The new space, new venue, and new city were all a major upgrade to me. Both the convention center and the Marquis were leagues above the old venue in quality, and I felt safer in DC than in Baltimore. TBH I don't really miss Baltimore at all.
Anisong World Matsuri - This was what sealed the deal for me going as it has been my dream to see Jam Project live, but have never been able to make it to their previous shows. I attended both amazing concerts, and I just loved that tickets/seating were sold in advance. I was able to get good seats without wasting hours of con time getting in line super early to snag a decent spot. That made the whole experience much more pleasant and I also felt the concerts were much longer and higher quality than many of the other concerts Otakon has hosted in the last 8 years.
Some game room additions, such as having the Touhou games, and some other shooting games (I saw Mushihimesama Futari and Raiden Fighters Aces). I also heard that DJMAX Respect was there, though I missed it. I just love when there are alot of non-fighting games to play!
The Lolita Garden and all the Lolita programming within - Lack of Lolita programming has been a big issue to me with Otakon, so it was amazing to see it this year! I attended 2 photoshoots, and considered one of the card gaming sessions until I want down and saw that it was pretty much full, and with hardly any lolita attendees (that's okay, I'm not saying the programming shouldn't be inclusive!). The atmosphere of the garden was very nice, and although I was not able to attend the fashion show due to it being scheduled during the Saturday concert, I have heard that it was run much better than would be expected for a first-year event. I hope this programming track grows at Otakon; a nice next step would be to have a Lolita vendor or 2 in the dealer's hall, such as Lolita Collective, who might also be able to provide more brands for the fashion show as well.
I wish there would have been more Tokyo Attack games there. The lines to play any of their games on Friday and Saturday night were insane, and I'm not just talking about the battle pods. I feel like a couple more dance games and a few more other rhythm games would have made it a little more possible to actually play anything.
It would have been nice to hear some of the Jam Project members' individual songs, though I did love every song they did. Just something to keep in mind if you ever have them back (which I sure hope you do).
I found the scheduling of the We Are X documentary alongside the Saturday concert to be a little puzzling, considering that many fans of Jrock or J-music in general probably chose to go see Flow and Yousei Teikoku. I was really excited about the documentary being shown at Otakon, but wasn't able to make the showing. I at least saw Yoshiki's message before the masquerade though, which was neat.
I was absolutely freezing all weekend. I'm talking goosebumps continually, and even teeth clattering Saturday night in the game room. I had dressed and packed for summer, and had brought shorts and T-shirts to wear when I wasn't wearing Lolita. Maybe I just wasn't prepared, but I can't imagine any reason why it needed to be quite that cold.
Overall I loved the con and its new venue, and the Anisong World Matsuri made it feel more like a top-tier con again, a feeling I felt was kind of missing in some previous years (especially last year), so thank you to all the staff who made this possible!