Expo 09? I’d like to start planning your beating now…

    @A Day Without Me: Just between you and me, I don’t read comments that are longer than my actual posts. Don’t tell anyone.

  19. You’re right. You’re absolutely right. You caught me in the middle of bullshitting. I was so entranced by that ShizNat that I totally forgot to comment on the things that REALLY caught my attention. Definitely.

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