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Your first Otakon

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I'm not sure if this is the best forum for it, so if it needs to be moved I apologize.

In honor of the 25th Otakon, I propose we share how we got into anime and came into the Otakon fold.

My story begins in the early 90s. A friend of mine got me into anime when he would come home from college during the holidays with copies of anime in raw Japanese.  (I specifically remember Akira and Grey: Digital Target.) I was pretty much hooked from the get go, even if I didn't understand exactly what was going on in the story. Eventually I started picking up subbed tapes at the various local comic shows, (Ranma 1/2 and Project A-ko being particular favorites of mine.) which I then shared with my brother and friends. Of that group, my brother expressed the most interest in it.
Then at Philcon* 1993, I came upon the usual table filled with fliers for different cons and area clubs. This particular one caught my eye. Except for what I saw at Philcon and the like, there wasn't much anime around at the time. (This was a few years before Suncoast Video carried a stock, IIRC.) I asked my brother if he wanted to go to State College for an anime con. In July he drove us to State College for our first Otakon, and we've been going ever since.

* This was when it was still in Philadelphia, and when I was still going to the con.

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I'll have to type up that book, but it seems we got into the "modern" anime at similar times. It's just difficult to type all this at work at the moment.

 

Love the idea of this thread.

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It was in 2007. I had been into anime for years before that, but that was the first opportunity I had to go to a convention. Been to every Otakon since except for 2012. So Otakon 2017 was my 10th Otakon anniversary :)

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As promised, my book.

 

First, a bit of context.

 

I grew up watching cartoons with the family – Old Woody Woodpecker, Warner Bros., Black & White Popeye, etc. However there was a select group that really affected me back in the day. Tobor the 8th man – which for DECADES folks though was only shown in my home – Gigantor, Astro boy and a few others (Space Ghost, Birdman, Hurceloids, Spider-Man & other superhero cartoons get their own mantle.) Of that set, my favorites were Speed Racer (convinced that’s why I love cars to this day) Marine Boy and Kimba the White Lion. At the time I didn’t know they were from Japan . . . I just knew I loved them. By the time it registered they were originally from overseas my only thought was “Oh, ok.” This continued with (U.S. names of course) Star Blazers, Robotech and the like. I always loved animation, but I didn’t really have (at the time) a predilection for Anime.

 

In the early 1990s I was working at a comic store. One regular Jeff – who’s knickname was Ryoga (foreshadowing) – was the treasurer of the UMD Anime society – AKA the Gamera Fan Club. He told me he had some things he wanted to share and he lent me a video tape. I meant to watch it but life was busy. It was a couple weeks later and he kept asking. Finally, one night when I got home from a new release day, I was dead tired. I said to myself “let me just put this in for a few minutes and give it a shot so I can tell him I did try.” That was about midnight.

 

I had to force myself to stop the tape at 4:00 AM because I was laughing so hard I’d woken up my house mates. It was Ranma ½.

 

Sweet buttermilk, that changed my whole life.

 

I began looking for anything with big eyes and a small mouth and reading it, buying it and/or watching it. This included things I loved (Silent Mobius) and things that made me shudder (Angel Cop – dubbed) and the wonders of going to Suncoast and trying to figure out why subbed cost more than dubbed (LETTERS AREN’T CHEAP! #NonDeFilms.) But all the while, I loved the new world I’d discovered. it was a new joy and passion

 

Then a pair of friends – Kobe and Sabertooth – told me they were going to this fan convention based on Anime. Adam Warren was going to be there and I loved his Dark Horse Bubblegum Crisis work. I jumped on Charlotte and rode to Hunt Valley – and that was my first Otakon in 1997.

 

This was my first fan convention of any kind. I’d been going to the Auto Show since 1982, but that’s an industry event. This was the first time when I was at a convention where there were like minded individuals who were all into the same thing I was into. I remember one friend being excited about trading Saber Marionettes J for Escaflowne. On day two I did my first cosplay – the dead boyfriend of Priss from BGC (I was dressed in my black motorcycle leathers which happened to look like the image of him from the video Aseo Touchdown) and that weekend, I began a tradition. When I met Adam Warren, I didn’t have a copy of a comic to ask him to sign. So I asked him to sign my helmet.

 

It was the first signature of many. I retired the helmet dozens of signatures later, culminating w/ T.M. Revolution. It’s one of my prized possessions.

 

I had such a great time at my first Otakon that I became hooked. I saw Mononoke Hime in a DC theatre that had a column in the middle *just* to help Anime become more mainstream. We watched Sailor Moon at 6:00 AM *just* in the hope Anime would become normal & fun for the public. Went to Crystal City and put my bike in costumer. Went to Baltimore and had a blast every year – including an auction where I won a drawing of Priss. Went to DC and had possibly the best time in a couple-few decades.

 

I’ve been every year since then and – while some years are better than others – I’ve never been disappointed.

 

Now my child has been to every Otakon since she was a one year old. I love the fact I get to pass on my Ota-passion to a new generation of the family. The Raptor thinks it’s all both fun and normal.

 

And that was our goal all along.

 

 

TL;DR - Grew up w/ cartoons; a buddy got me into the new wave of anime; went in 1997 and have been to Otakon every year.

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Revengel, I had much the same childhood.  You mentioned all of my favorites, but I never saw 8th Man until my spouse showed it to me.  Our first car together had the license plate of Mach Fiv (all the others were taken). 

My cousin started at Penn State and invited us over to watch "anime" with himself and his roommates - the script translation printed out on Daisy Wheel printer paper, and unsubbed, he would read the lines as they came up.   Then he and his roommates started this thing that he kept talking about.  Otakon.  So we started attending that in 1995, both with and without our kids, who grew up in the convention.

25 years?  wow.

 

 

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I had gotten back from Boy Scouts summer camp the day before and went down for the Sunday in 2004. I'm a local, so it wasn't a huge deal for 15-year-old me. I took a spin through the dealer's room and, I don't know, a panel maybe. It's been so long. But I came back again, and a couple years later, I started going to other cons.

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My first Otakon was in 2009, though I had been a fan since 2000 starting with Sailor Moon, THOUGH... I had been watching Pokémon since 1997 or so with my brother early AF on Saturday mornings. It was my second ever anime convention (first being Anime Boston 2009, only some months earlier). This year is gonna mark my 10th year anniversary at both AB and Otakon. I'm excited! See some of you at either or both!

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I really started watching anime when I was in fourth or fifth grade (about 1998/1999). I was watching Power Rangers and such on Fox Kids when Digimon first aired. I had seen episodes of older anime before. Over the years I'd find VHS tapes of Tenchi Muyo, Sailor Moon, and DBZ at local thrift shops but Digimon was the first anime series that really got me going. Of course I was hooked on the shows that came on Toonami and Adult Swim over the years but wanted more so I used some 3rd party sites to watch some older stuff. Then, in 2011, my friends and I decided we wanted to go to an anime convention. We looked around for ones that weren't too far away and came up with Otakon. We thought there'd only be about 10k people there for some reason (which is still a big convention) but were completely shocked by how big it was! It was our first time traveling to a huge city by ourselves (we're from a small town, country area) and the first time we'd been to a huge convention center and around so many people. We had no idea how huge anime was until that point. It was like our own wonderland and we were so excited! We've been to every Otakon since as well as a few local cons that have recently sprung up where we live. Otakon also introduced me to anime sites like Crunchyroll where I could watch the latest stuff and just gorge myself in anime. We could honestly skip Otakon and go to multiple other, more local cons that seem to be growing rapidly, but Otakon was our first experience and we gladly travel 6+ hours out of our way every year to attend.

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I sort of got thrown into the world of anime, cons & cosplay all at once.  My first Otakon was 2002, however I wasn't really into anime so much at the time.  Back then I never really cared for DBZ, and as it was one of the only "mainstream" animes to hit the US at the time, I never really looked into much other stuff.  I do remember watching some Tenchi though. I was more into gaming and my hook into it all was Final Fantasy. 

My best friend at the time was interested in going to Ota, so I looked into it and thought it sounded cool.  So instead of easing into it all I jumped head first.  Not only did we cosplay FF7 characters at our first con (I did Cid Highwind), BUT I also became a gofer (TCG no less) my first year.  I was immediately hooked.  I joined staff the next year and haven't looked back.  Of course I was big into the Naturo & Bleach phases (cosplaying Gaara & Ishida respectively), also loved me some Hellsing (did a ghoul costume) and Full Metal Panic.  Though my fav series of all time is still My-HiME & My-Otome (the music & characters.. no other has resonated internally like they did) .  After those, my interest in anime started to fade. But I still appreciate it, and have found a few series that I enjoyed since (most recent being Kill la Kill).  Now that I'm a bit older, I am just happy to help put on an event that the next generation can enjoy (though I'm not quite done cosplaying yet). ;)

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Edited by OtakuCop
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1 hour ago, OtakuCop said:

I sort of got thrown into the world of anime, cons & cosplay all at once.  My first Otakon was 2002, however I wasn't really into anime so much at the time.  Back then I never really cared for DBZ, and as it was one of the only "mainstream" animes to hit the US at the time, I never really looked into much other stuff.  I do remember watching some Tenchi though. I was more into gaming and my hook into it all was Final Fantasy. 

My best friend at the time was interested in going to Ota, so I looked into it and thought it sounded cool.  So instead of easing into it all I jumped head first.  Not only did we cosplay FF7 characters at our first con (I did Cid Highwind), BUT I also became a gofer (TCG no less) my first year.  I was immediately hooked.  I joined staff the next year and haven't looked back.  Of course I was big into the Naturo & Bleach phases (cosplaying Gaara & Ishida respectively), also loved me some Hellsing (did a ghoul costume) and Full Metal Panic.  Though my fav series of all time is still My-HiME & My-Otome (the music & characters.. no other has resonated internally like they did) .  After those, my interest in anime started to fade. But I still appreciate it, and have found a few series that I enjoyed since (most recent being Kill la Kill).  Now that I'm a bit older, I am just happy to help put on an event that the next generation can enjoy (though I'm not quite done cosplaying yet). ;)

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YES ANOTHER My-HIME series fan! Great choice! Yeah the music is second to none, though I also enjoy the music in Shakugan no Shana, but I digress. Kajiura Yuki is a goddess when it comes to composing music! Her girl band Kalafina is great too! See them in concert if you can! I saw them in 2009 at Anime Boston and in 2014 I think ? at Anime Central!....

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This year will be my first Otakon, although I did work E3 when I was in LA.  Should be interesting.  I keep waiting for Matt Walls to look at me and say in an Illidan-voice "You are not prepared".

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WOW. Ravan has the flyer that informed me to the con as well.

I was at a con in Long Island called I-CON which was held at Stony Brook University. It was my very first con. The con was a Fantasy/Sci-Fi con, which had some anime elements to it. That is when I met some of my present friends.

I remember having that flier right by my Amiga computer (and looking at the flyer, I realized Otakon started on my birthday). My mom asked why I looked bored. I show her this flyer, and announce I'm going to THIS CON! I was going to take the trip alone, but my mom, oldest brother and my nephew decided to tag along with me.

When we were already in Pennsylvania, I realized that I left the flyer by my computer, so I had to rely on how good my memory was to get there.

I remember when we got there (I had to check and see if we arrived at the right Day's Inn hotel), I was greeted with some life-sized cut-outs of Bean Bandit, Lum, Female Ranma, and I think Priss from Bubblegum Crisis.  I stuck around for a bit, but everyone else just wanted to get some sleep. I wanted to get a room, but there was there was none at the inn, so I had to leave to stay overnight somewhere else.

I arrived the very next morning when I finally got the chance to go to the Dealer's Room (more like closet). There I met some of the familiar people that I known from online and from the other con.

I think I was hooked ever since.

 

  

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2 hours ago, Daniel Perales said:

WOW. Ravan has the flyer that informed me to the con as well.

I was at a con in Long Island called I-CON which was held at Stony Brook University. It was my very first con. The con was a Fantasy/Sci-Fi con, which had some anime elements to it. That is when I met some of my present friends.

I remember having that flier right by my Amiga computer (and looking at the flyer, I realized Otakon started on my birthday). My mom asked why I looked bored. I show her this flyer, and announce I'm going to THIS CON! I was going to take the trip alone, but my mom, oldest brother and my nephew decided to tag along with me.

When we were already in Pennsylvania, I realized that I left the flyer by my computer, so I had to rely on how good my memory was to get there.

I remember when we got there (I had to check and see if we arrived at the right Day's Inn hotel), I was greeted with some life-sized cut-outs of Bean Bandit, Lum, Female Ranma, and I think Priss from Bubblegum Crisis.  I stuck around for a bit, but everyone else just wanted to get some sleep. I wanted to get a room, but there was there was none at the inn, so I had to leave to stay overnight somewhere else.

I arrived the very next morning when I finally got the chance to go to the Dealer's Room (more like closet). There I met some of the familiar people that I known from online and from the other con.

I think I was hooked ever since.

 

  

The other day, I was going through a couple boxes of detritus and I found an Otakon 2004 postcard. I don't recall it having any link to my decision to go for a day.

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