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Otakon ’10 August 14, 2010

Posted by navycherub in Anime, Conventions.



I’ve been staying at my friend Micheal’s house for about the past week since he lives much closer to Baltimore than I do. I am awoken by my mobile going off – Luis telling me that I need to wake up because he’s going to pick me up. Alright, then. I prepare, he comes by, and off we go. First stop is Pham’s house – someone I’ve never met, which is lovely. When we arrive we go down to his basement and play some Marvel vs Capcom. I’m really, really bad at this game, so bad in fact that Pham’s 10-year-old sister beats the crap out of me every time we play. It’s pretty embarrassing but is still fun. Eventually we get a call from Lauren, another person who I’ve never met until now, who says she is ready for us to pick her up so we can go get our pre-reg stuff on. So we do that and drive up to Baltimore, which is like an hour away or so.

As we arrive at the Baltimore Convention Center we notice something strange…there is no line. Literally no line at all. In the past, lines for picking up pre-reg badges have wrapped around the BCC twice, and this year there is nothing. We all think that this will cause a significant deficit in hype-levels, and for a moment it does as it only took all four of us a total of about five minutes to get our badges. I chose the Eden of the East badge because it is the badge for people with taste, of course.

aka The Badge for People with Good Taste

My friends don't have much in the way of a sense of humor.

Pham makes a complaint about how none of the badges were moe enough, he ended up with the Hayate badge. Can’t remember which ones Lauren and Luis got. It bothered me that there were two Hetalia badges – I know Funimation was pushing it hard all weekend, but come on. Neither of them ran out all weekend, and that spot could have been used for just about anything else. Oh well!

Despite our disappointment at the lack of a line to wait in at pre-LineKon, the hype still existed as weeaboos of all shapes and sizes decided to loiter about the BCC in their cosplay and such, which brought back all the hype we could ever want. We walked around the building once or twice just looking at and talking to other people who were in a similar situation, having found themselves with a couple extra hours that day. As expected, there was plenty of vanilla Hetalia cosplayers there, but one Canada in particular caught my eye, which is good because Canada is pretty much the best thing about that show.

You can't really make a really homosexual anime more hetero than this.


Eventually we get hungry and hit up a local noddle place, whose name I can’t remember but that’s alright because it wasn’t that great anyway, and we head home to get ready for tomorrow.


Waking up at five in the morning isn’t a great experience. Neither is waking up without having eaten since lunch yesterday, and then having to walk to the closest convenience store only to find that it is closed, then walking to the nearest 7-11 which really isn’t near at all. When we did get there I hurried and got as big a bottle of water as I could get, as big a fountain Coke as I could get (because you know I need that light caffeine fix), another Coke just to be safe (didn’t end up drinking that), and I figured two granola bars would serve me well until dinner (they did, it was a miracle). With resources in hand Micheal and I walked the relatively short distance to the metro and waited, as one of our group decided to be late. Grr.

Two transfers later and we are on a bus headed toward another train. Despite the fact that the buslady looks angry at us for stalling her, we don’t take off for what felt like at the very least a half hour for unknown reasons. The bus is crowded; at least, it feels crowded to me, most likely because I was very tired and stubborn and for whatever reason decided not to put my luggage on the top compartment thing. Instead I felt the need to hold my overloaded baggage with me the entire time. Yeah, I’m dumb. Eventually the bus ride comes to an end at an airport. At the airport we take a quick train ride straight to the convention center, arousing the interest of some strange old ladies on the way. Sorry, ladies.

When we got off the train we dashed straight for the Holiday Inn across the street, where we have reservations. For whatever reason, we weren’t allowed early check in despite being told we should get it (something about the hotel being completely booked), but they allowed us to stick all our stuff in a staff room until check-in, which was good. I also took this time to pick up the stuff I wanted signed and had mailed to the Holiday Inn earlier.

We finally arrive at the convention, just in time to rush a bit quickly to the first Madhouse panel. They showed off some stuff from last season, like Tatami Galaxy and Rainbow, which didn’t get as much response as I would have liked, and other things like the Trigun movie which got more response than it deserved, but alright. They also showed some new projects that haven’t come out yet, like the Iron Man anime that has been delayed like twice already (supposedly airing in Fall, I’m not holding my breath though), REDLIIIIIIIIINE, though I can’t find the trailer they showed us on YouTube, and some new project called Tibetan Dog which looks…interesting. Mayama joked that he didn’t think he would be alive to see Redline actually completed, since he’s pretty old and it was supposed to come out a few years ago. It was a very fun panel, made especially so thanks to Maruyama’s childlike excitement and good sense of humor. You can read more about it at ANN here.

The other major event of the night was the Yoshida Brothers concert, and let me tell you, it was mind-blowing. I really didn’t come in expecting much, but they are insane, even more so live. My friends and I were a bit far back, but that didn’t lessen the experience a single bit. I am so incredibly glad that they took the time to come to Otakon and do this concert, because it was one of the best musical experiences of my short life so far. I am disappointed that I didn’t think to bring a camera, as it would be a great keepsake for that memorable night. My only real disappointment was that the line for autographs was formed pretty much exactly as the show ended, and it was such a mess that I didn’t really want to bother with it despite how much I would have liked to get one.

I can’t really remember much else about Friday – most of it was loitering, taking pictures of cosplayers, and stalking the dealer’s room, which is all fun in its own right.


On Saturday we woke up relatively early to get some autographs from Maruyama and Yuji Mitsuya. Since I don’t really have any Saint Seiya anime material, and Trapeze isn’t licensed, I didn’t have anything for Mitsuya to sign and just gave him my event book. Maruyama, however, signed my BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad boxset that I bought at Katsucon, and he liked it alot, even bringing it up to kiss it. Japanese people are weird.

How to get the most out of your weeaboo materials.

Afterward we got in line pretty early for an autograph session with Stephanie Sheh. We stood their for a good two hours, but some unforeseen circumstances happened and it ended just as it was about to be our turn. Yeah, it sucked, but what really surprised me was how bad the guy managing the line seemed to feel for us. It wasn’t THAT bad, guy, don’t lose sleep over it. Since we were kinda beat after getting up early and standing there for awhile, we decided to loiter some more while sitting around. We like to call this part of the day “cosplaying as staff.” Meanwhile, a sudden influx of Arakawa cosplayers, including free cookies from Sister! Why doesn’t anyone do Nino? She seems like the simplest one…ah well.






After this I have gotten hungry, so I go with a couple friends back to the hotel to order a pizza. Pham leaves to go back to the dealer’s room for some Haruhi stuff he wanted. His trip didn’t last long, because apparently the fire alarm went off. Yup, I was in my hotel room during the entire fire alarm fiasco, so I have no idea what was going on out there. I was enjoying the heck out of my pizza, though.

One bad thing came out of that dang fire alarm – I went back to visit the dealer’s room only to find a very long line that didn’t look like it was moving, so I went back to the hotel to rest some more, and then went to Saturday’s Rainbow panel. Apparently, the line went by really fast; not only that, but Bandai had Stephanie Sheh signing things at their booth. And I missed it. After standing in that line and coming so close. What the…sigh.

The Rainbow panel was very cool, we watched the first episode and went into Q&A with the director and some other people. The entire time, Maruyama ran around taking pictures. You can read more about that panel at ANN here.

The rest of my day was, once again, pretty straightforward – talk to random people, take pictures, avoid panhandlers, stalk the dealer’s room. I did check out the Artist Alley that day as well, but the auction was too intense for me to handle. The eyecandy was all very nice however!


Depressingly, the last day of Otakon, we packed our things and they allowed us to store them there until we left again. For seemingly no reason at all, the BCC decided to not open the doors until 9:00, which was ridiculous because many panels and such started at nine including the one I particularly wanted to go to. Luckily, we found a way around this – we just went into the Hilton and entered the building through the skywalk. Luckily not many people seemed to realize it was that easy, and we made it to the Directors and Producers panel with plenty of time to spare. So much time, in fact, that I even got to buy some stuff at the dealer’s room first.

The panel itself was very interesting, as well as small and intimate. Everyone there seemed to know what they were talking about, which relieved me because I hate when inexperienced people ask the same questions that are always asked. I don’t feel like summing it all up, but if you would like to read a great review of what transpired check out this ani.me article. I did get another quick signature, though – from the director of Gungrave and Maruyama, again!

Gungrave artbook signed!

Other than that, this day wasn’t quite as eventful. I decided to skip the Home Made Kazoku concert because I was having a great time just hanging out and enjoying the environment on the last day, and soon it was time to say goodbye to Otakon. Thanks to everyone who make it a possibility every year, and I can’t wait for the next one.




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