Posts Tagged ‘Otakon’

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Otakon 2014: Concerts

August 22, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 I’m sure the question everyone in charge of the Otakon musical selection had this year was “How do you follow-up Yoko Kanno and T.M.Revolution with a side of Chiaki Ishikawa and Home Made Kazoku?” The real answer is that you can’t. What you do is march ahead without looking back and just provide a great experience. You provide a show that any other convention would kill for even if it is not as spectacular as last year. In that respect I think ALTIMA and Yoshiki were an amazing lineup. At most conventions outside of Anime Expo Yoshiki alone could have been your entire musical lineup and been something people talking about for years. So both acts in one weekend was quite impressive.

I myself saw both concerts which was quite a treat. As per the rules of music at the anime con the ALTIMA concert was a rollicking Friday performance that was filled with jumping around, screaming, and silly audience participation. Yoshiki’s Sunday piano recital was mostly far more classy and mellow but there was a little of that X Japan madness thrown in as a little treat as well. Very Yin and Yang to be honest but also very welcome.

I am curious. Do you know of anyone who wanted to get into the Yoshiki concert but could not get a ticket? It seemed like there were a decent number of extra tickets floating around but I wonder how many of those never ended up in the hands of someone who wanted them. This is not major criticism of how the tickets were given out. As far as I know everyone who wanted to go actually got to go. I just want to check that is actually how it was for the most part.

narutaki_icon_4040 Otakon has always been a convention that takes their musical acts very seriously, some years they are the main draw for many fans. This year had that same level of love.

This year Otakon moved the Friday concert back to the convention center instead of the Mariner Arena. Sunday’s location has remained the same, so this time both concert were held in the same hall. There is an itimacy to the space which I enjoy and it worked especially well for a performance like Yoshiki’s.

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Otakon 2014: Panels

August 20, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 Before we begin I would like to mention one thing. Did all the casual bloggers, podcasters, and forum posters discover industry panels at once or did they just think to complain about industry panels at Otakon 2014 for the first time? All in all I don’t attend that many industry panels anymore. They are slightly more interesting than shareholders meetings and slightly less interesting than anything remotely fun.

Industry panels are mostly there to inform you of new licenses, remind you when things are coming out, mention major changes, and engage in a little Q&A. As any anime company worth its salt has a robust social media presence you can get most of that online. Plus all the major news sites and a few dedicated bloggers cover anything you would want to know without you having to sit through an hour of pitches.

The only reason to go most of the time is if want to engage in the Q&A. If you want to know what titles they are working on picking up they just won’t tell you that and if you want numbers most of the time they will dance around the issue. They will answers a lot of other questions but they are almost always on their best behavior when in front of an audience filled with cellphones and press people. If you have grievances they will note them, if you have praise they will appreciate it, and if you are confused they will usually sort things out the best that they can.

But that is 95% of all industry panels. Some trailers and then some Q&A. Some people are a little drier than others but you can only make so nice a purse out of a sow’s ear. I’m not exactly sure what people are expected to help spice up industry panels. Jokes? Skits? Balloon Animals? Every once in a while you have some neat things like the Uminko license or Ed Chavez’s little mini lectures but expecting those to be regular occurrence is foolishness. (Also Ed little mini lectures are usually just panels he would normally do, outside of being the Vertical rep, condensed into the last half of the Vertical panel.) Do you really want most industry reps trying to “rap with all the young home slices” in the audience?

Also let’s be honest. Most of the time when people seem really disappointed with industry panels they talk about them being boring and needing to be spiced up with content but always one factor also is brought up usually as a barely mentioned items almost under people’s breaths. They miss bigger giveaways that used to be around during the anime and manga bubbles. They want Oprah styled “You get an Itasha! You get an Itasha! Everyone gets an Itasha!” prizes. Until the next boom those are not going to be common place. Just deal with it.

But mostly importantly I’m not sure why people complain to Otakon. If you ask Sentai Filmworks or VIZ to make their panels a little more fun you have to tell them directly. They might not do anything but they will definitely take in into consideration. But Otakon is not going to stop Funimation from doing panels until they up their game because you think they need more showmanship. That is just not how the world works.

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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

More Otakon 2014 posts:

Otakon 2014: Tweets
Otakon 2014: Under the Dog
Otakon 2014: General Impressions
The Speakeasy #056: X, Otakon 2014
Otakon 2014: Panels
Otakon 2014: Concerts

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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.

(Listen)

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

X

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

 Follow us directlyon Stitcher, or on iTunes

More Otakon 2014 posts:

Otakon 2014: Tweets
Otakon 2014: Under the Dog
Otakon 2014: General Impressions
Otakon 2014: Photoshoots
Otakon 2014: Panels
Otakon 2014: Concerts

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