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Revengel last won the day on March 7

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  1. Revengel

    The 2018 Otakon Goer Roll-Call Thread

    NAME: Joe HOMETOWN: Rockville, MD. <---- thought I would be the only one from here? # of OTAKONS ATTENDED (including this year's, if applicable): This will be my 21st consecutive Otakon. BONUS (Your favorite anime that you first saw, and/or was announced, at the Otakon): Tough. Likely Air: The End of Evangelion, unless This is Otakudom counts. Or Nescalflowne. Quirky fact: Hmm . . . my first bike (Charlotte - who's named after the character from Samurai Showdown) is the only bike I'm aware of that's successfully cosplayed at Otakon. It was 1998 in Crystal City.
  2. Revengel

    Your first Otakon

    I hadn't thought of this in years! it's still in my collection. I think the roll came out just right, and we're all the better for it. I want to thank you for all of this . . . and more. Otakon has brought so much to those both here on the forum and those who never will be here. Thank you.
  3. Revengel

    Your first Otakon

    As promised, my book. First, a bit of context. I grew up watching cartoons with the family – Old Woody Woodpecker, Warner Bros., Black & White Popeye, etc. However there was a select group that really affected me back in the day. Tobor the 8th man – which for DECADES folks though was only shown in my home – Gigantor, Astro boy and a few others (Space Ghost, Birdman, Hurceloids, Spider-Man & other superhero cartoons get their own mantle.) Of that set, my favorites were Speed Racer (convinced that’s why I love cars to this day) Marine Boy and Kimba the White Lion. At the time I didn’t know they were from Japan . . . I just knew I loved them. By the time it registered they were originally from overseas my only thought was “Oh, ok.” This continued with (U.S. names of course) Star Blazers, Robotech and the like. I always loved animation, but I didn’t really have (at the time) a predilection for Anime. In the early 1990s I was working at a comic store. One regular Jeff – who’s knickname was Ryoga (foreshadowing) – was the treasurer of the UMD Anime society – AKA the Gamera Fan Club. He told me he had some things he wanted to share and he lent me a video tape. I meant to watch it but life was busy. It was a couple weeks later and he kept asking. Finally, one night when I got home from a new release day, I was dead tired. I said to myself “let me just put this in for a few minutes and give it a shot so I can tell him I did try.” That was about midnight. I had to force myself to stop the tape at 4:00 AM because I was laughing so hard I’d woken up my house mates. It was Ranma ½. Sweet buttermilk, that changed my whole life. I began looking for anything with big eyes and a small mouth and reading it, buying it and/or watching it. This included things I loved (Silent Mobius) and things that made me shudder (Angel Cop – dubbed) and the wonders of going to Suncoast and trying to figure out why subbed cost more than dubbed (LETTERS AREN’T CHEAP! #NonDeFilms.) But all the while, I loved the new world I’d discovered. it was a new joy and passion Then a pair of friends – Kobe and Sabertooth – told me they were going to this fan convention based on Anime. Adam Warren was going to be there and I loved his Dark Horse Bubblegum Crisis work. I jumped on Charlotte and rode to Hunt Valley – and that was my first Otakon in 1997. This was my first fan convention of any kind. I’d been going to the Auto Show since 1982, but that’s an industry event. This was the first time when I was at a convention where there were like minded individuals who were all into the same thing I was into. I remember one friend being excited about trading Saber Marionettes J for Escaflowne. On day two I did my first cosplay – the dead boyfriend of Priss from BGC (I was dressed in my black motorcycle leathers which happened to look like the image of him from the video Aseo Touchdown) and that weekend, I began a tradition. When I met Adam Warren, I didn’t have a copy of a comic to ask him to sign. So I asked him to sign my helmet. It was the first signature of many. I retired the helmet dozens of signatures later, culminating w/ T.M. Revolution. It’s one of my prized possessions. I had such a great time at my first Otakon that I became hooked. I saw Mononoke Hime in a DC theatre that had a column in the middle *just* to help Anime become more mainstream. We watched Sailor Moon at 6:00 AM *just* in the hope Anime would become normal & fun for the public. Went to Crystal City and put my bike in costumer. Went to Baltimore and had a blast every year – including an auction where I won a drawing of Priss. Went to DC and had possibly the best time in a couple-few decades. I’ve been every year since then and – while some years are better than others – I’ve never been disappointed. Now my child has been to every Otakon since she was a one year old. I love the fact I get to pass on my Ota-passion to a new generation of the family. The Raptor thinks it’s all both fun and normal. And that was our goal all along. TL;DR - Grew up w/ cartoons; a buddy got me into the new wave of anime; went in 1997 and have been to Otakon every year.
  4. Revengel

    Your first Otakon

    I'll have to type up that book, but it seems we got into the "modern" anime at similar times. It's just difficult to type all this at work at the moment. Love the idea of this thread.
  5. The same temperature will be great for some, horrid for others and just a hodge-podge for everyone. If your cosplaying Lum, 70 can be freezing. If you're cosplaying Priss (in a hardsuit) 70 is potentially heaven. Having done the latter (but not the former) I was very happy with the AC in the WEWCC.
  6. Can everyone please read this? The above statement (IMHO) perfectly captures the facts of the situation as well as the back and forth in the discussion on this subject. This would have been an issue anywhere and I (and many others) feel Otakon deserves major props for 1) taking this step and 2) improving the situation on the fly.
  7. Thanks - I remember that review now (I did a quick search - the "Let it Go" comment brought the whole thing back. Hopefully they'll raise their game next year.
  8. Interesting, because my experience was the opposite. Granted I never went to the Panera Bread but the other food places I went to were eager to have us. Of course, that's space allowing and that's going to vary. I especially was surprised the hotel wasn't ready for you. Our hotel was *AWESOME* and definitely wanted us. You said you liked staying at the Marriott (citing the tunnel) but was it the general noise/crowd of the hotel or was it something else? Did you leave a review in the hotel thread? I'm going to check that place next. The people in the area seemed to fall under two categories from what I noticed: 1) HeyLemmeTaekYurPicture and 2) IgnoreCrowdWhileListeningToHeadphones. But that's only my experience.
  9. I have been waiting for this thread!!! Given my history w/ Otakon - my second longest annual pilgrimage - I feel I have some views to offer. The Good. Room at the convention. Room to breathe, room to walk, room to take pictures without jamming up the place, room to check your map, just . . . room. Otakon felt like there were a ton of people but not crowded. Hard to strike that balance. Digital signage. This was one of the most useful and – perhaps – underappreciated aspects of moving to a modern convention center. From the big digital board by the main entrance to the smaller boards which had the schedule – and a marker showing the current time – digital signage was a major plus. Information Abundance. Between the Ota-staff with the “Information” flags walking about the WEWCC and the Center staff at the information desks, all the ones we dealt with were very helpful. When I couldn’t find a room (for the BGC 30th Anniversary panel) it was very easy to find a staff member and get general directions. Dealer’s Room. OMGWTFBBQ. Best. Dealers. Room. EVAR. Well, not quite. There were selections I hadn’t seen before at Otakon, but that will vary greatly from attendee to attendee as to what they like. But why I rate this so highly is because of the following: Tons of room. I could spin in a circle and not hit anyone. And I have long arms. Food Options. Several, and they were busy without huge lines (when we went) and the options somewhat varied. Places to sit. I cannot overstate this. The value of being able to sit down and eat while in the dealers room made it a much better experience. Video Screens. More crisp than I remember from last year. The chairs were more comfortable as well. Light. Another underappreciated aspect of many conventions. Natural light. While it was brightest in the area outside the video game room, natural light was everywhere that wasn’t the dealers room or artist alley. Guidebook Updates. I really appreciated getting a “ping” from my phone with updates for time changes and (sadly) cancelled events. The Hey feature I thought was great and I loved the fact you could tag a location on the artist alley map with the artist you wanted to see. Ease of movement between hotel and WEWCC. Once past bag check I never had an issue moving between the two. The Otamuseum was a priority for me on Sunday and there was a panel in the WEWCC I wanted to attend as well, and moving between the two was no problem. It wasn’t a problem at any time during the convention. The layout of the hotel is different from the CC so it wasn’t as roomy, but bouncing between Ota-Chan and the Matsuri fairly often was not a problem at all. Bathrooms. Either we got cleaner or they were cleaned fairly often. I’m not suggesting they were spotless or anything, but they were better than the ones I’ve used at the MCI/Verizon/Capital One SportsBox. THURSDAY PRE REG PICKUP. ALL CAPS NEEDED. I have never, nor will ever have a shorter line than what I had Thursday night. Mailing badges made a HUGE difference; needing a child badge for our collective a mail in option won’t work for me. But that was AMAZEBALLS!!! Improvement of the Bag Check. As the convention went along it seemed the lines got shorter. Otakon posted the bag checks were going to be cursory – this was not a TSA check to be sure – but after the first morning whatever adjustments Otakon/WEWCC staff made began to pay off. I also suspect part of that was registration/pickup was reduced after that time as well, and that likely contributed to the shorter bag check line. Photo suite. Used it for the second time personally, and it was the first group shot I was a part of. Well organized, relaxing and a good area. Photographer was nice and worked with us . . . but I do have a bit later on about that. Action Figure Box. I don’t recall seeing this before, but it was both a great idea and a great location! Big props for this. Hotels and Area Restaurants. Won’t get into detail here, but I loved both of these things. My Hotel feedback is in the appropriate thread and the businesses in the area were good with us! The Bad. Cancellations. It felt to a few in our group there were more cancellations this year. Granted, that’s likely just a perception. In the past there were no digital signs to post this information and Guidebook felt like it was updated more frequently than before, so perhaps the cancellations were the same as previous years. A few empty spots in the dealers room. I felt bad for the vendors who were shoved all the way to the right – especially Crimson Chain – because there were tons of empty booths. On Sunday there were vendors who moved to where the others were to increase foot traffic. Does the option exist for vendors who show up to have the option to move Friday night before Saturday if other vendors haven’t shown up or there are other empty booths available? Fuzzy pictures are fuzzy. We got hi-res pictures and they looked ok on the screen when the group was choosing what pictures to get – we wound up getting them all – but when I looked at them on a computer and selected “actual size” I saw the pictures were actually out of focus on several of the pictures. There was one of our group who didn’t wear any black, and those pictures were fine. However the others, including the group shots, were out of focus when viewed actual size. This wasn’t pixilation, this was out of focus. And we can’ go back and re-pose. In hindsight it makes me question if *for my group* the hi-res photos are even worth it. If Otakon would like to reach out to me directly I can provide the information needed if you want to do any follow up. The Ugly. Bag Check Line on Friday Morning. Ok, you knew this was coming. I referenced it before but had to acknowledge it here. But it did improve and Otakon only had 2 weeks to prepare. Perhaps a change in entry times vs. when the first panel begins will be one of the solutions for next year. TL;DR version: More Newer is Better, More Room is More Better, More info is More Gooder; Long lines is Much Bad, Fuzzy Photos = Sad Panda. Otakon has moved a total of four times. The move from Penn State to Hunt Valley I missed; I’ve been part of every other venue change. As a result, I feel those of us who’ve been through a move have a different perspective than those who haven’t . . . and specifically with Otakon moving. This is the best move of the three I’ve experienced, but it’s been a looooong time since the last move. Well done, Otakon.