Compared to last year, when I essentially had to piecemeal any hours I could get from my work hours (since I couldn’t change my schedule at that point), I tried to set things up so that my weekend would be free enough to at least enjoy a full Saturday and Sunday, with whatever I could get from Friday as a bonus. It worked out, and I was in a light enough rotation that I didn’t have to stay longer than necessary there before I headed out. Stepping into Baltimore Convention Center again felt damn good after quickly getting my badge (not even 5 minutes, really) and left my things at the hotel room I roomed at for the next 2 and a half days. It was around 6PM when I came around, so there were some moments that I missed by then, such as SDS and Dave Cabrera‘s mahjong panel, the Gen Urobuchi Q&A, and the Opening Ceremonies, the latter of which included a mimetic surprise, from what I held. But while I missed those, I was at least glad to be in Baltimore for an uninterrupted amount of time, where I did not have to worry about being called to return to work for any specific reasoning. It was refreshing.
My main goal for this day was to help out with the Otakon Game Show panel, and after a dinner with the main crew involved, I helped with the ancillary setup (laying out surveys and pencils, helping assemble candy, etc.), followed by being the guy who handed out prizes and candy during the actual show. It’s always fun to be involved with the Game Show in some capacity, be it actually helping run things, to at least somewhat helping out with the questions that will eventually be used in the show. It takes a lot to make things run from setting up the questions and categories to actually going on with the show, and this time around, there were a little bit of hiccups at the start, but things ran smoothly near the end. I had fun running around to give the audience prices, as well as giving everyone else candy during the Yuri Matsuri and Yaoi Kazowie segments, and I hope that the audience enjoyed the show as well.
Following that, the first panel that I watched was an 18+ panel, Ladies’ Choice: A Guide to Hentai, as it was co-run by a friend of mine. The show had clips from various yaoi and straight hentai, as well as a very energetic atmosphere that encouraged audience participation. It felt a little too frenetic at times, with the hosts having to rein in the audience at times, and one couldn’t take the clips seriously with some of the background music and character designs that were being used (especially in the yaoi clips), but it was a fun atmosphere throughout. The highlight of the panel was having one random male and female reprise the opposite gender’s roles during a scene from this anime (NSFW, obviously). Here, both people digging into their roles with relish and adding humor and awesome sound effects into what’s supposed to be an erotically charged scene, and creating an epic piece of work. The panel’s concept wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, but by the end of the panel, it ended up being a fun way to end the night. I did manage to catch some Q&A at the end of the MangaGamer panel, but other than a fun question that noted an improvement in gender balance in the general audience crowd, there wasn’t much that grabbed me. But that I could stay up till 2 or so in the morning while being able to start the next day from the top was wonderful.
Day 2 post will be up soon, which includes Q&As, a pirated podcast that I was involved in, and some Type-Moon.
General photos from Otakon 2012 here.