This year marks the 20th consecutive time I attended Otakon. Maybe that’s deserving of something, but probably no more than just this mention here. It’s probably better noted that it marked the start and end of an era where Otakon existed as a thing in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, as Otakon ’98 actually was at Hyatt Crystal City in Arlington, VA, and now Otakon is at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.
Guest-wise, the main thing about Otakon this year is Anisong World Matsuri. Like Anime Expo, this was my main reason for going. Otakon’s AWM featured Yousei Teikoku, Flow, TM Revolution and JAM Project. Otakon itself brought over a bunch of guests, mostly regulars like Maruyama and Matsubara, Aoki Ei, and probably most notedly the lead seiyuu in Welcome to the Ballroom, Tsuchiya Shinba, plus your usual producer types. There were some movie premieres, like the new Eureka 7 Movie. Actually was that it? There was a promo for This Corner and the new Gundam movie I guess?
Anyways, it was a good time to take it easy, as we have to also deal with the new con center, setup, new places to eat, new hotel, new routine, everything. So my scattered thoughts below…
(Too lazy to crop photos sorry)
I’m trying to rapidly wrap up this post only because I have to prep for Otakon? LOL. Turned out I had a lot to say about my first trip to Vancouver. Vancouver is the other part of Canada that’s worth visiting, I guess? The west coast bastion of … Chinese immigration in North America? Well, one thing that is for sure is that culturally it is very asian, and very diverse. Lots of different East Asians and Asians in general, too. It feels like New York City in the sense of its cultural and racial diversity, except it leans very heavily towards Asia, where as NYC is leaning towards Latin America, Africa and Europe a lot more by comparison.
The story goes there used to be a large anime con in Vancouver but it went under due to some con drama or fraud or something. It went away and AniRevo is the survivor in the subsequent con shakeups in the region after various smaller cons gave it the good old try. Now AniRevo runs twice a year, with the Winter version focused more on gaming and the Summer version focused more on anime and Japanese content.
A couple years ago I tried to go, but couldn’t pull the trigger. Since then it’s been aping me for all this time so I jumped on it when Itou Shizuka got announced several months ago. That’s a no-brainer guest–she is one of the pillars of seiyuu otaku scene in the last major meta, to borrow some card game lingo here. Bucket list, even. I was thinking that I would be glad just to be able to see her at a panel or get a thing or two signed, while doing some culinary tourism in Vancouver.
Since I sort of just tossed up my thoughts there, some people might want an easier-to-digest version.
- Do what you like.
- The problem is some people like to do things that are stupid/dumb and are context insensitive. So for those people, no, don’t do what you like if it’s those dumb things.
- There are things that are common sense. It’s a vague and grey area so I’ll leave it at that.
- But know that it can be a grey area, so have some grace/mercy when dealing with such.
- Try to not be KY. We are KY I know but do your best.
- …and some of you are just trolling, so welp.
- Unfortunately this also determines if you are yakkai or not. Honestly? It doesn’t matter, from a western point of view.
- Learn about the time/context/place of the thing you are at, and the things you want to do.
- Wotagei is a type of nerd dance style and is generally inappropriate at a public venue, outside of chika idol shows, anikura, etc.
- For anime/2D idol/anison fests, calls are appropriate usually, and even if you don’t want to do them, sometimes you should at least learn about them and do them for show at critical junctures?
- Learn about the acts and the show you are at, if you can. Why are you there, anyway? Festival events are different than solo lives for this reason, usually.
- Go prepared. Learn ahead of time. Watch some live footage. Read concert reports. Get an idea of calls if not learn them outright.
- Send flowers, bring gifts, make call books, whatever. But these are bonus round items, don’t get your undies in a wad if these things don’t work out.
- Definitely don’t make trouble if they don’t. Instead, think positively as a fan, what would you do to make the best of it?
- Meet other fans! Socialize!
- Don’t get hung up by penlights or stuff that are secondary to your enjoyment of the show.
- If you learn what you should do, you can also avoid what you shouldn’t do. And maybe, just maybe, you can get more enjoyment out of these events.
- Don’t cause trouble, especially if you are a foreigner in a foreign land, but when you invariably do so, just play dumb and be yourself :)
- To paraphrase a good teacher, if we are to enjoy these gifts that are the reasons in which we attend events, the best way to get along is with love, respect and charity.
- It’s okay to [insert any Frequently Asked thing here]. Just don’t do it when you know it’ll cause problems. If you don’t know, it’s better err on the safe side. Or you could always ask some people who are also going to the same event, or the management if necessary.
- Bonus: Don’t get hung up on jizos or house tigers. It’s a waste of your time, it’s a waste of my time. People have the right to enjoy themselves by doing nothing (or even sitting down at a seated venue), or by having a good time “moving” (assuming it adheres to the rules). Yes, there’s a fear that young people or people who don’t know any better may get the wrong idea, but this fear will never end if you let it control you from having a good time. Yeah, there will be people who go too far and need to be disciplined, removed, what have you, but don’t let that get in the way of your fellowship.
- But it does make good whine material and troll bait.
- As Tadokoro Azusa said, “So what?”
- Extra Credit: Go to different live events, learn what it is in different countries, for mainstream and indie bands, for EDM, metal, pop, rock, country, classical, opera, whatever. Widen your perspective. Go to a Hanshin Tigers game and watch real cheering.
I don’t think I caught something, but I might have, at Anime Expo 2017. The lack of sleep was definitely the contributing factor. I feel OK enough to work but some part(s) of my body is not operating at optimal conditions, I guess.
Just to put it into the history books, AX this year was pretty epic mainly because of AWM. Outside of these Cool Japan-sponsored music festivals, AX was its usual self. It’s huge and it’s got a ton of programming, but it’s also got a ton of people and pretty disappointing line management practices which means if you want to see 10 things in 3 days, you might get to see 3-6 of those things. I wanted to see maybe 8 things, I got to see like, 4? And I have a Premiere badge.
Without all the added fandom stuff, Japan Super Live was a lot more laid back but probably just as hyped for me. I spent the day dying and running into WUGchans. It was kind of a nonsense day but I had Row A 300s seat to make up for it.
Overall the setlist falls into place as expected, already know what everyone was gonna play, just a matter of how many songs for who. That doesn’t stop the show from surprising us.
The show started again about 30-40 minutes after 8pm. The live band was a given but always welcomed. Konomin and Angela walks onto the stage in the dark but I was like WTF. The surprises are the collabs! (Setlist & photos copied from Resonance’s PR.)