Otakon 2007: A Casual Attendee’s Report, Part II

Since you guys seemed to like part I of my con report, here’s part II.

Day 2.

I wanted to make it to the convention center by 9:00 AM, but when six people need to get ready before any of them can leave, things get a little complicated. By the time we arrived, the Bandai Haruhi Suzumiya industry panel had about ten minutes left. I didn’t really learn anything interesting, except that Wendee Lee, the English voice actor for Haruhi is going to sing an English rendition of “God Knows.” Best case scenario is she does a great job. Worst case scenario, well that’s why Region 1 DVDs are bi-lingual.

Being the biggest day of the con, I was surprised that there wasn’t much I wanted to do on Saturday. The rest of my Saturday morning was spent waiting in line for a sketch from Fred Gallagher, the author/artist of Megatokyo. After about an hour, I finally got a skecth of Erika in my Megatokyo volume 5. I missed the Megatokyo panel of Friday because it was opposite the AMV contest, so I asked Fred if there were any big announcements. He told me there wasn’t, so I congratulated him on his first child and hurried over to the Steve Blum Q&A.

Did I mention that Steve Blum is an awesome, funny guy? He answered all questions in an informative, yet amusing way, and even did fan requests to quote famous lines from characters he played. Vic Mignogna also sat in on the Q&A and took a few questions as well.

It was 2 PM when the panel ended and I was getting hungry. Lunch was the biggest caramel apple I’ve ever seen covered in M&Ms that I bought from the Fudge Factory in the food court. While eating said apple, I sat on the skywalk and watched con-goers have fights with kendo swords. They weren’t exactly champions, but they were having fun. It’s not like I could do any better.

The next thing in the schedule that caught my eye was a panel called “Qualification Quiz.” I figured that I might be able to win a prize or something, so I stopped in to see what I’d be qualifying for. When I got there, I was immediately told by one of the people in the room that there was no qualification quiz. What ended up happening was all of us in the panel room asked each other trivia questions, and eventually the discussion moved to Otakon itself, how it compares to Anime Expo, and even why we like anime. The panel turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

After about another hour and a half of Soul Calibur III I went to two fan run panels. The first of these was a panel on how animation works. It was run by an obviously nervous animation student who, despite her nervousness, did a good job explaining key aspects of animation such as everything moving in arcs and how when animating you start with the beginning and end of a sequence and work your way into the middle. Right after the animation panel in the same room was a panel on getting other people into anime. The “anime recruitment” panel was hosted by four people who apparently have a podcast on a related topic. They passed out papers with recommended anime titles for introducing different kinds of people, as well as some general dos and don’ts. After they went over the papers, there was a Q&A where they recommended specific titles to people. Being an anime reviewer, I recommended some titles to people after the panel was over, and from the look of it, everyone left the panel satisfied.

In order to kill some time before Saturday Night Parodies, I decided to see what was going on in artists’ alley. There were some great artists there, but it seemed like I couldn’t turn around without seeing Bleach, Naruto, Final Fantasy, Death Note or Fullmetal Alchemist chibis. I ended up not buying anything, and after a few more Soul Calibur III games, I headed over to the parodies.

After showing AMV Hell 3.14, The Wizard of Osaka, and Wedding Rings again, I got what I came for — everyone’s favorite fan parody, Evangelion: Redeath Redux. No matter how many times I see that, it always cracks me up. It’s Gendo! /cue cheesy music, Ohhhhhh baby! From the sound of it, everyone else in the room felt the same as I did. After Redeath, I met up with my group and we went home for the night.

Day 3.

What can I say about Sunday at an anime convention? Otakon is one of the few cons I’ve ever been to that has anything I want to do on Sunday. I started the day off by going to the Otacafe for a brief impromptu church service led by voice actors Vic Mignogna and Caitlin Glass. After that, I hurried over to the Last Exile fan panel, where I learned more about Last Exile than I ever needed to know. It turns out the world of Last Exile is more detailed than I remembered, or perhaps I just didn’t notice everything the first time through.

After some wandering around, I stumbled upon a rescheduled panel called “Fans on Fans”. I smiled, because the panel seemed like it would be about all the aspects of fandom I’ve grown cynical about. I was right. Pretty much everything the guys on the panel said could have come straight from my lips. One interesting point they brought up was that when they were new to fandom, people went to cons to watch anime, because all they had available was sixth generation VHS tapes with loosely translated summaries of the plot. Now that you can buy anime at Best Buy and a myriad of other major retailers, why do we need anime cons? My reply was to immerse one’s self in the culture, sit in on specialized panels, and have all the stuff they don’t sell at Best Buy, such as wall scrolls, available for purchase. If you like anything I’ve ever written on this blog, or The Bear Cave, be sure to find that panel if you’re ever at Otakon.

After Fans on Fans, I met up with my group and after a detour to drop off someone at the airport we headed for home, exhausted, but with the memories of a great weekend firmly entrenched in our minds.

(””)(;,,;)(””)

3 Responses to “Otakon 2007: A Casual Attendee’s Report, Part II”

  1. Sounds like it was a really good con. I’d really like to go to an Otakon one day, but the fact that I’m on the other side of the world is a real limitation.

    Kudos on a good report, as well.

  2. No masquerade for you, eh? lol, that’s what youtube’s for XD

    With the “qualification quiz,” it seems like whoever was “supposed” to run the panel didn’t show and and so the attendees of the panel ran it…that’s what happened with “Anime Name that Tune”…a staffer (not the person in charge of running the panel) “ran” it and people came up with ipods/MP3s and the panel attendees answered the questions. ‘Twas fun…I even got to name one of the songs (w00t for watching 8 episodes of Sailor Stars).

    Why have/go to cons? Because of the atmosphere. True, go to Best Buy/Kinokuniya/FYE/etc and buy DVD’s. But you won’t find a concentrated group of people with the same interest in those places. There’s no “Bleach photoshoot” at Best Buy; Vic and Steve don’t sing “Real Fans of Genius” at Kinokuniya’s; Kaien cosplayers won’t get out of their booths to take pictures with you at FYE (yep, I got a picture with a Kaien cosplayer, and it made my dayxinfinity).

    Now I’m rambling.

    Nice job, Kuma ^.^

  3. Awesome time you had, it seems. Better than the one I had at AX. Bandai fails; the English voice actors for Haruhi = HAET.

    I really like Artists’ Halls, but in the end, like you, I never buy anything =_=;;;

    The last day is always the day to rush for eroge. At least… that’s what I did >_>;

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