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Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Overall convention feedback in this topic. There are other, separate posts just for panels and hotels if you want to go into detail about your experiences.

The Good
- It wasn't the worst Otakon I've ever been to despite all of my nonstop complaints!!!
- The maps were at least a little helpful but they REALLY need 'you are here' on each one.

The Bad
- Getting lost about a million times every day, whether in the con center itself or outside. The streets there are so... weird. The con center has a pretty confusing layout. It took until the end of day Saturday until I started getting used to everything. So many unused rooms, though.
- During the T.M. Revolution concert, his microphone died pretty early on and not a single staff person whatever noticed until he literally flung it away. Also someone started dimming the lights while he was still talking later. He even said, in English, "lots of problems/trouble" or something like that. Poor Nishikawa-san.
- The guest list still felt lacking.
- Tons of empty booths in the Dealer's Room.
- Tons of empty awkward space there in general.
- The video game room felt so big but also so empty.

The Ugly
- The temperatures inside the convention center. I was FREEZING the entire weekend inside. My friend was also freezing. I saw a woman working in the Dealer's Room wearing a winter coat. Most of the weekend was spent literally shivering uncontrollably. I didn't want to buy a hoodie and have to haul it around outside when I'd walk to buy food or something. I shouldn't need a hoodie in August.
- The Earthquake: Basically during Saturday's concert I was in two panels on the floor below and I was actually concerned for my safety. Everything was shaking so badly I thought for sure the floor was going to cave in. For next year, maybe put the concerts in a lower level. Like where Artist Alley/Dealer's Room is. Somehow.
- I paid for ASSIGNED SEATING at the concert. EVERYONE stood up right at the beginning. Sorry but if I pay for a seat, I want to sit. I had to stand to be able to see. Except everyone in front of me was super tall and I'm super short so I could barely see the tops of JAM Project's heads. And TMR is so tiny and adorable that I couldn't even really see him at all. I don't want to watch the screens. I want to watch the stage. If it was a general admission type thing, I would have been able to simply move somewhere else to avoid the tall people.
- All those canceled panels really left a bad taste in my mouth. Like I counted AT LEAST ten panels/video screenings that were canceled.

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The Good

  • Rooms large enough that you could get into the panels you wanted! No waiting in lines just to be turned away when the room got full.
  • Ample information - I could find my way around. We could make even more use of the video boards next year.
  • Good traffic flow overall. The dealer's room in particular had enough space to maneuver around, and the connector hallways rarely got clogged
  • I concur on the maps - good, but needs a YOU ARE HERE
  • The Japanese food court was a nice addition
  • The restaurants nearby seemed quite happy and engaged to see us

The Bad

  • The food prices seemed even more jacked up than in Baltimore. $3.75 for a soda?
  • Some of the food stands shut down early, making it impossible to get a soda at 10pm.
  • A lack of restaurants right around the convention center meant that everyone had to walk several blocks. I noticed some construction though, so maybe this will improve.
  • It would have been nice to be able to get in (with badge) from the Metro entrance rather than have to walk all the way around the building. If it had been raining when I arrived, I would have been quite frustrated
  • Empty spaces in the dealers room meant that it was even more spread out. I expect that next year, more vendors will return (or perhaps Otakon can lower its prices to entice a few more vendors?)

The Ugly

  • Whoever decided to put a Video room next to where the concerts/musical acts were (Video 4) should be shot. It was impossible to hear the video over the music coming from next door. I recommend that all video rooms be in the convention center next year - there were unused rooms.
  • The leak in Artist's Alley that shut it down on Saturday night.
  • Guidebook kept wiping out my schedule. Not an Otakon problem, but pretty frustrating.

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1 hour ago, blackdaggr said:

The Bad

  • The food prices seemed even more jacked up than in Baltimore. $3.75 for a soda?
  • Some of the food stands shut down early, making it impossible to get a soda at 10pm.

 

In the convention center there were some vending machines in a central lounge area, and a few tucked in the corners, that appeared to contain soda.

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The Good

  • New convention space/hotel was nice and spacious
  • Anisong Concerts were great, keep that going(though honestly Flow and Jam Project are 2 of the only bands I would pay to see)
  • You could walk through the dealer's room
  • Having a Nintendo rep in the game room
  • Guest list was pretty darn good all things considered, still want to see you go all out for 25 next year
  • The walkway between the Mariott and Convention Center meant I never had to go outside on Friday and Saturday which was nice
  • The clear bag Otakon gives out allowed me to have a bag and not have to go through bag checks so please keep them clear in the future

The Bad

  • Dealer's Room had about 2 rows of empty tables which really hurt the few booths that were beyond them, I hit one up Sunday and they had a lot I might have grabbed had I been able to know they were there before spending most of my money
  • The food prices were bad, I know it comes with the territory of a convention center but I wish people would boycott them
  • Those maps need a You are Here sign
  • A ton of cancelled panels
  • Only one autograph session for a lot of the guest made the individual ones very contentious
  • Bag check line on Friday morning was bad, like about an hour bad
  • The printed schedule should have at least been true as of a week before the con I would like to believe, not 2
  • Not your fault at all but I wish the Jam Project Portion of the concert had them sing some of their individual songs, look at my avatar I was a bit sad I didn't get to hear King Gainer Over live

The Ugly

  • Water Stations were way too few and far between, I don't know if this is something to do with the convention center, but while I still thought there were not enough on Saturday and Sunday there was a noticeable uptick
  • In the Michelle Ruff autograph line, there were people who had waited in the "pre-line" (note: I know these don't officially exist but still come on) that got seriously screwed because autograph staff moved the autograph area from Autograph 2 to Autograph 1, I will out myself as the person who actually noticed and got first in line, but still there were a lot of people rightfully angry in my opinion
  • From the same autograph session, at one point the people decided to move from standing outside the autograph 2 area to inside it to save space and make sure they were there, I ended up having to explain to them that it wasn't allowed and there was no staff around during this whole time. If there are autographs going on at the time you need at least 1 or 2 staffers around to make sure people don't line up where they shouldn't and know that "pre-lines" don't officially exist 
Edited by mitamaking

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I didn't really have much of a problem this year. I had my badge mailed, lines moved pretty fast, got into every panel i wanted to see. The only ugly thing for me was getting caught in the rain walking back to my hotel in cosplay and Saturday's rave DJ could have been better.

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My problems were more of the hotel than Otakon so those will be in that topic.

The Good

  • Size of the con. My god how nice it was not to bump into people all the time
  • Dealers Room had some really good vendors this year. I spent way more than I normally do thanks to the vendors.
  • Artist Alley, again, thanks to the size it felt like we had many more this year.
  • I got into the panels with no problems and rooms never seemed to be all full up.

The Bad

  • Maps. While I was happy to see full size maps everywhere. It took me longer than I should have as they had no "You are Here" notes on them
  • Rain. Not really Otakon's fault but the Friday night I got wet trying to get food then later on I got sick (also due to the lack of sleep)
  • Lines. The main problem is that I could never seem to find any organization of the lines for the panels. It seemed to be all over the place or people would randomly line up. Due to the size of everything I didn't miss anything but man we need them better organized.

The Ugly

  • The bag check. I'm sorry but everything about that was a full waste of time and joke that caused the most problems for me. I know it seemed to be required by the DCCC but half the time they just "shook" the bag and didn't open it. Due to that it opened my pills in my bag and they were all in the bottom of my bag. When they did open the bag they seemed to be looking for a cartoon bomb than a real bomb. If they used any type of stuff I've seen the Mythbusters used they wouldn't be able to find anything. Heck, I've seen Disney World put more work into bag check than they did.
Edited by Konacha

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Good

  • I like the new facilities, the new location, the new hotels. For most things they were outright upgrades over Inner Harbor and definitely overall.
  • There's now more spaces for everyone, yay. Dunno the attendance number so can't compare apple to apple, but the few chokepoints in the con I walked past weren't that bad even during Saturday peak hours
  • Anisong World Matsuri - Good to have this in the east coast finally
  • The ballroom acoustics were actually not terrible, was kind of afraid of this.
  • Security check was for the most part fast and painless

Bad

  • Leaks in the AA and Exhibit Hall...
  • Parking
  • WEWCC is a little confusing for first timers to get around in. I suspect everyone coming back next year to be experts? LOL.
  • Friday morning line control...was kind of bad I guess.
  • There weren't people clearing out chokepoints at the con, so at times they were clogged with people loitering or taking photos.
  • I wish there were more vending machines at the con center.

Ugly

  • New con means nobody knows what they're doing? I don't know but when I was in reg line on Friday I saw a bunch of people asking questions, more so than I expected. That's fair given this is all new to everyone. But it slowed down the staffers who were otherwise tasked with things they were doing. I hope next year things will run more smoothly if just for this factor being less so next year. Hindsight and all, but additional staff/gofers for this year would have helped.
  • Saturday night downpour guh

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The Good

  • THE MOVE - I came to Otakon this year prepared for a tidal wave of chaos related to the move, and found the complete opposite. As far as I experienced, Otakon staff really had it together. I was in and out of badge pickup in less than 10minutes (though lack of signage distinguishing the badge line from the 18+ line was a bit of a problem). AV systems were working in panels. Autograph lines seemed managed and orderly (also, great idea having them in the open space of the AA. Good stuff!) rather than spilling out into other areas. I don't remember hearing any staff treatment horror stories (and I even had a particularly great staff interaction myself at one point while turned around and needing directions.) Problems got handled quickly. Panels kept schedule. Etc etc etc. I was really nervous about the move, considering problems that had occurred in an already familiar space, and I think Otakon did a phenomenal job with creating a move that was easy and mostly drama-free, leaving us to acclumate to and enjoy the new convention space with very little stress.
  • LineCon Reduction - I'd really gotten used to the idea of having to show up at least an hour early to maybe get into a panels, and that was really just gone this year in many cases. Most of my panels, I was able to just walk right into the room about 10min beforehand and still get a decent seat. I think the earliest I ever arrived to a panel was 15mins, and there was only one panel I didn't get into about the Anime Country Food because it was in one of the smaller rooms and people love anime food.
  • Welcoming Hotel - We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel just across the street, and when we arrived my friend and I immediately both commented on how welcoming they had made the hotel. There were posters up all around the lobby, staff had anime t-shirts on in some areas, and the desk check-in staff were really going out of their way to keep the line moving and get people with their cumbersome bags into their rooms. It was just a great experience, and considering how nervous some of us were about the move to DC, it really started things off on a great foot.
  • No sense of crowding - I commented, I had commented to me, and I overheard so many people mention how nothing felt crowded. Clearly there were still plenty of people in attended, but because of the open spaces really reduced the sardine feeling and it was wonderful. (But maybe that lack of trapped body heat is why people felt cold? Lol.) Hell, it was even great being able to actually fit through the wider aisles of the Dealer's Room without frequently bumping into people for once.
  • Otakon Merch - Last year I though the new USB drives in the Photosuite were a great idea, and I mentioned that it would be cool to see something like that for sale down in the Dealer's Room as well. This year, I'm gonna comment on the battery packs. What a great thing to sell! It was small and compact and something that I would easily use outside of the convention (and of course at the convention to save my old phone with its increasingly hopeless battery, haha). T-shirts are a staple, and I'm sure the shot glasses and other standards are fun, but it's nice to see something really functional for sale. I'm far more likely to buy something I think I'll be able to regularly use outside of the convention!
  • Food Variety - There were lots of different food options in the convention center this year, and that was REALLY nice. While there were quite a few restaurants within just a couple blocks of the convention center, but if you're just looking for a quick way to snack so you can get on to your next activity, having more options for real meals within the center itself was great.
  • Increasing food seating areas - Speaking of food, it was nice to have increased seating areas for food. I think it helped to not only keep food off the floor by keeping people off the floor, but it provided extra room for people to sit so they weren't camped out along the walls and by doors 'causing staff to get ticked off at them.
  • Reception/Wifi - I'm used to going down into the Dealer's Room and finding myself frequently in a signal deadzone, whether for signal weakness or simply usage volume. I had 4 or 5 bars almost every inch of the convention center, and the free wifi was pretty damn great too!
  • The Signs - The signs on the monitors about remembering to drink water and eat were great! My favorite though? The sign about "Don't touch people without their direct consent". THANKS.
  • Photosuite - I unfortunately didn't get to visit this year, but I liked the Photosuite area! I liked that amount of space, and I thought it was nice to have the wide viewing area so people could see the activities within. Likewise, having the option to close off the wall was great too (though also partly hilarious b/c my friends and I were briefly like "Wasn't the Photosuite right here??!" until we figured it out.)

The Bad

  • Maps/Signage - The maps scattered throughout the convention center were helpful (especially once the "You Are Here" stickers were added), but myself and (as I overheard in conversations) others still found the maze of hallways and escalators tricky to navigate for awhile. With so much extra space, it was almost hard to keep track of where you were along some hallways, and remembering which escalators dropped you where (and so many of them were working, woo!) was an effort at first. I mentioned this at Con Feedback, but I think it would be helpful to utilize some of the vertical space for directions. Hang a banner that says "Panels 1-3 up this escalator" or "<--Artist Alley // Dealer's Room -->" just to help people get where they're going. Someone also mentioned at Con Feedback about using the pillars in the Dealer's Room to put up some identifying markers to help people locate each other, and I agree with that idea as well.
  • Smokers - I know DC's "Not within 25-ft of a doorway" law is worded a little more loosely than Maryland's, but is it possible to talk to WEWCC about the issue anyways? When there are only certain doors that attendees are/are not allowed to use, it's not fair to non-smokers to allow the smokers to just hang right there so we have no choice but to walk through the smoke on our way in and out. To say nothing of not wanting the smell to get on a nice cosplay. Is there anything Otakon access control can do about asking smokers to move aside? Perhaps designate a smoking area nearby? I just don't feel like my choice to avoid all things smoking should have to take a backseat to getting in and out of the convention center.
  • People stopping the flow of traffic - It seems that with the increased amount of space, people have forgotten their good convention ettiquette regarding when and where to stop. I saw (and was sometimes tripping over) way too many people stopping in the middle of flowing traffic to take pictures, rather than pulling off to the side. I saw way too many people stopping at the end of stairs and escalators so that people couldn't easily continue on themselves. I know we have more room, but I'd like to see wandering staffers return to reminding people to either pull over to the side or KEEP MOVING.
  • Food ran out - I know we're a big crowd, but it's not like we don't have historical attendance records so people can plan accordingly. Considering that most people didn't even know about the Food Court area, it seemed really weird to me that so many of them had run out of food halfway through the convention. And not just of items that needed cooking, but pre-packaged things like Ramune. It really seemed like they were under-prepared for the volume of people, and that's without them even really being advertised.

The Also Worth Mentioning

  • Bag-check was new, but while it was kind of chaotic and held up entrance on Friday morning, it really wasn't too terrible the rest of the time. That said, having a staffer at the other side of the tables to get people to not standing in that bottleneck hallway space would be great, thanks. Almost every time I went through check, there were people stopped at the other side of the check table so you were having to push past them to clear the table area.
  • Someone mentioned it at Con Feedback and I SUPER agree: The change to put the year on the back of the badge so you weren't getting harassed 15 different times to flip your badge over was SO HELPFUL.
  • This is totally an afterthought, given the other thread about step counting, but it's no secret that the new center is bigger and there's a lot of walking. Maybe Otakon should divise a small game for attendees involving steps? Get a certain amount of steps, get a badge ribbon? I don't know. Like I said, just an amused afterthought.
  • I saw people were miffed at having the Artist Alley close briefly on Saturday night because of unexpected water. I know it's not Otakon's fault, but I think Otakon did a good job of getting it reopened as quickly as possible. However, the resulting shift in tables did make it tricky to find someone if you were going back for a final purchase on Sunday. Hanging the section letters might be a great help in that regard, so people would have known "Here's where this table was", and then "Here's where this table relocated".
  • Several items in the Auction area had business cards! I don't remember if that had been done in previous years (I feel like I don't remember seeing them, but maybe that's just because they were all gone?), but I love that idea! I never bid on anything in the Auction area, but I still like getting the artist information for particularly eye-catching items. I would love to see people be encouraged to leave a stack of business cards, if they have them, next to their stuff!
  • $1 ICE COLD WATER GUY WAS NOT THERE AND IT WAS SAD! .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

All in all, this was a pretty great Otakon. There were plenty of things that could have gone wrong that didn't, and plenty of things that were improvements on past years. Kudos to the staff on basically all fronts.

Edited by LittleHobbit13

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Negatives

Nothing really ugly for me but while it wasn't a horribly long line I was still sweating by the end of the Saturday morning bag check. It kind of really sucks to have to stand in a long line to get in the convention center when you already have your badge. And if you are in a rush to get to a panel or autograph line this can really mess with your schedule. Luckily the bag check line didn't interfere with me getting into anything I wanted to do this year but I am worried about the future and if the con grows. 

I did enjoy the Anisong World Matsuri but where I was sitting on Friday (Front section towards the middle. So definitely not VIP seats but not bad seats) had really awful acoustics. Don't get me wrong the concert was a lot of fun but certain songs were really hard to hear. At some points in the concert I could only hear screaming. I never had this problem at any other concert I've attended at Otakon.

I also kind of wish Jam Project sang some of their individual songs. But I got to see them do this twice before so this is ultimately a minor thing. 

Perhaps it's my own time management but I found I did a lot less at this con then at previous cons. 

I am also sorry I missed getting a Gurren Lagann 10th Anniversary shirt. Entirely my own fault though as I didn't get to the dealer room until late on Saturday. I did get an Anisong Matsuri shirt at least. 

Positives

Besides the sound issue I did really enjoy the Friday Night Anisong World Matsuri. This is my 3rd time seeing Jam Project and after missing him twice I finally saw TM Revolution. and he was just wonderful. I loved the last song seeing them perform together on stage that was such a great moment. And it was great to finally hear Heart of Sword live. That was a really special moment for me.

I do like the new location. Bigger facilities and so many great options of places to eat. I love that we are right near Chinatown.  And on a selfish note my friend lives in DC so I no longer have to pay for a hotel room. Such a huge cost savings is a great benefit. The DC Metro is also very convenient.

Line management was very good for popular panels (I am not sure how autographs lines were handled. I am kind of sorry I didn't scout that out this year). I went to  In This Corner of the World and the Gurren Lagann 10th Anniversary event on Saturday. Getting into each was stress free and they both were excellent. So while I feel I didn't do a lot this year I did highly enjoy what I did end up doing. 

I loved all the great Japanese food options at the con itself. The seating area and the entire food court is great. And now with the bag checks it's nice that you don't have to leave the con during the day for a  good meal. 

 

Edited by Kirarakim

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8 hours ago, ueda said:

The Bad
- During the T.M. Revolution concert, his microphone died pretty early on and not a single staff person whatever noticed until he literally flung it away. Also someone started dimming the lights while he was still talking later. He even said, in English, "lots of problems/trouble" or something like that. Poor Nishikawa-san.

The Ugly
- The Earthquake: Basically during Saturday's concert I was in two panels on the floor below and I was actually concerned for my safety. Everything was shaking so badly I thought for sure the floor was going to cave in. For next year, maybe put the concerts in a lower level. Like where Artist Alley/Dealer's Room is. Somehow.
 

-Mic's die all the time unfortunately. And keep in mind that none of the Otakon event staff handle equipment so that was on his roadies and they still handled it pretty promptly in concert time :D

-The "bounce" was intense. It happened during both major concerts and I felt it added a little character to the event. But that room is secure, so no worries. But the Dealers and AA have their own environments so the chances of the concerts happening there with all the merchandise loaded in isn't likely. But it was the first year, growing pains and such! Who knows what next year will bring.

PS: I still hope you enjoyed the concerts o_o TMR blew my socks off. They may still be in that room.

Edited by RevInstant

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14 minutes ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

The Good

  • THE MOVE - I came to Otakon this year prepared for a tidal wave of chaos related to the move, and found the complete opposite. As far as I experienced, Otakon staff really had it together. I was in and out of badge pickup in less than 10minutes (though lack of signage distinguishing the badge line from the 18+ line was a bit of a problem). AV systems were working in panels. Autograph lines seemed managed and orderly (also, great idea having them in the open space of the AA. Good stuff!) rather than spilling out into other areas. I don't remember hearing any staff treatment horror stories (and I even had a particularly great staff interaction myself at one point while turned around and needing directions.) Problems got handled quickly. Panels kept schedule. Etc etc etc. I was really nervous about the move, considering problems that had occurred in an already familiar space, and I think Otakon did a phenomenal job with creating a move that was easy and mostly drama-free, leaving us to acclumate to and enjoy the new convention space with very less stress.
  • LineCon Reduction - I'd really gotten used to the idea of having to show up at least an hour early to maybe get into a panels, and that was really just gone this year in many cases. Most of my panels, I was able to just walk right into the room about 10min beforehand and still get a decent seat. I think the earliest I ever arrived to a panel was 15mins, and there was only one panel I didn't get into about the Anime Country Food because it was in one of the smaller rooms and people love anime food.
  • Welcoming Hotel - We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel just across the street, and when we arrived my friend and I immediately both commented on how welcoming they had made the hotel. There were posters up all around the lobby, staff had anime t-shirts on in some areas, and the desk check-in staff were really going out of their way to keep the line moving and get people with their cumbersome bags into their rooms. It was just a great experience, and considering how nervous some of us were about the move to DC, it really started things off on a great foot.
  • No sense of crowding - I commented, I had commented to me, and I overheard so many people mention how nothing felt crowded. Clearly there were still plenty of people in attended, but because of the open spaces really reduced the sardine feeling and it was wonderful. (But maybe that lack of trapped body heat is why people felt cold? Lol.) Hell, it was even great being able to actually fit through the wider aisles of the Dealer's Room without frequently bumping into people for once.
  • Otakon Merch - Last year I though the new USB drives in the Photosuite were a great idea, and I mentioned that it would be cool to see something like that for sale down in the Dealer's Room as well. This year, I'm gonna comment on the battery packs. What a great thing to sell! It was small and compact and something that I would easily use outside of the convention (and of course at the convention to save my old phone with its increasingly hopeless battery, haha). T-shirts are a staple, and I'm sure the shot glasses and other standards are fun, but it's nice to see something really functional for sale. I'm far more likely to buy something I think I'll be able to regularly use outside of the convention!
  • Food Variety - There were lots of different food options in the convention center this year, and that was REALLY nice. While there were quite a few restaurants within just a couple blocks of the convention center, but if you're just looking for a quick way to snack so you can get on to your next activity, having more options for real meals within the center itself was great.
  • Increasing food seating areas - Speaking of food, it was nice to have increased seating areas for food. I think it helped to not only keep food off the floor by keeping people off the floor, but it provided extra room for people to sit so they weren't camped out along the walls and by doors 'causing staff to get ticked off at them.
  • Reception/Wifi - I'm used to going down into the Dealer's Room and finding myself frequently in a signal deadzone, whether for signal weakness or simply usage volume. I had 4 or 5 bars almost every inch of the convention center, and the free wifi was pretty damn great too!
  • The Signs - The signs on the monitors about remembering to drink water and eat were great! My favorite though? The sign about "Don't touch people without their direct consent". THANKS.
  • Photosuite - I unfortunately didn't get to visit this year, but I liked the Photosuite area! I liked that amount of space, and I thought it was nice to have the wide viewing area so people could see the activities within. Likewise, having the option to close off the wall was great too (though also partly hilarious b/c my friends and I were briefly like "Wasn't the Photosuite right here??!" until we figured it out.)

The Bad

  • Maps/Signage - The maps scattered throughout the convention center were helpful (especially once the "You Are Here" stickers were added), but myself and (as I overheard in conversations) others still found the maze of hallways and escalators tricky to navigate for awhile. With so much extra space, it was almost hard to keep track of where you were along some hallways, and remembering which escalators dropped you where (and so many of them were working, woo!) was an effort at first. I mentioned this at Con Feedback, but I think it would be helpful to utilize some of the vertical space for directions. Hang a banner that says "Panels 1-3 up this escalator" or "<--Artist Alley // Dealer's Room -->" just to help people get where they're going. Someone also mentioned at Con Feedback about using the pillars in the Dealer's Room to put up some identifying markers to help people locate each other, and I agree with that idea as well.
  • Smokers - I know DC's "Not within 25-ft of a doorway" law is worded a little more loosely than Maryland's, but is it possible to talk to WEWCC about the issue anyways? When there are only certain doors that attendees are/are not allowed to use, it's not fair to non-smokers to allow the smokers to just hang right there so we have no choice but to walk through the smoke on our way in and out. To say nothing of not wanting the smell to get on a nice cosplay. Is there anything Otakon access control can do about asking smokers to move aside? Perhaps designate a smoking area nearby? I just don't feel like my choice to avoid all things smoking should have to take a backseat to getting in and out of the convention center.
  • People stopping the flow of traffic - It seems that with the increased amount of space, people have forgotten their good convention ettiquette regarding when and where to stop. I saw (and was sometimes tripping over) way too many people stopping in the middle of flowing traffic to take pictures, rather than pulling off to the side. I saw way too many people stopping at the end of stairs and escalators so that people couldn't easily continue on themselves. I know we have more room, but I'd like to see wandering staffers return to reminding people to either pull over to the side or KEEP MOVING.
  • Food ran out - I know we're a big crowd, but it's not like we don't have historical attendance records so people can plan accordingly. Considering that most people didn't even know about the Food Court area, it seemed really weird to me that so many of them had run out of food halfway through the convention. And not just of items that needed cooking, but pre-packaged things like Ramune. It really seemed like they were under-prepared for the volume of people, and that's without them even really being advertised.

The Also Worth Mentioning

  • Bag-check was new, but while it was kind of chaotic and held up entrance on Friday morning, it really wasn't too terrible the rest of the time. That said, having a staffer at the other side of the tables to get people to not standing in that bottleneck hallway space would be great, thanks. Almost every time I went through check, there were people stopped at the other side of the check table so you were having to push past them to clear the table area.
  • Someone mentioned it at Con Feedback and I SUPER agree: The change to put the year on the back of the badge so you weren't getting harassed 15 different times to flip your badge over was SO HELPFUL.
  • This is totally an afterthought, given the other thread about step counting, but it's no secret that the new center is bigger and there's a lot of walking. Maybe Otakon should divise a small game for attendees involving steps? Get a certain amount of steps, get a badge ribbon? I don't know. Like I said, just an amused afterthought.
  • I saw people were miffed at having the Artist Alley close briefly on Saturday night because of unexpected water. I know it's not Otakon's fault, but I think Otakon did a good job of getting it reopened as quickly as possible. However, the resulting shift in tables did make it tricky to find someone if you were going back for a final purchase on Sunday. Hanging the section letters might be a great help in that regard, so people would have known "Here's where this table was", and then "Here's where this table relocated".
  • Several items in the Auction area had business cards! I don't remember if that had been done in previous years (I feel like I don't remember seeing them, but maybe that's just because they were all gone?), but I love that idea! I never bid on anything in the Auction area, but I still like getting the artist information for particularly eye-catching items. I would love to see people be encouraged to leave a stack of business cards, if they have them, next to their stuff!
  • $1 ICE COLD WATER GUY WAS NOT THERE AND IT WAS SAD! .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

All in all, this was a pretty great Otakon. There were plenty of things that could have gone wrong that didn't, and plenty of things that were improvements on past years. Kudos to the staff on basically all fronts.

I was absolutely dumbfounded at my reception in Dealers. It was better than my hotel room xD

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I have  been waiting for this thread!!! Given my history w/ Otakon - my second longest annual pilgrimage - I feel I have some views to offer.

 

The Good.

  • Room at the convention. Room to breathe, room to walk, room to take pictures without jamming up the place, room to check your map, just . . . room. Otakon felt like there were a ton of people but not crowded. Hard to strike that balance.

  • Digital signage. This was one of the most useful and – perhaps – underappreciated aspects of moving to a modern convention center. From the big digital board by the main entrance to the smaller boards which had the schedule – and a marker showing the current time – digital signage was a major plus.

  • Information Abundance. Between the Ota-staff with the “Information” flags walking about the WEWCC and the Center staff at the information desks, all the ones we dealt with were very helpful. When I couldn’t find a room (for the BGC 30th Anniversary panel) it was very easy to find a staff member and get general directions.

  • Dealer’s Room. OMGWTFBBQ. Best. Dealers. Room. EVAR. Well, not quite. There were selections I hadn’t seen before at Otakon, but that will vary greatly from attendee to attendee as to what they like. But why I rate this so highly is because of the following:

    • Tons of room. I could spin in a circle and not hit anyone. And I have long arms.

    • Food Options. Several, and they were busy without huge lines (when we went) and the options somewhat varied.

    • Places to sit. I cannot overstate this. The value of being able to sit down and eat while in the dealers room made it a much better experience.

  • Video Screens. More crisp than I remember from last year. The chairs were more comfortable as well.

  • Light. Another underappreciated aspect of many conventions. Natural light. While it was brightest in the area outside the video game room, natural light was everywhere that wasn’t the dealers room or artist alley.

  • Guidebook Updates. I really appreciated getting a “ping” from my phone with updates for time changes and (sadly) cancelled events. The Hey feature I thought was great and I loved the fact you could tag a location on the artist alley map with the artist you wanted to see.

  • Ease of movement between hotel and WEWCC. Once past bag check I never had an issue moving between the two. The Otamuseum was a priority for me on Sunday and there was a panel in the WEWCC I wanted to attend as well, and moving between the two was no problem. It wasn’t a problem at any time during the convention. The layout of the hotel is different from the CC so it wasn’t as roomy, but bouncing between Ota-Chan and the Matsuri fairly often was not a problem at all.

  • Bathrooms. Either we got cleaner or they were cleaned fairly often. I’m not suggesting they were spotless or anything, but they were better than the ones I’ve used at the MCI/Verizon/Capital One SportsBox.

  • THURSDAY PRE REG PICKUP. ALL CAPS NEEDED. I have never, nor will ever have a shorter line than what I had Thursday night. Mailing badges made a HUGE difference; needing a child badge for our collective a mail in option won’t work for me. But that was AMAZEBALLS!!!

  • Improvement of the Bag Check. As the convention went along it seemed the lines got shorter. Otakon posted the bag checks were going to be cursory – this was not a TSA check to be sure – but after the first morning whatever adjustments Otakon/WEWCC staff made began to pay off. I also suspect part of that was registration/pickup was reduced after that time as well, and that likely contributed to the shorter bag check line.

  • Photo suite. Used it for the second time personally, and it was the first group shot I was a part of. Well organized, relaxing and a good area. Photographer was nice and worked with us . . . but I do have a bit later on about that.

  • Action Figure Box. I don’t recall seeing this before, but it was both a great idea and a great location! Big props for this.

  • Hotels and Area Restaurants. Won’t get into detail here, but I loved both of these things. My Hotel feedback is in the appropriate thread and the businesses in the area were good with us!

 

The Bad.

  • Cancellations. It felt to a few in our group there were more cancellations this year. Granted, that’s likely just a perception. In the past there were no digital signs to post this information and Guidebook felt like it was updated more frequently than before, so perhaps the cancellations were the same as previous years.

  • A few empty spots in the dealers room. I felt bad for the vendors who were shoved all the way to the right – especially Crimson Chain – because there were tons of empty booths. On Sunday there were vendors who moved to where the others were to increase foot traffic. Does the option exist for vendors who show up to have the option to move Friday night before Saturday if other vendors haven’t shown up or there are other empty booths available?

  • Fuzzy pictures are fuzzy. We got hi-res pictures and they looked ok on the screen when the group was choosing what pictures to get – we wound up getting them all – but when I looked at them on a computer and selected “actual size” I saw the pictures were actually out of focus on several of the pictures. There was one of our group who didn’t wear any black, and those pictures were fine. However the others, including the group shots, were out of focus when viewed actual size. This wasn’t pixilation, this was out of focus. And we can’ go back and re-pose. In hindsight it makes me question if *for my group* the hi-res photos are even worth it. If Otakon would like to reach out to me directly I can provide the information needed if you want to do any follow up.

 

The Ugly.

  • Bag Check Line on Friday Morning. Ok, you knew this was coming. I referenced it before but had to acknowledge it here. But it did improve and Otakon only had 2 weeks to prepare. Perhaps a change in entry times vs. when the first panel begins will be one of the solutions for next year.

 

TL;DR version: More Newer is Better, More Room is More Better, More info is More Gooder; Long lines is Much Bad, Fuzzy Photos = Sad Panda.

 

Otakon has moved a total of four times. The move from Penn State to Hunt Valley I missed; I’ve been part of every other venue change. As a result, I feel those of us who’ve been through a move have a different perspective than those who haven’t . . . and specifically with Otakon moving.

 

This is the best move of the three I’ve experienced, but it’s been a looooong time since the last move.

 

Well done, Otakon.

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The Good

Room, elbow room, blessed breathing room. After getting stuck in the fire hazard that was the BCC skybridge for half an hour in a previous year, it's fantastic not having to be crammed in like sardines. Except for the Anime Foodies panel in Panel 6 (which seems to be one of the smaller panel rooms), I was able to make it into all the panels that I could physically reach. I hope this isn't just because there was a precipitous drop in attendance or something.

All the workers in the convention center & Marriott were very nice except for one notable exception.

Lots of escalators & elevators everywhere that it seemed everyone could use whenever they needed without having to jump though hoops like with the BCC. Also I didn't notice any escalators break down during the weekend.

The wide variety of food choices in the convention center was great, particularly having an entire food court dedicated to Japanese food. I was finally able to have (hideously overpriced, but that kind of goes hand-in-hand with convention food) katsudon this year.

I actually had to stop by Cosplay Rescue this year for tape, so having a room with that sort of function is very handy. Also, while I didn't use it, the limited edition figure set/backdrop outside of the Photosuite section is a really cool idea for people to use when taking photos of costumes.

The Bad

I couldn't make it to half the panels that I was interested in due to the layout which had the panel rooms scattered all over the convention complex instead of located mostly within the same area as with the BCC. No idea how feasible it would be to try and group panel rooms, video rooms, live programming rooms etc together in their own areas (and away from the concerts!), but it would be greatly appreciated for those who have trouble repeatedly traversing back & forth through the whole center.

The previously mentioned concert-caused Earthquake that drowned out the panel speakers also had me flee Panel 1/Panel 2 during the evening.

Sometimes all the escalators were moving in the same direction for some reason, like on Sunday the escalators down to the Dealers/Artist's Room + Marriott tunnel were all running up so people had to walk down the steps instead. Luckily a convention worker pointed out a nearby elevator for me.

The bag checks were entirely pointless. While the bag check workers were quite nice, they caused a needless bottleneck (especially Friday morning!) with a cursory search that wouldn't have found a Loony Tunes style cannon in my bag. Considering the preponderance of bulky costumes (that could be used to hide whatever) and the many other points of entry that could easily bypass the bag check, if someone really wanted to try and smuggle something in, a cursory bag check isn't going to stop them.

Sad to see that the Accessibility/Special Needs line for the 18+ Wristbands was done away with since it's stop & go nature (move ahead a few steps, pause for 1 - 3 minutes, move ahead a few steps, repeat ad nauseam) is pretty much the worst sort of line for me. (Or maybe its existence last year was due to an intrepid Otakon volunteer noticing there were a whole bunch of us together in the 18+ Wristbands line?)

Despite people repeatedly contacting the Cosplay Coordination department for clarification about which version of Yuri on Ice photoshoot had been accepted (PJ Party or normal gathering), nothing was ever confirmed and no one knew who was supposed to be running the event (or even what event exactly it was supposed to be). I've heard similar things about other official cosplay photoshoots not knowing who was actually chosen to run them. For these things to run smoothly we really need to know the exact version of the photoshoot & the person chosen to be in charge ahead of time.

The Ugly

The one notable exception at the convention center, the older lady outside of Main Events during Closing Ceremonies on Sunday. She hassled the two people who went up the escalator ahead of me and the guy who came up behind me. She hassled me on the way in about my badge which was tied around my bag slung over my shoulder which is apparently "not allowed", nevermind that I'd been wearing it that way through five million other badge checks the entire weekend (and for the 15 prior years at Otakon). Then on the way out when I paused to pull out my phone to bring up the map to the nearest elevator, she started shouting about how we're only allowed in the Main Events room and otherwise you had to get off that floor immediately. God help it if I'd had a fainting fit that actually required me to sit down or lay down while on that floor.

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Good

Spacious hallways and dealer/artist halls.

- lots of panels 

- ample information booths

- lots of food option inside and around the convention 

Bad

- lack of a head count prior to some panels and workshops 

- confusing map : I swear I'm usually not directionally challenged 

- lots of cancelled events 

Ugly

- long check in lines:  HOWEVER, many folks were unaware of the second access point via the Marriott connector. I bypassed the long lines by going through the Marriott, and then heading down to the connector. I was AMAZED that there was no line to get in despite there being a bag check there as well. I know I got a few people to follow me by yelling out this tidbit of info while walking on the sidewalk... 

- Floodcon 2017

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Good

-More space

-Much better handling of autographs

Bad

-Bag checks that are a complete waste of time and held the line up on Friday morning far longer than necessary

-Terrible data reception in the Artist Alley and spotty wi-fi coverage at best

Ugly

-Charity auction was an absolute disgrace, as I mentioned elsewhere. Please put someone in charge of this who actually cares about it and doesn't want to treat it as just a sideshow to the art auction. This event should not be an afterthought that you just toss in somewhere and then not take care of.

Edited by Dostovei Illuminas

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38 minutes ago, Darkluna.com said:

The one notable exception at the convention center, the older lady outside of Main Events during Closing Ceremonies on Sunday. She hassled the two people who went up the escalator ahead of me and the guy who came up behind me. She hassled me on the way in about my badge which was tied around my bag slung over my shoulder which is apparently "not allowed", nevermind that I'd been wearing it that way through five million other badge checks the entire weekend (and for the 15 prior years at Otakon). Then on the way out when I paused to pull out my phone to bring up the map to the nearest elevator, she started shouting about how we're only allowed in the Main Events room and otherwise you had to get off that floor immediately. God help it if I'd had a fainting fit that actually required me to sit down or lay down while on that floor.

I, too, ran afoul of the top floor lady. I hadn't been up there for more than a minute, when I paused to check my phone because I was trying to meet up with my friend, it being end of con and all, and she came right after me "You have to go in or leave! You can't stand out here!"

First off, she didn't have to be so ahbrasive about it, but second, the open space on that floor was enormous, to include a whole seating area. What exactly what the problem why people couldn't wait outside the room on that floor? If anything, it was nice and quiet up there. My very first thought getting there is that it would be nice to sit up here to chill if you needed a break away from the swirl of activity on the lower floors.

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The Good - What Otakon did well

  • SPACE - The move's primary motive, getting us more room, is completely and utterly fulfilled. At times it even felt as if the convention center was underpopulated for such a big con, which is a wonderful feeling. Even at the height of crowding, it was still very possible to make it through everywhere- whereas previously the there were nonstop bottlenecks.
  • Panel choice - Lots of great programming to choose from this year. There were a great many I was sad to miss, and out of the panels I attended, only one was slightly disappointing- the eight others hit it out of the park. You can find further comment on them in the panel feedback topic.
  • Guest list - Such an amazing set of guests, very lovely, talented people! I'm particularly glad you all could get Stephanie again, so happy I got to meet her again after so many years. 
  • Food choice - An entire food court devoted to Japanese food, plus another with pizza, grill, and other items, and plenty of burger joints in the show floor halls. I think I needn't say more.
  • General layout - Everything seemed to be in a good place this year to me. However, that others have complained about proximity of video rooms to louder rooms might be an indicator of a need of slight reshuffling.
  • Line handling - I've never been fond of how Otakon had handled lines. This year? I loved it. 
  • Staff helpfulness - All Otakon staff and gofers were friendly and helpful. Big kudos to the two gentlemen at the info desk nearest to the Dealer's Room Friday morning immediately after the con opened, so I could solve the mystery of how autograph sessions that ought to have lineup before the AA opened would be lined up.

The Bad - What Otakon can fix

  • Food price - Or, rather, drink prices. Incredibly high. For the Japanese offerings or even a burger and chips it makes some sense- restaurant price instead of fast food prices. But... Almost 4 bucks for a soda? 3 for bottled water? Ridiculous. If possible, work with the center to at least lower the drink prices.
  • Lack of communication prior to convention - I had a lot of questions in the week or two prior to the con, and I asked a few. None were answered by staff. As a result, other questions I had, I just didn't ask as I thought they wouldn't be answered. Thankfully everything sorted itself out, and I was able to get answers at-con, but if more staff from more departments could keep eyes on the forum it'd be appreciated.

The Ugly - What likely isn't fixable but worth noting

  • General area priciness - Not something I noticed, but, others I talked to mentioned how expensive everything was immediately around the convention center, and that they'd take it into consideration on whether they'd return or not. If there's a way to broker a deal with some local businesses that'd be great, but if not, there might not be much growth in attendance or even shrinkage. Something to keep in mind.

Other, Personal Notes

  • Bad luck with cosplay sighting -  This is something that is no one's fault, and if it is, it's my own. But there were many times that I saw an amazing cosplay... But I couldn't ask for a picture as I was waiting in line and they were too far away to call over. Oh well.

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The GOOD:
- I want to start off addressing a lot of the posters above complaining about the bag check: Otakon announced a few weeks ago that they had to implement them due to venue requirements.  With that in mind, I think it was handled perfectly.  If you have ever been to a major convention like NYCC or PAX that conducts slow, thorough bag checks then you would know that you can be stuck outside in the morning rush for well over an hour.  The fact that the venue security was chill and waved everyone in as quickly as possible IS A GOOD THING.

- Size of the convention center is the most obvious upgrade.  Panels especially benefited from this because I no longer had to line up 30-60 minutes to secure a spot for any popular panel topics.  I believe only a few panels actually hit their seating capacity, so if you just showed up on time you had an extremely good chance of getting into your panels of choice.
- Wider spacing of booths in the dealers room and artists alley meant there was no bottlenecks as we were shopping around.
- Keep inviting Tokyo Attack to the Videogame Room because their arcade collection is great.
- Good variety of sit-down restaurants in the area. Over the weekend we ate dim sum, fusion southern, ethiopian, and of course cheeky nandos.
- Convention Wi-fi was amazing for an open network.  I did not have to rely on cell data to keep guidebook updated and could upload photos with ease.  The coverage was so good that I was able to stream videos during downtime between activities.
- Good separation between panels / video rooms meant that there was not too many instances of noise from one room bleeding into another.

The BAD:
- While I was not personally at any of the panels going on during the concert, I heard reports of that noise carrying through the convention center pretty badly.
- Lots of cancelled panels and video programming.  The panels I can understand since I feel like Otakon took on a lot more submissions this year and its on the panelist themselves to show up, but why did so much of the video programming disappear?
- Confusing layout just due to the size of the venue and the Marriott.  Maybe do something like add an "M" to any rooms that are in the Marriott?  So you would have Video 1,2,3 for the main con and Video 4M,5M for the Marriott.
- Lack of a nearby fast food court.  The convention food is, as expected, overpriced and not great.  The food trucks parked outside almost fill that gap, but then you are stuck eating outside.
- Console game selection in the Videogame room was pretty barebones.  If the convention is going to grow, there will need to be more stations for the popular games and a wider variety of retro stuff.
- Due to the heavy promotion of the Anisong Matsuri, whoever was the Sunday musical guest was greatly overshadowed (as evidenced by the fact that I do not know who was even playing).

The Ugly:
- PLEASE OPEN A THIRD ENTRANCE ON THE NORTH SIDE.  The main entrance and the Marriott connector are both on the south side of the venue.
- Not an Otakon problem but that flood was pretty ugly.

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Good: Massive space, digital signs and great egress and crowd logistics made getting to panels and events really easy. We did more this year than ever before. 

The Alchemy and Japanese Mythology panels were very well done. I also love having Kyle Hebert do his geek talk at 2pm on Sunday when everyone is about to suffer post-con depression. Its a nice way to end the weekend.

The Red Coats- no not the British type but the WEWCC staff were, for the most part, informative, pleasant, loud and really seemed to know how to handle large crowd logistics.

The Ota-Museum staff. If you wandered into that corner of the con you found friendly older staffers who regaled you with stories of cons past in an interesting setting. Kind of a cool, out of the way place. 

Jim Vowles- thanks as always for being patient and informative when people bombard you with questions.

Aun & Hide- a truly wonderful performance that did not get the attendance it deserved. 

Bad: The Friday pre-reg line snafu. Thankfully the staffers responded pretty quickly after we told them.

Voice Actors After Dark- didn't seem as well MC'd or funny as in years past and seemed to always go into activism related topics.

Aun & Hide concert- I was saddened by the lack of attendance. There were only about 150 or so people in the giant ballroom for what was an amazing performance. It seems a lot of the traditional Japanese cultural events/panels get low attendance. Capital City Budokai was lightly attended also. 

Ugly: The sound mixing at the TMR/JAM project concert. I thought my ears were going to bleed from the incredibly high, static and "trebly" sound. I understand Otakon staff have little control over A/V especially when it comes to featured musical guests but there were quite a few people covering their ears from the painful volume. We actually left halfway through. 

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4 minutes ago, DeathJester said:

The GOOD:
- I want to start off addressing a lot of the posters above complaining about the bag check: Otakon announced a few weeks ago that they had to implement them due to venue requirements.  With that in mind, I think it was handled perfectly.  If you have ever been to a major convention like NYCC or PAX that conducts slow, thorough bag checks then you would know that you can be stuck outside in the morning rush for well over an hour.  The fact that the venue security was chill and waved everyone in as quickly as possible IS A GOOD THING.
 

I can't agree with you more. I heard so many people complaining that "it was a waste." Do you want more thorough and longer checks for next year? The WEWCC staff handled it wonderfully. 

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20 minutes ago, DeathJester said:

The GOOD:
- I want to start off addressing a lot of the posters above complaining about the bag check: Otakon announced a few weeks ago that they had to implement them due to venue requirements.  With that in mind, I think it was handled perfectly.  If you have ever been to a major convention like NYCC or PAX that conducts slow, thorough bag checks then you would know that you can be stuck outside in the morning rush for well over an hour.  The fact that the venue security was chill and waved everyone in as quickly as possible IS A GOOD THING.

 

10 minutes ago, KyoKyo said:

I can't agree with you more. I heard so many people complaining that "it was a waste." Do you want more thorough and longer checks for next year? The WEWCC staff handled it wonderfully. 

I agree as well. If we have to have the check regardless, then it's better to have it be fast and as close to non-existent as possible than to have serious bag inspections that hold us up in line forever. For most of the convention the staff did a great job of trying to get us all through quickly.

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17 minutes ago, KyoKyo said:

 

Ugly: The sound mixing at the TMR/JAM project concert. I thought my ears were going to bleed from the incredibly high, static and "trebly" sound. I understand Otakon staff have little control over A/V especially when it comes to featured musical guests but there were quite a few people covering their ears from the painful volume. We actually left halfway through. 

A lot of people have mentioned the TMR/JAM Project concert, so I'll just randomly pick yours to reply :)

Otakon staff had no control over the mix for the concert, Anisong World Matsuri brought their production crew over from Japan. All the audio, lights, camera direction, etc.. were by the Japanese staff. The way they mixed the sound was their choice and how they normally mix the concerts for those artists. Other events, such as the Masquerade, it's a completely different crew, and we do have more control there, but for Anisong it was more or less completely hands off for our contractors and crews.

Edited by Eimi

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Decent event overall, but I do have a few bads.

1. Not anywhere near enough water stations. In years past I could find them anywhere. This year there was not even a single one in the dealer's room. Can we get some clarification on what was up with that?

2. Tons of cancelled panels, including nearly all of the late night 18+ events. What happened here? Was hentai suddenly deemed inappropriate for Otakon? Because almost all of it was cancelled. Its not fun going back to your room at 10-11pm because there's nothing to do late at night.

3. Standing during a seated event. If the event has assigned seating, it should be seats only. I'm all for having a pit where people can stand and go wild, but its not cool to force people to stand who do not want to or may not even be able to in order to enjoy the show. Please try to either have a pit for standing room or enforce a seated policy.

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Just now, razisgosu said:

1. Not anywhere near enough water stations. In years past I could find them anywhere. This year there was not even a single one in the dealer's room. Can we get some clarification on what was up with that?

We were informed at Con Feedback, where someone made the same comment, that it was because there were generally more working and usable water fountains in the convention center this year. They didn't need to use the water stations to supplement lacking water sources in the building.

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17 minutes ago, DeathJester said:

The GOOD:
- I want to start off addressing a lot of the posters above complaining about the bag check: Otakon announced a few weeks ago that they had to implement them due to venue requirements. 

 

8 minutes ago, KyoKyo said:

I can't agree with you more. I heard so many people complaining that "it was a waste." Do you want more thorough and longer checks for next year? The WEWCC staff handled it wonderfully. 

As per the official announcement, this was not a requirement of the WEWCC (nor was it handled by them, but by hiring third party contractors), but a recommendation. This is why people are repeatedly speaking up about what a moneysink & waste of time this is at accomplishing its supposed goal of making the convention center safer or deterring anyone from bringing in something they shouldn't. A more thorough & time consuming bag check would only be a bigger waste of time without going the full airport security route (body checks because certain costumes can hide way more than a small bag, metal detectors, drug sniffing dogs, locking down the multiple routes that bypass the bag check entirely).

If it does become a requirement from the WEWCC, then yes, a quick half-assed check is far preferable then a slower slightly less half-assed check, but when it's not actually required? It's just tossing money away for a bag check that doesn't improve security and only wastes the time of rule-abiding people who bother to go through them.

1 hour ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

I, too, ran afoul of the top floor lady. I hadn't been up there for more than a minute, when I paused to check my phone because I was trying to meet up with my friend, it being end of con and all, and she came right after me "You have to go in or leave! You can't stand out here!"

First off, she didn't have to be so ahbrasive about it, but second, the open space on that floor was enormous, to include a whole seating area. What exactly what the problem why people couldn't wait outside the room on that floor? If anything, it was nice and quiet up there. My very first thought getting there is that it would be nice to sit up here to chill if you needed a break away from the swirl of activity on the lower floors.

Yeah, I have no idea if no one being allowed on that floor outside of the actual Main Events room was an actual rule or not since she seemed to pull the "badge must be worn around the neck & no where else" rule out of thin air. Even if it was a rule, there's a difference between people sitting on the floor or standing in place for 15 minutes vs someone pausing to tie their shoelace or pull out a cell phone. And her tone was simply rude. Luckily she was the lone standout amidst a sea of cool gofers, staff, & convention workers.

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1 minute ago, razisgosu said:

3. Standing during a seated event. If the event has assigned seating, it should be seats only. I'm all for having a pit where people can stand and go wild, but its not cool to force people to stand who do not want to or may not even be able to in order to enjoy the show. Please try to either have a pit for standing room or enforce a seated policy.

I'm not sure I've ever actually gone to a concert with allocated seating - anime-related or otherwise - that has forced the audience to remain seated outside of things like piano concertos - rather, standing at your allocated seat is the norm, not the exception. I think the only Otakon concerts I've been to in the last five years where the front of the audience did remain seated were for Yoko Kanno and Yoshiki, due to the nature of the performances in question. A group like Jam Project would likely implore the audience to stand if they don't of their own volition, as having seen them on multiple occasions, Jams performance style thrives on the kind of audience reaction that you wouldn't get if the audience remained seated.

The issue comes down to the space in the convention center - the room is flat, whereas most dedicated larger performance spaces either have a higher stage, seating on a slant, or both, that annul the issue somewhat. Having a separate pit area isn't going to help because, well, you are still going to have a row of people standing, only they're likely to end up being more densely packed and even harder to see over.

Not sure what can be done about this - I'm personally staunchly against enforcing seating unless it's at the request of the artist performing.

(I'm also all for allocated seating as opposed to general-admission type seating, because even if I pull an awful seat during the purchasing period, at least I won't spend gamble on spending most of my day in queue hoping to get sat somewhere good - it was nice to be able to roll-up a half-hour before hand and actually have done something with my morning and gotten lunch!)

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Just now, Darkluna.com said:

As per the official announcement, this was not a requirement of the WEWCC (nor was it handled by them, but by hiring third party contractors), but a recommendation. This is why people are repeatedly speaking up about what a moneysink & waste of time this is at accomplishing its supposed goal of making the convention center safer or deterring anyone from bringing in something they shouldn't. A more thorough & time consuming bag check would only be a bigger waste of time without going the full airport security route (body checks because certain costumes can hide way more than a small bag, metal detectors, drug sniffing dogs, locking down the multiple routes that bypass the bag check entirely).

As someone who has dealt with corporate insurance packages, a "recommendation" is code for "you have to implement this or else your premiums will skyrocket".  Otakon nor the WEWCC want to be held responsible if anything were to happen at the con and following the "recommendation" is the only way to deflect that liability.  That is why more and more public events in general are doing this because the third party security firms are already going to be on site and paid for regardless.

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2 hours ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

I, too, ran afoul of the top floor lady. I hadn't been up there for more than a minute, when I paused to check my phone because I was trying to meet up with my friend, it being end of con and all, and she came right after me "You have to go in or leave! You can't stand out here!"

First off, she didn't have to be so ahbrasive about it, but second, the open space on that floor was enormous, to include a whole seating area. What exactly what the problem why people couldn't wait outside the room on that floor? If anything, it was nice and quiet up there. My very first thought getting there is that it would be nice to sit up here to chill if you needed a break away from the swirl of activity on the lower floors.

Question: Was she wearing a red jacket or was she Otakon staff? I work in Main Events and left shortly before the ceremonies so I didn't encounter her.

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4 minutes ago, DeathJester said:

As someone who has dealt with corporate insurance packages, a "recommendation" is code for "you have to implement this or else your premiums will skyrocket".  Otakon nor the WEWCC want to be held responsible if anything were to happen at the con and following the "recommendation" is the only way to deflect that liability.  That is why more and more public events in general are doing this because the third party security firms are already going to be on site and paid for regardless.

Ah, my bad then. I thought this was actually about security concerns, which is not really being helped at all with any sort of bag check. But if this is actually the cheaper route, well then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯... I don't think anybody wants the badge price to have to go up any more.

3 minutes ago, RevInstant said:

Question: Was she wearing a red jacket or was she Otakon staff? I work in Main Events and left shortly before the ceremonies so I didn't encounter her.

Red jacket, not Otakon staff for the one I was talking about.

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34 minutes ago, Darkluna.com said:

Yeah, I have no idea if no one being allowed on that floor outside of the actual Main Events room was an actual rule or not since she seemed to pull the "badge must be worn around the neck & no where else" rule out of thin air. Even if it was a rule, there's a difference between people sitting on the floor or standing in place for 15 minutes vs someone pausing to tie their shoelace or pull out a cell phone. And her tone was simply rude. Luckily she was the lone standout amidst a sea of cool gofers, staff, & convention workers.

The 3rd floor was a restricted access area, so that part was true. I don't know all the details about why, but it was. Outside of event times, the only members allowed up to that level were masquerade participants. 

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The Good
- The SPACE! There was so much space compared to the BCC, it was really refreshing. Artist's Alley was especially good (no more shuffling queue from table to table)
- It was great not to have to line up an hour before a panel to get in. I was only turned away from one event all weekend.
- I loved the three screens in the Marquis Ballroom! they worked out really well, especially for the AMV contest and movie screenings.
- Signage was really good, though as others have mentioned it would be great to have "you are here" stickers" as the buildings were kind of hard to navigate
- Very helpful staffers, both Otakon and convention center. I got lost on a couple occasions but a staff member pointed me in the right direction each time.
- Fast moving line for coffee/tea, especially compared to the Starbucks at the BCC.

The Bad
- Event descriptions in Guidebook could definitely be improved. In some cases, particularly with video programming and guest events, there wasn't a description at all! a good/interesting description could really help some of the less well attended programs. And video descriptions were sometimes overly long and complicated. Maybe add a genre or year listing?
- Screens in the Marriott video rooms were pretty low (thinking of Video 5 in particular). For shorties like me, it was almost impossible to read the subtitles.
- Signage WAS good in general, but I could have used some more "this way to XYZ" signs, especially since the panel and video rooms were so spread out. My friend and I accidentally went up to the Marriott lobby when we were trying to find Video 4 (instead of down), so had to go through a bag check to re-enter.
- There seemed to be a lot of cancellations on the schedule. Not sure if it was more than usual or if I just noticed them this time. (I generally avoid the 18+ Anime After Dark video programming anyway, but were they ALL cancelled?)

The Ugly
- If possible, please have a second entrance in the north building! especially for folks with accessibility needs, it's an awful long trek up and down escalators and stairs to get to most of the programming.
- The storm on Saturday, but that's Mother Nature for you.

Honestly, nothing else stands out! hopefully some of the kinks will be ironed out next year once we all are more familiar with the new setting. Great job this year. :)

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36 minutes ago, RevInstant said:

Question: Was she wearing a red jacket or was she Otakon staff? I work in Main Events and left shortly before the ceremonies so I didn't encounter her.

Red jacket.

11 minutes ago, Eimi said:

The 3rd floor was a restricted access area, so that part was true. I don't know all the details about why, but it was. Outside of event times, the only members allowed up to that level were masquerade participants. 

Who would we go to for insight into why it's restricted access, because I'm curious to know. I mean, if we were sharing the convention center with someone, I could see restricting it for access control, but that's our convention center during Otakon. If the one room up there is for our convention anyways, then it seems stupid to say attendees can't be up there, you know?

In fact, from various comments I heard over the weekend, that seemed to be a running trend for the convention center: that the policies dictating our usage were defined by other groups who use the convention center. If that's how WEWCC wants to roll, then I guess we can't disagree too much, but what sense does that make to say "Because of these other high-profile guests who aren't even here right now, you have to behave this way"? That's dumb.

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6 minutes ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

Red jacket.

Who would we go to for insight into why it's restricted access, because I'm curious to know. I mean, if we were sharing the convention center with someone, I could see restricting it for access control, but that's our convention center during Otakon. If the one room up there is for our convention anyways, then it seems stupid to say attendees can't be up there, you know?

In fact, from various comments I heard over the weekend, that seemed to be a running trend for the convention center: that the policies dictating our usage were defined by other groups who use the convention center. If that's how WEWCC wants to roll, then I guess we can't disagree too much, but what sense does that make to say "Because of these other high-profile guests who aren't even here right now, you have to behave this way"? That's dumb.

It was our space, that's pretty much where I lived the whole con, lol. I don't want to speculate, but you have to remember, the only thing going on up there that required member access where the events, the rest of the time it was sound checks or change overs. There's a lot of movement on that level during the times where access was restricted, so I'm sure it was made for many reasons. 

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Just now, Eimi said:

It was our space, that's pretty much where I lived the whole con, lol. I don't want to speculate, but you have to remember, the only thing going on up there that required member access where the events, the rest of the time it was sound checks or change overs. There's a lot of movement on that level during the times where access was restricted, so I'm sure it was made for many reasons. 

I agree, if it's restricted because equipment and furniture and whatnot is being moved around, then it makes sense for keeping people out of the way.

But I was refering more to the idea of "No loitering on the floor. You're either in the room or you have to leave." If there's an event going on the room, and you're just trying to non-disruptively chill in the space outside (like in my case, trying to meet up with my friend before going in), it doesn't make sense to be chasing attendees in or back downstairs.

There may be other factors going into the restriction, and I get that. It's why I'm curious as to the actual reasoning, because at face value it doesn't seem to add up.

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The Good: Great Otakon Staff: I'm terrible with directions and all of the Otakon Staff I asked were able to direct me where to go. Also when the water "flooded" from the ceiling in the cosplay burlesque line Saturday, the staff in the room were super professional and quick to put some trash cans under the area and rearrange the line so no one would be directly under the water. 

Organization: Everyone in my group commented on how organized Otakon felt this year. We were in the mess of the Voice Actors after Dark line last year and definitely appreciated having the separate room to line up in this year.

Convention Center: As a cosplayer, I loved all the nice AC around the center. I didn't smell as much funk as I usually do this year so I'm guessing the AC helped that.

The Bad: Convention Center Staff:  Although they were friendly, every time I asked a convention center staff (red jacket) directions they could not help me. These were general questions like where is the Marriot tunnel and where is the closest food. 

The Ugly: Empty Space in Dealers Room/ Video Game Room

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2 minutes ago, bubblesneverpop said:

The Bad: Convention Center Staff:  Although they were friendly, every time I asked a convention center staff (red jacket) directions they could not help me. These were general questions like where is the Marriot tunnel and where is the closest food. 

Those were contractors I believe

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29 minutes ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

There may be other factors going into the restriction, and I get that. It's why I'm curious as to the actual reasoning, because at face value it doesn't seem to add up.

It may be simply the case that they were interpreting the rules we gave them in a more strict fashion than we had intended. At least now we know that it was happening.. 

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59 minutes ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

Red jacket.

Who would we go to for insight into why it's restricted access, because I'm curious to know. I mean, if we were sharing the convention center with someone, I could see restricting it for access control, but that's our convention center during Otakon. If the one room up there is for our convention anyways, then it seems stupid to say attendees can't be up there, you know?

In fact, from various comments I heard over the weekend, that seemed to be a running trend for the convention center: that the policies dictating our usage were defined by other groups who use the convention center. If that's how WEWCC wants to roll, then I guess we can't disagree too much, but what sense does that make to say "Because of these other high-profile guests who aren't even here right now, you have to behave this way"? That's dumb.

1)  I will look into the red jacketed security contractor that seemed to be acting brash.

2)  The ballroom level was restricted access during the concerts (Fri 5:30-11pm & Sat 1:30-7pm), as it was a ticketed event.  Directly after the Sat concert, we kept access controlled for the masquerade line queues.

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Overall it was good but most of my problems lie with the artist's alley

I do not mean to attack anyone in the artist's alley with my comments only stating my observations 

Artist's alley

  1. There were entirely 4 WHOLE fandoms being celebrated in the alley 

         When I was looking around for merch I could only find stuff relating to only these four (voltron, Fire emblem, Lady bug and SU)  fandoms and nothing else with a few exceptions, in fact, some stands were entirely dedicated to only one. I was expecting more variety from over 100 plus different artists but this was what I mostly saw. I know some of this was probably done from a business stand point since these four will print you money by the boat load considering the costs to make and sell to a mass audience  but people should take more risks in considering how much-untapped potential  there was out there for other fandoms ( especially anime  )for example when I questioned a few people in the dealers room about what sold well they all replied with fandom specific merch that wasn't in the artist's alley when I checked, (key chains) sadly the  artist's  could have made, and made better than the official merch 

(This is just a smaller nit pick but in my  opinion, I didn't enjoy most of the art styles used this year since they just felt a little too tumblr)

The Good

  1. Fast lines to get and the center overall was very spacious
  2. The Ac was good and it wasn't too hot or cold
  3. Dealers room was very easy to get around and shop (tho I think it lacked some of the stuff I was looking for most of the part)

The Bad

  1. It was very confusing at first to get around the center especially when looking for areas for the photoshoots some 
  2. Dealers felt somewhat empty of shops sometimes 
Edited by weskai80

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Mmm... Not to sound rude, but, are you sure you were looking hard enough then weskai80? Or maybe you just aren't very familiar with a lot of fandoms? There were a bunch of others. Persona, Naruto, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, SMB, Metroid, Undertale, Touken Ranbu, various Ghibli films, etc. come to mind. There were at least 50 different fandoms, if not more, across the artist alley- I'd wager MUCH MUCH more. In fact I distinctly remember one table having Kubo and the Two String-inspired prints, which was a lovely surprise.

Perhaps you meant only four fandoms you're in? If so, I feel you, I was disappointed to find a lack of anything Sengoku Basara related, but, fandom interest wanes and waxes as do artist alley offerings, it can't be helped.

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9 minutes ago, weskai80 said:

There were entirely 4 WHOLE fandoms being celebrated in the alley 

         When I was looking around for merch I could only find stuff relating to only these four (voltron, Fire emblem, Lady bug and SU)  fandoms and nothing else with a few exceptions, in fact, some stands were entirely dedicated to only one. I was expecting more variety from over 100 plus different artists but this was what I mostly saw. I know some of this was probably done from a business stand point since these four will print you money by the boat load considering the costs to make and sell to a mass audience  but people should take more risks in considering how much-untapped potential  there was out there for other fandoms ( especially anime  )for example when I questioned a few people in the dealers room about what sold well they all replied with fandom specific merch that wasn't in the artist's alley when I checked, (key chains) sadly artist's the  could have made, and made better than the official merch

I think part of it is being willing to step up to the table and actually flip through the books, being willing to pause to really look at the work hanging up. Artists can't do vertical display for every piece. The trending stuff is what's meant to draw the majority of people in, but once there you can see a lot of the artists brought other stuff.

I saw older things like Zoids and Saiyuki and Fushighi Yugi at a couple tables. I saw some Trigun and Avatar. A decent amount of Cowboy Bebop. Plenty of Pokemon, sure. I remember a few Yu Yu Hakusho spots. There was some variety there, and sure maybe not as much as we'd like, but that's why you gotta commit to the hunt. :D

Edited by LittleHobbit13

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5 minutes ago, weskai80 said:

 

  1. There were entirely 4 WHOLE fandoms being celebrated in the alley 

         When I was looking around for merch I could only find stuff relating to only these four (voltron, Fire emblem, Lady bug and SU)  fandoms and nothing else with a few exceptions, in fact, some stands were entirely dedicated to only one. I was expecting more variety from over 100 plus different artists but this was what I mostly saw. I know some of this was probably done from a business stand point since these four will print you money by the boat load considering the costs to make and sell to a mass audience  but people should take more risks in considering how much-untapped potential  there was out there for other fandoms ( especially anime  )for example when I questioned a few people in the dealers room about what sold well they all replied with fandom specific merch that wasn't in the artist's alley when I checked, (key chains) sadly the  artist's  could have made, and made better than the official merch 

 

2

Hm, there were definitely more than that. I mean, I saw Persona 5, Zelda, Pokemon, Yuri on Ice, Mario, Metroid, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia... I'm sure there was more too. 

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The Good

The new space, new venue, and new city were all a major upgrade to me.  Both the convention center and the Marquis were leagues above the old venue in quality, and I felt safer in DC than in Baltimore.  TBH I don't really miss Baltimore at all.

Anisong World Matsuri - This was what sealed the deal for me going as it has been my dream to see Jam Project live, but have never been able to make it to their previous shows.  I attended both amazing concerts, and I just loved that tickets/seating were sold in advance.  I was able to get good seats without wasting hours of con time getting in line super early to snag a decent spot.  That made the whole experience much more pleasant and I also felt the concerts were much longer and higher quality than many of the other concerts Otakon has hosted in the last 8 years.

Some game room additions, such as having the Touhou games, and some other shooting games (I saw Mushihimesama Futari and Raiden Fighters Aces).  I also heard that DJMAX Respect was there, though I missed it.  I just love when there are alot of non-fighting games to play!

The Lolita Garden and all the Lolita programming within - Lack of Lolita programming has been a big issue to me with Otakon, so it was amazing to see it this year!  I attended 2 photoshoots, and considered one of the card gaming sessions until I want down and saw that it was pretty much full, and with hardly any lolita attendees (that's okay, I'm not saying the programming shouldn't be inclusive!).  The atmosphere of the garden was very nice, and although I was not able to attend the fashion show due to it being scheduled during the Saturday concert, I have heard that it was run much better than would be expected for a first-year event.  I hope this programming track grows at Otakon; a nice next step would be to have a Lolita vendor or 2 in the dealer's hall, such as Lolita Collective, who might also be able to provide more brands for the fashion show as well.  

The Bad

I wish there would have been more Tokyo Attack games there.  The lines to play any of their games on Friday and Saturday night were insane, and I'm not just talking about the battle pods.  I feel like a couple more dance games and a few more other rhythm games would have made it a little more possible to actually play anything.

It would have been nice to hear some of the Jam Project members' individual songs, though I did love every song they did.  Just something to keep in mind if you ever have them back (which I sure hope you do).

I found the scheduling of the We Are X documentary alongside the Saturday concert to be a little puzzling, considering that many fans of Jrock or J-music in general probably chose to go see Flow and Yousei Teikoku.  I was really excited about the documentary being shown at Otakon, but wasn't able to make the showing.  I at least saw Yoshiki's message before the masquerade though, which was neat.

The Ugly

I was absolutely freezing all weekend.  I'm talking goosebumps continually, and even teeth clattering Saturday night in the game room.  I had dressed and packed for summer, and had brought shorts and T-shirts to wear when I wasn't wearing Lolita.  Maybe I just wasn't prepared, but I can't imagine any reason why it needed to be quite that cold.

 

Overall I loved the con and its new venue, and the Anisong World Matsuri made it feel more like a top-tier con again, a feeling I felt was kind of missing in some previous years (especially last year), so thank you to all the staff who made this possible!

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I understand your point Tachibana and everyone else but how much Zelda, Persona or my Hero was outnumbered by the excessive amount all these big 4 combined, I won't deny that I did see some of these but there were for the most part diamonds in the rough compared to what they had, I'am only stating that the 4 were mostly part of the majority of what the alley had to offer than  the minority that they still offered 

Edited by weskai80

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Just now, mellow-osity said:

Hm, there were definitely more than that. I mean, I saw Persona 5, Zelda, Pokemon, Yuri on Ice, Mario, Metroid, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia... I'm sure there was more too. 

 

Just now, LittleHobbit13 said:

I think part of it is being willing to step up to the table and actually flip through the books, being willing to pause to really look at the work hanging up. Artists can't do vertical display for every piece. The trending stuff is what's meant to draw the majority of people in, but once there you can see a lot of the artists brought other stuff.

I saw older things like Zoids and Saiyuki and Fushighi Yugi at a couple tables. I saw some Trigun and Avatar. A decent amount of Cowboy Bebop. Plenty of Pokemon, sure. I remember a few Yu Yu Hakusho spots. There was some variety there, and sure maybe not as much as we'd like, but that's why you gotta commit to the hunt. :D

 

Just now, Tachibana said:

Mmm... Not to sound rude, but, are you sure you were looking hard enough then weskai80? Or maybe you just aren't very familiar with a lot of fandoms? There were a bunch of others. Persona, Naruto, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, SMB, Metroid, Undertale, Touken Ranbu, various Ghibli films, etc. come to mind. There were at least 50 different fandoms, if not more, across the artist alley- I'd wager MUCH MUCH more. In fact I distinctly remember one table having Kubo and the Two String-inspired prints, which was a lovely surprise.

Perhaps you meant only four fandoms you're in? If so, I feel you, I was disappointed to find a lack of anything Sengoku Basara related, but, fandom interest wanes and waxes as do artist alley offerings, it can't be helped.

I understand your point Tachibana and everyone else but how much Zelda, Persona or my Hero was outnumbered by the excessive amount all these big 4 combined, I won't deny that I did see some of these but there were for the most part diamonds in the rough compared to what they had, I'am  only stating that the 4 were mostly part of the majority of what the alley had to offer than  the minority that they still offered (I also said that "nearly all")

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I think we'll have to agree to disagree then, because frankly I barely saw any SU or Ladybug stuff myself. And that's okay, I'm not trying to invalidate your experience, you just saw stuff differently from what we did. 

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1 hour ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

I agree, if it's restricted because equipment and furniture and whatnot is being moved around, then it makes sense for keeping people out of the way.

But I was refering more to the idea of "No loitering on the floor. You're either in the room or you have to leave." If there's an event going on the room, and you're just trying to non-disruptively chill in the space outside (like in my case, trying to meet up with my friend before going in), it doesn't make sense to be chasing attendees in or back downstairs.

There may be other factors going into the restriction, and I get that. It's why I'm curious as to the actual reasoning, because at face value it doesn't seem to add up.

2 hours ago, Eimi said:

The 3rd floor was a restricted access area, so that part was true. I don't know all the details about why, but it was. Outside of event times, the only members allowed up to that level were masquerade participants. 

Third floor was restricted access during rehearsals for all members, it was also restricted during concerts to people who did not purchase a ticket to the concert.

 

This was for the guests safety and equipment protection, I caught a couple of members trying to sneak into the hall during rehearsals which isn't allowed.

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Just now, Tachibana said:

I think we'll have to agree to disagree then, because frankly I barely saw any SU or Ladybug stuff myself. And that's okay, I'm not trying to invalidate your experience, you just saw stuff differently from what we did. 

It's cool  I get what you mean, everyone's varying perspectives led to plenty of different experiences from one person to another so this is just from my point of view, and I can see some bias here and there when adding to the crowd 

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The Good

Mailed badges

Panel Room Sizes - Was only turned away from a full room once

Late Evening and Night Activities - good variety and they weren't all overflowing like at the BCC

Temperature - Pleasant

 

The Bad

Con Center Entrances - On a map, the Cambria Hotel looked a block away, but I had to hike across half the city to get to the main entrance to get in.  Please open some more entrances.  Also, the main entrance area got too crowded to push through at times.

Cancelled Panels - Too many

Water Coolers - Too few

 

The Really Ugly

Photoshoot Locations - Yes, it was nice to have 4 locations available and have the photoshoots listed in the guide, but the locations were terrible.  They were crammed into little gray corners and couldn't accommodate the number of cosplayers, photographers and other interested people.  The sites were not photogenic at all.  Packing the BCC fountains and the rooftop garden into little boxes and shipping them over might be slightly impossible, but there must be somewhere in the DC convention center that's worth pointing a camera at.   I would also suggest that since some photoshoots will attract a lot more cosplayers and interest than others, the people making the schedule could make a reasonable guess at which photoshoots would be most appropriate for certain location sizes.

Edited by Frostline
grammar

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1 hour ago, majinsteph said:

The Lolita Garden and all the Lolita programming within - Lack of Lolita programming has been a big issue to me with Otakon, so it was amazing to see it this year!  I attended 2 photoshoots, and considered one of the card gaming sessions until I want down and saw that it was pretty much full, and with hardly any lolita attendees (that's okay, I'm not saying the programming shouldn't be inclusive!).  The atmosphere of the garden was very nice, and although I was not able to attend the fashion show due to it being scheduled during the Saturday concert, I have heard that it was run much better than would be expected for a first-year event.  I hope this programming track grows at Otakon; a nice next step would be to have a Lolita vendor or 2 in the dealer's hall, such as Lolita Collective, who might also be able to provide more brands for the fashion show as well.  

My name is Juanita and I am the Lolita Garden Department Head. Thank you so much for the positive feedback regarding the Lolita Garden and the fashion show. The team has worked hard to try to bring more Lolita programming for our members. Regarding the lolita vendors, 2 of the Lolita Fashion Shows designers, Puvithel and A. Gato, were in the professional row of the Artist Alley. However, I will be noting that feedback and taking into consideration as the team and I plan for 2018. We would love to have the Lolita Garden grow to be bigger and better next year and your feedback is pivotal for that. We thank you!

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