The Speakeasy #080: Voltron, Kubo and the Two Strings, Otakon, Akito the Exiled

Ongoing Investigations: Voltron Legendary Defender by Dreamworks, Kubo and the Two Strings by Laika, and Code Geass: Akito the Exiled by Sunrise.

Food for Thought: What is the most important thing for Otakon to get right its first year in D.C.?

Topics: Otakon 2016

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

Last Goodbye

  • 1 oz cognac
  • 3/4 oz cherry brandy
  • 1/4 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1 tsp grenadine syrup
Pour into an old-fashioned glass half-filled with broken ice, and serve.

Otakon 2016: General Impressions

narutaki_icon_4040_round When we did our pre-Otakon podcast, we felt like the Otakon staff were not dialing it in as was a concern for a number of people. There were guests both from Japan and from the U.S., premieres, concerts, autographs, and all the other things we’ve come to expect. Though most admitted to feeling like the con was missing a central, tentpole event, there was still a lot to look forward to.

Otakon 2016 was my busiest yet, in phenomenal ways, and yet I can’t pick out a singular favorite moment from the weekend. At least not one that was specific to the convention itself (amazing friends, amazing food don’t count). I’m proud of the interviews we did, but was personally less impressed with the overall presentation of the con as a whole. It was no one thing that contributed to the feeling either.

Something about this year just felt a little off. Maybe it was the impending move; that sense of change in the air, that seemed to pervade my mood over the weekend.

hisui_icon_4040_round You’re leaving your significant other due to moving half way across the world for a great new job. It was a no-brainer to accept the position. The new career pays more and is far more rewarding. You debated the move for such a long time but when push came to shove it was just too good an opportunity to pass up.  Your relationship with your partner was hardly perfect. You had your issues but none of them were toxic. They were all things that could have been worked through if you had the time. It was mostly just the fact your need to advance your career and your life with this new job was more than what you had invested in this relationship.

Just before the move you and your partner have one last meal together. It is not exactly a date or a celebration. It almost feels like a dinner after a wake. It is a ceremony to help deal with the upcoming feelings of loss more than anything else. The meal is pleasant. Nothing harsh is really said. There are even some wonderful moments that remind you why you and your partner were together in the first place. It is far from a miserable affair but it is still slightly awkward despite the best efforts on everyone’s part. You leave the restaurant with a mixture of sadness and fear tinged with some hope that the upcoming new beginning will make this all worthwhile.

I think it is fairly obvious all of this is a metaphor for the last Otakon in Baltimore. Kate’s conflicted feelings about the event summed up everyone’s feelings. Otakon 2016 has a so many clashing emotions and ideas that need to be unpacked to fully understand this convention. If you don’t mind too much we are going to try to work through our experiences in this post while we give a con report as a by-product.

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Pre-Otakon 2016: Sayonara Baltimore

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(note: No Type-Moon Weekly News Round Up or All Points Bulletin this week)

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This is the year Otakon says goodbye to Baltimore.

One of this year’s most exciting guest is probably Kazuki Akane. Directing The Vision of Escaflowne alone probably enough to make him a tent-pole guest but his work on Heat Guy JNoein, Birdy the Mighty Decode and Code Geass: Akito the Exiled add some variety.

On top of that are some senior staff members from P.A. Works in attendance along with an exhibit. Nobuhiro Kikuchi, Kazuki Higashiji, and Kenji Horikawa will surely have a lot of insight into the studio behind CanaanThe Eccentric Family, and Shirobako.

The main players behind Under the Dog Jiro Ishii, Koji Morimoto, and Muneki Ogasawara should have a lot to say now that they have released their Kickstarted project. And speaking of Kickstarter, LeSean Thomas will also be a guest fresh off of the co-pro debut of the pilot for Cannon Busters. His experience in the western and eastern animation industry gives him a unique insight into animation production.

Kasumi Fukagawa’s work on mobile games should give her an extra dimension on top of her being a character designer. Shiro Dogu and Shunsuke Wada are an unknown quantity but they might have some enlightening information as employees of TakaOtacraft.

If you’re coming to Otakon this year, remember to party extra hard so we can properly send off the city that has welcomed the con for so many years, and say hello to the nation’s capital. Remember it is your last chance to eat some crab, make The Wire jokes, or get a bottle of ice cold water for a dollar when your at Otakon so make it count!

Be sure to attend Kate’s Panel!

Such Dog. Much Anime. Wow.
Saturday, 8:15PM, Panel 5


Our tentative schedule for the convention:

Friday
09:00AM Girl Power: Feminism and the Magical Girl Genre
10:15AM P.A.Works Autograph Session
12:00PM Jojo’s Posing School
02:00PM When Gundam Goes Bad
03:15PM Brave Series
04:30PM PA Works
05:45PM Jiro Ishii Q&A
07:00PM Haiku and Beyond
08:15PM Women in Anime
10:45PM History of Detective Conan

Saturday
09:00AM 1999: Otaku Time Machine
10:15AM Sports Anime History
10:15AM A Wizard Did It! The Mechanics of Fantasy in Anime and Literature
11:30AM Cannon Busters Exclusive Screening w/ LeSean Thomas
12:45PM MAPPA w/ Maruyama
02:00PM Awesome Women Making Anime
02:00PM Anime and Dice: Turning Cosplay into Roleplay
03:00PM Koji Morimoto Q&A
04:30PM TakaOtacraft: Otaku Craftsmen
05:45PM P.A.WORKS Anime Live Drawing: feat. Kazuki Higashiji
07:00PM Gattai! Giant Robots of 198X
08:15PM Such Dog. Much Anime. Wow.
08:15PM CLAMP Multiverse
09:30PM Victorian Japan
10:45PM Anime’s Appearances in Non-Anime
11:45PM Greater Uglier Manga

Sunday
09:00AM The Visual Novel: History of the Unrecognized Narrative Art
10:15AM 37 Years of Gundam Anime
12:00PM Gundam Thunderbolt w/ Q&A 
12:45PM Otakon: The Road to DC Panel
02:00PM Aniplex Gameshow Hosted by Team AoA
03:00PM Con Feedback Session