Otakon 2011 Convention Report (in 3D)

2011-08-09 21:20

Otakon is my home anime convention, the second biggest anime convention in the US, and three days of non-stop fun for me. I haven’t missed it in seven years; last year, I flew in from Singapore to attend. As always, it’s obvious that it’s run by fans, for fans, even now that it’s over 31,000 people bringing fifteen million dollars to Baltimore. And, so, this is a bit of an anemic convention report for what is really such an amazing event.

As usual, I was cosplaying David Tennant’s Doctor. The number of Doctor Who cosplayers at Otakon seems to be growing every year: and, why not? The show’s writing and acting continues to improve with every season, and there’s nearly fifty years of history behind it now. Who cares if it’s not Japanese? Britain’s an island country, too.

This picture and many more fantastic cosplay images were taken by James Patterson, and are available on Flickr.

The panel that I co-hosted on Friday night went quite well; 375 people showed up to ask, “Evangelion, WTF?” Eva Monkey is really the driving force behind these; over on his website you can see much of the content that was shown during our hour of power.

Meeting master animator and director Makoto Shinkai was pretty amazing, as well. He’s humble to a fault, and went out of his way during the autograph session to find out every person’s name, and have a brief conversation with them. He stayed for hours longer than he was scheduled to in order to make sure we would all get to meet him. The next day, we became one of the first audiences outside of Japan to see his new film, Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below.

He said during the post-film Q&A (which he volunteered to do on the spot) that he wanted to make a film that would appeal more to the international market than his previous works. Personally, I thought that 5 Centimeters Per Second touched on some pretty universal themes, but it is nice to see him move on and try a new mode of storytelling: Children is an adventure film, not a series of reflective vignettes like 5 Centimeters.

All the usual con activities and sights were in full force as well, from Nyan Cat cosplayers to sweeping every booth in the dealers’ hall. The rest of my small set of pictures are available in 2D and 3D over at my image gallery.” As always, an incredible and intense weekend — I’ll be back for 2012.

Andrew Todd