This was the first year that I was actually able to make all three days of the con, which was a little surprising. Though the first thing I think is that I wish I had as much free time to go to all three days of Otakon instead. I do like the convenience of Anime USA, since it’s pretty easy for me to get there from home with little hassle. But substance-wise, there isn’t enough to really keep me interested in terms of all the goings on at the con. I tend to be pretty focused in panels that tend to be more company-based and more about anime rather than anime culture, as well as guest that are more from the anime industry in Japan compared to elsewhere, and from my limited experience with this convention over the years, I’ve rarely been able to have these desires fulfilled. And that’s probably due to the size of the con as well as probably looking for a target fanbase that I don’t exactly fit in the demographics for (Without any evidence though, this is just whining). It’s times like this where I try to convince myself that I should set up a panel and see if it could get accepted in a con, but quickly psyche myself out of doing so by believing that my work schedule will never allow me to do such insanity.
As such, I spent most of my time roaming throughout the hotel snapping a few cosplay photos, the video gaming room (where I learned that I still have skills for DDR, but none of the stamina to match. As well as that I should play my unopened Project Diva 2 as Dreamy Theater 2 is awesome), the dealer’s room (got more Firstspear stuff from Hendane which is always good), and panels that I mainly went too because I knew one of the people involved with them (those were entertaining, by the way. Props to TheGreatSG). And I was able to run into a handful of people who I knew attending the con, which is always good. But that’s not really a fully satisfying con experience for me, and it was hard for me not to be bored. When I think about Otakon, I have to wonder if I haven’t been spoiled by the myriad things to do and panels with a wider range of topics to see that it presents as one of the larger cons in the US. Going further, I wonder if it taints my expectations of what a fulfilling con experience can be, where even if I don’t plan, everything is entertaining and I feel like I don’t have enough time to experience all I want to do.
So while I’m happy wondering about the possibilities that Anime USA will have in the future should they move to a much larger facility, based on what I’ve been hearing, I do wonder in the back of my mind if I haven’t given them a fair shot. And I will keep going to Anime USA as long as I have the ability to do so. Still, no Japanese voice actors at all this time around makes me sad.
My set of cosplay photos for this convention are here. There was an awesome variety in terms of shows, but it’s also a little depressing that out of 3 days, I could only get this many pictures of cosplay compared to getting more out of less time at Otakon this year. There I go again.