The alley had also somewhat morphed into half craft fair. Printed sticky notes, handmade clothing, glass ornaments, handwritten scrolls, pottery, hand-knit dolls, hair clips, dioramas, candles, body spray, and the list goes on. But by far the most popular new item seemed to be washi tape, printed rolls of tape with cute graphic patterns of different characters. (I didn’t actually buy any of this mysterious tape, but perhaps that will change at Otakon.)
The underwhelming reaction to Sailor Moon Crystal certainly had not stemmed the flow of Sailor Moon fan-works. I picked up a delicate and wonderfully colored Sailor Moon sticker by Joanna Nagy as well as a cutsey Sailor Moon sticker set by Jenny Malaguit. I love her hand lettering at the top. Nearer the end of my journey I found the Sailor Pluto palm mirror by Mae-Yung Tang.
I was pleased to see Soojin Kim (skimlines) at AnimeNEXT again as she sells these very nice retractable badge clips. I already have a Sailor Moon one, but as luck would have it I can’t seem to find the darn thing, so I bought another one with a different Sailor Moon design.
The magical girl appreciation didn’t stop there. I saw my first ever PreCure fan-art at a U.S. artist alley. Amanda Jaikissoon had pieces from HappinessCharge PreCure! and Go! Princess PreCure. I was delighted and surprised so I couldn’t pass up a postcard set.
I tend to stay away from prints bigger than a postcard but I loved the graphic style and minimal color of Lesser Key Studios‘ Akahiko and Ken from Persona 3.
Sports characters were a massive part of AnimeNEXT and that was true in the Artist Alley as well. There wasn’t a big dominate series this time around but as a genre, sports definitely took up a lot of space. Personally, I was sad to see so little of Kuroko’s Basketball, but there was plenty of Hakiyu!!, Free!, and Yowamushi Pedal.
I picked up the Nishinoya from Haikyu!! postcard by oversaturation. She had just about every character to choose from. I really liked her attention to details as well as her use of pattern and color. The bright Yowamushi Pedal sticker sheet came from Mojgon. Oddly enough it doesn’t feature any of my favorite characters from the series but seeing “GROSS!” and “I’M STRONG” just cracked me up.
I was excited to see a couple of people with Death Parade artwork. The postcard I snagged from Cosumosu. There were a couple of other unexpected series in the alley like My Love Story!! and Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun. I picked up an adorable Hori button by gingery biscuit.
Last but not least (actually this was my first purchase of the con) is Ourobors, the first collected issue of the webcomic, by Lollerblob. This is an action story with martial arts, swords, and mysterious powers. I had never heard of the series, but I was very impressed by the paneling and artwork. It felt very finished and I’m always attracted to artists selling full comics in the artist alley. Chapter two is in progress now.
Artist alley was jam-packed which is of course fantastic for the artists, but as an attendee I felt like I missed some stuff. Despite two, what I thought were, thorough walkthroughs, I saw others walking around with pieces I missed. Oh well, I still spent all my money anyway.
I hope to see many of these artists at Otakon in just a few weeks.