Here we go again.
As usual the otakon forums is a wonderful resource, and even if I am by proximity not that far from it, it’s still a good 3-hour drive. That’s like almost as far as Shimoda to Tokyo! [/Natsukise]
Oh, first of all, they have now officially released the schedule. They are saying they will use Guidebook, but on the app it only lists Otakon 2011 and it’s showing the old schedule on there as of this writing (11am Eastern).
And as usual, all of this is subject to change. And I mean all of it.
Guests and pawprints and Hancocks
- Aya Hirano doesn’t seem to have a standalone autograph session. When she was first announced way back (good job on Otakon for outing this one early) the word was already that she will autograph after her concert (assuming with the usual sales of goods–and all its potential stipulations) and maybe a separate autograph session. I think that is a safe bet, given how typically this has happened in times past. For some reason I have a hard time finding the concrete start time for her concert, but it is on Sunday afternoon. The only remaining question is if she will sign just anything, or it has to be something you bought with her new label.
- Ai Nonaka and Gen Urobuchi are visiting Otakon on behalf of Aniplex and their Madoka effort. Great! Because that probably means they will have a booth autograph session. I’m going to guess that will also include the dub actress for Kyoko, Lauren Landa. But checking for booth times? You know the drill.
- Since the cat is basically out of the bag, Otakon debuts its first Korean act, VIXX. That’s the “guess the guest” answer (or so we think) for their ongoing contest. It’s kind of a game changer, yeah? They have not announced the other guest for their Friday night concert, but she has an autograph session on Sunday at the same time as Maruyama and Nonaka. And yeah, that might be another opportunity right at/after the concert!
- Otakon is probably going to announce more guests this week. There might even be some music acts for their Thursday matsuri thing, which hopefully will also involve a better list of food vendors. Last year it was kind of pathetic.
- Lastly, get a refresher on the autograph policy. Note that depending on how they run it, there could be tickets and non-tickets. I read somewhere it may be a system where they will give tickets to people who are not in the first line, if the autograph line runs too long. The usual 1-hour lineup time stands as previous Otakons, so there’s no real major reward for getting there more than 2 hours before start time. But who knows how these things will go?
Well, this is more like advertisement than something to check out, but if you find yourself looking to do something, and the time fits, check out these guys.
- Dave and SDS are doing their mahjong show again. I hope they showcase at least a little of that advance MJ play we see in Saki Achiga-hen. I might even be there!
- Super Rats is up for being harassed by you at the figure panel he cohosts with Andy and jdcseiken. The timing is unfortunate but I hope they get a nice crowd going. I mean, I’m pretty sure there will be some giveaways. Maybe.
- There is a Satelight panel. I have no idea what it is but people are suspecting it is an industry panel given the description was written.
- Mangagamer’s panel coincides with my friend’s panel on ero for the ladies. Otakon is neat in that they run “serous” content even at 1AM. Mangagamer’s panel, at Otakon, tend to be a snore though. It’s just a question if they can announce anything there or not. Certainly something to do after an Oriole’s game.
- NISA has their anime and game panels back-to-back. Looking forward for something cool there. If I recall correctly last year they were pretty much missing at Otakon. Hopefully they can engage the East side a little more? I probably should look up what their dealer room presence is.
- Funimation is throwing a Geneon retrospective panel on Sunday. That is kind of funny.
Food and others
- The skybridge is in the process of being removed. I think Baltimore realized those bridges are kind of dinky and no longer trendy like how they were in the 70s. Also they want to funnel more traffic to the ground level…which is to say it’s kind of lame. This actually just means the bridge to that cool Korean food-by-the-pound place, coming from the ex-Windham/now-Sheraton is gone, so you will have to walk on the ground level for part of it. I believe the skybridge connecting the Hyatt and Sheraton, as well as the whole plaza area towards the inner harbor are still intact, but the future looks grim for those things.
- The inner harbor pavilions have some updates. I believe one of them were renovated earlier this year? Anyways, more food options.
- The food truck scene in B-more has improved since last year. With the O’s in town for a homestand all weekend (Thursday is a day game versus the Rays, and then a weekend series against the A’s–check out Calaggie’s plans for that, LOL) you can be sure there will be some of that if you walk just towards the park around the Hilton. Hm, wonder if any Japanese guests would be into that.
- The most exciting food news this year is how Otakon runs right in the middle of the Baltimore restaurant week. In typical restaurant week fashion, participating restaurants will offer prix fixe meals at a fixed, uniform price; 15 something for lunch and 20 or 30 something for dinner. Reservation is typically highly recommended. Best thing to do is scope out the menu and offerings on the official site, and call ahead no later than probably Monday.
- It’s going to be pretty hot this year, but I don’t think an extra 5 degrees make all that much of a difference to me. I’ve already optimized my Otakons to avoid the heat. All the more to thank the Ice Cold Water For Only One Dollar dude.
- The Matsuri on Thursday is promising real improvements from last year with better food options. It’s something to do instead of waiting in line, for sure. They just haven’t announced all the details yet. So far I hear some more food options and more bands, rather than just one band last year. There will be a Taiko drums thing first up, then a workshop, then a DJ, then band #1 (a 3-piece VK outfit), then DJ again, then band #2 (A Chinese traditional/rock band). They’re still signing those bands I guess but a “guess the artist” thing is running in the forums, for any Matsuri attendees who can go and claim their prize.
A lot of this stuff is in flux, so most like I will just do a follow-up post for Otakon prep rather than update this one.