Otakon 2013: Wrap

Chiaki Ishikawa

Otakon 20 is as good of a con for a turning point as any. It was as good as any Otakon for Yoko Kanno and Shinichiro Watanabe to return. In that sense it’s not special. But of course, because of these two people Otakon 20 (which is just the 20th Otakon, not the 20th anniversary–that’s next year) became something quite special.

I mean, this Otakon is like the “Hey Let’s Troll Japan with Premiers” con.

Piano Me – If there’s a Guinness World Record of # of anime nerds dropping jaws simultaneously, we might have beaten it. Okay, we probably didn’t–because the concert hall + simulcast room fits maybe 7000-8000 people tops, people had to get in line for tickets days prior, and it’s generally a pain in the rear. But man, it was a slice of Kanno Glory at its finest–whimsical, emotive and generally makes you want to stand and sing along. Invariably it brings back ALL THOSE FEELS from that magical Tanabata show from 2009. I’m surprised I didn’t cry. So when WAH shows off of being at that show, I actually get where he’s coming from, because Piano Me is directly related to that stuff. It’s a slice of Cho-Jiku Tanabata Supersonic. If I were to break down Tanabata Supersonic into parts, it would be like, there’s a “Macross Frontier” part (see: AX2010), and the creative art project piano part (see: Piano Me). There are other parts of course, like “Warsaw Philharmonic”  part or “Seatbelts” part or “crowd interaction” part or “music art project pt.2” part or “encore” or you get the idea. Tracklist here. I will probably go into details on this in a separate post.

OreImo S2 OAVs – Manabi didn’t throw a straight all right! But I think Otakon’s audience reacted honestly and appropriately. Fushimi got his response.

Space Dandy – Sure is dandy. Write-up here (by Sal) but I provided the assets. After Watanabe’s first panel, it was all Space and Dandy. I didn’t stay for the Q&A in his second panel but he went into details in the setting. There are a lot of jokes (think Beta tape in Bebop) in the setting. I also remember LOAE making a lot of jokes, which is kind of funny because I guess he does talk in a way that reflects how Watanabe thinks, except he doesn’t actually speak that way. Somehow there’s a glimmer of hope spotting Fushimi-sensei in Watanabe’s Sunday panel.

To make this easier to write I’ll just continue to bullet point this write-up.

iM@S – Yay met Digi Kerot. And this random iM@S-P (the 876 Producer) who was in for it back when. And saw one Haruka cosplayer. Where were everyone else orz. But I got to nerd out a little, which is way better than last year at Otakon when I just complain about not being able to nerd out to iM@S. Have to thank @7thwraith a lot for bringing the UNITY MIND here. Still regretting missing out on all this iM@S cosplay though.

Haruka Amami

Con Gripe – I’ve attended like 15 Otakons and this is the first one where I got kicked out of a line (well, got sent to the back). It’s silly because I moved about 10 places back only, but it kind of reflect the problem with Otakon line management this year. Basically, all talk and bad execution and it made little differences except pissing people off unnecessarily. If you had any gripe about the line management, do it at the Otakon forums, because they do read that jazz. I sure am doing it there. Friday’s Kanno concert tix line was nuts. The Horie Yui masses at AX in 2010 had nothing on that. Also, no Ishikawa on screen? LOL. Getting kicked out of the bathroom? LOL. It’s about indiscretion of the right kind–com’on Otakon, you can do better than this. In fact I expect you to, if you want to distinguish yourself from Anime Expo after 20 years. Oh, hey, almost forgot the OreImo premiere room clear snafu (read the rest of the thread for full LOLWUT context).

My Panel – Yay. Dave kind of helped us out a lot but at the same time kind of threw our timing out of whack, which means I needed to rush Wah more which means I ended up talking less and half the time I kind of forgot what I was suppose to say. Yay. But it turned out okay because I think we went deeper than skin deep for the most part. Thanks for coming to the panel, the 2 readers or however many of you are out there.

More nerding out – I roomed with more nerds this year so I ended up talking to them about nerdy crap instead of upload posts to the blog or jtor. Oops.

Dealers room – It felt a little sparse this year. GSC sold those $60 scrolls for $20 at Otakon, and I’m like WTF. Still passed on the OreImo one though. They stocked only the figures this time around and from what I can tell did brisk business. The rest of the dealers room is more or less the same old.

Otakon Press – I like the way it ran this year, probably because everything worked out just as planned. The presents also sweetened the deal. Cons, give gifts to press, it makes them  happy. Even if it’s just a mug or whatever.

Shingeki no FOGO

Food – Cazbar and Fogo (at full price) are both pretty delicious, but Jimmy Johns saved the day. It’s fast, filling and pretty good, the three things you want at a con. Being in the Hilton also helps tons. For a little more fancy fair, there is Potbellys LOL.

  • Cazbar is a pretty nice Turkish place up Charles, about a 10 minute walk. I had a couple beers and some baklava. The beers I had were particularly suited for dessert consumption, which made it a delicious after-sandwich meetup. If it wasn’t Friday and if I didn’t wake up 5:30 to line up for tickets, that would’ve been just pregame LOL.
  • Fogo de Chao was just like last year, except I didn’t remember the Garlic Steak was that good. The ice cream-strawberry blend thing was pretty good.

Shingeki no AUTOGRAPH

Chiaki Ishikawa – I did the bare minimum, which is panel, autograph and concert. Her post-concert autograph session on Sunday probably would’ve been doable except I was too busy chasing a certain cosplay gathering, which ends up being kind of neat but was an odd way to wrap up my Otakon. I mean, what should I have her sign? I probably should’ve brought Simoun with me :(

TMR & HMK – I barely saw either of them–only at the concert. Maybe I should’ve dropped by Opening Ceremony (OH WAIT DAMN CON GRIPE). TMR’s still got what it takes to rile up a crowd, and I’m glad to hear Heart of Sword again after all these years, as funky as this rendition was.

Switching gears here– I think this year the con experience has shifted. I’m once again no longer railing by the progression of anime conventioneering and scheduling, even if it still dictates if I live or die. I mean, yeah, most con goers live and die by the schedule. But somehow now I live also to a different marching beat at Otakon. I care more about an iM@S photoshoot than, say, any of the SAO guests or the charity auction. I want to hang out with the guys, even if we’re talking about 3-4 different circles of friends. When you take seiyuu out of the mix, my con experience kind of resets.

I still ended up doing my usual stuff though–from drinking at Pickles to Sunday AM karaoke blitz. It’s a blast as always and as introspective as always.


Loot Otakon 2013

Kawaiikochans! The only item worth picturing in there but absent is the Piano Me black tee. It’s got that duck in the “O” in Piano. During the day I put that Fukanzen Nenshou pin over it, since, well. The green towel thing is an Ishikawa towel. The weird face thing…on top of AX door hangers…con freebies. Yeah, nothing much.

Photos: see Jtor coverage over the next week. Part 1 here. There’ll also be a transcript going up later this week for the OreImo guests.

Lastly, thank you all, every last one of the dozens of internet and non-internet guys I met over the 4-day weekend. You made my Otakon a lot of fun!

6 Responses to “Otakon 2013: Wrap”

  • TheBigN

    One thing I forget is that when I show you where photos are, you’re pictures end up being better in quality than mine. :P

    It was a blast once again once I actually got into Otakon this year. :3

    • omo

      I didn’t tell you the story when I saw you, but I lost my old camera at AX–it was a NEX-5. Thankfully someone I know was looking to upgrade from a NEX-5N to a NEX-6, so I took it off his hands (and traded in a lens while at it, as it’s not exactly cheap) and got the camera in time for Otakon.

      I SURE HOPE MY PICTURES ARE BETTER than your aging, elf-class point-and-shoot or I’ll be weeping lol.

  • jdcSeiken

    As always, it was good to see you and the seiyuu fan group =D Con season is over for me this year, but I am sure I will bump into you next year! Are you planning to go to Otakon Vegas? It’s currently a maybe for me, ultimately depending on guests.

    Unfortunately I was unable to attend Chiaki Ishikawa’s panel due to the figure panel (schedule conflict). I really wanted to go :/ Any interesting bits of info asked during the panel?

    • omo

      I’m not sure what questions are interesting, there were a few Kajiura-related questions as you can imagine. There’s a recording of it somewhere I’m sure.

      I ended up asking 3 questions soooooo.

      And yes, it’s always good to see you and the crew. Otakon Vegas is a maybe for me as well. As you know, it’ll depend on who shows up!

  • Jon Keller

    I was at this convention, I walked upstairs and saw the S shaped line for a different theater and stood in front (like first in line) for the one marked (very clearly) Oreimo, when that gal came out and the stampede of people came trampling by, I witnessed multiple people, and a cosplaying gal I helped out, get trampling, felt like an earthquake.

    I ended up sitting next to a very cute cosplayer (I got her number), next to my best friends, and right in front of the creators, which I got an informal handshake after thanking them for the show.

    Was a good time. ended up playing Cards Against Humanity for the first time in a giant circle on the convention center floor until they closed around 9-10pm

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