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SilverMiko

OTAKON 2011 Convention Feedback

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Is there any way the Mariner could be utilized more? It seems like some of the concerts and burlesque should be held there.

Using the Mariner more could free up Hall D (almost all day) from 9am-8pm, until the dance starts.

The 1st Mariner Arena is used almost entirely on Saturday. Don't forget that the Masquerade doesn't just miraculously come together, there are hours upon hours of rehearsal and sounds check with each and every one of our participants, plus anyone involved with any part of the show.

As of right now, using it for any other day of programming is an additional facility cost, and it doesn't come cheap, especially considering the amount of labor that would be involved for that additional day.

The arena isn't a good fit for every event. Masquerade and the big concerts that have been held there don't fill up the arena. It is well over half-capacity, which seatwise is not something that can be achieved back the convention center, but many acts would rather perform to a full, smaller audience than a half full arena that doesn't carry the same energy.

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Re-post from other thread.

As a dealer, I would love to send my biggest thanks to all the staff, security, and gofers this year. You guys let us in and out when we had to run errands when we forgot our passes at our booth/room, simply because you remembered us. You gave us access to areas that had no (or very little) traffic so we could get stuff done quicker, and the way you handled closing time was perfect. You let people wander a bit and make final transactions, but made sure it didn't last long - it was a perfect balance.

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i really like the guidebook app on my phone. made it vary easy to pop out the schudle on my phone vs. haven to carry the paper around and worrying about lossen it or forgetting it. please keep the app : )

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Pros:

-Love the Guidebook App, extremely good effort, very useful, liked the survey and up-to-date changes.

-Thursday Pre-Reg Pickup was even faster than last year, staff at the tables were great and very friendly

-The Dance being moved was great, a much better, less stinky space. Just a better enviornment, easier to breathe in.

-Friday Night Fan Parodies were awesome, good sound and projection, given the light & noise from the outside area

-The Game Room had a great selection! The cabinets were awesome, and it was nice to see a mix-up of side-scrollers, fighters, and recent demos

-The Japan Donations were excellent. The shirt designs were great, and I loved the $5.00 flag for badges. You should consider doing those again for other, if not the same cause

-For the most part, security was a huge improvement over last year. It was nice to see the effort put into changing this, given last year's fiasco

Cons:

-Panel Crowding. I had about 3 panels I tried to get into Friday over in the Hilton, that even after waiting in line, was turned away due to not being able to stand in the rooms. It's really sad that I have to line up almost an hour and a half ahead of a panel to even be able to sit in it now. A few of us tried just standing, out of the way, near the doors to watch the Game Show, but those had to be closed for no particular reason.

-The Umeatsu autographs were handled poorly. I asked the Information booth staff, who gave me wrong information (and rather rudely), and even the staffers in the line had no clue as to what was happening. I know it was last minute, but this kind of disorganization reinforces the "well, line up early" problem.

Suggestion:

I'm not sure to the extent that this is possible, but Warped Tour had a great idea called "Reverse Day Care", basically a place where parents could relax while their kids explored the event. Not sure if there's any room not being used, or maybe expanding OtaChan to more of a Family area. You could also possibly make a suggested panel list that's non-show specific anime.

Overall, another great effort by a dedicated group of volunteers. As someone whose worked on event production, few people understand how demanding, frustrating, and exhausting it is, and to try to cater to 30,000+ people is no easy task. Also, I'm not sure how the local businesses are alerted, but it's really great to see the local resatuarants running special deals and hours.

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I had a blast. An absolute blast.

I really only have three suggestions for con.

1.) I would really appreciate it if the staff at Sharp St entrances beneath the sky bridge could get a hold of the Sharp St closing schedule and let con attendees know if Sharp St. is currently open to traffic or not. I know Sharp St. follows a strange schedule of openings and closings through the con, but I find myself constantly worrying that someone is going to be run down at the Sharp crossing. It can be hard, sometimes, with the crush of the crowds to see if the cones are up at the corners. X It doesn't need to be fancy or even involve directly telling each and every con attendee as they use the Sharp St. exits. Maybe just at sign at either door.

Something like: "Cross with caution. Sharp St. Currently Open to Vehicle Traffic." and "Cross away. Sharp St. Currently Closed to Vehicle Traffic."

I know, I know, this sounds incredibly paranoid, but I worry about the cosplayers with complicated headgear that creates bad blindspots. And, lets face it, we all know how people in a city drive, regardless of whether its Baltimore, NY, etc. They're not watching for us, so we need to be more proactive about watching for them.

2.) I know this is also kind of a weird and possibly cruddy suggestion, but perhaps alternative photo locations can be offered to reduce traffic congestion, especially at the Charles St. lobby by the fountains. I know many con attendees who DO NOT go to the photo suite purely because they cannot use their own camera and don't want to pay for photos of their favorite cosplayers.

Mayhaps a photo suite for amateur shots, or an area designated for photos. Or, instead of being a rigid rule of going somewhere to take photos, perhaps the staff could offer a little mini guide to taking cosplay photos in the program, offering a small snippet of areas around Inner Harbor that are both photo friendly and offer neat backdrops. Either way, this may help divert some of the larger cosplay groups that seem to really plug of traffic in the halls and in Charles St Lobby.

3.) I had problems on Thursday night with some of the BCC staff after an Otakon Staff told my party to use the wrong elevator while attempting to drop off artwork. I understand that the BCC staff was just trying to do their job and keep everyone/all their products safe at DH and AA, so I don't really blame them. However, in the future, what might be helpful is a "hall pass" of sorts for members who need special entrance to pick-up or drop something off outside the designated hours but with the approval of a department head. This way, if you get stopped, like my party was, by someone from BCC or even con staff who aren't in the know, you can show them that you have legitimate business being where you are. Like I said, I totally do not blame the BCC staff from being suspicious, but it made matters incredibly awkward.

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Copying this from another thread:

I have been going since the 2004 Otakon as well. However, I didn't think lines, and crowding were too much worse than previous years. Part of the problem is that the staff wear black shirts that are hard to see, and are trying to shout over a crowd of thousands. I don't understand why they are not using more bull-horns. I can imagine that the shouting staff have raw throats after a few hours. Staff need those airport flashlights, with the bright cones, on the top to direct traffic. The end-of-line people need bigger, bolder, signs mounted on a mono-pod that stands at least 7 feet, with a marker board showing which line it is.

I was waiting for the feed-back thread to start, but might as well post some of it here.

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While this may have been mentioned ( too many posts to skim while at work)

What about doing movie showings on thursday afternoon for prereg pick ups. no q&A or auto graphs just the showings. If people want to ask questions or stuff they can wait until the fri/sat showings.. it would reduce the lines on fri/sat and also allow for others things going on at the same time to

be juggled. ( too much to see/do on fri-sat only)

also, just in general more things on thursday afternoon/evenings until about 8 or so.

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The only objection I'd have to having other events on Thurs. is that I'm still work a 9-5 job and if I paid for a whole con, I'd like to be able to participate in all days of events. I felt bad enough that we couldn't make the matsuri because we can't make it to pick up our tickets until around 8 and I don't think everyone in our family can afford to take an additional day off.

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I've said this repeatedly on several threads, but I have no problem saying it again; Otakon was a BLAST this year. I gofered for the first time, and therefore felt like I got a whole lot more out of the convention than I ever have before. However, I also saw a lot more of the uglier side of the con than I normally do, too.

That being said, my biggest problem was the BCC staff. They did nothing but inhibit, disrespect, and confuse me, both as a congoer and a gofer. Not only were most of them (that I encountered, anyway) rude and judgmental, but they appeared to be making no effort to work with Otakon staff to make things any easier. They gave me information that conflicted with what Otakon staff had told me almost every time I asked them a question (the biggest problem I had with this was the Nobuo Uematsu autograph line; Con staff was directing everyone toward the back of the Pratt St. lobby, but once they got there, there was BCC staff redirecting people into two different lines, including one that was clearly marked for a different guest - the overall effect was so disorienting and confusing that I gave up and ended up leaving after only a few minutes in one of the lines). Then, as a gofer, they really seemed to have no regard for observing the rules and limitations that were being laid down; in particular, I remember being assigned to guard the doors of the FMA premiere with another gofer, under orders to not let a single person in (that wasn't clearly staff) because the room was PACKED, yet despite this, we had BCC staffers bringing random people in and out of the room frequently, even going so far as to shove past us, yank open the door and push the person inside when we stopped them to ask what the person needed and told them that the room was full to capacity. It was really disappointing to see them abusing their positions like that and taking so little effort to work WITH the con staff and volunteers, rather than against us.

Also, as for this:

At the Tekken movie, (which started we were reminded every couple of minutes that there were no cameras allowed and that we were not even allowed to have a cellphone out. During the movie the theater was patrolled by gestapolike staffers telling people to put away their phones anytime they saw one. This really distracted from the show and the enjoyment of the event. I would think that the difference between someone reading a text on their phone and someone making a bootleg of the movie should be obvious, even to volunteers.

The problem is, you shouldn't whip out a cell phone in a theater, period. I know, everyone feels that every text is life-and-death important, but take that outside.

The rule is simple; don't whip out cell phones, yet people act as though 90-120 minutes without their technology is like being asked to hold your breath.

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I had a great time! The lines were the same as last year for me. The two workshops and the panel I hosted all went without a hitch (many thanks to the gofers who helped me at the workshops).

The only glitch we ran into was from a Spec Ops person confusing a painting with a sign. One of my friends did Portal cosplay involving carrying around a Rattman painting. Apparently someone at Spec Ops thought it was a sign, but they were overruled by the Spec Ops head since it was obviously a painting that had no text on it (many thanks for this correction). That memo needs to go out to everyone so it doesn't happen again, for the sake of all the Portal cosplayers out there.

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I had a fantastic time at Otakon this year, although Sunday ended on a very abrupt note for me, because of the issues going on with the updated schedule. Even the guests were running around, trying to figure out where they were supposed to be, because only the people with smart phones knew what had happened lol.

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Sorry if this was already mentioned, but I had only one major issue that led our group to thinking that we should even contact the personel in charge of the city about this: What in the hell was up with every single parking lot being fenced off???

I clearly remember last year being able to park anywhere we wanted, regardless of our con membership. We parked in the Oriole Stadium a couple days, and we parked in the parking lot next to the light rail a couple days as well. Just buy the pass, and we're good to go. Now knowing how unbelievably stifling it was this year, we made sure to get into that light rail parking lot. Oh, but wait! We were DENIED. "Convention parking is all the way in Lot C". Under the freeway ramps. Nice. Real nice. I enjoy that you have every single available parking lot blocked off to us con-goers, while there were probably a total of 10 cars COMBINED for public. All of you are fully aware of how agonizing it is to have to walk longer than 10 minutes in cosplay while it's 106 degrees outside at high noon. Yeah. It's unsafe, and it's unhealthy, and it's inconsiderate for the thousands of people who came to this convention, paid good money, and are denied easy access.

What made me even angrier about this was that my friends went into that parking lot at about 9PM Saturday night for the rave, saw no guard, so we simply bought a 24 hour pass, and parked there. It was not illegal. We bought the pass fairly, we parked there, because we felt it to be very unsafe to walk a damn mile after midnight by ourselves. Now we paid fair and square for 24 hours, so we bring the ticket to the guard Sunday morning, and guess what happens? We are QUESTIONED how we even got that pass. We said, "We bought it last night, it is 24 hours, so we should be allowed to park here, as the parking lot is EMPTY". And she tells us, "No, once you leave, it's invalid. You need to park in Lot C".

Unbelievable!!! I don't know who set this rule up, but it sucked. I am 110% sure I am coming back next year, no doubt about it, but this major issue needs to be changed.

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Sorry if this was already mentioned, but I had only one major issue that led our group to thinking that we should even contact the personel in charge of the city about this: What in the hell was up with every single parking lot being fenced off???

<snip>

Unbelievable!!! I don't know who set this rule up, but it sucked. I am 110% sure I am coming back next year, no doubt about it, but this major issue needs to be changed.

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Good

-Anime Parliament

The panel was hilarious as always and I hope it keeps coming back. IDK what was up with the half hour time slot but I'm glad I got to go.

-Mythbusters

Easily one of the more unique panels I have seen in a while. Would love to see it return.

-Fan Fiction: From Mary Sue to Shakespeare

Disorganization XIII continues to do one of the most informative Fan Fiction panels on the con circuit. They did not have anywhere near enough time and I really want to see them come back.

-The Game Room

Game previews and awesome indie games like Child of Eden, awesome!

-Ip Man

Awesome movie, hope to see more live-action in following years.

-Hall Breakdancers

These guys need their own performance space.

-Anime Press Your Luck

Always a fun time.

-The Guidebook App

PLEASE use this again, it was SO useful.

-Thursday Reg

The line was quick and painless!

-Japan's IP Problem

This panel was amazingly informative! I would love to see more panels featuring professors and other academics.

------------------

Bad

-Tokusatsu Panel

The guy really had nothing interesting to say, and he just yelled alot.

-Anime Myths and Legends

The treatment of the subject matter was really, really, basic. I was falling asleep.

-The Game Room

Even though there was a three game maximum, no one followed that rule and when I asked a staffer to force someone to rotate because they weren't following the rule, the staffer did nothing. In the end the fighting games were dominated by the same pros running the same machines, not giving less skilled players like me the ability to play anyone else, and all we were able to do was get our ass kicked repeatedly. Please PLEASE do something about this.

-Ice Cold Water: Only One Dollar

I hope this doesn't become a returning thing. It's really annoying, and its just mean to make fun of the locals.

-No Spoiler: The Panel

Ever since Spoiler: The Panel came to Otakon it has been one of the things I look forward to the most every year. I have NO idea why it wasn't accepted this year but I really hope it comes back next year. Otakon just wasn't the same without it.

-Lines

God was it just me or was it even worse this year? It was hard to get into anything really.

-The Dance

There was no room whatsoever, and they kept breaking up dancing circles.

-Fan Parodies

IDK, they just seemed lower quality this year.

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Two comments:

I continue to be surprised by official, Otakon-run lines for panels prior to which there is no scheduled room clear.

There was some sort of dance-off on Saturday night that rendered the Charles Street Lobby an even bigger disaster than it always is. Those people never should have been allowed to congregate there and tKe up so much space.

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-Anime Myths and Legends

The treatment of the subject matter was really, really, basic. I was falling asleep.

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Must say, the only real issue I had was during the Hetalia Word Series Premiere. Whoever set up that panel (Panel 5 I think?) 4 MASSIVE speakers in front of the stage, which meant that the first couple of rows couldn't see the guests OR the only projector screen. When we asked a staff member, we were screamed at that her job was only to sit people, that we'd have to deal with it and we'd have to sit back down or be removed. Kinda sucks waiting 2 hours only to not be able to see ANYTHING. Luckily, the room didn't fill up, so we and a decent sized group of other con-goers were able to take other seats and actually see what was going on. Had you guys set up 2 more screens on each side, or had set up the speakers farther over, everyone would have been able to get a view.

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Friday went pretty well from what I saw, except that I went to the Scott Freeman autograph signing and poor Scott, I felt bad, it was in Autograph 1 which is what it said he should be in, and then he got moved to 4 by a staffer, I was waiting in front of 4 for a while, and the doors were closed with no staffer there and people were lining up to see whoever was suppose to be there, and than I found out from a friend that they had a sign for Scott saying he was in 5, and there were people waiting for him there. I finally opened the doors to 4 and I saw Scott waiting for me, I said sorry that I took so long, and explained why I didn't see him right away (I was the only one that saw him in 1, and saw him get moved). So I got kinda my own personal signing XD and then about 2mins later a confused staff walked in from the back and I explained to him what was going on XD then about 2-3mins after a staffer from the front let everyone in. I stayed in the room to sit by the water (my feet hurt so much XD) and after Scott asked me where this next stuff was cause there was no staffer in the room, and the staffer was late getting there to rescort (sp?) Scott to his next thing.

On Saturday and Sunday almost everything I went to started late, the Hetalia premire was awful as far as setting everyone, we didn't start to get seated until after 12:00~!! And then by the time that we got everyone seated it started 30-45mins late. That wasn't fun for the people who had been waiting since 10:30 or earlier. The Chemistry Q&A was great. I don't remember it starting more than 5mins late.

The US autograph session on Sunday was very badly planned out, and/or acted out. Almost all of the guests were late and the Hetalia guys weren't even there. I wanted to see Scott again ^_^

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But the FMA movie, Oh my gosh, that was awful. The line in the front, it wasn't a line, it was a mob, it was awful how long we had to wait, and everyone above was gathering to see the 'line' but really it's just making things a pain for others, and a fire hazard. Then the movie started 30mins late~ and I couldn't even read the subtitles, they need to be put on top for the people in the back, and I wasn't even all the way in the back. I also had to leave early cause I had plans to have dinner at 8, which would have been fine had the movie ended on time.

I forgot to add this, and it had been more than 5 mins.

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But the FMA movie, Oh my gosh, that was awful. The line in the front, it wasn't a line, it was a mob, it was awful how long we had to wait, and everyone above was gathering to see the 'line' but really it's just making things a pain for others, and a fire hazard. Then the movie started 30mins late~ and I couldn't even read the subtitles, they need to be put on top for the people in the back, and I wasn't even all the way in the back. I also had to leave early cause I had plans to have dinner at 8, which would have been fine had the movie ended on time.

I forgot to add this, and it had been more than 5 mins.

The screen in Video One is about 15 feet off the floor -- how could you NOT see the subtitles there?

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But the FMA movie, Oh my gosh, that was awful. The line in the front, it wasn't a line, it was a mob, it was awful how long we had to wait, and everyone above was gathering to see the 'line' but really it's just making things a pain for others, and a fire hazard. Then the movie started 30mins late~ and I couldn't even read the subtitles, they need to be put on top for the people in the back, and I wasn't even all the way in the back. I also had to leave early cause I had plans to have dinner at 8, which would have been fine had the movie ended on time.

I forgot to add this, and it had been more than 5 mins.

The screen in Video One is about 15 feet off the floor -- how could you NOT see the subtitles there?

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The second showing of the FMA premier (Sunday, up in the Ballrooms on the 4th Floor) ran into screen height issues. As soon as the subtitles started up people began to squirm around, trying to find a position they could read from.

I was camped in the back row for a few and found the text unreadable due to people's heads being in the way. The art was pretty, though.

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The second showing of the FMA premier (Sunday, up in the Ballrooms on the 4th Floor) ran into screen height issues. As soon as the subtitles started up people began to squirm around, trying to find a position they could read from.

I was camped in the back row for a few and found the text unreadable due to people's heads being in the way. The art was pretty, though.

Ahhhh, forgot about the 2nd showing, since that was a late addition.

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But the FMA movie, Oh my gosh, that was awful. The line in the front, it wasn't a line, it was a mob, it was awful how long we had to wait, and everyone above was gathering to see the 'line' but really it's just making things a pain for others, and a fire hazard. Then the movie started 30mins late~ and I couldn't even read the subtitles, they need to be put on top for the people in the back, and I wasn't even all the way in the back. I also had to leave early cause I had plans to have dinner at 8, which would have been fine had the movie ended on time.

I forgot to add this, and it had been more than 5 mins.

The screen in Video One is about 15 feet off the floor -- how could you NOT see the subtitles there?

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But the FMA movie, Oh my gosh, that was awful. The line in the front, it wasn't a line, it was a mob, it was awful how long we had to wait, and everyone above was gathering to see the 'line' but really it's just making things a pain for others, and a fire hazard. Then the movie started 30mins late~ and I couldn't even read the subtitles, they need to be put on top for the people in the back, and I wasn't even all the way in the back. I also had to leave early cause I had plans to have dinner at 8, which would have been fine had the movie ended on time.

I forgot to add this, and it had been more than 5 mins.

The screen in Video One is about 15 feet off the floor -- how could you NOT see the subtitles there?

I couldn't, I promise you T_T I had to almost stand up to see the subtitles and my neck & back hurt so much after, but keep in mind that I am also 5'2, so I'm short.

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Lovely year every year, but this is my first time since ever attending Otakon that I was having trouble with one of those blue shirt security people.

Friday my friends and I were waiting by the elevator to go into the dealer's room, and we were standing in line. There was enough walkway for 2 or 3 people to walk past us, and the elevators were near the autograph area so the space is limited by that already. We also had a large group of people sitting behind us against the windows, so we couldn't get against the wall as well. This..I won't even call her a lady..this rude little excuse of a security officer came up to my friends and I and told us to get back and that she needed space. We moved back as much as we could, but move anymore and we'd trample over the people standing behind us. She kept giving me the stink eye, and told me to keep moving back. I told her I couldn't move back anymore, and that she already had space.

She started to get in my face and told me that she doesn't care, she needs this space to walk and that she needs us to move back. My friends ahead of me heard the commotion, and they asked what was going on. They saw that the security came back and was trying to pick a fight with me, and then she told them she needed THEM to move back too. My friend, Todd, said that there was no way he could move back without trampling over people, and this was the only area that they could wait to get into the dealer's room (handicap). She kept getting an attitude with us, so he went and reported her to con staff and she left...only to come back a little while later.

I was chatting with my sister and she looked at me and stepped forward a bit (like how people try to puff themselves up) and tried to seriously pick a fight. She kept getting up in my face and said "What, you got a problem? You wanna start a fight?" and I'm looking at her like...what the *bleep* is your problem? Brooke and Todd heard and they turned around and she went up to Brooke and did the stepping thing again and asked her "What, you think you better than me?"

Seriously, what the hell? We didn't do ANYTHING to her. She told us to move back, we did. She was giving us problems, she got reported, and then she waltzes back to our group and tries to pick a fight with us. I was this close to yelling at her because it looked like she was gonna pick a fight with my little sister too. We all told her to leave us alone and Todd said that he was going to report her again, so she left.

-___-;; freaking moron.

Apart from that...thing...this year's con was great!

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My only real comment about the con is that the Dealer's Room seemed to close really early on Saturday. 6PM? Really?

Now I missed Otakon last year but I could have sworn the year before then it was open til 8PM, like it is on Friday. I'd love it if the Dealer's Room could stay open later on Saturday because 6PM seems so early to me, especially when my friends and I wanted to kill time before the rave that night.

Other than that, a fantastic con as always!

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My only real comment about the con is that the Dealer's Room seemed to close really early on Saturday. 6PM? Really?

Now I missed Otakon last year but I could have sworn the year before then it was open til 8PM, like it is on Friday. I'd love it if the Dealer's Room could stay open later on Saturday because 6PM seems so early to me, especially when my friends and I wanted to kill time before the rave that night.

Other than that, a fantastic con as always!

Nope, dealers room hours have been consistent pretty much the entire time I have been coming to Otakon: 12-8 Friday, 10-6 Saturday, 10-3 sunday. Basically, it's a standard eight hours on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday stopping early due to the con's earlier closing time.

because of the fire alarm and evacuation in 2010, however, the hours were extended as part of the special schedule re-tooling. But the printed guide still has the accurate hours if you don't believe us.

If you are looking to kill time, might I suggest the artist hall, the masquerade, or perhaps the eight thousand other programming tracks we offer? I mean really, it's not as though theres nothing going on after 6pm....

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My only real comment about the con is that the Dealer's Room seemed to close really early on Saturday. 6PM? Really?

Now I missed Otakon last year but I could have sworn the year before then it was open til 8PM, like it is on Friday. I'd love it if the Dealer's Room could stay open later on Saturday because 6PM seems so early to me, especially when my friends and I wanted to kill time before the rave that night.

Other than that, a fantastic con as always!

Nope, dealers room hours have been consistent pretty much the entire time I have been coming to Otakon: 12-8 Friday, 10-6 Saturday, 10-3 sunday. Basically, it's a standard eight hours on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday stopping early due to the con's earlier closing time.

because of the fire alarm and evacuation in 2010, however, the hours were extended as part of the special schedule re-tooling. But the printed guide still has the accurate hours if you don't believe us.

If you are looking to kill time, might I suggest the artist hall, the masquerade, or perhaps the eight thousand other programming tracks we offer? I mean really, it's not as though theres nothing going on after 6pm....

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i always thought the reason the DH closed early on Sat like it does was so the dealers could attend Masquerade

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i always thought the reason the DH closed early on Sat like it does was so the dealers could attend Masquerade

That is one big reason. Another is to give the DR staff a bit of a break.

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I had a lot of fun at Otakon. Even the volunteers were nice.

My one complaint was how, in the dealers room, you could only enter in one door and exit from one door. It was a pain.

The people working the exit door were very nice about delivering the bad news. "You have to walk up two flights of stairs, go to the other end of the hall, walk back down a flight of stairs, walk down the hall, then walk down another flight of stairs."

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I really enjoyed the con but I do have a couple quick questions and complaints.

Number 1, the Akira Sasanuma autograph session was bad, the autographs started at least a half hour late and we were never given a reason in line, the staff was suppose to keep people from taking pictures with him but almost everyone stopped to get a picture, and I finally got out about 1:30 when it was suppose to start at 12:30, also a friend came over around 1:20 with 40 minutes left and was turned away something that wouldn't have happened if he was there on time or if the lines moved faster.

I don't own a smart phone, make the schedule changes easier to find for people who don't own smart phones.

Also, have more room clears or not have lines outside rooms, the staff didn't seem to know when there were room clears and when there weren't.

I had a good time, except for the lines really.

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I suppose I have room for two complaints.

1. I didn't attend many panels/viewings this year, but the wait times for both of the ones I went to (the Nobuo Uematsu panel and the three episodes of Tiger and Bunny) were both a half-hour late which I found ridiculous. You only had a chance of conversing with Uematsu if you were near the front thanks to the shortened time, and I'm still wondering why it took so long for everyone to clear out of the Video 1 room for Tiger and Bunny. Seriously, that was just painful.

2. Maybe I'm just bitter since I waited three hours for an awesome Earthbound poster that I ended up not winning, but I kind of wish the details regarding the pieces for the charity auction were more clear. We were told the night before that it'd start at 10, then told the next morning it'd be at the end of the auction, and it finally became clear that they were sprinkled throughout the whole thing. Admittedly I still had a fun time witnessing how auctions work in real life (and the crazy prices! Yikes!), but I would've preferred more definite clarification beforehand.

Other than that, I loved the whole con. The dealer's room had a ton of awesome merchandise (especially those super realistic Dragon Ball figures!) and the video game room had a lot of interesting choices this year.

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Sorry I tried to edit my post but someone else posted, a few things I just remembered.

The panel Anime Openings and Closing had not started at least by when I left 10 minutes after it was scheduled to start.

Some of your scheduling should have raised flags...

Sunrise Industry Panel v. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 1-3 v. Underated Mecha v. Gundam What Makes it Great v. Tiger and Bunny, you literately put all the mecha panels against each other.

Once again, I did really enjoy myself.

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Not sure if I put this here or not but could the Staff please ask the BCC folks to post what type of Cooking Oil they use. I was in line with a few friends and one of them has a peanut allergy and when she ask the person they couldn't give her an answer.

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Thank you for another awesome year of Japanese fashion events and panels at Otakon. I haven't found another anime convention that brings a remotely comparable level of fashion content (and I suspect there isn't one anywhere in the world). This year it was very gratifying to see over 800 (!) people at each of the fashion shows and several max capacity fashion panels. I attended the 10:30pm Affording Lolita panel on Saturday (among others) and was excited to watch the room quietly fill up with all varieties of people, many of them new to the fashion. By the end, even the staffer for the panel who knew nothing about lolita before hand was expressing his interest in it. The Ultimate Lolita fashion show was once again an inspiration to all of us that like to design and sew our own things. To have such a high profile event that focuses on indie designers is very unique and really fits with Otakon's fan-centric approach. Not to say that I wasn't squealing like a fangirl to see my favorite brands present a show in my home town. Seeing Sixh, BTSSB, and AatP was truly cool. So here's hoping that Otakon continues to be a real beacon the j-fashion in the years to come.

I would also like to take this chance to offer a small bit of feedback to help improve things for the next go around. The seating scheme for fashion shows this year left a lot to be desired. Unlike panels or video showings, front row for a fashion show does not necessarily mean good seating. In fact, the front left seat (typically filled by someone in the front of the line) may very well be the worst seat in the house. This isn't so much a complaint about one seat being marginally better than another, but about a seat assignment scheme where the best seats go to every 15th person, completely defeating the purpose of lining up. In the future, it would be awesome if you could arrange the seat rows to be parallel to the runway and fill closest to farthest. That way we can all focus on the show and not the seating =).

But that point made I'd just like to reiterate how awesome Otakon is and how much I look forward to it each year.

~A Satisfied Brolita

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Point 1:

I mentioned this last year, and it bears repeating.

PLEASE consider capping attendance. I get that we want as many people to have as fun as possible, and I imagine you need the badge revenue to get some of these high-profile guests, but it's getting very very unwieldy. This was my 7th year, possibly my 8th (can't find some of my badges to count at the moment) so I've watched it grow.

The problem I see is that it is really turning into a con where you pay $75 and there is now a very low chance that you will actually see even most of your must-dos. Yes, it's not reasonable to expect to do EVERYTHING you want to do in a single con, I'm not saying that. But for example let's look at the numbers for the AMV contest. Let's say by my estimate that room holds about 3000 people. Could be more, could be less. With 31,000 peoples, showing that contest twice, you are guaranteeing that less than 20% of your paying attendees will have an opportunity to see it. Okay, so not everyone will want to see the contest, but doesn't that number sound awfully low to anyone? You are allowing your membership numbers to swell to a point that it is nearly impossible to get into anything.

It used to be that people like me who aren't as into autographs or major movie premiers didn't have to wait more than a half an hour or so beforehand. Now even the tiniest panel has a 1 hour minimum wait. If you are going to let membership numbers to continue to get this outrageous, you need to do what other people have mentioned and do a linecount. Send staff with a clicker and do people that wait 2+ hours for things the courtesy of telling them BEFORE they spend their entire afternoon waiting for something that they won't get in. We're Otakorp members too. It says so in the contract we sign. If you won't cap attendance you at least owe us the courtesy of letting us attempt to make our days as enjoyable as possible.

Point 2:

Delays happen. Fine. But when they happen, give the people in the room an updated timetable. The Hetalia premiere didn't start seating until about 10 minutes after the panel was due to start and I don't think it started proper until about 20 minutes after that. Which is fine but at the scheduled end time, it just kept going, with the moderator saying "Now there will be more Q&A." I had another event I wanted to leave to line up for and it was kind of an awkward waiting game of "Should I leave and miss something here, or will it go on for another half hour and I won't get into the next thing?" I ended up leaving, and after a trip to the restroom before my next wait I turned around and saw the panel emptying. I could have gotten my Prussia poster and waited till the end to see everything but I didn't know. A simple "This panel started at 12:30 so we'll be going until about 1:45 instead of 1:30" kind of announcement could help us plan with this sort of thing.

Point 3:

Consider posting some signs around the Video Game room that announce caps on game time when there is a line and have some staff walk around and enforce that. I couldn't get any DDR photos in my cosplay like I wanted because people would just not give up the machines. I imagine some of the popular fighting games have similar problems.

Point 4:

Bring that tape line back on the skywalk. I thought I was going to have heat stroke one day when I got completely stuck in there.

Point 5:

Can we consider moving around the workshop spaces a bit into some of the bigger panel rooms like in the Hilton? I have never been able to get into a workshop I wanted and I was really bummed at missing the Cheap Cosplay one on Friday. But from what I was able to peek in the door on some occasions the rooms seem rather small for how popular workshops seem to be.

Good things:

Thank you for widening the aisles in the Dealer's Room. It was much easier to navigate this year and more feasible to shift out of the way when people wanted photos so space wasn't blocked.

Line control on the Hetalia premiere was great, though it would have been nice to know it was being delayed. Thanks to the American Cast for coming out and waving and skipping around to amuse those of us in line!

I don't know at what year this started, but I liked the layout this year. It used to be you had to go outside to go to the dealer's room despite the fact that you can enter it or the Artist's Ally from the same level. I think I was still entering the old way out of habit but at whatever point you changed this, awesome to you. It was greatly appreciated with my cosplay this year to be able to get to all areas of the BCC without having to walk outside.

Thank you for at least not having the escalators completely shut down and giving up on them. The design of my boots made it very difficult for me to walk down stairs as the backs would push and trip me. So between being able to walk up and ride down most of the time that made things much easier for me. Some cons there are just no escalators at all so partial escalators were great.

Thank you all the awesome polite con-goers who asked for pictures of me and my boyfriend! I suppose that's something a cosplayer can always do when you don't get in to what you want to see: do laps of the convention center and count pictures. It's one way to keep busy. :P

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I have been attending Otakon since your first year at the Marriot Hunt Valley.

Everything was fantastic this year with one horrible exception...

The bridge over Sharp street.

Why on earth would you completely close off access from the street level, forcing 30,000 people to use a single walkway between the two buildings?

Sharp street itself was even closed.

Last year you could exit level 200 on sharp street and enter the Otterbein lobby by the escalators across the street to get to level 300 and 400 in the second building.

The Otterbein lobby was roped off so you couldn't get to the dealers room on that side, remember?

This year the Otterbein lobby was staffed with at least 3 BBC people telling you, you couldn't come in the door.

They were not letting people into the Pratt street entrance on Friday at all, Making the ONLY way into building 2 the sharp street bridge!

Really ? ! ! ?

They couldn't move back 5 feet and tell us we couldn't go to the dealers room instead?

You ran out of velvet rope?

The escalator in the Otterbein lobby was some sort of death trap?

I'll tell you what was a death trap...

Cramming 500 people into a 20ft wide bridge between the two buildings that was built in the 90's by the lowest bidding subcontractor.

I also loved that the BCC staff would let you go out the sharp street doors but not back in. Only to be told if you want to get to video 5 you had to go back to the Charles street lobby and go through the sharp street bridge.

Hey here is an Idea -

Move those geniuses to the bridge to keep some sort of order.

Erect some sort of barricade made out of fuzzy velvet rope half way down the Otterbein lobby.

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-WAY too many people.

-Pre-reg needs to be opened earlier. Did you not see the line? I only pre-regged because I thought there wouldn't BE a line. I was clearly wrong. That was no different that had I stood on a regular line for my badge.

-Matsuri Festival was a joke. I couldn't even check out the one stand with souviniers because there was always a line. And the one food stand was full of morons. I wanted egg roll and the idiot gave me 3. The only good part of that thing was the tent where you could hang a wish, and all the people who got into the whole festival thing by wearing yukatas etc.

-Badge choices. REALLY??? Not even Panty and Stocking made it. The only badge I knew was Durarara, and I don't even watch that. Truly pathetic. Hetalia, Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On, all these damn animes that SHOULD'VE been on badges and none of them made it...

-I get to an autograph line 45 MINUTES EARLY, and they tell me that it's been cut off? Are you ----- kidding me?

-Sunday, to get to Artist Alley, I had to take a stupid detour because some guy was sitting behind a little podium and softly saying that if we weren't artists or dealers we had to go up and around. REALLY??? It's hot, crowded, and you wanna sit there and tell us to take an unnecessary hike to a far off location? I should've ignored him.

-Rave security much? I'm PRETTY sure that if we show our badge once, that means we have no way of sneaking in.

-STOP MAKING SPECIFIC ITEMS ONLY SIGNINGS!!! They are UTTERLY annoying, especially since you did the same ---- LAST YEAR!!! I have been hunting J. Michael down for god knows how long ( Otakon '09, '11, NYAF/CC '10 ) and he couldn't sign my damn Ouran calander ( he did apologize to me though and told me to look for him outside of a panel either that day or Sunday. But I was just too upset with the con to even try ) Same thing with Patrick Seitz ( same thing. He apologized for not being able to sign my Eternal Sonata, but he thanked me for getting the game, and asked me if I ever beat it. I then asked him if he knew what he was getting into when they asked him to dub the game and he gave me a quirky response )

-"Hold you badge with your left hand!" Ummm...does it matter?

-Escalators down...so you close them off completely? Not smart. They can at the very least be used as regular steps.

-JAMSPACE. Not ONLY was it too far out of the way, but it was QUITE annoying that there were bands playing, when I thought that the purpose was for the CON-GOERS to come together and play. After being told when it would be re-opened to us and when to come back, I felt no desire to do such, which is a shame because I learned a few songs on Guitar JUST for the con.

-Saolilith. No. Just no. HORRIBLE idea for the rave. Don't get me wrong, I liked some of the anime openings she was playing, but you CAN'T DANCE TO THEM!!! Me and the person I was with were just like ummmm...Leave her as concert only material, because that's pretty much what she was doing.

-Con Staff. Instead of being an --------- about things, KINDLY explain to us that something is closed. You get nasty with us, 9 times out of 10, we get nasty right back. And that OBVIOUSLY creates problems.

-Autograph signing schedules. Overlapping big guest over big guest = not cool. The calvalcade should DEFINETLY not be on Sunday.

-Video game room could use more DDR machines. The two that were there were ALWAYS occupied and had a line. Rather annoying. I got stuck playing the ghetto one, and yeah. That didn't go well for me and this other guy I was playing with. Same thing with Initial D. Only two machines, and they were ALWAYS occupied. Guitar Hero World Tour should also have a Rock Band drum kit. From what I've seen, NOBODY likes the Guitar Hero drum kit/cymbals.

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-Con Staff. Instead of being an --------- about things, KINDLY explain to us that something is closed. You get nasty with us, 9 times out of 10, we get nasty right back. And that OBVIOUSLY creates problems.

Can you provide any specifics about this at all? A time, a location, a description of the staffer(s)? We would love to improve, but we can address your concerns more effectively if we know specifically the issues on which we need to focus.

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-Escalators down...so you close them off completely? Not smart. They can at the very least be used as regular steps.

Y'know, you would think this, but I saw several people nearly tank it while going up on the escalators (temporarily stairs) after exiting AA. So, after seeing that, I can kind of understand why the escalators were closed off all together. Yes, it's annoying, but at least the staff opened the rear exit to AA instead of having all foot traffic going up and down the same, narrow staircase all weekend.

Contrary to what Mitch Hedberg said, not all broken escalators become stairs when they shut down.

Case in point:

Fun fact: I have ridden on that very escalator several times. And in worse crowds.

The sad fact is the escalators in the BCC are 30+ years old in some cases, and were not designed for the sort of constant crowd volumes that they handle at Otakon. This year the BCC had repair crew on duty and working to fix the escalators when they broke down.

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Even if the escalators could safely bear the load while shut down, people are often not prepared for the initially gradual increase in step height followed by a very sharp increase in height. Add the fact that people can be in awkward footware such as excessively high heels, chunky boots, and other potentially problematic footwear for cosplay and the fact that many people forgo the appropriate amount of sleep through the weekend, and you're just asking for someone to trip and fall. Fun fact learned from experience : face planting on escalator stairs can and will ruin your day if you catch the edge.

I know, I sound like I'm mother-henning, but I'm just saying that I can completely understand why the con-staff shut down traffic entirely on escalators that were not functioning. Otakon has to take into account the safety of all members, both staff and attendees. When a bunch of people trip and nearly hurt themselves, of course the staff has to step in and do the only logical thing - close the escalator and reroute traffic where possible.

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I am going to address what I can of this.

-WAY too many people.

We have had feedback on both this or the opposite that it didn't feel this way. This will surely be examined for 2012.

-Pre-reg needs to be opened earlier. Did you not see the line? I only pre-regged because I thought there wouldn't BE a line. I was clearly wrong. That was no different that had I stood on a regular line for my badge.

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As the Dance is something I really look forward to and try not to miss each year, I have to say that I only heard about 5 minutes of Saolith's set and good GOD it was awful. Was she pre-screened at all or was she just accepted because she was a "guest DJ?" The talent at the rave seemed to be lacking in general on Friday night, with the exception of Muramasa. Then, during the set of the one other performer I had even the slightest interest in on Friday night, the table holding all the equipment somehow flipped over? Does anyone have any idea what caused that? :rolleyes:

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I am going to address what I can of this.

-WAY too many people.

We have had feedback on both this or the opposite that it didn't feel this way. This will surely be examined for 2012.

-Pre-reg needs to be opened earlier. Did you not see the line? I only pre-regged because I thought there wouldn't BE a line. I was clearly wrong. That was no different that had I stood on a regular line for my badge.

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