By TheBigN(o Border)
Three posts in 24 hours on this blog is unheard of. But there’s a first time for everything, isn’t there? 😛
I decided to take a lazy approach to this (at the moment) last post about this year’s Otakon, which only ended a week and some days ago even though it already seems to be last year’s news the way people most bloggers stopped talking about it. But it’s okay! I want to believe I’m fashionably late with this (also why you’ll be seeing Hidamari x365 episode 5/6 thoughts “soon”), so I’ll go straight ahead with this. I had wrote a little list about the good things and the not-so-good things about my Otakon experience about a week ago, and so basically this post will be some sort of expansion on that. In my opinion, these last couple of posts haven’t quite been my best stuff for this blog, but thanks for taking a look at these impressions. Hopefully they have been entertaining. And once again, this is a long, long post, so be prepared.
– Actually going to Otakon
- Or in that case, actually going to an anime convention at all. Truth be told, it was a lot of effort on my part just to get me to feel comfortable enough to let other people know that I was planning on going to one. For previous years, either it was too inconvenient to go, or I was too worried that somehow, even though I’ve shown that I can take care of myself and can go anywhere I wanted to, I could still be prevented from making the journey. A lot of that is came from my worry about what some would think about knowing that I’m going to a convention for Japanese animation. And it’s kind of funny how that irrational fear almost prevented me from taking this journey, despite pre-registering for the convention and having a place to go. Again, I just need to get over myself more often than not.
– Not feeling out of my element
- I’m 22, and for me that seems a little too old to be starting going to anime conventions now. I don’t know how it is with others with that though. Without knowing any better, I had assumed that the two main groups of people at the convention would be of the high-school age persuasion and people with a couple more years out of college under the belt. And that mostly was the case, but I didn’t feel as isolated and overwhelmed by the experience as I thought I would. This is definitely because I always managed to find someone that I knew at an event that I went to, whether if it was Nomad at State of Industry panel or shopping in the dealer’s room, waiting for karaoke with omo, or walking with Baka-Raptor to the Game Show room. And that in itself established a comfort zone within an area that wasn’t one.
- At the same time, you also realize after a point that almost everyone at the convention shares the same passion that you do: enjoying anime and/or the cultures and aspects that come with it. And that’s a starting point as any for relating to others. Course, it is definitely easier when fellow anime fans you meet have more ties to you, be it having the same interest in shows, or doing the same actions (meeting and interacting with fellow bloggers was like we had known each other for a while sometimes), and such. But that doesn’t matter compared to that main common thread that ties us all together. And when I look at it like that, what’s there to worry about being among people I don’t know? :3
– Meeting up with RL friends and Internet friends
- Especially considering that I live several states away from my college and have almost no free time off to randomly go and take a trip back there (much less anywhere now that I think about it), any chance that I can meet up and hopefully catch up with them is a good one. Since the convention is about 40 minutes away from my home by car, if I have the free time, lack of responsibilities to tend to, and ample resources, there’s no reason for me not to take the opportunity. And so I did. It was great seeing some of my closest friends (particularly Nomad for much collective ass-kicking money-spending) for the first time in a year, and the feeling seemed mutual, which was awesome.
- Otakon also marked the first times that I was able to place faces (and sometimes names) with some of the people that I’ve interacted with online, anime-related or not. Given the probably excessive amount of time I spend on forums, IRC and as a member of the animeblogosphere (dammit, that’s going to stay, no matter how unwieldy it is! :D) and the otakusphere, it’s good to at least come into physical contact with those whom that time was spent with. Everyone that I met was pretty nice, cool and spicy in their own ways, and though it wasn’t a thing that I worried too much about, it was refreshing to see that people acted off of the Internet the same way as they did on it. I won’t say that I’m completely honest online, but I do say what I think (even when I’m being random of the sake of randomness), and it’s good that I’m not quite as much a minority in that aspect as I thought I was.
– Buying random stuff.
- Sure, I spend a relative crapload (for a college/medical student) of money for anime, manga and anime-related music, it was fun to find a place where there was a wider variety of these things than a retail website/bookstore or local comic book shop held. It made finding things like the Shinkai book or a volume of YKK that much more special than just receiving things in the mail. At the same time, I’m not uninhibited enough to start spending on figures (“Once you spend a pop, you just don’t stop”, is what I figure my situation will be), illicit doujins/games and the like. And I’m fine with that. 😛
– Epic karaoke
- It had to take omo, Link and JAM Project to get me up onto the karaoke stages. Because once I was on there, it was fun times. And I had picked up enough confidence to sing some more afterwards, but I kept coming too late to get a slot in (orz). Better luck next year, I guess.
– Asking questions at panels
- And having people in the business responding back, though I’m sure my questions were neither significant nor well-thought out for them to spend a lot of time talking about. And it’s not that these people are in the business that makes things a little harrowing, but the peers sitting around and stuff. Oh well. I got some keychains out of it and a little more knowledge on how things work.
– Getting some free stuff
- Said keychains, a pencil board, some posters (can’t wait for the Hitohira manga to be released later this year, BTW) and a nifty magnetic bookmark from Dr. Master. Free doesn’t necessarily equal good, but dammit, it’s FREE! I still think that the majority of the tuition I’ve paid in undergrad/med school was for “free” food, for example.
– Awesome cosplay
- You’ve already seen some examples elsewhere, which I’ll post again because they we’re that good, but it was fun to see a larger representation of more niche things/shows that I thought I would. There was some Touhou cosplay that I saw that was pretty good with three Reimus I spotted and that pretty awesome Yuyuko I noticed (along with a Wriggle and Yukari from Friday, apparently) on the dealers room, just to see verifiable proof that there is a visible fandom for ZUN and his works here in America. I saw an Akari live and an Aika in picture, but I would have expected to see some more undines around floating around some where. And then things like Hatsune Miku was surprisingly (although probably not really) common her, so that was an interesting surprise. I’m disappointed that I didn’t see any Hidamari Sketch-related cosplay this time around though.
I also found that having friends with awesome cosplay extends and delays conversations like nothing else. 😛
– Coming to Otakon on a Saturday
- Logistically, it would have been a terribly annoying mess had I gone from classes to the convention (counting pre-reg, finding exactly where my room in the hotel was and trying to find the line for the JAM Project concert), especially when I find myself in an unfamiliar city and situation with things getting dark, so coming on this day was good for me. Unfortunately, I missed the Opening Ceremonies (but not the OP animation, luckily thanks to the Closing Ceremonies), the Touhou panel that apparently didn’t work out just as planned, and the JAM PROJECT CONCERT! The latter was the most important, and even though I was able to get some of my fix by going to the Q&A Panel and buying some CDs of their works, it’s not the same as experiencing it live, and the sad thing is that it could have just been a one time occurrence. But no use worrying about trying to use “what ifs” for a situation that now is.
– Damn Carameldansen
- I’m not surprised at how quickly some random things spread through anime fandom. What I do get surprised at is how popular these things can be, when I just don’t get it. In the case of Carameldansen, I didn’t get why people felt like making a variation of basically everything ever, and it was both simultaneously interesting and annoying to see real people doing it. Everywhere. It’s silly fun, but it’s not something that I would be doing, unlike, say, Hare Hare Yukai. 😛 For now, my best thoughts on the “meme?” are along the lines of this:
– Long lines are long, or small seating is small
- It’s a good idea on Otakon’s part to leave panels and events to be sitting room only. But some lines for these panels got so long that many potential audience members were often shut out of things as a result. Mainly I’m whining needlessly (other than my failures at getting to the panel on time/a little late) about how Bandai received the reception that it did for both it’s company panel and at it’s namesake Surprise. Especially considering that if these events were in the largest panel room instead of where they were, the situation would probably be different. The lines were pretty orderly and usually well managed, and things like interest and con population have to be taken into account for how the length. Though sometimes, the setup for the lines could get very confusing.
– I could only find one volume of Yokahama Kaidashi Kikou
- Volume 5 is pretty awesome in it’s whole right. Though I was kind of wishing and hoping that I could get lucky. I can still probably find it online and stuff, but still… 😦
– Nervousness decreasing my karaoke efficiency in half (at least)
- Even though I was able to get onto stage and have everyone listen to my song, I wasn’t as good as I could have be. And I attribute the majority of that to being to worried about what people would be singing about. And that also translated to why I didn’t sign up for singing a song at other times. This is something that I have to deal with in the future, and singing in front of fellow fans would probably be one of the easier ways to get through it. Hopefully next time, things will be different~
– I didn’t get to meet up with everyone that I had wanted to
- I had heard that there were some other people present at the convention that I would have liked to meet, such as momotato, SDS, Anna, Ten and Sub, for starters. It’s not like something magical would have happened had I had done so, but I feel like it’s good to try and meet as many people as you can if you have the time too. At the same time, it’s not like I didn’t meet a lot of people from many other areas as well (and I think I forgot to give a shout out to rabidkimba from my other posts. Sorry for that mistake), and it’s always surprisingly pleasant when people I wouldn’t expect to know who I am do.
– I didn’t know how pricey Japanese CD’s are. Or that I fail at bargain-hunting.
- Yes, 30 bucks does sound reasonable for CDs in Japan. So all that does is make me feel a little spoiled that they cost at least half as much here in the States. It was very disconcerting to see that I had spent almost $100 on only three CDs with what I’ve been used to. Jeez. 😛
– I didn’t plan quite as well as I should have.
- Meaning that I didn’t quite actually plan things out. I managed to get to the majority of what I wanted to look at panel-wise (probably because I’ve seen a lot of what was being screened at the convention so there was no point in me for watching already seen anime. Oops. :P), but I might need to research a little better in terms of what I went out to see. Or have the willingness to leave a panel when it’s not actually giving me information that I want to do other stuff like sing more karaoke or play video games (my Melty Blood skills, as small as they are, have gotten even rustier, which isn’t good). I need to use the tenuous freedom I have more often. Or something like that.
So given that Otakon is in mid-July next year, and given that for all intents and purposes, my third year of medical school (yay clinical experience GET! :3) should start in late-July, there shouldn’t be any reason why I shouldn’t be present for the convention from at least Friday this time around, Lord willing. Granted, JAM Project probably won’t be the main act again even though they’re awesome, so I might not have the opportunity to see them again in concert anytime soon. But Otakon is what you make of it, and for me, I feel like I made out in spades from this opportunity. If I have the ability to come next year, I hope to meet more people, see more things, sing more karaoke, be more honest with myself, and so on. And I hope that others are also willing to meet me for the first time. It’s definite a unique experience at that. I need a camera of my own for the future~
And again, if you want me to take down any pictures, please let me know and I’ll be happy to do so.