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.
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.
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.
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.
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!