I went to Otakuthon 2018. The primary reason this time is to see fhana as their last tour stop. It would make sense if I can at least hit their North America stops, although sometimes I wonder if the 6 stops on the tour t-shirt and graphics were it, what about the other countries they visited during this time–namely PH and CN? And they only made stop-specific merch for the Japanese shows anyway.
There are a lot of reasons to visit Montreal for Otakuthon. Aside from fhana’s lit show, the locals put up a anikura event that was pretty lit too. Lia was in town to do some songs, and they are her perennial hits. Maidreaming sent 3 maids to do wota culture stuff and you can buy cheki with them. Anisong rocker Nishizawa Shiena was also there and it was really great. There were other guests there too, but these were all I had time for. OK, there are plenty to see and eat at Montreal too, and I tried to squeeze those in.
I flew in early Friday, but I ended up coordinating with some East Coast Americans going north anyways for housing, and I wondered if I could have just carpooled or what, because I ended up riding back with them. I had plenty of time to walk around and enjoy the bagels there. Having a VIP badge means I didn’t have to pick up anything, as prereg and at-con reg line looked pretty crazy despite Otakuthon offering mailouts this year for folks who can and wanted to pay for it. It was their first year at a lot of this new logistics. Like, some VIP badger dudes were trying to cut lines where other VIP badgers were waiting in, which was lols. For the main events, generally the lines were well-set, as there was a VIP priority line, and it’s not guaranteed for the other event rooms. Confusion reigns.
Panel-wise, Otakuthon is pretty normal. The guest panels were fine, that said. House of Jrock North ran the fhana panel and it somehow t turned into half-promo and half actual fhana programming, maybe for scheduling reasons. Shiena only had con programs on Sunday, so it was her concert and autographs, that was it. Lia didn’t have a panel I think? But she did the usual autographs and sold 1st Place stuff, to also promo IA. I don’t know, I didn’t really sweat it. There was Mongreal to attend.
What is Mongreal? It’s a silly anikura event hosted at a local community center. Turns out to be the barest minimum of anikura.
Going to Montreal also meant seeing some folks I have not seen in a while. A bunch of people were there that I did not expect. It was a good time. I ate well, relatively. The exchange rate helped. I was able to also pick up some alcoholic beverages.
Montreal this year was also a switch-a-roo in terms of autographing, putting that in its own area. The dealer’s room expanded somewhat, and it was next to the line-up-room which you queue for all the big events. I didn’t really look at it closely.
To dive deeper to the concerts there, they let us stand up front for fhana and Shiena, which made the whole experience much better, although it was really sudden and I wasn’t really prepared to do a full standing live this way lol. Flags were in fhana and they did World Atlas which had the part you wave it. I ended up buying some extra flags because I didn’t have one on me during the first autograph session, and somehow I bought a third just because…autograph tickets? I bought some Lia goods too, since I didn’t bring any. Ended up spending a chunk of money at Jrock North. Montreal’s show for fhana was less tie-in heavy but overall much better than their Chicago show. It’s still not a walk through of their new CD, so maybe this is the compromise I wanted. Relief with the rock outro is great to hear again, as well as Calling’s outro.
Shiena’s show was fairly what you expect, for an hour. She rocked out some, sang normally for others, nobody lifted but I think we could have if the set was longer. The crowd really got into it towards the end. I think we just needed a fence.
I guess the last thing I can say about Montreal is that being in the french-speaking city was fun, and still it had to always run against Anirevo Summer for reasons, because this year’s lineup is still quite awesome over in Vancouver.
PS. Food-wise, I went to Schwarz again but also a French brasserie just down the street from the con center. Good, albeit expensive.
Behind the Intercontinental was a shopping mall area with this bagel place. Not the best bagels but it’s still good enough for me. Plus all the spread options mmmgood.