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SilverMiko

OFFICIAL Otakon 2012 Feedback Thread

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It's that time of year again otaku! Please give us your honest feedback on Otakon 2012.

As a reminder, please keep to constructive criticism! No flaming or trolling, please.

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Overall I was very satisfied. There was lots to do and I don't have any huge gripes. At con I only had 2 real snags.

In the middle of the afternoon on Saturday the security guards abruptly made the walkway to the Hilton con areas 1 way (you couldn't get back into the BCC from that way). It seemed odd to make this change in the middle of the convention. It also would have helped if the guards on the Hilton side of the walkway could have warned us about the change. We found out from the guards on the BCC side after crossing the walkway.

On Sunday morning the line for the dealer's room was declared "too long" and supposedly no one else was allowed to get into it. This was very awkward for people whose big plan was to go shopping on Sunday. I heard a lot of people responding to the news with things like "Is there a line for the line?" or "Where are we supposed to wait?" My guess is that there wasn't enough staff to manage the line but this really seems like something that should have been forseeable.

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First off to the Staff great job as usual, even when I had some minor issue the staff I spoke with were very freindly and helpfull.

Who every runs the food court my god please ask them to bring back the Pulled Pork and Brownsuger Chips they where amazing. I think this is the first time in many years that I actually didn't mind purchasing food inside the BCC price weren't to bad except for beverages ($4 for a 20oz gatoraid)

Could staff please try to fix the bottle neck issue with the exit from the Sky Bridge to the BCC many times it was a hazard to get thru

Eleavators not working and doors locked(Charles Street Entrance Sliding Doors on the 1st Floor) correct me if I'm wrong but don't all doors have to be unlocked with the ammount of folks the BCC had in it.

Staff needs to be asigned to the 300 level bridge so folks won't stop for texting and photo's saw way to many of this over the weekend.

By all accounts the Maid Cafe was a big hit please try and bring it back maybe move it away from the Jam Session area.

Baltimore Police that were located around the BCC and the Inner Harbor were so helpfull they went out of their way to help any congoer please pass along a big thank you to the Chief of Police

ICW Man what can be said that hasn't already major cudo's to who every came up with the idea having him open the Cons

Must try to come up with a better working solution for large group photo shoots I ran 3 of them and I must say Staff needs to look into maybe having a room set aside for shoots heck everyone I spoke to about this said they would be willing to pay a fee to use said room.

Over all I feel that Cosplay was down this year on Friday not sure why Saturday look about the same from last year.

Must let Cosplay Nation show their film next year

Well thats all for now looking forward to the 20th Anv Otakon.

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Oh, I was waiting for this! I though overall, everything was really well organized, lines were long but understandable given the size of the convention, and I really didn’t feel like I wasted all my time in lines or missed anything I really wanted to see because of it (did miss some things, but that was all my fault, not because of long waits or anything like that).

I also wanted to say that I was talking to a woman who was cleaning one of the bathrooms on Friday and she said she loves Otakon attendees because we’re so much more friendly and cleaner than people at other events in the BCC, so I thought you guys would like to know that! (Although seeing some of the mess we did leave behind, that scares me a bit for what they must have to deal with at other events if that’s true!)

Some criticisms and thoughts though:

Videos in a lot of panels and video rooms I went to didn't work right in some way...flickering, turning off, not displaying what it should, etc. Technical issues happen, I know, but wow this was more than I'd ever seen before. Fortunately everything was still enjoyable, but it was annoying. Happened in the Game Show Super Show, Sexism in Anime, Weirdest Video Games, Otaku no Video (Sunday showing), from what I remember off the top of my head.

Some lines, like in the Hilton, ended up with big gaps in them when staff and gofers had us move against walls to make space for people walking (understandable), but the people at the front of the "second half" of the line didn't always know the first part of the line had been let it, and some people jumped line (unknowingly I think). If there have to be gaps, then gofer or staff or somebody should come by to let us know the line is about to move/make sure no one lines up in the gap. The people at the end of the first part of the line for the Sexism in Anime panel were really good about letting people know where the real end was though, so thanks whoever you were! Also, if a line is moved to a wall, could whoever's moving it make sure the people already sitting against the wall aren't suddenly incorporated into the new line in front of everyone else? It looked like even with that, just about everyone got in to the panel I saw it happen to, but still...

Panel 7: the room is way, way, way too small for ANY panel at an event this size...why is it even in use? It can only hold 40 people! I lined up for the Gijinka panel early Saturday only because I had nothing else to do, and hardly anyone was in line in front of me, yet I was still told that I probably wouldn’t get in (I did, but a lot of others didn’t).

Panel 1: Any video clips with subtitles can NOT be read if you're not in the first few rows. I know this is a problem all the time in that room, but maybe panels that show lots of subbed anime clips just shouldn't be in that room. I left the "New anime for old fans" panel because I couldn't see what they were recommending, and I was roughly in the middle of the rows.

Saturday 1 AM panels: I get that the 18+ panels are going to be later at night, but it didn't make sense to me to show 18+ pure entertainment/comedy panels earlier than panels like the josei and LGBT panels, which sounded like they were supposed to be informative (especially the LGBT one). Who can think well at 2AM? I missed them because it was way too late. I guess the idea was that the others might have been expected to be more popular? I don’t know, but it seemed weird to schedule them like that.

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Scorpion, every other large function space we use was filled to capacity in BCC/Hilton so we do not have the room to assign a room for attendee photoshoots, especially when Otakon already operates its own Photo Suite. Also keep in mind that means we'd have to rig any room we set aside with lighting for it. Assigning one of the larger rooms means a cutback in Programming content.

I understand it's popular for you guys to organize your photo shoots, and some of them as I catch them walking through the building are pretty rad, but keep in mind you also have to understand where we are coming from. We already use the large rooms for Programming content, we have an official Otakon Photo Suite, and also we do have to consider the other attendees who don't do cosplay photo shoots.

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Scorpion, every other large function space we use was filled to capacity in BCC/Hilton so we do not have the room to assign a room for attendee photoshoots, especially when Otakon already operates its own Photo Suite. Also keep in mind that means we'd have to rig any room we set aside with lighting for it. Assigning one of the larger rooms means a cutback in Programming content.

I understand it's popular for you guys to organize your photo shoots, and some of them as I catch them walking through the building are pretty rad, but keep in mind you also have to understand where we are coming from. We already use the large rooms for Programming content, we have an official Otakon Photo Suite, and also we do have to consider the other attendees who don't do cosplay photo shoots.

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Well, what can I say? It's Otakon, one of the most fun filled events of the summer/year. I want to thank you guys especially for bringing Super Art Fight in -- it was a real treat and an amazing show and I really hope to see them again next year.

Crowd control and overall experience seemed to be better this year, perhaps I'm just getting older lol.

THANK YOU!!!

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A lot of this show was amazing. You guys have the badge check-in down to a science now. Panel Ops was extremely helpful, and there's a half dozen other truly well-down things about this show.

But there are some things that HAVE to change.

The Artist Alley needs to be fixed. While it's awesome having the separate sign-in area for the Alley, that area was horrendously under-staffed. If it's the same layout as next year, have the Information desk take overflow spots if no one is in line for information. And a lot of delays to signing in were from people not doing their paperwork ahead of time. If that's the case, then hand out affidavits to people in line, so they can start filling them out as they wait.

The registration process for the Alley is a mess. Lottery selection is a terrible way for getting tables. I know there's always a few schools of thought on what to do with filling the alley. Some people want to reward quality, some want to reward loyalty, and some want to encourage new artists. Why not do all three?

You could have a special area set aside for professional artists. This will essentially turn into a webcomics alley, but accept them in by jury only, or charge more for those tables, or both. Just a small increase in the difficulty for the creators to get in, coupled with a reward of a section of the alley with friends. Every artist friend of mine that I talked to said they'd love this idea. This is mainly because I only got to talk to them at 3 p.m. on Sunday. When we're scattered over the entire hall, we don't get to see one another during the weekend.

Another option is to split the tables up into three groups. The first third you can sell to the "loyal" buyers - those that have the most amount of show appearances. When those sell out, sell a third of the tables to the "quality" block, those that have the best jury points. The final third, throw those tables up to the lotto if you must. That way if someone is new and not as good as at least 1/3 of the alley's talent, they still have a random shot of getting a table.

This is beneficial for the attendees, too, as it guarantees them a mix of old favorites, good talent and new faces.

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In terms of criticisms, I must admit that--by far--the most annoying aspect I ran into this year was the inability to enter or exit the Pratt St. entrance until registration was closed, which very much meant nearly all day. Even when there were no longer any major lines for registration outside or inside, it was still closed-off.

That's an incredibly useful entryway into the BCC for getting to things on-time or escaping the blistering Summer heat, and attendees weren't allowed to use it this year~ dry.png

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Overall, Otakon was awesome as always.

We waited until 6pm or so to pick up our badges on Thursday night (after the horror of realizing Wednesday that we forgot to pre-reg but were still able to do so) and only spent, at most, 5 minutes in line. I was a little disappointed that the number of badge selections decreased though.

We lined up for the Dealer's Room on Friday about 45 minutes early. Knowing from previous years that we usually get turned away as the line gets cut off, we decided to risk it and found that apparently, another line formed to get it. I don't recall this being allowed to happen in the past but we decided to line up anyway. A very polite and informative staffer explained that as long as we were organized and not blocking exits or walkways that we could continue to line up. Apparently, the size of the line increased and kind of doubled back on itself. They lined up next to us and even though we explained the clearance of the walkways/exits the people failed to move. They ended up being absorbed into the line, effectively cutting in way ahead. Ok, whatever, they butt it. Then it came to the point where we exited down the stairs to entrance. There were already people down there coming from the direction of Artist Alley. Apparently, they had no need to wait and were allowed to simply walk right up. This was annoying considering we patiently waited. This seems to happen every year. I'm not sure how it could be corrected but with the number of staff checking badges to get into a panel, it seems some could have been better utilized to assist with the Dealer's Room line.

Love using Guidebook as a way to get around the con. Since it updates frequently, we didn't really need to worry about something moving/being cancelled without having to track down the Otakon info table.

Please for the love of all that is holy, bring back SuperArtFight next year! We had seen them a few times at Katsucon and there is always a huge crowd. I was really happy to see how full the room was for a midnight slot. They are always hysterical and keep the audience involved in the action. We lined up about 45 minutes in advance and we were toward the end of the designated queue the line continued to form well past that point too! It was a bit odd to have no less than 6 people check badges and wristbands in a span of 10 feet though.

All in all, it was a good time. A little hot but hey, that's Baltimore in July for ya!

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Miko,

Perhaps, the Video game room does no t have to be so Gigantic Cutting Hall D to aproximately 2/3 to 3/4 the size

This would not apreciably effect the crowding in that room and would provide a Corridor that cosplayers/tromp parade through and would give a semi passive place for photographers to set up (WITH POWER OUTLETS!) and cosplayers to walk through to ease congestion in other corridors AND would allow easier travel from the front of the BCC to the Back of the BCC. (Getting to say the autograph sessions and such would be so much easier)

It would also slightly reduce the tendency of folks to hang out in hallways to take photos. (easing congestion) the dark background with the Otakon logo every few feet makes a nice dilute background to work with. Parade us down the middle and use the light contrast of the concrete to give a dark and a light side of the room for photographers what ever is best.

The downsides to this are

1.slightly more setup time cost and materiaels to set up something like that

2 it would dis allow one wall that machines are set up aginst

3. Of course reduce the space for Gaming but that hall is only ever lightly crowded compared to say... 400 level for a big pannel.

Another idea At the big choke points Run a seperate lane for Cosplayers wishing to make it easier for photography out to the edge and around those conversation areas where the chairs are. Now this line nessisarily would be slower as you would get a stop and go type of movement but it would take enough people out of the back and forth to speed things up for everybody.

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Overall, great convention! No major problems, just some suggestions for the future.

The convention layout was confusing as heck for an Otakon newbie like me. I went from one end of the building to the other, back to the other end, and then back again, trying to find the Dealer's Room/Art Show. I guess because there are multiple entrances, the staff gave me conflicting directions. It took me pretty much the entire convention to figure out where everything was. Not sure what can be done about that though, maybe more signs for the more popular places (Dealer's Room, Artist Alley) pointing newbies the right direction.

More organized lines! The panel lines were so messy, and I had to ask multiple people what they were standing in line for, where the end was, and if they knew if there was enough space to fit me in if I got in line. Even just a "end of the line" sign would be great. Maximum room capacity numbers would help people consider whether or not to risk standing in a long line for half an hour.

It was mentioned in the feedback session, but I'd like to second the idea of badges that appeal to a broader audience. The only one I knew and liked was Madoka, and I hadn't even watched it all. Maybe instead of anime/games/whatnot, just have an artist design something that looks good? I saw some great-looking badges being sold in the con, like a "rave girl" one...you could try appealing to cosplayers, con veterans, fanboys/fangirls, con parents, chibi-lovers, Japanophiles, etc.

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I'm being completely honest when I say that Otakon didn't live up to my expectations. A lot of the people and things were nice, sure, but there were a number of problems that will probably keep me from returning next year.

First off, the staff. I, as well as a number of others, have been voicing troubles with some rude staffers. One person that I spoke to was kicked out of the convention while she was trying to get her badge back from her friend, who had been holding it for her while she took a picture. (and from what I've heard, they were really rude and mocked her about it)

I had some problems with the staff, as well. The masquerade had a bit of a line, so our group didn't get in until the beginning of the second peformance. That being said, we didn't hear this "announcement" of no-cameras allowed. Everyone around us had cameras, and there were no signs that said "no cameras", so we assumed that cameras were okay. But a staffer came up to me while I took a picture and said, and I quote, 'We do not allow cameras in here, delete it right this secon or you're out of here.' She then watched me delete the video, and looked through my camera roll on my iPod to see if I had anymore. I understand that the rules need to be followed, but they could have been more polite about it, considering I had no idea. (and she said nothing to the other people recording the event, which made me a bit angry)

Also, in the Gaming Room. More than once, I was skipped over by the staffers. Like, in the lines and whatnot. I would be waiting for hours, and they would let people walk right up and play, but continued telling me to wait. I think it was a bit discrimating, since I was always the only child at the game when this would happen. For the most part, the only time they would let me play was when my mom was around and would say something. Only twice was I able to rightfully wait my turn and play.

Oh, and I was harassed quite a few times by drunk / creepy con attendees. I had to run and hide in the bathroom at one point because a man wouldn't leave me alone.

I really would offer constructive critcism, and I apologize if this comes off as flaming or trolling (because I certainly don't mean it that way), but I honestly had a really bad convention experience. I'm sorry to say it, considering there were some staffers and people that were really nice, but I don't think I'll be returning next year.

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Overall I wasn't impressed this year...most of the panels to me were interesting...just time passers or helped with naptime lol...a lot of problems with staff...i know that otakon utilized a little bit of space at the sheraton inner harbor for the press room...they probably could have gotten more space in that hotel...i dont know this year there were just a lot of problems...i also wish the dealers room didnt close so early as well...some of the rules and policies i believe need to be revisited and revamped

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I have mostly good things to say.

  • Please think about expanding things like the Otacafe so the wait during night time is not always 2+ hours. Could be just part-time (like, use the Jam Space after 7pm)

  • Besides the hiccups on Sunday, the dealer room line is well-separated now from the autograph area and not a cluster-mess of people trying to go to different places. At least for the most part. Also props for the autograph staff for mostly managing the crowd well. I guess it's not perfect but I had an above-average experience.

  • I understand why Aya Hirano had autographing only on Sunday, and I thought you guys did a good job. What I want to know is why their crew only brought over towels...

  • This is my 15th Otakon, but even I had to find new ways to enter the con (not necessarily the con center) when both of the Pratt/Howard entrances were blocked off in the morning. The one by Jimmy Johns, at least, could've been kept open I think. Actually, couldn't you still enter the Hilton via the JJ?

  • Need tables that are more...square, in the game room. I know people worked around it if they're playing Mahjong by using the end of those tables, but you can't for some other games. Not a big deal but something to think about when setting up, maybe add more chairs and make some gaps between tables.

  • Guidebook is a lifesaver, so please keep using it when you can.

  • Maid cafe: There was always a line so I never tried it...but if it was being set up like a real maid cafe, couldn't people just put down reservations/time slots so they're free to browse the con while they wait? I understand this is the first year so I'm looking forward to it when it improves and is able to handle its popularity.

I got a laugh at the walking info booth person. I don't know how effective that is, but keep doing it for the amusement value?

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Three words: Jason. David. Frank. Seriously, meeting him made my weekend. Like many here, I grew up watching him play Tommy on Power Rangers, so this weekend finally allowed me to live out a childhood dream. I even broke down and bought the photoshoot. All in all I had a lot of fun. My only real suggestion would be for better line control, such as when people were waiting to line up for autograph sessions. Getting everyone to form a line--instead of the massive blob of people--would definitely keep things more orderly. When I went in for the JDF autograph session on Saturday morning, I was pressed up against some girl I didn't know thanks to the throng, and for me that just felt really awkward, especially since I'm engaged.

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Suggestions/comments:

(echoing @Elisto) Subtitles in video rooms. If the video has black bars on top, the projector should be able to raise just enough to see the subtitles, but that apparently wasn't an option. I was lucky to work the one video I really wanted to see so I got to sit in the front, but I felt bad for those who wouldn't be able to read all the funny jokes.

Higher chairs for elderly temps at registration. I was frustrated that I couldn't get chairs high enough for the workers, and the temp boss wouldn't let them stack chairs. Their backs hurt and they got tired. Apparently this has gone on at more than one Otakon. Can this be addressed? Surely the temp agency can make something happen if Otakon expressed its concern.

(echoing @Blique) Signs with arrows to high traffic areas. I had to sludge through the crowd of the entire top and bottom floors three times to find what I was looking for (the dealer's room) because of a series of miscommunications and blocked passages. Information booth couldn't even tell me exactly how to get there. If there were signs with arrows saying "this way to dealer's room, that way to registration" all the way to each destination I could just follow those and not get lost/confused.

Other than those points I had a great time!

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No complaints here. The only thing I really had my heart set on attending was the Jason David Frank Q&A. I got in. It was a good panel. My weekend was complete by Friday evening. tongue.png

This was my first time working with the special needs side of things as I was pushing a baby in a stroller around. Everyone was very kind and helpful (including what BCC security we had to work with). When the one elevator outside the Dealer's Room exit wasn't working, my group and another girl in a scooter were escorted by staff through the DR and out the entrance to make sure we didn't run into any trouble to make it back to the main floor. So thank you very much!

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Honestly, I spent all afternoon Friday, Saturday AND Sunday trying to get just one autograph from Jason David Frank. Every staff member gave us conflicting information on how the line would be handled, and it went down badly every time.

Friday, I was told that because we arrived at an hour and FIFTEEN minutes early, we were out of luck. Oh, but if we would have been there EXACTLY an hour early, they would have let us through, per the rules.

On Saturday, we got in line EXCACTLY an hour early, only to have a mob of people cut in line. We got turned away right at the cut off, telling us 'Sorry, all full!'

On Sunday, we finally said screw it and stood with the mob at the front. Sure enough, the staff didn't care and just let it all go to hell, and there was a stampede. We somehow made it through, but we sure weren't very proud of ourselves for how we did it and left a sour taste in our mouths.

And in the end, we were charged $10 for that autograph and another $10 for a photo. Don't get me wrong, I'm super thankful to have met him, but it was an awful experience.

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yea i agree psypete that all the videos need to have subtitles even if they were English for those that have hearing impairments...

on that note...this part is coming from one of my clients I work with at my job...he said the "special needs" department needs work...i wouldnt know because i dont utalize that department myself...but he said some accommodations were there but he had to wait...for example when I ran into him he was waiting to use the elevator and when his care staff decided to go ahead and use it himself he was approached by staff saying that only otakon staff can work the elevators since they were restricted to only staff and those with special needs...said he missed some panels since he had to wait.

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Joho Mikako turned out to be a very good musical act choice; thank you for having her!

I wish that there was some notification of the swapping of Hirano Aya's Q&A and Jason David Frank's panel. I only heard of it when a friend I was with got a call from our friend who just happened to be there outside of Panel 3 when people were being let in. PA system, perhaps?

Add yet another guy saying that Hirano Aya's autograph session after the concert was not well organized, to say the least blink.png

The state of flux of the time of Hirano Aya's autograph session was also odd. In one earlier version of the schedule, there is no listed session for Saturday. Then in the printed schedule, there's one for Saturday. Then it turns out there isn't a Saturday one. And the board at the autograph area listed 3-4 PM on Sunday (as late as Sunday morning when I went to Nonaka Ai's autograph session) when it turned out to be held after the concert.

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  • Maid cafe: There was always a line so I never tried it...but if it was being set up like a real maid cafe, couldn't people just put down reservations/time slots so they're free to browse the con while they wait? I understand this is the first year so I'm looking forward to it when it improves and is able to handle its popularity.

I can't speak to the rest of your points (except Guidebook--Guidebook is awesome, isn't it? I love using it, myself!), but I thought I'd speak up a bit here:

Maid Cafe's staff and performers were so overwhelmed by the love and support that we've received from the Otakon community. It broke our hearts to have to turn people away, but unfortunately this year we just weren't able to admit the amount of people who wanted to come see us. Maid Cafe staff is already hard at work taking everyone's input and trying to improve the experiences of our members. We'll definitely look into a reservation system, though I'm not sure yet whether or not that would be the best way to deal with the situation. We've spent the entire weekend observing and adjusting the finer details of the cafe to ensure that not only would the most people possible be able to get in but that their experience once inside is as great and memorable as possible. Please bear with us as we experiment a little bit--there are a lot of aspects that need tweaking or fine-tuning before we can put on our very best show.

Maid Cafe really appreciates any input you might have, as well as ideas and thoughts for the cafe. In the mean time, we hope that everyone who got in had as wonderful a time seeing the show as we did putting it on for you! Our deepest thanks go to the Otakon community for making our first year a success!

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Oh I thought the Good/Bad/Ugly was the official feedback post. Well I will try to keep this just to stuff Otakon is in control of.

Okay first of all overall Otakon 2012 was a wonderful experience for me. I loved loved the programming this year. While I wasn't interested in all of them I applaud the number of Japanese guests you had this year. I hope to see more of that next year. The Aya Hirano concert was also wonderful and the best concert I've been to at Otakon since Jam Project.

Autograph handling was okay this year (well except the above mentioned Aya autograph that was a mess). It wasn't perfect and mobs still formed but at least staff was very clear when and where the line would form, so I did appreciate that.

My only real complaint was the pre-reg line on Friday. I waited about 2 hours, I heard some people waited over 3 hours. This is unaccpetable. The idea that you didn't know how many people would pre-reg is silly. Pre-registratin was up to the very last minute. This was a big mistake that I hope will not be repeated next year. People pre-register so they don't have to wait in super long lines in the heat. I was lucky enough to not miss any programming, but I know some other people did which is a real shame. Please think about ways to fix this next year, even if it means cutting pre-registration off a little early.

The other thing is a much more minor issue. I thought only being able to donate in the Dealer's Room was a bit of an Inconvenience. I didn't even see where to donate until I saw a booth in the Artist Alley. There they told me donations were only made in the DR. I was able to donate on Sunday but for something that is for a good cause, I think it would be nice to at least be able to donate in the DR and Artist Alley (especially since the DR hours are very limited).

I would even be willing to add a donation to my pre-registration cost if that was feasible. I don't need any free gifts (although the gifts Otakon gave out for donations were super nice).

Anyways I just want to thank the staff for all their hard work. This was my first time back in 2 years and I am so happy I made the decision to come back again. I will definitely be returning in 2013 and I hope to be able to come to the musical festival.

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I've been to the con several years now and this year is easily the one I will remember most as a bad experience.

What happened with Pre-reg? Why is it that it was easier to get out of the Pre-reg line and get into the non-registered line to gain admittance to the convention? I understand a lot of people come down on Thursday to pick up their badges, but this is a luxury that costs extra money and not everybody can afford to partake in. Back in 09 I remember getting in the wrong line- it was the register today line and somehow the pre-register line for this year spanned at least twice the size of that line- which was also rather intimidatingly large.

It seemed like things were really unorganized this year. Certain exits/entrances were being cut off by guards and prioritized as exits only which made getting back to the main con grounds a hassle in which one had to go outside and bare the heat as they trekked back. The escalators (which I understand were prioritized for staff to get around quickly) being blocked off was silly. I personally don't care about walking up steps- I'm not an out of shape person. But when there are 4 staircases being clogged with slow moving people- people with immobile costumes and etc- it's a bit annoying to see two automatically moving staircases condemned.

I'm not sure if it was just me, but it seemed after Friday the air conditioning got turned down considerably. The con was nice and cool on Friday- and yet Sat and Sun were rather sweaty days- and I didn't wear my costume for the latter two. I understand this could be perception, but even in areas where the air would be blasting (the doors and such) you could barely feel anything. That just seems cheap and silly of a convention who makes 70-80 dollars from 32,000 people on registration alone.

I used Guidebook- which I will once again say is an AMAZING app that needs to be utilized more by other cons and if anything they should truly emphasize making it even better for Otakon- but I noticed something strange. A lot of panels seemed to get re-scheduled or plain out cancelled. That is a bit of a bummer. I personally didn't have anything I REALLY wanted to see wind up getting cancelled, but it still was a bit concerning. However- I do have a story about bullcrap during an event I attended.

I- like many, went to see Aya Hirano on Sunday. Great concert- horrible aftermath. After the concert- you'd swear that a riot broke out. People rushing here, there and everywhere only so that they might be able to get in line for her autograph session. I can understand the chaos. But then- turns out the line I am in is not the real line. So the guy with the sign that says 'end of line' runs off and we all follow him. Eventually I get a spot while people are cutting the line and nobody is caring- only to find that I am about a quarter away from the end. Whatever! Still, I am not too upset. We hear announcements telling us "Don't worry- she only has about an hour to sign- but if you want to stay to try and get your stuff signed, then please do so. We won't be kicking out anybody." I decided I would take my chances. I bought a 25 dollar rag (Supposedly a towel) and steeled myself, ready to get a signature or walk away saying "At least I tried!" Now- we sit in line for about a half hour. Then, just before she starts signing- a staffer yells "Everybody from that guy- down (Some guy half way through the line is waving his arms) needs to leave. She WON'T be able to sign your stuff. It's impossible. We need to clear equipment. Get out." ... I feel an ellipsis is most appropriate here. Not only were we lied to- we were blatantly kicked out. Not only were people allowed to cut, swap places and etc, but we were being forced to leave. I could go on and on about how ridiculous this is- but I think we all understand by now.

Also- the hours of the dealers room. I saw it in the pamphlet- but GOD. With all the panels and whatnot I barely had the time to go in and navigate the entire room- not to mention if we factor in the Artist alley as well. This is a HUGE HUGE HUGE PROBLEM. Seriously- everybody I know had an issue with this. BIG BULLETIN HERE. MAKE SURE YOU READ THIS PART!

It seemed a lot less care went into the fans this year and whether or not they could get around and enjoy the event. I guess it all boils down to the con needing to make more money. People being greedy, fans being forgotten and profit being prioritized. That age old argument of a convention becoming too big is now ever-so-clear and I find myself rather upset and neglected.

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This was my 12th Otakon and I had a really great time. Unfortunately, for the first time, most of the fun I had did not come from the convention itself. The crowds and lines prevented me from attending a lot of panels (and yes, I made a point to show up early, unfortunatly so did everyone else) and the heat, both inside and out, almost killed me so I spent a lot of time in my hotel room.

First I'll hit the good points:

  • The Secret World of Arietty showing - I was glad I was finally able to see this movie. Anime films are probably my favorite things to watch in the video rooms.

  • Anime's Craziest Deaths - I had so much fun at the panel and I was so glad I finally got to see it.

  • Super Art Fight - Highlight of my Saturday! Please bring them back! I had seen it before at Katsucon but the 18+ element at Otakon made it even crazier and fun. The only downside was that it was hard to see what was being drawn on stage since that panel room was so large. At past events, they had the camera zoomed into the board and had a cameraman moving it around to highlight whichever areas the artists were working on at any one moment. Even if a camera person wasn't available to Otakon, it might work better to put the Wheel of Death on one screen, and a larger shot of the art space on the other screen rather than split both the way it was this year.

  • Saturday fan parodies - I was glad to see some new videos mixed in with ReDeath. After seeing ReDeath as many times as I have, it was nice to have some fresh things to watch. The quality of the videos shown was very high as well.

And for some criticism:

  • Has there been any thought to schedule some of the 18+ content earlier in the day? I say this because 80% of the programming I was interested in was scheduled at the same time against each other on Saturday night. Meanwhile, there was very little programming for me during the day on Saturday. I am not suggesting screening hardcore hentai at lunchtime but many 18+ panels are only considered "adult" because of language and violence (but mainly language in my experience). Those sort of events could start in the afternoon/evening in order to spread out the content.

  • The crowds. They increase every year, but this year was probably the worst. Actually I remember the crowds were really bad about 4 or 5 years ago but every con since then seemed to have better crowd control/flow even though the attendance increased. Some "No Photo Zones" on the 300 level (the overpass, in front of the panel/video rooms) and other congestion areas could help. Send some gophers to do rounds and keep people moving in the those areas. Also this year there seemed to be a lack of line up areas (either tape on the ground or ropes) and where there were these guides, they went unused causing the lines to turn into giant clusterfucks.

  • In addition to the crowding issue, quite a few times I saw some groups posing for photos in the least ideal areas (namely at the immediate bottom or top of stairwells) while a staff member stood nearby and watched. Why weren't the staff breaking these groups up? I think the worst I saw a group doing a photoshoot at the bottom of the stairs leading into the Dealers' room enterance. It caused a major bottle neck to get in while 4-5 staff members stood there staring.

  • Finally, the videos rooms should show more classic anime (my opinion). I loved seeing the orignal Lupin Friday morning.

I'm excited to see what Otakon has in store for their 20th year. I have seen how you guys take our feedback to heart so I have a feeling some of these things will improve next year. I'm also glad to see the move back to August as that makes my summer much easier to schedule.

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I thought that this year's Otakon was really fun. I just have a couple comments/suggestions.

Maid Cafe: I thought this was pretty good for the first attempt at it. I realize it would be extremely difficult to make it bigger due to finding a room to put it in and the cost of the food and getting the staff for it, but only 40 people per show meant that the line filled up instantly for the performances. My group got there around noon on Saturday to get in the 2:00 show and barely made the cut. As we sat there enough people lined up to fill up the 4:00 and 6:00 shows and we hadn't even gone in yet for the 2:00 show. Maybe there could be a way to do reservations or something so you don't have to commit so many hours just to wait in line. The food was good and the maids/butlers were entertaining and stuck with their roles, though some of the roles seemed a little forced. I would love to see it come back next year.

Lines: Probably the hardest thing to control and the biggest driver of complaints are the lines. Most of the time things went smoothly, it was only for the bigger panels that the lines had some chaos. I didn't go to many this year, but in the past years the big panels that were held in the Hilton all had very smooth lines with staffers doing a good job of organizing them. In the BCC however the lines aren't managed very well. I got in line for the Super Game Show on Saturday about an hour and a half ahead of time, I could tell there was going to be a problem. The line had started along the wall for panel 1, but the line for panel 2 (History of Nintendo) kept growing and wrapped around to our wall. Once a staffer actually showed up and saw the mess they did very well in moving our line for panel 1 along the outer wall which was into the busy hallway, but they kept panel two's line wrapped around the corridor that the two panel rooms sit in then broke it off and sent it in the opposite direction a long the same hallway for panel 1. This caused a lot of confusion about which line was for what and where the end of the lines were. Honestly, this was probably the best way they could go considering the location of the panel rooms and everything but it would have been really helpful if there was a staffer stationed there and their sole purpose was to tell people where the line was. Most of the time there wasn't a staffer there and I kept explaining where the lines were because I was in the front of the line. Those little alleyways where two panels are next to each seem to cause the most problems so if one staffer was assigned to an alleyway I think that would help a lot.

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I didn't have enough steam in me to make it to the official feedback panel to say this, so I wanted to make sure to say it on the forum...

This year more than any other I was completely blown away by how great Otakon has become. In particular, after hosting panels for 7 years, I have seen a dramatic increase in the level of professionalism and genuine respect for panelists. People like Andy, Jim, Clint and all of the A/V staffers & contractors deserve a landfill's worth of recognition and thanks for the work they put into the convention. You guys make me want to continue hosting panels for the rest of my life.

Also, I wanted to thank everyone who attended the panels I hosted (Japanese Tea and You, Japanese Cuisine and Japanese Rock Music); I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge on these subjects with you guys, feel free to contact me if you had any questions that weren't addressed!

As for the rest of the convention, the ONLY complaints I had were not being able to get into every panel I was interested in... however, I never took the time to line up early and didn't expect to be able to walk-in, especially for the ones I knew would be popular (ie. Nintendo panel on Saturday). The other reason for not being able to attend them all was the fact that there were TOO MANY panels I was interested in to begin with and had to pick one or the other! I can't believe there are people on here complaining about not being interested in the content offered this year... that's absurd.

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A lot of this show was amazing. You guys have the badge check-in down to a science now. Panel Ops was extremely helpful, and there's a half dozen other truly well-down things about this show.

But there are some things that HAVE to change.

The Artist Alley needs to be fixed. While it's awesome having the separate sign-in area for the Alley, that area was horrendously under-staffed. If it's the same layout as next year, have the Information desk take overflow spots if no one is in line for information. And a lot of delays to signing in were from people not doing their paperwork ahead of time. If that's the case, then hand out affidavits to people in line, so they can start filling them out as they wait.

The registration process for the Alley is a mess. Lottery selection is a terrible way for getting tables. I know there's always a few schools of thought on what to do with filling the alley. Some people want to reward quality, some want to reward loyalty, and some want to encourage new artists. Why not do all three?

You could have a special area set aside for professional artists. This will essentially turn into a webcomics alley, but accept them in by jury only, or charge more for those tables, or both. Just a small increase in the difficulty for the creators to get in, coupled with a reward of a section of the alley with friends. Every artist friend of mine that I talked to said they'd love this idea. This is mainly because I only got to talk to them at 3 p.m. on Sunday. When we're scattered over the entire hall, we don't get to see one another during the weekend.

Another option is to split the tables up into three groups. The first third you can sell to the "loyal" buyers - those that have the most amount of show appearances. When those sell out, sell a third of the tables to the "quality" block, those that have the best jury points. The final third, throw those tables up to the lotto if you must. That way if someone is new and not as good as at least 1/3 of the alley's talent, they still have a random shot of getting a table.

This is beneficial for the attendees, too, as it guarantees them a mix of old favorites, good talent and new faces.

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As I've mentioned in several other threads, please make sure subtitled screenings are high enough for all to read it. The Friday night screening of Battle Royale was nearly impossible to read and I was only in the sixth row, not even halfway down the room. There was still space on the screen that the projector could have been lifted a few more inches and everyone would have been able to see the subtitles with no trouble. As it was, we were craning our necks back and forth to try and see between heads with no luck. I finally just watched the movie and had my friend who had seen it before fill me in on the talking bits.

I've seen other subtitled things at Otakon before and this is the first time that it was such a problem that I gave up trying to read it, which was a major bummer because I was really excited for Battle Royale.

The only other thing I want to say is that I personally wasn't a fan of the panels this year. None jumped out at me as very interesting to try and see. Now, your mileage may vary because I've seen some praising the panels this year but I do know that my friends and I spent most of our time outside of the panels. The very few of interest my friends tried to go see were filled and they were turned away at the door.

I think those were my only complaints that I'd like to see addressed for next year. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to speak up!

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I'm surprised to hear complaints about the air conditioning because for me, I was pretty cold in a lot of the panel rooms, which has never happened before. And this is with fairly warm costumes that I actually wore extra layers with.

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Con was once again great fun! But I do have a few questions/comments:

1) Why was the line held up for the Sunday dealer's room? My friend was waiting since 8:15, so obviously got it, I texted him to ask him how crowded it was in there, and he told me it wasn't at all crowded compared to Friday or Saturday. I was told it was "at capacity", but that's not very believable if you ask me. I just really don't understand what the hold up was.

2) Why were panels with the words "Pokemon", "Toonami", "Worst", or "Weirdest" put in the far smaller panels 4 and 5? There wasn't even anything going on in nearby far bigger panel 6 during the Pokeholics panel, and being in the smaller panel 5 stopped a lot of people from attending for what appeared to be no good reason. I feel like while it might be tough to determine which panels might be the most popular, certain key words practically guarantee a huge panel (it's why in a past year, Yugioh Abridged got panel 3 as did the Abridged panel this year). I wasn't able to get into either Worst Anime or Weirdest Video Games panel (I waited for the video game one for nearly a half hour and still didn't get in!) I'm just saying in the future, some panels should be easily predictable as being popular and perhaps put in a larger panel room.

3) Lack of badge design. I realize these things require some sort of deal made with the publisher (except for Crabby), but we had a Madoka one last year. When I heard of the Steins;Gate Otakon premiere, I was really expecting one for that series. Also, there are never any badges for manga only series, for someone who prefers manga to anime, it's kind of a shame there wasn't an Attack on Titan or Sailor Moon manga badge. Older series might also be nice, seeing how Discotek just got the rights and released Lupin the III on DVD really recently.

4) Not many panels on manga. Last year, there were so many manga panels to go to, I was thrilled! This year, there were hardly any :(

For some stuff I liked:

1) Check in was faster. Sure, I saw a line outside on Friday at like 2pm, but attendance numbers were way up, so that's to be expected. Though I was surprised to see a line for Thursday when I left around 7 after getting my badge then eating dinner down at the inner harbor. Seems like there was a line at first, then almost no line for a while, then suddenly one out the door again.

2) Playing Battle Royale at 6pm on Saturday. Some of us have to take the lightrail back towards the suburbs, so I wouldn't have been able to see it at its Friday time. I liked the idea of some of the 18+ stuff starting a bit earlier

3) No 18+ stuff in Panel 4. While I like the idea of 18+ starting a bit earlier than I'm used to, I also like the idea of having areas of non-18+ stuff too.

4) The 1000 cranes project in Otachan. Granted, there were some problems with not having crane instructions in the binders, and I also think printing out the Sadako Story for people to read there would help a lot in the future.

5) Having actual line poles and ropes and stuff instead of tape on the floor.

But yep, can't wait to attend next year!

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Come to think of it, I am curious about the decision to put the WTF did I just watch panel in Panel 1 this year. It was in panel 3 last year and just about filled the room. I opted in favour of Dubs That Time Forgot so I didn't attempt WTF, but I heard that the WTF line hit capacity at least an hour before it started.

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My only real suggestion would be for better line control, such as when people were waiting to line up for autograph sessions. Getting everyone to form a line--instead of the massive blob of people--would definitely keep things more orderly.

Add yet another guy saying that Hirano Aya's autograph session after the concert was not well organized, to say the least blink.png

Honestly, I spent all afternoon Friday, Saturday AND Sunday trying to get just one autograph from Jason David Frank. Every staff member gave us conflicting information on how the line would be handled, and it went down badly every time.

Great comments guys, so as not to derail this thread or anything, I'm going to discuss this topic a bit in /index.php?showtopic=22896&st=50">this other thread, feel free to join me.

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This year was my best Otakon experience yet. I've been coming since 2007. Every panel I went to was of very high quality, whereas in past years there was always at least one panel I walked out of because the presenters didn't have themselves squared away. Panels I saw included:

-Spirits, Wheels, and Borrowed Gods: Anime and Japan's scared culture - Informative content, great slides, engaging speaker

-Blood and Honor: Story of the Samurai in Japanese Cinema - Presenter knew her material and her passion for the genre really made the panel

-New Anime for Older Fans - The reversethieves folks were great

-Disorganization XIII's Spoiler 5 - These guys are hilarious. The one panel I never miss. HAVE. THEM. BACK.

-Anime's Craziest Deaths - As advertised, would buy again

-Fandom and Criticism - I enjoyed the panel, but I would have preferred more input from the panel of experts. I felt the balance of presentation vs. audience participation was a bit off.

-The "Art" of Fanservice - Informative and funny.

Iron Editor seemed to be a crowd pleaser as always. It's one of my top things to see at every con I got to where it's done. Thanks to Vic and Omar and all those guys.

Lines seemed less well run this year. For example, on Friday I was in a line that folks thought was for Panel 4 in the Hilton, but it wasn't. Didn't notice until I went to the door, saw folks including the presenter in there, and asked staff. People must have thought the staffer who was keeping the line from blocking the door was actually keeping people from entering the room. I think some line problems are caused by folks just forming lines themselves because they don't want to enter rooms early. I'm not sure how to fix that.

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I think that the AMV contest could be improved in terms of how people were seated - I was pretty frustrated that I was the fourth person in line, but I was forced to sit apart from my group because "we weren't allowed to save seats" - I wasn't saving them, my entire group was right there behind me.

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First off to the Staff great job as usual, even when I had some minor issue the staff I spoke with were very freindly and helpfull.

Who every runs the food court my god please ask them to bring back the Pulled Pork and Brownsuger Chips they where amazing. I think this is the first time in many years that I actually didn't mind purchasing food inside the BCC price weren't to bad except for beverages ($4 for a 20oz gatoraid)

Could staff please try to fix the bottle neck issue with the exit from the Sky Bridge to the BCC many times it was a hazard to get thru

Eleavators not working and doors locked(Charles Street Entrance Sliding Doors on the 1st Floor) correct me if I'm wrong but don't all doors have to be unlocked with the ammount of folks the BCC had in it.

Staff needs to be asigned to the 300 level bridge so folks won't stop for texting and photo's saw way to many of this over the weekend.

By all accounts the Maid Cafe was a big hit please try and bring it back maybe move it away from the Jam Session area.

Baltimore Police that were located around the BCC and the Inner Harbor were so helpfull they went out of their way to help any congoer please pass along a big thank you to the Chief of Police

ICW Man what can be said that hasn't already major cudo's to who every came up with the idea having him open the Cons

Must try to come up with a better working solution for large group photo shoots I ran 3 of them and I must say Staff needs to look into maybe having a room set aside for shoots heck everyone I spoke to about this said they would be willing to pay a fee to use said room.

Over all I feel that Cosplay was down this year on Friday not sure why Saturday look about the same from last year.

Must let Cosplay Nation show their film next year

Well thats all for now looking forward to the 20th Anv Otakon.

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Jason David Frank: ​He was a truly awesome guest. He treated everyone with the utmost respect and enthusiasm and I really admired his humility. Hopefully Otakon will try to have him return someday in the future

Brina Palencia: During her Sunday Q&A, my friend asked if she would sign some things and after the panel she decided to stay behind for another 20 minutes to sign autographs for everyone attending the panel. She was a lot of fun and very generous with her time

The Otakon Staff: The staffers had a lot on their plate yet all the staff that my group encountered were friendly, courteous and helpful. Special thanks to the Access Control guys in 335 (?) for their professionalism and careful handling of our prop weapons.

The Hilton Skywalk: The congestion got to be pretty bad. One CES security guard to check the badges of all the incoming attendees who were exiting from Hilton panels was not enough

Late-night security. It seemed that some non con-goers managed to slip in Friday and Saturday night. Several of them took extremely drunk pictures with our friend and commented that they just "wandered in off the street" from the lower Pratt lobby. They definitely did not look like typical attendees either, based on their attire. I regret informing staff right away but we were in a rush to get somewhere.

CES Security: I've heard some complaints from people but all in all I thought they did a good job. They were polite, professional, and a few even asked for pics. There was one gentleman in particular, a taller and older African American security guard on Friday and Saturday afternoon at the entrance to the fountain Pratt lobby who was especially good. His name escapes me though.

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In the interest of line management for the programs, if the line has reached capacity an hour or two before a program has even started couldn't the volunteer text this into to the schedulers so they could update the ap and tell everyone a program is full? It would give con goers into that would help them to change plans. I was bummed that there were programs people lined up for a couple hours in advance. I am used to planning to spend an hour ahead of a program to line up but two was a shocker. If I'd know at 5:30 I could not get into a program that started at 7:30, I could have made other plans.

Pre-reg lines to get in the con were awful. I have never seen them last that long into the afternoon (although we came early Friday AM and were in the con in 20 minutes). Staff at registration desk was not up to par this year. Our volunteers couldn't articulate the process and didn't give us our con bags. Never have I had that problem before. Usually Otakon is my standard of how a check in should be done.

We were not allowed to enter or exit Pratt St. lobby during the registration hours. I was leaving in the morning and got to the doors to be told I could not leave from there only enter. Several hours later, I tried to enter Pratt St. lobby after lunch and was told I had to use Charles St. I missed a panel due to the detour. I think this info should have been conveyed in the hours. It would have allowed me to plan better.

Guidebook ap needs black text for the location of the program. White text on blue was nearly impossible for me to read. My friends didn't fair better. Overall, loved that ap! Especially the reminder feature.

Badge checks for people leaving the con are unnecessary. Evening badge checks need to be strichter.

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I'll pretty much copy my post from the "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" thread, with some more points. First and foremost thank you to everyone who helped make Otakon 2012 possible! It was a fun time with my friends and family and this was my 9th Otakon. Now the following are some of my comments, opinions, and general thoughts on the weekend while it’s still very fresh in my head!

The Good

- Pre-Reg was awesome and super quick. I went down on Thursday and had little to no wait. It was great because it started to rain, and lucky I just missed the storm before getting my badge. However like a lot of people said the Friday pickup was quite a disaster, but the Thursday pickup was smooth and well run.

- I know the Autograph Staff got some heat from other threads but from my experience of going to the autograph sessions this weekend, I thought they did a good job of letting people know if they had a legit chance of getting autographs. Granted I didn’t go to any of the major signing, and while going to the sessions I wanted, other sessions seemed to overlap and the staff did seem swamped, but under the situation they were under I thought they did well.

- All the staff at the information booth at the Pratt Street and by the fountains on the second floor were both quite helpful and super nice! They had a lot of extra schedules and programming books handy if we lost ours. They were kind and willing to answer any and all questions.

The Bad

- ConFunk. Now I know the heat played a major factor into this but I swear some people did not bath for days by the shear presence of them being in the room. At recent Otakons, I thought this issue was really dying out, but it certainly reared its ugly head back at this year’s con. In fact on Saturday it got to the point that I was going to tell a couple staff members but I seriously doubt they could do anything about it. But really people, please use proper hygiene while attending Otakon.

- The Security Guard at the Upstairs exit area of the Dealers room. Why would one need to show a badge to exit an exhibit? It made absolutely no sense and was holding everyone up. Why was she checking badges? We get the badges checked as we enter the con, and when we enter the Dealer's Room. Now there are checks while leaving? It didn't make sense to me.

- As far as I know their was no official Otakon autograph session for Shin Sasaki.

- I really felt during the weekend that quite frankly, a lot of the staff on the front lines were extremly overwhelmed. I’m sure attendance was up this year because it was PACKED all day Friday and Saturday, but when a wave of attendees would descend on a staffer to ask questions, a lot of them seemed strung out and like I said overwhelmed by the situation.

The Ugly

- One staffer at the 18+ Lupin panel on Saturday was straight up rude. She was yelling at everyone coming into the panel and then was telling people who wanted space between each other while sitting that she was going to force people to buy extra badges if they wanted to do that (which is completely illogical and threaten). Now I understand if the panel is packed out the door that people need to sit side by side but if the panel is half empty, this just lacks all common sense. Plus the panelist running the panel (who btw did a GREAT job) was told he had 90 minutes but then told him 60 minutes in to cut it off. Not sure what happen there, but it was ugly.

Thank you for reading. Again these are just some of my opinions and experiences over the weekend.

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Mostly copy pasta from the GB+U thread, though it's now in a pretty list :3

+ It was really fun. None of the content was a let down.

+ Persona 4 shoots on Saturday went well and I came home tired like I should.

+ The staffers running the Dealer's Room line Sunday were fantastic.

+ Any staffers I did talk to were polite and friendly.

+ Badge checks did seem overkill at times, but it never slowed the lines down.

+ Heard only 2 memes total.

+ Met a lot of friends and the people in line with me were social and fun.

- Some line management, (Like always tongue.png ) But the NIS America Games panel was the horrendous. The staffer managing that made some confusing breaks in the line, and the start and end were not clear. When the panel actually opened for seating, he was nowhere to be found and large groups were cutting the real front of the line. (Through no real fault of their own.) I didn't miss the panel due to this but it certainly could have been much worse.

- A Team Rocket duo were harassing some of my friends dressed as Pokemon trainers. This wasn't late either, around 3PM Saturday.

I went into detail more on the negatives, but these were small things that lasted only a few minutes each. The positives were nearly perpetual throughout the weekend.

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This was my fourth Otakon, and I thought the con was as awesome (likely even moreso) than in the past!

This was my first year cosplaying (which allowed me to see things from a new point of view), and it was an amazing experience. I did notice an increase in the crowds around the usual places (I'm looking at you, overpass) where people were taking pictures where/when they shouldn't have been doing so; whenever someone approached me for a picture, I always made sure to guide them out of the way.

The Aging Otaku and Fandom & Criticism panels were awesome. Otakon definitely needs more interesting academic/scholarly panels like these in the future.

Other than that, I feel kinda biased, considering that this was my first year cosplaying and performing in the Masquerade, so I'm not quite sure what could be done differently in those cases. Maybe find a way to reduce lines that doesn't necessarily require an attendance cap?

I like what people have been saying about wanting to shrink the amount of space in the Game Room. This would not only give more space for things like photoshoots, but would also bring all of the games a bit closer together, making it easier to see what's available without having to wander aimlessly around the hall.

As for badge checks, I did notice what seemed like an unnecessary increase in them since I was last here in 2010. Then again, I just got used to showing my badge anyway. It's honestly not that hard to present one's badge to a security guard for them to okay it. Kinda don't see why there's so much complaining (though I guess there should be a few more people doing that for things like the Dealers' Room, Artist Alley and such.

That's pretty much it. Overall, still awesome! Keep it up!

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Please note: I am NOT an official representative of Otakon, I'm just a gofer so I can't speak for the staff at all. Just sharing my observations.

In the interest of line management for the programs, if the line has reached capacity an hour or two before a program has even started couldn't the volunteer text this into to the schedulers so they could update the ap and tell everyone a program is full? It would give con goers into that would help them to change plans. I was bummed that there were programs people lined up for a couple hours in advance. I am used to planning to spend an hour ahead of a program to line up but two was a shocker. If I'd know at 5:30 I could not get into a program that started at 7:30, I could have made other plans.

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I had some problems with the staff, as well. The masquerade had a bit of a line, so our group didn't get in until the beginning of the second peformance. That being said, we didn't hear this "announcement" of no-cameras allowed. Everyone around us had cameras, and there were no signs that said "no cameras", so we assumed that cameras were okay. But a staffer came up to me while I took a picture and said, and I quote, 'We do not allow cameras in here, delete it right this secon or you're out of here.' She then watched me delete the video, and looked through my camera roll on my iPod to see if I had anymore. I understand that the rules need to be followed, but they could have been more polite about it, considering I had no idea. (and she said nothing to the other people recording the event, which made me a bit angry).

We make every effort to inform the various staffers that man the Masquerade of the photo/video policy. In fact, I remember fielding a few extra questions about it. Unfortunately that staffer got the policy wrong, and needlessly soured your experience in the process.

The announcement that was made prior to the Masquerade indicated that flash photography and any videotaping was not permitted. Non-flash photography was permitted.

We can look into some signage next year, but the problem tends to be that get obscured pretty quickly in the size of crowds we get in the arena.

If you want to contact me in private with any the details of the incident and the staffer in question, please feel free to do so.

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Only one point/question: Is it true that the only VA signing at the Voice Actors' Cavalcade on Sunday was J. Michael Tatum? If so... well, that's just messed up, regardless. I mean, I was in line, hoping to get autographs(I was there on the off chance that Trina Nishimura might be there to sign, and I wanted to get my copy of Eva 2.22 signed), and a staffer apparently told everyone that J. Michael Tatum would be the only one signing. I ended getting out of line, mildly angry that my time had been wasted like this... (note: I had already gotten my Eva DVD previously signed by J. Michael Tatum at another con, so really, what would be the point?)

I'm not sure if this is true, of if I was just misinformed.

But based on this, I might not hit the Cavalcade at ALL next year. :(

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I have mostly good things to say.

  • Please think about expanding things like the Otacafe so the wait during night time is not always 2+ hours. Could be just part-time (like, use the Jam Space after 7pm)

  • Besides the hiccups on Sunday, the dealer room line is well-separated now from the autograph area and not a cluster-mess of people trying to go to different places. At least for the most part. Also props for the autograph staff for mostly managing the crowd well. I guess it's not perfect but I had an above-average experience.

  • I understand why Aya Hirano had autographing only on Sunday, and I thought you guys did a good job. What I want to know is why their crew only brought over towels...

  • This is my 15th Otakon, but even I had to find new ways to enter the con (not necessarily the con center) when both of the Pratt/Howard entrances were blocked off in the morning. The one by Jimmy Johns, at least, could've been kept open I think. Actually, couldn't you still enter the Hilton via the JJ?

  • Need tables that are more...square, in the game room. I know people worked around it if they're playing Mahjong by using the end of those tables, but you can't for some other games. Not a big deal but something to think about when setting up, maybe add more chairs and make some gaps between tables.

  • Guidebook is a lifesaver, so please keep using it when you can.

  • Maid cafe: There was always a line so I never tried it...but if it was being set up like a real maid cafe, couldn't people just put down reservations/time slots so they're free to browse the con while they wait? I understand this is the first year so I'm looking forward to it when it improves and is able to handle its popularity.

I got a laugh at the walking info booth person. I don't know how effective that is, but keep doing it for the amusement value?

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I was really confused why we were allowed to go through certain entrances some times but they were blocked other times. A couple times I tried to enter through the Pratt St. entrance and was directed to Charles St instead, but other times I could get in through Pratt St. without problems. I don't even remember entrances being blocked like that in the past so I thought it was weird.

Similarly, a convention center (or maybe hotel?) security guard was blocking entrance to the Hilton skywalk (from the Hilton side) which was a huge pain. He wouldn't let anyone through to the convention center, and was directing us down the escalator to an outside exit. Nearly made me late to something important and was a massive inconvenience. I pay a lot to make sure I get a hotel that allows me quick/easy access to the BCC, but when all the nearby entrances are unexpectedly blocked, it's a waste of money and time. More consistency or at least some prior notice as to which exits/entrances we can and can not use would be great.

Making sure that the equipment works in a video room before screening things would be good too. I was in Video 6 watching Inu x Boku SS and the video kept going out. It looked like a staff member was fiddling with it for a little, but then they left and didn't come back.

I was also really disappointed that Aya Hirano's concert was on Sunday. Seems like it would make more sense to have such a big guest on another day, rather than around noon on Sunday which is check out time for most hotels. Maybe that's just me though, since I can never stay too late on Sundays. sad.png

Despite the criticism, I had a good time. Pre-reg went quick and easy for me, and Mikako Joho was a pleasant surprise - I really really enjoyed her performance on Friday!

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Wow, You guys have done another great job bringing the 19th Otakon to us, and really can't wait to see what else is in the works for the milestone 20th in August 2013. Now, I do have some items I want to bring up, though some Otakon goers already have, that I believe are important for moving forward.

1) The metering of some of the traditionally large lines like for the dealer room I thought was excellent because it kept other high traffic areas (e.g. the skywalk) easy to manage. However, I wished something would have been done about the concert line on Sunday.

2) A plain and simple request to the AV department, TURN THAT VOLUME DOWN! I understand things need to be loud enough for whole room to hear clearly, but concert-level noise in every room & hall is harmful to many Otakon goers' ears. Toning it down to acceptible levels would really make the con more enjoyable IMO.

3) CES Security seemed to have improved this Otakon. I noticed and/or heard of little to no breaches, which was good.

4) Another item I want to give praise is the pre-registration on Thursday. I know the high heat had some factor in just how long the Thursday line eventually was, but it still served its purpose very well.

5) There is one last suggestion I want to bring forward which I think could really broaden the appeal & the audience of the Otakon and a certain other Baltimore tradition: I think the time has come for the Otakon and the Artscape to get together on stuff (effectively a holy team-up). Some possibilities would include cross-promotions during both events, perhaps Otakon running a small booth at the Artscape, and maybe even collaborating for some cool events. It is something I think can work really well for BOTH, though it does not have to be large scale right off the bat. This is what I think could be really cool leading up to the 20th Otakon.

That is what I have to say for now, and I hope all of ya are back home resting comfortably. The faerie will see all of ya again soon!

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I'll pretty much copy my post from the "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" thread, with some more points. First and foremost thank you to everyone who helped make Otakon 2012 possible! It was a fun time with my friends and family and this was my 9th Otakon. Now the following are some of my comments, opinions, and general thoughts on the weekend while it’s still very fresh in my head!

The Good

- Pre-Reg was awesome and super quick. I went down on Thursday and had little to no wait. It was great because it started to rain, and lucky I just missed the storm before getting my badge. However like a lot of people said the Friday pickup was quite a disaster, but the Thursday pickup was smooth and well run.

- I know the Autograph Staff got some heat from other threads but from my experience of going to the autograph sessions this weekend, I thought they did a good job of letting people know if they had a legit chance of getting autographs. Granted I didn’t go to any of the major signing, and while going to the sessions I wanted, other sessions seemed to overlap and the staff did seem swamped, but under the situation they were under I thought they did well.

- All the staff at the information booth at the Pratt Street and by the fountains on the second floor were both quite helpful and super nice! They had a lot of extra schedules and programming books handy if we lost ours. They were kind and willing to answer any and all questions.

The Bad

- ConFunk. Now I know the heat played a major factor into this but I swear some people did not bath for days by the shear presence of them being in the room. At recent Otakons, I thought this issue was really dying out, but it certainly reared its ugly head back at this year’s con. In fact on Saturday it got to the point that I was going to tell a couple staff members but I seriously doubt they could do anything about it. But really people, please use proper hygiene while attending Otakon.

- The Security Guard at the Upstairs exit area of the Dealers room. Why would one need to show a badge to exit an exhibit? It made absolutely no sense and was holding everyone up. Why was she checking badges? We get the badges checked as we enter the con, and when we enter the Dealer's Room. Now there are checks while leaving? It didn't make sense to me.

- As far as I know their was no official Otakon autograph session for Shin Sasaki.

- I really felt during the weekend that quite frankly, a lot of the staff on the front lines were extremly overwhelmed. I’m sure attendance was up this year because it was PACKED all day Friday and Saturday, but when a wave of attendees would descend on a staffer to ask questions, a lot of them seemed strung out and like I said overwhelmed by the situation.

The Ugly

- One staffer at the 18+ Lupin panel on Saturday was straight up rude. She was yelling at everyone coming into the panel and then was telling people who wanted space between each other while sitting that she was going to force people to buy extra badges if they wanted to do that (which is completely illogical and threaten). Now I understand if the panel is packed out the door that people need to sit side by side but if the panel is half empty, this just lacks all common sense. Plus the panelist running the panel (who btw did a GREAT job) was told he had 90 minutes but then told him 60 minutes in to cut it off. Not sure what happen there, but it was ugly.

Thank you for reading. Again these are just some of my opinions and experiences over the weekend.

Our access control staff were definitely understaffed; this has been an issue for the past couple of years and we are working on it, but unfortunately it is a stressful job and not everyone is cut out for it.

It isn't always possible to tell a panel's line is still full from inside the panel room, so that may have been a factor.

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