Thursday, September 11, 2014

Con Report: Otakon 2014

I'd like to start by apologizing for getting this out so late. One thing after another got in the way of writing this.

I managed to find time to slip out to Baltimore to go to Otakon this year. It's my first time going to this con, so I have no idea what to expect. I was hoping it'd be fun, and I was absolutely satisfied.

Con stories after the jump!

For anyone who doesn't know, Otakon is held annually in Baltimore, Maryland, and has been held there since 1994. It's grown from a tiny hotel-based convention to the second-largest event of its kind in North America, reaching attendance numbers past 30,000 for 3 consecutive years, prompting a future move to Washington, DC.

And this is just the Friday registration line.

With such large attendance numbers, one shouldn't expect things to go perfectly smoothly. Lo and behold, the line for pre-registration badge pickup bordered on nightmarish later in the evening. Granted, it's not Otakon's fault that people show up at 9 PM, expecting to get through a massive line by 10 PM. And to Otakon's credit, they were streamlining the lines as much as they could. I'm just glad I showed up at 2:30 and had my badge in hand by 4:30.

With my badge in hand, I got good rest, knowing I would be up late the rest of the weekend. Friday morning rolled around, and I immediately went to the line for autographs from Erica Mendez and David Vincent. Really, I just wanted Mendez. Vincent was just a bonus. Later that afternoon, I met up with a couple buddies from Twitter, one of which was working at the Hen Da Ne booth in the dealer's room. Finally, 9 PM rolled around, and I registered for the Mario Kart 8 tournament. I never made it out of group play, sadly. No glory for me! With defeat in hand, I trudged off to my hotel room to rest up for the hell known as Saturday.

Saturday was rather uneventful. A couple signings, one of which got capped. Other than that, I lost a Raikou cosplayer in the crowd. Story of my life, really. Had dinner with some family members before heading back to the convention for more cosplay photos.

I'm gonna be honest: I completely skipped Sunday. There was nothing I wanted to do, plus my favorite baseball team was in town, so I went to the ballgame instead of the con.

The two days of the con I did go to were quite fun, if a bit mundane. I don't think I went to a single screening or panel, though. Same kinda thing happened when I went to FanimeCon for the first time, though.
I'd go back to Otakon, but probably not until they get settled into DC. Having to push my way around a convention is not worth $70. Add the fact that lines to get into panels or signings rarely started moving until 20 minutes after x thing was supposed to open or start, and you have a mildly frustrated first-time Otakon attendee.

My next convention trip is Anime Boston 2015, which is April 3-5, 2015. I can always count on that con to be tons of fun. Hopefully I might see some of you there!

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