This year’s Otakon didn’t have any guests that interested me but it was still a fun convention to attend.
Day 1 – Friday
The Riichi: Mahjong, Anime, and You panel by Dave (@sasuraiger) and Carl (@ogiuemaniax) taught me a bit about how the game works so I might not feel as lost while watching something like Saki. Here’s some helpful mahjong tips on Dave’s blog.
My first industry panels were Crunchyroll and Viz Media – I was happy to see that the first season of Moyashimon would added later this season to join CR’s simulcast of season 2 and that was all that impressed me from both. One problem of going to Fanime, Anime Expo and Otakon all in the same year is that the same industry panel material starts to overlap and that was how Viz turned out for me.
I enjoyed the Reverse Thieves’ New Anime for Older Fans panel and agreed with many of the recommendations for shows people should check out. Here is an augmented list from a Google+ user.
My panel about sports manga turned out better than it did at Fanime, mainly because I added some sports and tried not to blow through it. About 15 to 20 people showed up including Kate of the Reverse Thieves, who wrote in their fan panels post:
I attended the Sports Manga: Olympics Edition in the true spirit of the Olympics we were missing while at the con! The panelist was an avid sports fan so was very keen on discovering all these titles. The Summer Olympics section was really big, I don’t think I even realized how many games there were, and sports that have either been taken off the bill for the Olympics (like baseball) or are soon to be revived (like golf) were also touched upon. The panelist also spent some time talking about a few familiar names in the genre like Mitsuru Adachi. The varied topics covered really were everything you could think of though sadly most of it is not available in English. It was a panel with a lot of information, still the panelist could probably pep it up a little!
A couple audience members asked if there were bowling and hunting manga and I responded “yes” (Lucky Strike!) and “I don’t know” respectively. I was impressed that another person knew about Bowling King. Evan of Ani-Gamers made a comment to me afterward that I should perhaps try to show more samples of the manga so it’s not just me talking for lengths of time, which is probably a good idea.
Day 2 – Saturday
I dozed off a bit during Fandom & Criticism: The Art of Active Viewing because it was an early morning panel but there seemed to be a good dialogue between the panelists and the audience about how they watch and think about anime. Carl wrote a bit more about this than I did. (I didn’t fare too well while sitting in on Anime and Manga Studies: Three Decades In either.)
To kill some time in the afternoon, I went into the nearby Sports Legends Museum. The exhibits started out with the Baltimore Orioles history and Hall of Fame upstairs and then went downstairs to cover Negro League and minor league baseball teams, a professional indoor soccer team (Baltimore Blast), and collegiate teams before heading back upstairs for the Baltimore Colts and Ravens.
Mainstream Japanese Cartoons was about franchises that are famous in Japan but not necessarily abroad: Anpanman, Doraemon, Chibi Maruko-chan, Sazae-san and Gegege no Kitaro. I have watched none of these but I had heard of them all before.
I attended the Ninja Consultants‘ Unusual Manga Genres panel for another year and the panel was similar in format to last year. I did think about attending Erin’s Culinary Manga panel on Sunday afternoon but somehow didn’t. After the panel ended, I dropped some stuff off in the hotel room and headed to Camden Yards to see the Oakland A’s face the hometown Orioles. (I was rooting for the A’s, by the way.)
After the game, I bought an Orioles mascot hat as a souvenir.
Mike Toole’s Dubs That Time Forgot was an entertaining end to the night with some British-voiced Nuku Nuku among other funny material.
Day 3 – Sunday
I had planned to see Funimation’s retrospective of their Geneon re-releases but missed it and heard through Twitter that it turned into a behind the scenes of marketing Hetalia panel halfway through so maybe it was for the best I didn’t make it.
Sentai Filmworks had David Williams announce their upcoming schedule of titles including a Blu-ray release of Grave of the Fireflies.
There wasn’t a lot that interested me from Kodansha Comics (ANN writeup) though I thought the slides were well designed. Vertical‘s panel was after Kodansha and I am interested in seeing how Hiroki Azuma’s “General Will 2.0″ turns out.
The last thing I did at the convention was attend the Con Feedback session. I usually don’t go to these or closing ceremonies but I had some time before my shuttle to the airport so I figured I would hang around in there. It was nice to hear how the various staffers explained certain situations and tried to make things right.
I’d like to attend Otakon next year if only I didn’t have to fly all the way to the other coast to do so. Maybe if it would be easier if I had a travelling partner to accompany me so the flights and layovers don’t feel as long.
Akira, from Tsuritama
Yuki, also from Tsuritama
…and a baseball player Haruko from FLCL.