Otakon 2013: After 20 years, you’re still doing it wrong.
Ok yea I know I haven’t actually attended all 20 years of Otakon, but I’ve attended 5 and somewhere deep inside I was hoping the 20th one would be really awesome. Sadly, it was not. The good news is, at least my camera didn’t fail me!
We stayed at the Hyatt again seeing how we enjoyed it last year. Sadly this year, we didn’t get the same great experience. Apparently whatever you book through Otakon’s site “passkey” is NOT the room you’re actually getting. You just “reserve a room in the block” so when we thought we’re getting a king sized bed, we got a queen. Okay fine i have a queen at home I can deal. Sadly, the bed had a shitty mattress that sagged in the middle and I spent most of my night climbing out of the hole to try and sleep on the edge. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep and due to this I caught whatever con flu goes around everywhere from all the kiddies. On top of this we were put into one of those rooms that has a door between 2 rooms in case you want a big group to share 2 rooms together. Well I wasn’t in a big group and this might have been useful for an actual big group so due to this, I could pretty much hear every piece of conversation they were having. I really didn’t feel like hearing their adventures of getting drunk and hitting on girls at a bar…at 3 in the morning. ( ﾟ,_ゝﾟ) Fortunately I complained all of this during checkout and the lady gave me 10% off. See, complaining gets me places. ( ≖‿≖)
The Panels & Events
- Anime Mirai Project – I only went to see this in hopes of securing a seat for OreImo. Sadly I didn’t actually secure a seat for Oreimo (more on that in a bit) but I actually really enjoyed watching this. My favorites ended up being Death Billiards and Little Witch Academia. The chuunibyou thing was like some kind of appetizer for OreImo and lol Gonzo please hire some competent writers.
- OreImo Episodes 14 – 16 World Premiere:
Let’s just say Manami’s scene in episode 16 was the best and most memorable moment. Otherwise, everything pretty much went exactly as the novel ending. I knew it was gonna suck, but I still secretly hoped there would be some anime original end. I usually rage when anime doesn’t follow the source material but this time, I make an exception to say I wish it didn’t. The worst part of the whole thing is, despite it not being on the schedule, they did a room clear. That means everyone (including myself) who was sitting and waiting inside ultimately got kicked outside where there was already a cloud of people forming a line to go in. Before the con I had asked on the forums to confirm about room clears and they said if it’s not on the schedule, there won’t be one. Even staff at Anime Mirai claimed to those entering that there would be no room clear. Everyone who came out got pissed and refused to go to the end of the line and then the idiot staff attempted to “line us up in rows of 2″ which eventually turned into rows of 4 and then 10 and then we all piled in anyway. Due to this it started late and I pretty much missed any other events that preceded after it.
The Q&A session was questions from the STAFF of the Oreimo people. Where did they get these questions? Who asked them? Was there a submission form somewhere? It’s like some kind of “self interview”~. Anyway after the fact combined with disgusting Kirino end and all the line mess I walked out feeling more disappointed and exhausted than I really should have. Also my throat hurt from yelling “OHHH SHIIIT!” during the above scene :lol:. Also everyone kept pronouncing OreImo as OREIMO so it sounded like OLEY~~~mo! or perhaps “Oh, lame-o” which is a great description for the whole ending anyway. P.S. Sorry Miki-san, I don’t like little sisters.
- Those 5 Anime You Pretend to Know (But know nothing about) – Not much to say here but I kinda wasted time standing in line only to find out in the first 5 minutes that these “anime I know nothing about” are Trigun, Sailor Moon, Evangelion, Yugioh and Afro Samurai. Okay I’ll give them Afro Samurai cause lol who even watched that but the other 4? Excuse me I need to take my old fart ass and move on to other things. And so we pretty much ditched this and went to the gaming room where I got my ass owned in the PS3 version of Project Diva f.
- Awesomely bad Japanese Music Videos – this was probably the best panel I actually attended on Friday. I don’t know where the hell these guys find these videos and I’ve seen some pretty wacky stuff in my day but I didn’t know that there was a new generation of Yatta dudes:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hySoCSoH-g8
Still I really didn’t wanna see that one video where it was basically upskirt camera panty shots of random Japanese women and some guys gross hairy mouth singing over them as a form of “censor”. Seriously dude if you’re gonna show a video like that make the panel 18+. I’ve seen some “parents” bring children ranging from tiny babby – possibly 5 year old to this con and you probably corrupted at least one of them :lol:. I wanted to tell them that they should feature some EE Jump videos but it seems like they would rather show disturbingly gross videos more than actually funny ones.(´･ω･`；)
- Seki Tomokazu Q&A – Fortunately Seki-san had 2 Q&A panels Friday & Saturday and since I was busy with potatoes on Friday, I went to the Saturday one. Right before his, there was a Q&A with Crispin Freeman who I’m not interested in but I sat in to kill time. I don’t watch dubbed anime so dub actors are pretty meaningless to me but I give the guy props for answering incredibly STUPID requests (like singing Baby Got Back in a really deep voice. :lol:) On the topic of stupid requests, I also give Seki-san major props for answering really fucking stupid requests. Every other person was “say line X from gundam show Y” and the one guy who asked him to say a line from Full Metal Panic about how a condom holds 1 liter of water or something. I don’t remember this line, he didn’t remember this line but apparently it’s a legit line. Either way, wtf, you really couldn’t ask the poor man something better? （ಠ_ಠ） I admit though, Seki was absolutely amazing with all his voice renditions during the panel and to me he sounded like he was really acting his role but the dub guy before him just sounded like he was speaking in a slightly adjusted tone of his regular speaking voice. I didn’t get Seki-san’s autograph since I didn’t have any decent merchandise he’s in to sign (maybe I would have if this was like 10 years ago!) Still I’m glad I went to the panel and I’m glad they weren’t nazis about photo taking this time around (but they did say no videos):
- Otaku Hotspots in Tokyo – some old blogger friends were doing this panel so I decided to stop by. It was actually surprisingly informative because Wah covered places in Akiba that I’ve never heard of since in my head, Tokyo = Ikebukuro = Otome game land :lol:. He also reminded me that the weekend of Otakon was also Comiket Weekend! Unfortunately for them, they had to spend most of their day standing in 100F+ heat while for the most part, I got to be in an air conditioned space.
Artists Alley & Dealers Room
- Dealer’s Room - Not sure what the hell I was expecting to find here, and I didn’t expect to buy much but somehow I ended up walking out with all this crap:
What the actual fuck is with that Kent figure. Like wow man you couldn’t even paint the damn glasses outline right? Or did I just get lucky and spend $12 on derp-Kent? At least the Mirror Alice fanbook is kinda nice although you could just like…buy the fanbook and read all the spoilers and endings in it @_@. Every freaking line of every ending plus the CG of that ending is in this book as well as a fully complete walkthrough. I’m pretty sure there’s a similar book coming out for Mirror Alice in September. Now I wonder if there’s gonna one for the Heart Alice remake. This shit was like nearly $50 though I can’t go buying every single one (´･ω･｀;A）. I also spoke to the guys at Hen Da Ne booth about otome games cause I happened to see an Amnesia heroine cosplayer standing right next to me! One of the guys said the only otome game he’s ever played was Under the Moon. I laughed heartily ( ≖‿≖). I found some dealer selling old as fuck anime posters (Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, Nadeshiko, Gatekeepers) but for $25 each. I even found an old Comic Party poster I used to have from an old Animedia magazine years ago for $25. Wow dude $25 are you kidding me. As much as nostalgic as that is, do you realize 80% of the con attendees probably weren’t even born when these shows aired, why would you price such old crap so highly?? Maybe they think value of anime posters increases with age but I really don’t think it does.
- Artist’s Alley – Since Zeiva was in the artist alley this year (or at least I knew who she was this year) I stopped by her booth. She was selling copies of her English otome game Area X. I never played Xnote and I know nothing about this series but I figured I’d support her and it’s a full game for only $25 and in English. I told her I’d review it too so expect a review of it at some point here. On the topic of Otome game makers, I also stopped by Kaze Hime’s booth and asked her about Dragon Essense. She said she’s thinking of release date maybe next year and said it would be a straight vn with any stat raising stuff as side mini games (kinda like quin rose.) So I guess that’s something to look forward to for those who follow English VN makers. Still this whole experience kinda made me realize that otome games are extremely unpopular. I mean I know they were unpopular but I guess when I’m in internet-land and I speak to so many people who play them I get this false sense that there’s a “ton of people who know about otome games!” Well I guess in reality that’s not the case and it could probably be that a lot of otome gamers, especially ones who visit this blog are outside the US.
Also doesn’t help that Aksys did their otome game stuff only at Anime Expo and because of stalkers/haters I was hesitant of my safety and didn’t apply for an otome game panel at Otakon.And lol you may think I’m over-reacting but……I actually had a creeper come at me in the artist’s alley! I’m just walkin’ around (with my male friend and my husband a few feet behind me btw) looking like a hobo in my nerdy Otakon T-shirt and he comes up to me going “Your skin is so pale is that make up?” Well excuse me for being pasty sir but surely I can’t be the only one at this convention whose skin is the color of their walls! And so I’m like slowly trying to walk away in hopes he gets the idea and just…moves along but he just keeps following me while saying stuff like “sorry for suddenly saying that” and I’m like “its fine but that’s just weird” and his final line was “Lol whatever weird at Otakon” and he finally left. Yea umm there’s “guy in a pudding costume” weird and there’s “you’re a fucking creeper with no social skills” weird. （ಠ_ಠ） I always thought creepers only hit on half nude cosplayers but I guess they’ve expanded their horizons! Oh and one more thing, there were many people selling FREE! prints that I almost went broke. I had to hold myself back from buying every single FREE! fanart print that I saw and only getting ones I REALLY liked ＿ﾉ乙(､ﾝ､)_
Also while writing this post I found this ﾌﾟｯ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵
Other Stuff & Rants
- What the actual fuck. Wow seriously? Way to ruin it for everyone. Well not that it matters anymore because even if Baltimore hates us, Otakon is apparently packing its bags and going to cause chaos in Washington D.C. in 3 years. I don’t know when this happened as I didn’t personally witness it and since I spent most of the weekend eating at my hotel due to fatigue/convenience I never really went at all down to the harbor area.
- Unlike last year, I got a bunch of my friends to once again use LINE and we had an Otakon group chat going the whole weekend. It was really great to keep up with where everyone was so we could all easily meet up and know where to find each other. You just can’t do that with twitter efficiently and since this worked out for me during my Japan trip, I’m glad it worked out so well for this con too. Definitely beats Google’s dumb hangouts as well.
- The game room being air conditioned was somehow a huge shock to me. I remember going into it in 2002 and it was a sweaty smelly pit of hell. It was so traumatizing that I stayed away from the game room for…10 years until I finally went in this year. The game room was probably more air conditioned than some of the disgusting panel rooms to be honest and it’s really nice how everyone actually takes turns and doesn’t just hog shit the whole time. So yea my negative impression of the game room pretty much changed which was something nice for a change over the weekend.
- The cosplay gatherings this year sucked. I came to the FREE! one and Fruits Basket one on Saturday and…nobody showed up except one person at each one ( ﾟ,_ゝﾟ). I guess I picked popular shows last year (DRRR Sailor Moon Madoka etc) so there were plenty of people then but this time meh. I didn’t want to go to the same series gatherings as last year thinking I could vary it up but lol nope. Rather than a bunch of Avengers cosplayers this year though, there was a ton of Shingeki no Kyoujin. I have 0 interest in that series but hey at least it’s fuggin anime cosplay. Sadly, the amount of Homestuck and Adventure Time was as large as ever. Strangely enough, I saw an Ace Ventura cosplayer from above one of the floors. I wanted to give the guy major props but that would require me to run through a mob of people down the hallway and down the escalator which in “normal circumstances” would be 2-3 minutes but “slow as fuck lazy mob going 1mph through the hall” situation would have taken me 10 minutes. So basically I kinda kept up my cosplay-dar looking for anything from either a new show, something rare that nobody really does much or otome game stuff.
- The scheduling this year sucked. A lot of stuff I wanted to see was at the same time or so early in the morning I was still getting dressed & eating breakfast at that time. For example Spoiler the Panel was at 9:30 AM when last year it was at like midnight and was 18+. What the heck?? ANN panel was at midnight, Manga Gamer was oddly at 10PM. On Friday I missed a few panels because of the OreImo fiasco as well as missing Otaku Idol. By Saturday I was so tired & disappointed I completely forgot about the Otakon Museum and by the time I remembered it was already closed an hour earlier (◞‸◟ㆀ)ｼｮﾎﾞﾝ.
- I got a chance to meet up with fellow otome game blogger Teruru and have lunch together. We had a fun discussion about Shiratsuyu no Kai (aka she got to hear me ranting about how terribad it was :lol:)
- We took the Bolt Bus to the con this year instead of Amtrak. It was cheaper, and possibly better. Despite being in a bus full of mostly otaku on the way there, it was surprisingly civil (except the one Asian kid who seems like he had too much coffee.) The ride back was mostly old farts like us so it was pretty quiet except the occasional annoying child somewhere but I was busy playing Shiratsuyu to really hear it (Morikubou Shoutaro’s screams outdid the child’s by a mile. ww) Google docs is great for taking notes but then it died on me on the way home for no reason so I ended up getting Color Note and then uploading my offline notes later. Damn google why can’t you get anything right anymore.
- I never even got to go to the TMR/Home Made Kazoku concert because you just literally had to line up for it early in the morning and spend your entire day in line. I like both bands but not enough to sacrifice my entire weekend for them ( ´_ゝ`). Sorry TMR I’ll just enjoy the memories of your performance at NYAF back in 2009.
- The Baltimore convention center staff and Otakon door staff didn’t know left from right in general. For example I’d exit through the doors, realized I went the wrong way, try to come back in only to be told “sorry no entering”. In another place, I’d try to enter through 1 set of doors, be told sorry no entry, then walk to another set of doors 1 fucking foot away and enter fine. WTF??? Get your fucking staff together and get them all on the same page. Give them walkie talkies, give them some instant messenger to use what the hell is this 2002? Why can’t any of your staff ever know what the hell to do? I remember telling one of the panel staff about the room clear of OreImo and they were completely surprised and unaware that this disaster even happened. They told me I should have gone to video ops to “confirm a room clear”. Wow how about you do your job and find out for me? Isn’t that what you’re here for? Why do I have to run through a sea of people across the con center just to find out if I’ll be kicked out of my seat after a panel? ｵﾘｬ-( ﾟДﾟ)ﾉ====┻┻ﾟﾛﾟ)ﾌｷﾞｬ!!
Anyway overall, it was kinda meh for a 20th anniversary. I expected something epic cause hey 20 years but with the OreImo thing and the poor scheduling (and the coincidence of my first ever con creeper) it ended up being an epic fail. I wasn’t even gonna go this year, I had a room reserved but I was pretty much wavering on cancellation about 1 month prior. In the end I went for the Oreimo thing and Seki Tomokazu but otherwise there wasn’t much else for me to do and since I couldn’t spend the whole con taking cosplay photos like last year, there was a whole lot of nothing. I’m glad at least I was able to meet up with friends because without them I’d probably be in my hotel room, on my saggy bed listening to teenagers wangsting on my PSP. I’m not sure if I will go next year, but maybe I’ll reserve a room just to be safe since those things go pretty damn fast. I could always cancel after all. I know Otakon has plans for an Otakon in Las Vegas but since they can’t even get the Baltimore one right, I fear what things will go on in the Vegas location. And now as usual, here’s some cosplay photos: