Posted by Kaitou Ace
in News Articles
August 29, 2013 at 03:49:11 PM
This has definitely been an interesting Otakon, one of both milestones, and changes. The 20th one. This makes Otakon one of the oldest anime conventions in the US, and one of the biggest. Myself, I’ve been to ten of the twenty, and have taken photos/done the press thing, at nine of them, and the con seems to try to out-do itself every year. Continue on for my con experience and some cool photos!
In this last decade, the con has grown from 20,000 to 35,000 attendees, added the arena, and had a lot of very notable guests. In fact, this year, Yoko Kanno, the famous composer for such shows as Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, Macross Plus and Ghost in the Shell, returned to the US for the first time in a decade, making it her second appearance at Otakon, with the first having been in 1999. Her performance, and music were amazing as always, and any chance to see her perform is well worth taking.
Other musical guests this year included TM Revolution and Home Made Kazoku, who played to a very full arena, in one of the most energy filled concerts I’ve seen in quite a while. The line extended all the way around the block, and if you know the size of the Mariner Arena, you know that it’s not an easy feat at all.
Speaking of the changes, Otakon announced this year that they will be moving to Washington DC, after their contract with the city of Baltimore expires in 2016. Honestly, this feels like a long time coming. For the last few years, the con has been hitting capacity at Baltimore Convention Center, and this year there were times when the main hallways were so full of people, that there were traffic jams with everyone being unable to move in either direction. On more than one occasion, I ended up in one of the side arts and crafts room, just to take a breather and wait for the crowd to thin out.
For the last couple of years, Otakon has been forced to keep attendance at about the same level, due to the capacity issues at the BMCC. From everything I’ve heard about the new facility in D.C., it will be a welcome change.
As for the con itself, Otakon is very well run these days, by people who have been doing this for quite a while. And it clearly shows. The security staff is always on hand when needed, lines are kept orderly, and everyone knows what they should be doing and when. It’s one of the best run conventions in that regard, and I can only hope it continues to run as smoothly as it has been thus far. Of course I am speaking from the outside, but I’ve been to several cons where the problems were apparent, and this is certainly not one of them.
The AMV contest was particularly strong this year, and had a lot of entries in every category that I enjoyed. Instead of linking them here, I think I actually want to post them individually, because of how nice some of the entries were. As was the masquerade actually! I always make it a point to go to the masquerade, and get photos of all the wonderful skits. This year there were a number of great skits, and it was a very enjoyable show. I highly recommend, if you are going to an anime convention, and Otakon in particular, to give the masquerade a shot.
Another really cool panel, on abridged anime series was completely filled, and very interesting indeed. Apparently the Naruto abridged series is coming back soon!
Cosplay was strong as ever, and you can see the full gallery over on animegalleries.net
, but I have some highlights here for you as well!
Here’s looking forward to another year, and many more Otakons to come.