Archive for the ‘Events’ Category


Otakon 2014: Photoshoots

August 19, 2014

narutaki_icon_4040 This year, in a brilliant move, Otakon allowed people to submit official photoshoots for the convention schedule. There were three locations, all of which had been popular cosplay areas in prior years, each holding shoots from opening until closing of the con each day. I think the main idea was to keep these popular locations more organized resulting in less traffic jams which I believe they succeeded in. I hope it also brought more cosplayers to the shoots as well as fans and photographers. I know it helped me since they only way I had attended any photoshoots in the past was through word-of-mouth or by asking cosplayers during the convention.

The biggest oversight may have been leaving off the incredibly popular Skywalk as a fourth photoshoot location. It is a huge area connecting the BCC to some of the hotels and it was packed all day, every day, with cosplay shoots. It also has enough area to host at least four shoots at once. However, it may be that since it isn’t inside the convention center Otakon can’t officially schedule events in that area.

Fire Emblem Photoshoot (Friday)
Revolutionary Girl Utena Photoshoot (Friday)
(Unofficial) Kuroko’s Basketball (Saturday)
(Unofficial) JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Photoshoot (Saturday) 1 2 3

In the future, I’d like to see more staff, I actually saw no Otakon staff members at any of the official shoots I attended, or at least more guidelines for the cosplayers. This left the start and end times as well as the organization of the group up to the person who scheduled the shoot. This makes sense to some extent, kind of like a panel, but it also means things are really only as organized or efficient as the people there. Nearly everything I went to started early unfortunately. Whether they would redo poses once more people arrived was uncertain even with an hour’s worth of time. It would be nice if the photoshoots had almost a circular schedule starting and ending with big group photos or similar shots for those you aren’t there from the beginning or can’t stay for the entire shoot.

I really loved that Otakon opened up the schedule for cosplayers and I hope to see other conventions follow suit.

~ kate


The Speakeasy #056: X, Otakon 2014

August 18, 2014
Drink #056: X
Otakon 2014

We discuss what Otakon did right and wrong for the 2014 convention. Despite the move planned in just a couple of years, Otakon isn’t lying down on the job while still in Baltimore. There were many improvements this year but of course nothing always goes 100% right at any con.


And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:


Mix all ingredients in mixing glass and shake with ice. Strain into glass and shoot.

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Otakon 2014: General Impressions

August 14, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 This year was a milder Otakon than the last. For the last few years, Otakon has been the “fun” combination of oppressive heat and overwhelming humidity. This year, while it was clearly summer, you did not feel like nature was punishing you for stepping outside into the world beyond the air-conditioned buildings. But it was also milder in terms of spectacle. Last year was full of unforgettable events, huge guests, and a lot more glitz and glamor because it was the 20th Otakon. This year did not have that same level of grandeur. At the same time, I can’t say that I ever really had that much down time. I stepped inside the convention center at around 9AM on Friday and Saturday and did not leave until sometime past 10PM except to get dinner. That is a fairly busy schedule. Last year’s might have been the power of 1,000 suns but 800 suns really burns bright enough for most people not to notice a difference.

narutaki_icon_4040 Last year, it was announced that Otakon will be picking up its toys and leaving Baltimore for Washington D.C. in 2017. This made me wonder what, if any, improvements the staff was prepared to make for its last few years in Baltimore. I’m pleased to say they haven’t been lying down on the job or taking it easy knowing everything is going to change soon. Otakon is sticking by its motto of being a very fan-oriented convention. As with any con in any year, not everything went right but when will it ever?

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Otakon 2014: Under the Dog

August 12, 2014

narutaki_icon_4040 There were two new anime titles that were being heavily promoted at Otakon this year, In This Corner of the World and the new Kickstarter project Under the Dog. You could spy Under the Dog banners throughout the convention center, a mini-poster was included in all the bags at registration, buttons were being handed out, and there were autograph sessions and multiple panels with members of the creative team: Hiroaki Yura, Yusuke Kozaki, and Jiro Ishii. Plus, the Kickstarter went live during Otakon.

hisui_icon_4040 After Little Witch Academia 2 it was only a matter of time before we saw something like this. While there had been some important anime related kickstarters before and after Little Witch Academia 2 they were mostly either for shorter works or to help release an already existing production in English. Little Witch Academia 2 is so significant because it was a full length OVA that was overwhelmingly supported by English-speaking fans. And it reached it goal insanely quickly and then raised over times four times what they asked for by the end. So it seems like there is just money on the table for anime producers pitching the right project in America. The question is who was going to try to pick up that money first. It seems like Creative Intelligence Arts are the first people to try to go even beyond what Studio Trigger was trying.

Under the Dog is the fairly ambitious pitch for a single OVA that could serve as a prequel to a larger three-part movie trilogy. The crowd funded goal is for $580,000 which is far more than anything that an anime has tried before. Is this project much like Icarus and flying too high too soon or is it Japan finally learning to capitalize on new revenue streams and methods of raising funding in a timely manner?

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