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ZGL

OTAKON 2008 FEEDBACK

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Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a great time this weekend! We'll be setting up a post-2008 forum shortly (once we're a little more awake), but in the meantime if you have any feedback for us, please feel free to use this thread! We really do read all of your suggestions, and we'll do our best to respond to concerns if you have them.

As a note though, please keep your comments civil and constructive. It's okay if you had a problem with something - we're here to help! - but it's much easier to address your concerns if you're calm and constructive than if you're simply venting.

With that out of the way, have at it! Good, bad, ugly, awesome - we want to hear it all!

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From how I saw it...this year was the most negative-free Otakon I've ever been to. Everything was well done.

Many thanks to you all, Otakon staff members!

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I'll have a full review and pics up on atthecon.com sometime this evening but, since you asked,

The Good,

Otakon volunteers who gave up their time so we could play. These people really make the con. My sincere thanks to each and every one of you.

The Bad,

The HD theater was a great dissapointment. Ten schedule changes, numerous technical problems. Bring back the 35MM room!

The Ugly,

The overflowing trash cans. Someone from con-ops should really get on the convention center about this. If anything, it's gotten worse the past two years.

But then,

The Awesome,

Oh yeah, that one word sums up the Otakon expereince quite well. Awesome.

Some problems, sure, but great people, great anime, a great time,

Awesome, indeed, awesome.

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Issues regarding obtaining a Wheelchairs and the special needs line being the same as the Help desk were pretty big problems for us.

It took us 4 hours to try and get information about obtaining a wheelchair ( Thanks to Mike Flury for really helping us out with that!).

I noticed that so many people who had canes, or such in the special needs line were really in a lot of pain for standing so long, behind people with only Help Desk issues.

Then that one artist in the Artist Alley who had 14 tables due to loopholes in the Alley's rules. I personally know of 4 artists who didn't come to Otakon just because they couldn't get tables.

But that was about all I had problems with, for an otherwise superb con!

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*repost from art forum*

I would like to voice my disappointment with the Art Alley staff for not doing anything about the blatant abuse of the Art Alley agreement by two artists and their cohorts this year. The fans are noticing, and the industry is noticing. If nothing is done to stop this next year, not only will we have to pay the consequences, but very likely Otakorp themselves. Concrete proof was given and still no action was taken. How much more do the artists have to put forward before this dishonest operation is stopped?

*insert me wagging my finger here*

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This was probably my best Otakon, and best convention ever. There are some areas where I have things to say.

Guests- I've said it before. Seeing JAM Project was on my list of things to do at least once before I die. I would happily go to a Japan show, then Otakon got them. It was probably one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen, because I knew almost every song. I know Otakon generally doesn't repeat musical guests, but JAM (and its individual members) have such a large repertoire they could go on for a few days straight.

The VA guests were cool. It was good to see Tony Oliver there.

Panels- WAY IMPROVED. I got my comped badge as planned, I got my timeslot, we all knew exactly what was going on, and nothing blew up. And I got a time where people could actually attend my panel (10 AM Sat), as opposed to last year (10 AM Sun). As for the other fan panels, it seemed like the vetting, for the most part, was a lot better. People were doing a lot of awesome stuff.

Security staff- Not the S.A.F.E. guys. Thanks. Like it was said in the feedback panel, sometimes they worked a bit too well, but otherwise, nice job.

Dealer's Room- Fine and dandy. Though why, for the exit, was sometimes just one door open?

And now the nitpicks. As I mentioned to some staffers, VIP/Press seating at the JAM concert...wasn't. It was al the way in the back by the soundboard. Reportedly, moving it back was the label's idea, but it wasn't cool. Yeah, let's put the people with cameras all the way back where they can barely see anything...I passed my camera off to a friend in the third row.

Also, I alluded to this with the security, but it didn't make any sense when certain doors would be closed (Sharp and Otterbein lobbies in particular). It was kind of annoying when the security staff turned me away from an exit and told me to go to Charles St. when the door was right there and there was no crowd or line or anything in the way.

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Overall it was pretty good, but I just have one small concern. Although I doubt anyone can do anything about it, I'll mention it anyway. Badges. They are just so expensive. I realize there are a lot of costs concerned, but $65 is a bit much. I hope prices do not rise again next year, as Otakon will find less people going due to not being able to afford to go.

Also, is it at all possible to mail out badges for people that pre-reg early enough? Possibly some online option where you get to see the graphics of the badges, choose the one you want, and it gets mailed to you? There are already enough lines at con for everything else, so this would help alleviate the most important one. I didn't pre-reg for this year, but if this was an option, I would pre-reg in a heart beat.

Other then that, good job overall for Otakon 08. Here's to 09!

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Some of that is out of their control. From renting out the BCC and First Mariner to flying the guests out, things are never cheap.

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I had a blast at Otakon this year. I would only change two things.

Schedule book: It would say 12am-1am Saturday, which really is Friday night but technically Saturday (that got confusing). Something like 12am-1am [Day 1] would be better.

Video Rooms & Subtitles: Rather than having subtitles on the bottom of the screen, have them on the top if that is possible.

Other than that, amazing convention.

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Also, is it at all possible to mail out badges for people that pre-reg early enough? Possibly some online option where you get to see the graphics of the badges, choose the one you want, and it gets mailed to you? There are already enough lines at con for everything else, so this would help alleviate the most important one. I didn't pre-reg for this year, but if this was an option, I would pre-reg in a heart beat.

I think I can safely say we will never mail out badges. First of all, it'd be too easy for people to make fake ones if they had 2 weeks before the con to do it. Second, things get lost in the mail all the time. Third, the costs of mailing stuff out would likely mean another increase in registration fees. And last but not least, we'd also need to dedicate extra pre-reg manpower to mailing stuff out - and the department consists of five people who answer email, so I doubt we could handle it alone. :)

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The following are comments are meant to be constructive criticisms and not an attack on any individuals.

Sub-titles -- (My personal pet peeve) Un-readable, or complete lack of sub-titles. Hellsing OAV and Glass Fleet were listed as sub-titled, but were broadcast as dubbed. When the projectionist tried to change the language to Japanese for Hellsing, the mob cries made them change their mind. Good-bye Mr. Despair was completely un-readable from the back rows of Video 2, many were standing along the wall, some even sitting on the backs of, or standing on, the chairs to read anything. Someone on Sunday changed the height adjustment on the projector to raise the sub-titles for Gundam to roaring applause.

Better training for projectionists -- Some projectionists are unfamiliar with using the controls properly and appear to be pressing buttons at random in an attempt to move the cursor to the correct location, or adjusting language/sub-titles while the video is commencing. In some cases they had the wrong settings and had to re-start the disc in the player to get back to where they could make changes, restarting the show 3 times in one case.

Hallways -- The hallway connecting the 2 buildings had some kind of line for a panel on Saturday against both walls. This severely hampered any movement between buildings. Please consider putting something in that area that does not draw a huge crowd, like the Ota-chan. Nothing should restrict movement in between buildings, it is a critical area.

Large lines -- Split the Autograph and Dealer's room lines in the long hallway, using the rest rooms as a physical divider. This will better separate the 2 large crowds waiting in lines.

End of line signs -- While the end of line signs are helpful, the poor individual holding it has to answer hundreds of times of which line it is the end. Consider using "End of Line" with a replaceable sub-section beneath for AMV Contest, Registration, etc. Maybe an erasable white board on the bottom to list what line it is? A more permanent version and can be re-used year to year. The poor guy doing the End of Line for the AMV screening on Friday deserves a medal for trying to reign in the crowd all by himself. I'm surprised he didn't go berserk after hearing "What is this line for?" repeatedly.

Locating Staff -- It was very hard to locate staff in the crowds. The black tee-shirts get lost in the mobs and are hard to distinguish at a distance. Perhaps consider a Chartreuse arm band of hat saying STAFF so you are easier to spot. Something bright, and un-likely to be used in a costume, that can be located quickly.

Starways -- If a stairway is not to be used, such as half the stairwell near the fountain, please consider those retractable ropes to block them off. Even if this is only temporary. It is rather disconcerting when you go to a stairwell and someone starts shouting at you that it is restricted. The retractable ropes are a visual indicator that are easily spotted from further away.

Exits -- I tried to exit at the registration area to get to my hotel past the train tracks. I was blocked by someone and told that there were no exits at all. They said that I would need to go back to the other building to exit to my hotel. This is rather in-efficient and wastes valuable time if trying to get to my room between scheduled shows. Understandably the Registration lines are in that area, but there are at least 2 hotels past that street that people need to reach and cutting them off is un-fair.

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Hmm overall I would say I had a pretty positive experience at Otakon. The line to get in on Friday was pretty long (the longest I've waited in line since the 4 years I have been coming) but I guess it moved quickly enough

I was very impressed with the moderation of the guest panes this year. Last year at the Seki Tomokazu panel you had fans going on and on about how much they loved Seki Tomokazu and that limited the time for good questions. This didn't happen at all during the Kappei Yamaguchi panel and as a result a lot of great questions were asked. So great job whoever was staffing the first Kappei panel.

I still don't feel the way autographs are done are the best. No matter what is said on this board the best way to get an autograph is to wait for the autograph line to form and to jump in as soon as you can. At the Kappei panel they gave out tokens to the first 25 people who asked questions and this method is fine but as soon as this was announced there was a stampede to get in the question line. I couldn't even get out of my row and the question line was already formed with way more than 25 people. So the next day I waited an hour before the Kappei Yamaguchi line even started in an autograph waiting area (which was way too close to the Dealer Room Btw) and managed to get an autograph thankfully. I am not sure how autograph lines can be improved but I wish staff wouldn't say on here that the best way to get an autograph is to go to the panel because that is very misleading and not true. Actually I like how Bandai handled autographs. They gave out tickets to the first 100 people that came to their booth and if you got a ticket you were guaranteed an autograph at a select time.

I guess another issue is if staff sees people sitting in line for an hour waiting to get into a panel please let the people in line know beforehand that you are not going to clear the room of the previous panel. People should not have to waste their time waiting in line like that.

Also I don't know who moderated the Fansubber and Industry Panel but they did a terrific job!

Oh yeah the JAM PROJECT concert was incredible.

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WHY WAS THE SCHEDULE NOT IN THE POCKET GUIDE?? Completely ridiculous guys, seriously. When I look at the title of an event that isn't obvious as to what it is focused on, I want to be able to flip back to the description of it. And the same goes for all of the hours of operation information, because knowing when the dealer's room and raves are happening are PARTS OF THE SCHEDULE. I can see your reasoning maybe for putting the schedule on the back of that silly newspaper thing, in hopes of making more people aware of the guests that are at the convention, but I'm sure if someone was interested in one of the guests, that they wouldn't need to be reminded of it. On a plus side, I think this was the first year you didn't have to include a list of schedule changes (even though there did end up being a few concerning video showings).

As for next year, are you guys aware of the city's interests in tearing down and rebuilding the arena? It's still being discussed/debated with the state, but if it does end up happening, there's a good chance it would be underway during next year's con. Have you been in talks with the new hotel opening up next door; maybe some events will be co-existing there from now on?

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Okay - Otakon this year was awesome, although it felt to me a lot less crowded than in the past. This was good, in the sense that I didn't feel I had to fight my way to get to places, but then I worried that the con had much less attendance. We'll have to see about a final number.

The awesome - all three yaoi panels were hillarious, Freedom Project was awesome, Vampire Knight - amazing, Lovely Complex live action so funny, and theater 6 was great because everyone could always see the subtitles! Oh! The Girl Who Leapt Through Time rocked too! ^^

The not so awesome - No backpacks in the HD theater caused me to get out of line for Death Note live action, and then they let people with backpacks in... so... I was sad I didn't see it.

I didn't notice the monopoly of tables in the Artist Alley (yes, this really needs taken care of) but I bought an awesome stand up Duo ^^ and my fiance got a very nice Kingdom Hearts print that we're going to frame...

Overall, the only complaints that my friends seemed to have was the backpacks issue and on the 3rd floor it was difficult to find out what lines were for what and where the end was sometimes. Also they were watching some 18+ live action stuff in the evening and were told by people that the doors were shut because the theater was full, and where they were sitting seats were still available. Staffers/Gofers were always polite and helpful - the opening animation rocked too! ^^

The con was awesome, and I can't wait until next year!!!

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WHY WAS THE SCHEDULE NOT IN THE POCKET GUIDE?? Completely ridiculous guys, seriously. When I look at the title of an event that isn't obvious as to what it is focused on, I want to be able to flip back to the description of it. And the same goes for all of the hours of operation information, because knowing when the dealer's room and raves are happening are PARTS OF THE SCHEDULE. I can see your reasoning maybe for putting the schedule on the back of that silly newspaper thing, in hopes of making more people aware of the guests that are at the convention, but I'm sure if someone was interested in one of the guests, that they wouldn't need to be reminded of it. On a plus side, I think this was the first year you didn't have to include a list of schedule changes (even though there did end up being a few concerning video showings).

In the past, people have complained about the number of programming schedule changes we've made at the convention that weren't included in any of the printed stuff you get in your Otakon bag. This year, we tried putting the schedule on the errata sheet so that there would be less time between the print deadline and the con. It was sort of successful - although there was less at-room-scribbling on signs in terms of programming changes, the print was also quite small (this was brought up at the feedback panel). We'll definitely look at it again next year.

As for next year, are you guys aware of the city's interests in tearing down and rebuilding the arena? It's still being discussed/debated with the state, but if it does end up happening, there's a good chance it would be underway during next year's con. Have you been in talks with the new hotel opening up next door; maybe some events will be co-existing there from now on?

Yes, we're aware of it. The city has actually decided to rebuild the Arena in the same location; it's a question now of when (not likely to be for a few years, due to financing). We have indeed been speaking with the Hilton, and are looking at ways to use the new space it will provide.

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I guess I didn't get the memo about the wrist bands for 18+ screening. The first time I entered one they checked wrist bands plus IDs. When I went to see the Machine Girl they wouldn't let me in. All they had to do is look at the date on my ID. Whether or not it was about time or making it easier for staff it was rather disappointing waiting in line and then getting to the door, which then you are turned away. It just wasn't consistent.

Other then that small complaint I was pleases with the crowd control this year. I know some are complaining but it's definitely improved. In some ways the con felt like it was becoming more personal then past years; this might have been do to less crowding.

Last but not least, the subtitles are still hard to read. I don't know if this is going to change but it has always been an issue in the smaller rooms. When watching Library Wars the video controller did adjust the projector about 4 or 5 inches up. That small distance made a big difference for a lot of people.

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Practical, thought-out suggestion:

There are TV screens here and there throughout the BCC.

My fantasy, soon to be your fantasy: Program them so they can show updates to the schedules and programming changes, airport-terminal style. That way, you're not tied to one dry-erase board that gets smudged/bumped into.

This is a BCC issue; it's likely it's nothing you can do. But it IS just a thought. If they say they don't have such programmable flat-screen panels for major conventions, I will be flabbergasted.

Also:

Part of the rationale for not permitting signs in Otakon was that, as I recall, they said that someone legitimately looking to relay a message could post a message on the bulletin boards. No, not this online BBS, the real stick-a-tack-in-it bulletin boards.

What happened to the bulletin boards?

Granted, I didn't see much in the way of anyone "posting" anything on the walls or counter-tops. But I'm sure a lot of folks would like to "advertise" or publicize their room parties, meet-ups for folks into a particular anime/hobby/etc., offers for a ride, etc. Frankly, the bulletin boards they had up years ago became interesting commentaries and sociological outlooks in their own right. Did the BCC ban them?

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I had a great time at the convention. I was very surprised to see the masquerade and the sunday concert start right on time and not one minute late!

Something really needs to be done about the panel lines. The opening ceremony lines was out of control, you can't expect ~600 people in the hallway and have it be organized...

It would also be nice to know which events require a clear out of the room beforehand... I think everyone in the JAM PROJECT panel was caught off guard so when we dash out to get into the opening ceremony line, it only added to the confusion.

But all in all, we still had fun, it was probably the best otakon in years that I attended (my ninth year!)

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Is it just me or was the aisle space between rows of booths in the dealer room wider this year? If it was, it was an amazing planning decision. It made it so much easier to get around, see everything and stay longer to shop without feeling like you had to elbow people violently to see each and every vendor. My husband and I, and our teenaged niece and nephew, both really appreciated the extra space by buying more than we had in previous years.

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It would also be nice to know which events require a clear out of the room beforehand... I think everyone in the JAM PROJECT panel was caught off guard so when we dash out to get into the opening ceremony line, it only added to the confusion.

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*repost from art forum*

I would like to voice my disappointment with the Art Alley staff for not doing anything about the blatant abuse of the Art Alley agreement by two artists and their cohorts this year. The fans are noticing, and the industry is noticing. If nothing is done to stop this next year, not only will we have to pay the consequences, but very likely Otakorp themselves. Concrete proof was given and still no action was taken. How much more do the artists have to put forward before this dishonest operation is stopped?

*insert me wagging my finger here*

While I'm not fully briefed on the how and why of the Alley, I am VERY disappointed in how registration for it was handled this year, and how it would appear that there is a degree of unfairness, and maybe even underhandedness in how it was done. It filled up in only what, an hour? And there were people with more tables than necessary, while some people couldn't even get one table? There should really have been a modest limit, and some sort of review to allow people who are not members of the "secret society of artists" to participate in the Alley. While it may be an exaggeration or presumption, it looks like theres an unfair monopoly going on.

Aside from that, everything seemed to run quite smoothly. There were some minor issues here and there, but generally all was handled well.

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I want to start off by saying this was probably the best Otakon I've been to, and by far the best run. My only complaint about the con is a repeat of what someone said earlier...the combined Help Desk/Special Needs line. My friends and I waited for Special Needs probably double the time we waited to get our regular badges, and when you're in that line because one of your group members has trouble standing long and walking...well... However, the staff DID try to fix that at the end of our wait, and divided the lines. So, thanks for that :)

I have to say though, the staff was great and very helpful whenever we talked to them. Whether it was to ask about where to go for masq awards, or where the closest elevator was for our friend, all the staff memebers we met were very polite and helpful. Thank you.

I want to add a special thanks and kudos to the masquerade staff too, particularly Lauren, who was one of the staffers running the event. Lauren (and all the staffers) were absolutely amazing. Rehearsal ran late due to reasons out of their control (judges stuck in traffic and hired tech people coming late), but they all did everything they could to make all the contestants comfortable and happy. They brought out chairs and water for the two gimpy people in my masq group, and let us sit in the arena while waiting for things to start. Lauren was constantly walking around, seeing what she could do for people. On top of all this, and despite a late rehearsal, the masq ran super smoothly, and they had great, knowledgeable judges. I am REALLY impressed by the Otakon masq and staff. Thank you for everything guys!

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Overall it was pretty good, but I just have one small concern. Although I doubt anyone can do anything about it, I'll mention it anyway. Badges. They are just so expensive. I realize there are a lot of costs concerned, but $65 is a bit much. I hope prices do not rise again next year, as Otakon will find less people going due to not being able to afford to go.

Also, is it at all possible to mail out badges for people that pre-reg early enough? Possibly some online option where you get to see the graphics of the badges, choose the one you want, and it gets mailed to you? There are already enough lines at con for everything else, so this would help alleviate the most important one. I didn't pre-reg for this year, but if this was an option, I would pre-reg in a heart beat.

Other then that, good job overall for Otakon 08. Here's to 09!

Otakorp does make their budget public, so you can see how much money they take in and spend evey year to put on their main meeting of Otakon. In all honesty, 4 music concerts, a dealers hall larger than some malls, and a long list of cool stuff to do on an epic scale makes it worth the membership cost.

As a bonus, check out the hotel rates for 2009, they have been lowered over what they have been for 2008 and 2007 since Otakon has grown so much and has staying power in the Baltimore tourism industry. Consider that a bit of relief in terms of price for next year.

In terms of mailing badges, I personally think that isn't viable for something on the scale of Otakon. It would raise the price (ironic), and there would be multiple issues with the system as it relies on a third party (USPS, UPS, FEDEX or other) to handle and deliver the badges. This also gives people time to try and rip off Otakon through forgery and illegal badge transfers. The reg lines have moved fast every time I have looked at them. I would get in line when pre-erg pickup opens and the line starts moving (5pm thurs) that way you're always moving and not waiting.

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This otakon feels a little different than ones past... I'll just do a very nitpicky list here, but Otakon this year was definitely one of the most memorable ones I've had in the past 11 Otakons I've been to ... just for JAM PROJECT \o/ And most other stuff was very well handled too.

- Need a pit area for the rock concerts. It can be as ghetto as a standing-room-only section in the front roped off at the front but open from the back. This actually makes an impact on the performance because it affects how the fans cheer at the bands, and in term affects the band's energy level.

- Too many panel rooms are too small for the panels they are assigned (I got burned by the bandai panels specifically, but I think this applied to some other panels for panel room 1 and 2), and people who lined up 15 minutes before the panel get turned away because it won't fit is just messed up.

- I like having the schedule in a booklet/pocket guide. This year I just left the pocket guide in my hotel room seeing how it's kind of useless to carry around, and just folded the errata sheet into my pocket.

- I don't like how the autograph raffle/token/not-a-ticket system works this year, mainly because it was not really possible to get a token unless you camp either the autograph line or the panel line. The problem is even if you go to the panel, most people didn't get a ticket anyways, and it's not for lack of trying. If you got one, it's because you got lucky or the panel staff picked you out of the other 100 people who had their hand raised. It also still presents the agonizing choice for fans to have to pick either risking losing out on autographs by going to the panel, or camp the autograph line. If you guys did a straight up lottery it would have been "fair" at least. This is just random. Thankfully there were plenty of opportunities to get autographs so most people who wanted one got one I think. Maybe get more tokens next time? Like a whole lot more? The numbers I hear were like, a total of 100 or so. Maybe try like 200-300 next time?

- I think the jam room worked out this year, some fun stuff went on in there. Would be nice if Otacafe band night is actually, well, bands and not guys pressing buttons on their synths. Tho they were pretty ok. Just a selfish request here but it would be nice to just allow more open mic karaoke time during that prime saturday night period.

- I guess this is another complaint but not directed to Otakon 2008 directly: please DO NOT ANNOUNCE OTAKON 2009 DATES AT OTAKON 2008. Because most con-goers can't book a room in the middle of the con :):P:P:P

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Here's a bit of feedback from someone who was in the Artists Alley...

The Good:

1.) I was rather thankful that the AA was in a room that had a concession area. It was nice not having to run all over creation to get food. Yes, their stuff is expensive but you pay for convenience. I'm more than OK with that.

2.) I think having an exit from the dealers room near an entrance to the AA was a great idea. I felt like it gave us extra foot traffic and filled all corners of the room. It might have been nice, though, to have exits and entrances marked more clearly. I think some folks were a little confused.

3.) The staff was more than courteous! I've been attending the con since 2000 and I must say that this was the best group in quite a long time. Everyone I met was helpful from getting us checked in to making sure my lame body could find an elevator to get around the BCC.

The Bad:

1.) While this wasn't so much Otakons fault, the electrical setups were pretty much non-existent for everyone in the AA. I had to track down a woman from the BCC so that I could get authorized for electricity which I paid for in advance.

2.) Too many chairs! Personally, I think three chairs are way too many to put in front of the size of table that's used. Most of the extras ended up getting stuck in the middle of each island which took up necessary space.

The Ugly:

I honestly can't think of anything here!

This was our first year selling in the AA and I most certainly am chalking it up as a good experience. Actually, this was truly our first AA experience as a whole. My wife and I learned quite a bit about what fans are interested in and what they want to see from us. I'm looking forward to next year and our hotel room is already booked!

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It would seem to be common sense that all panels SHOULD HAVE a clear out of the room beforehand.

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- I think the jam room worked out this year, some fun stuff went on in there. Would be nice if Otacafe band night is actually, well, bands and not guys pressing buttons on their synths. Tho they were pretty ok. Just a selfish request here but it would be nice to just allow more open mic karaoke time during that prime saturday night period.

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I still don't feel the way autographs are done are the best. No matter what is said on this board the best way to get an autograph is to wait for the autograph line to form and to jump in as soon as you can.

If we're all doing our jobs right, yes, it totally is. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I am not sure how autograph lines can be improved but I wish staff wouldn't say on here that the best way to get an autograph is to go to the panel because that is very misleading and not true.

Agreed. Totally not true.

All in all though, things went very smoothly this year (relative to previous years), and if spacing concerns go the way we hope they will next year (due to potentially added space), then we can really get things humming, although when you have really big guests, chances are good that there will always be some people turned away due to time issues, no matter how we try to schedule or line up for them. We just try to get as many people in as we can while keeping as many of the members and guests as happy as we possibly can about how things go. ;)

Okay - Otakon this year was awesome, although it felt to me a lot less crowded than in the past. This was good, in the sense that I didn't feel I had to fight my way to get to places, but then I worried that the con had much less attendance. We'll have to see about a final number.

Word is that attendence was considerably higher this year than last, we're just that good as keeping things orderly, apparently. ;)

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autograph raffle/token/not-a-ticket system

The deal with tickets is that we wanted to reward people for attending and participating in the guests' panels. We limited giving out 25 per panel because we didn't want to give out so many that lining up was pointless, because the guest only has so much time to sign autographs and meet/talk with the fans. If we gave out more, then you would have to have gone to the panel, and that's not fair to those that can't make the panel. The people picked to ask questions were done at random, because let's face it, that's the only fair way to do it, we can't judge how much one fan deserves compared to another. Expressing how badly you want a ticket means nothing to us, we have to treat each attendee as equal. If you're dissatisfied with how it was handled, we're sorry, but it was handled that way out of the interest of fairness to everyone.

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Word is that attendence was considerably higher this year than last, we're just that good as keeping things orderly, apparently. ;)

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autograph raffle/token/not-a-ticket system

The deal with tickets is that we wanted to reward people for attending and participating in the guests' panels. We limited giving out 25 per panel because we didn't want to give out so many that lining up was pointless, because the guest only has so much time to sign autographs and meet/talk with the fans. If we gave out more, then you would have to have gone to the panel, and that's not fair to those that can't make the panel. The people picked to ask questions were done at random, because let's face it, that's the only fair way to do it, we can't judge how much one fan deserves compared to another. Expressing how badly you want a ticket means nothing to us, we have to treat each attendee as equal. If you're dissatisfied with how it was handled, we're sorry, but it was handled that way out of the interest of fairness to everyone.

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Actually, according to the number at the feedback panel, attendance was 26,325.

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This was my first and most certainly wont be the last. im hooked. ;)

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Well I don't think it's fair to people who went to the panel hoping to get a ticket when in reality they are better off NOT going to the panel...

You know what would be fair? Just don't even give out tickets. This way you truly treat everyone equally.

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Otakon staff, thank you for making my second Otakon just as memorable as the first!

Some thoughts:

-I really did not like the Dealer's Room closing so early on Saturday! I read about the possibility of it being because dealers needed to limit their shifts, get food, etc and that's understandable, but something should be worked out for next year so it can be open longer.

-The Touhou panel was more bizarre than I could ever imagine. Word is, the panel had been moved and this "Cosplay Psychology" guy just took over the panel, but why did it take over 20 minutes for someone to do something about it?

-I agree with the sentiment that Panel 2 needs to be swapped with something like Ota-chan - that panel room is too small and not a good line-up location for things like the Bad Anime Bad panel.

-I do like the autograph ticket system. Most of the panels I went to for guests were giving them out for questions, which was rewarding people for PARTICIPATING in the panel, not just being first in line for it.

-The information desk and medical staff were AMAZING! I can't say enough about how great they were.

-I also agree with holding onto the dates until we all return from the con, please.

Thanks again for a great year.

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I remember the reason they were giving out tickets in the first place is because some guests in the past had autograph sessions right after a panel, so someone who attended the guest's panel is pretty much giving up his/her chance of getting an autograph...

Personally, I like the system right now.

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A very clear place to check for schedule changes, like the rescheduling board at the QA desk. And not just one, but multiple across the con. And keep them updated, and point people to them in the program. I'm still burnt from missing the Touhou panel. =(

I have to say, this was a pretty dang good Otakon. The turnout for JAM Project wasn't as good as L'Arc~en~Ciel (IIRC), but it was definitely a great concert. And the Rakugo was great too!

Also, something that'd help is some sort of grouping thing for us con soloists. Even though I live in Baltimore I don't really know a lot of people, and Otakon is best experienced with friends (it sucks going alone =( ). So some sort of soloist registration thing that'll group people together. It'd definitely help. XD

One thing the city needs to do is link the Arena with the Convention Center by a skyway... ><;;

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-The Touhou panel was more bizarre than I could ever imagine. Word is, the panel had been moved and this "Cosplay Psychology" guy just took over the panel, but why did it take over 20 minutes for someone to do something about it?

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26,000???!! I had no idea all weekend that there were that many people! Excellent job to the otakon crowd control! Lines were well controlled, moved quickly and well policed. This was an awesome year, with so many great guests and panels.

The only minor (emphasis) complaint was the sunday line for the dealers room. several staffers said that the otterbein lobby would be opened at 10:30 for a second line but then said no at 10:25. That said, the camden lobby line at 10:30 moved really fast.

Now i think i'll go back to watching tenjho tenge to drown my post-convention depression.... =D

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Well I don't think it's fair to people who went to the panel hoping to get a ticket when in reality they are better off NOT going to the panel...

You know what would be fair? Just don't even give out tickets. This way you truly treat everyone equally.

From the sound of your aggravation, you probably were at a panel that closely proceeded an autograph session. We try to have a good break between the panels and autograph sessions to allow people to do both. That's not always possible due to scheduling, because one person doesn't have sole responsibility over the schedule, and guests schedules vary, because they have things THEY want to do. They don't come over just for Otakon. They also come to vacation and site-see. But it is true that attending the panel DOES increase your chances of getting an autograph. However, in those cases where the autograph session follows the panel closely, it becomes problematic. It's not anyones fault, it's just how the schedule ends up. Not everything can be ideal.

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From the sound of your aggravation, you probably were at a panel that closely proceeded an autograph session. We try to have a good break between the panels and autograph sessions to allow people to do both. That's not always possible due to scheduling, because one person doesn't have sole responsibility over the schedule, and guests schedules vary, because they have things THEY want to do. They don't come over just for Otakon. They also come to vacation and site-see. But it is true that attending the panel DOES increase your chances of getting an autograph. However, in those cases where the autograph session follows the panel closely, it becomes problematic. It's not anyones fault, it's just how the schedule ends up. Not everything can be ideal.

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Someone should have credited, or at least mentioned, the DAICON animators/Hideaki Anno for the opening animation at the AMV contest. It looked to me like an edited version of what they had already done. The scene with the music bars trailing colored smoke appeared to have been lifted from the sword scene and Photoshoped. Same music too. Compare it with 4:24 from the Daicon original

.

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Someone should have credited, or at least mentioned, the DAICON animators/Hideaki Anno for the opening animation at the AMV contest. It looked to me like an edited version of what they had already done. The scene with the music bars trailing colored smoke appeared to have been lifted from the sword scene and Photoshoped. Same music too. Compare it with 4:24 from the Daicon original
.

Trust me, it was animated from storyboarding up to full frame. not "photoshopped". There are quite a few parody references throughout the animation, all of which I believe fall under parody law.

It follows a long line of people parodying DAICON (Ie Densha Otoko), and usually it's a customary tribute and tip of the hat to them for them giving their part to the anime craze..

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Issues regarding obtaining a Wheelchairs and the special needs line being the same as the Help desk were pretty big problems for us.

It took us 4 hours to try and get information about obtaining a wheelchair ( Thanks to Mike Flury for really helping us out with that!).

I noticed that so many people who had canes, or such in the special needs line were really in a lot of pain for standing so long, behind people with only Help Desk issues.

Then that one artist in the Artist Alley who had 14 tables due to loopholes in the Alley's rules. I personally know of 4 artists who didn't come to Otakon just because they couldn't get tables.

But that was about all I had problems with, for an otherwise superb con!

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I'm pleased as punch with every single aspect of the con except for being forgotten up on the fourth floor by Costume Contest staff, which was an honest mistake, so I guess it's okay. Other than that, there was never a dull moment, even waiting in the Gofer Pool, so yeah! Thanks to staff and the department heads and the planners for cramming as much fun into every single hour possible!

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Someone should have credited, or at least mentioned, the DAICON animators/Hideaki Anno for the opening animation at the AMV contest. It looked to me like an edited version of what they had already done. The scene with the music bars trailing colored smoke appeared to have been lifted from the sword scene and Photoshoped. Same music too. Compare it with 4:24 from the Daicon original
.

Be sure to pass that criticism along to the studio that made Densha Otoko while you're at it. :(

Same music too.

Now that's just silly, it didn't sound anything like Twilight.

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I just wanted to post about my good experiences too, lol - I sounded really negative in my last post.

AA and Art Show staff were wonderful and I appreciated all their help and support. They were the best and they made my first year at AA great. <3 (I spent the majority of my time in AA this year).

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Suprisingly, the best part of it, to me at least, was the masquerade.

Definitely not all of it.

But in the Youth Category there was a small girl cosplaying Sakura Haruno from Naruto and she sang "Simple and Clean" from the video game "Kingdom Hearts."

It was a very amazing moment for me and a lot of other people as well.

Just the fact that everyone was joining in and waving their cellphones and anything else really added to the moment and let her know that everyone was right their backing her up.

She went from being a very self-concious little girl to loosening up and realizing that no one was going to bad mouth her or boo her off stage while she was singing.

The world can be a very harsh place, but for that one moment, everything seemed peaceful and it felt like everyone in that arena was a big family.

And it's amazing that all that can happen at what the majority of the world just thinks is a geeky embarassing place.

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Well I don't think it's fair to people who went to the panel hoping to get a ticket when in reality they are better off NOT going to the panel...

You know what would be fair? Just don't even give out tickets. This way you truly treat everyone equally.

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