Soooo much for this. I’m sure I forgot things.
· Lines. I say this year in and year out – the line management has come soooo far in the decades I’ve been coming to Otakon. There is space for lines when they pop up. Gigantic lines (like the dealers room) actually move very well. Pre-Reg pickup continues to be BEYOND blissful on Thursday, and the 18+ line was amazing as well that day! Bag check line gets its own bullet point.
· Bag Check Line was Gold. I remember the issues with the bag check line the first time in D.C. (and most major conventions have moved in that direction) and I feel they are largely resolved. It didn’t take much longer to go into the WEWCC with this year’s check line than it did the last several years in Baltimore. I’ll address the food/drink issue in another bullet.
· Space Management. This may be my favorite thing of all. The AMV, Video 2 & 3, Otachan, a couple workshop spaces and Makers Space were all in an area we could access without having to dash up and down stairs. While I recognize this is a strong reflection of what I personally was interested in, it appeared there was a concerted effort to keep the video rooms together as well as keeping things nearby (workshops, Otachan/Makers Space for those w/ kids) so a family wouldn’t be flung out toward the far reaches of the universe. I also noticed most of the panels were concentrated in a given area. I think this was an outstanding move – even if Otachan/Makers Space get moved later.
· SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS. If space management isn’t my favorite thing, then this is. PLEASE BRING IT BACK. It was a great hoot for those who remember(d) some of those shows, a blast seeing the commercials and a bonus being able to bring the who family. It was a tough choice for me but I stayed in the dubbed room. I’ll have to try the subbed room next year!
· Classic Anime: I enjoyed watching Dororo in its original form and compared it to the current show. I’ve not finished the new season but I did view enough to judge how the new edition is quite faithful to the original with a few updates. Likewise viewing Mach-a-go-go-go (Speed Racer) subtitled . . . for my first time. Also for the first time, I watched Bubblegum Crisis dubbed. I appreciated the AnimiEgo dub made its debut at Otakon in 1994 – but I’ll keep watching that subbed. Special shout-out to the person running that room who gave tidbits of information before the shows began, as well as showing old opening/closings most of us have rarely or never seen.
· GUIDEBOOK. Keep doing this. You’re doing it right in my opinion. The added ability to bookmark folks in the dealer’s room in advance was SOOOOO helpful. While I didn’t take advantage of it, being able to purchase Maid Café and preferred seating tickets for the concerts kept things up to date. The alerts worked fine for me between my watch and my phone, and we were always able to see what was on our schedules at a glance. While some lamented the paper schedule not being out this year, 1) a person could download and print a PDF from the link on the website (my wife was one who wanted this) and – more importantly 2) it’s obsolete before the convention even opens. Guidebook can update in real time. Paper cant – unless you take a pen and an eraser.
· Renaissance Hotel is my Only Hotel: This is my new “Days Inn” not because of price, or even proximity. What I loved about the Days Inn in times of yore was how the staff was. I had a great experience yet again with the staff of this hotel and will shoot for it next year when hotels open up.
· Outside Food and Water Policy. It was a convention center policy first and foremost. I was not a fan personally, but I understood. I do wish the enforcement was uniform, but what can you do?
· Protest outside the Convention Center. Again, not Otakon’s fault. While it was not my favorite thing to see/hear . . . when is a good time to protest? The goal of any protest is to draw attention to a situation. They succeeded. I wish them well in their struggle.
· Food Pricing Inside the Convention center. Still not Otakon’s fault. Was actually about the same/cheaper to go back to the hotel and get better food there.
· Friday Night Fan Parodies: I have to start by saying some parodies are way better than none. However the Friday night group mostly missed me. I enjoyed a couple of things but most of it left me – cold. But the Saturday night fan parodies (what I could see of them) were much better. I got to get my “It’s Gendo!” on before BGC.
· No fuse beads workshop. We were looking for the fuse bead workshop and were disappointed when we saw it wasn’t there. Hopefully it will be back next year.
All in all, I want to thank Otakon – and all the great folks there in and out of costume – for making my 50th birthday such a blast! I’m all in for next year (my 24th consecutive – almost half my life) and hope to see you all there!