Reports from Otakon 2011

And so another convention comes to a close.

Over the last weekend was Otakon 2011, the largest anime convention on the East Coast and the second largest in the nation. I've been going to Otakon since 2009 (in other words, not very long, considering Otakon's been around for 18 years), and I almost always have fun doing it.

Although, usually Otakon ends up being just an excuse to go and buy things that you can't normally find in the U.S. while admiring all of the well-made cosplays. I rarely end up going to panels, and usually end up skipping a lot of the major events like the Masquerade or the AMV contest.

This year's exception was brought about by Atsuhiro Iwakami, the producer for a lot of major works. Most recently, Puella Magi Madoka Magica and OreImo (Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, There's No Way My Little Sister Is That Cute) in terms of anime that I really like. (Bakemonogatari seems like it would also be good, but I still haven't really gotten into it yet.) Let's just say that if going to panels is rare, getting autographs is very rare.

Still, I don't regret taking the time to do so, even if that ended up being over three hours of waiting. It put me third in line for the autograph session, after all, and I actually got to say hello to him and compliment his work. In Japanese, of course, because I needed the practice. Besides, the poster that he signed for me is now even more awesome. It was already, being a Madoka poster for the sake of Japan relief efforts, but now...

Of course, now I need to somehow watch the rest of Madoka Magica, since only the first three episodes were shown at Otakon. I'm disinclined to just download it, but that may be my only option until it's released over here... that or buy the Japanese DVDs, which I may end up doing anyway next time I get the chance to go to Japan.

Typically the other high point of a convention is the cosplay, and this year didn't disappoint. I chose to cosplay as Kaito, one of the Vocaloids... I think it would have worked out a little better if we had given more time to work on it, of course. I swore I wouldn't procrastinate this year, and look where it got me... Well, that and if I had more ability to work on it. I'm getting tired of relying on friends/parents/others to make costumes for me. I should just learn to sew already.

It didn't help that there were plenty of other Vocaloids, usually with more detailed costumes. There were probably at least another dozen or two people wandering around as one of the Vocaloids, and that estimate's on the low end. The majority were Hatsune Miku and/or Kagamine Rin, with a few Megurine Luka and (to my count) three or four other Kaito cosplayers. And then there was a scattering of other, less well-known Vocaloids.

In terms of sheer numbers, though, far and away the most common cosplay seemed to be the Homestuck crowd. It's very possible that I was just tuning out the more familiar common cosplays, but it seemed like you couldn't take two steps in that convention center without running into another group of trolls. There were also several God Tier John cosplayers, one of whom was armed with the Warhammer of Zillyhoo. (Yes, it is at least as ridiculous as it sounds.)

One interesting note I should mention: it's not that I don't want to show pictures of all of these things... it's that I don't have them. I ended up just not taking any pictures at all this year, which is a departure from the norm. It seems like the only thing I end up doing with such pictures is posting them to the Internet, and I've been wondering lately if that's such a good idea. At any rate, the decision is made. Time will tell whether I regret it, but I don't think I will.

Besides, I have more than enough memories of all the fun times at Otakon, from the karaoke hall to the video games, from the anime showings to all the people that I met. In the end, that's all I need.

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