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Revan

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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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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My first Otakon was in 2011. One of my friends from Anime Club asked me and a few other friends to help him staff Otakon. He wore me down, and I agreed to do it. So I spent my first year of Otakon on Access Control staff, and it was so much fun I kept coming back. It's 7 years later and now I'm running the thing :p. 

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As my signature suggests, my first year was in 2001. I've heard about the con via an article in the Washington Post, and I attending the convention with an anime club that I was attending at the time.

Since this was only my second anime convention period, I was still a newcomer here (i.e. calling it a night on Saturday after the Masquerade rather than checking out the Game Show or fan-parodies, not fully understanding the layout of the convention, fears of getting mugged while walking back to the hotel at night time). However, by the following years, I eventually got the hang of it.

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OK, time to throw my hat into the ring.  My first Otakon was 2010.  I've been a full-fledged otaku ever since I first attended my college's anime club during my senior year, and have been attending cons since 2004 (Anime USA).  I'd been seriously thinking about going to Otakon for years, but refrained from attending because it kept coinciding with my hometown's annual summer street festival which always takes place the first weekend in August.  Starting in 2010, however, Otakon changed up its schedule which meant no more conflict, so I was finally free to attend.  I've been hooked ever since!

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Whelp hons, my first otakon was fifteen years ago...the tenth Otakon in 2003, and I never looked back.  It was overwhelming that first experience, but it was a good experience.  Seeing some of the voice actors that came in that year was awesome, particularily Justin Cook and Mandy Bonhomme.  I still have those Otakon bags with the program guides & whatnot for every year that I've attended, and pulling the 2003 bag out recently made me feel kinda old, which is something I don't want to feel, but oyyyy.  Indidentially, I chose the .hack//SIGN badge design that year.

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4 hours ago, CocoFaerie said:

Indidentially, I chose the .hack//SIGN badge design that year.

For me, I went with Azumanga Daioh (my anime club was introduced to the series after Otakon 2002, and it became a regular part of our schedule during 2003).

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I got into anime in 2000 scratch that 98 since Pokémon was my first anime and I was hooked on anime since then. As I got older my tastes evolved into series such as cowboy bebop, evangelion, hellsing and more. My first otakon was 2005 because of the otakon table at anime USA which I started to go three years prior, and I went to another con in the area can’t really think of the name. Anyways this will be my 12th con and I’m so excited.

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2009 person here.

My introduction to anime and Otakon or two separate things, so I'll focus on the latter here.

So, 2009. I had just gone to my first ever anime convention(CrowdedC^H^H^H^H^Katsucon '09), and decided to shoot for Otakon, because I didn't wanna wait for Nekocon for my next con. I remember posting on here asking all kinds of questions and getting the lay of the land.

And then I finally make it TO Otakon...

If Katsucon opened my eyes, then Otakon blew my freaking mind. XD

Needless to say, I went for the next few years until my hiatus after 2014.

And then came back in 2017, and I'm thinking about going THIS year. (I just need crash space...)

(also, I need to get back into taking pictures. Or more pictures, rather.)

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I grew up in suburban Baltimore in the early 1970s, and I would race home from elementary school to watch Battle of the Planets and Speed Racer. Later, Thundercats and Robotech showed off pretty animation and teased deeper stories.

i went off to college in 1987 and my bestie went to an art school. Various friends shared the joys of GHIBLI (Laputa, Kiki, Totoro, Nausicaa....but these were the old crummy chopped up dubs), and the dubbed and nigh impenetrable Saint Seiya and Urusei Yatsura and Orange Road. In those days we had a friend with access to the internet (which meant he worked at a research or government job), and he would pull translations and synopses off Usenet, and read them as the psi kids and alien girls and knights did stuff on screen.

It was an early comic book version of Ranma 1/2, which I picked up initially thinking it was more Lum, that hooked me, and when I spied a tape of it I unwisely spent about $30 to buy 2 episodes of the show.  Critical willpower saving throw failure.

later, I was at Shore Leave and found myself at a Room party watching, IIRC,  Yamato.  Someone mentioned there might be a con for anime, and pointed me to a flyer.  

And in 1996 I went to Otakon first thing on Saturday, and stayed up all night watching anime. In 1997 I went again for the whole weekend, discovering my love of Detective Conan.  In 1998 I was on travel for work and missed Crystal City entirely. 

And in 1999, broke, I came and worked off my membership fee as a gofer. Again in 2000, and then in 2001, I was in my sisters wedding and managed to put in 20-plus hours as a gofer, amidst rehearsal dinners and receptions and a clutch that went out on my way home.  That winter I joined staff, and by 2004 I was part of the leadership.  I spent the next decade or so throwing most of my blood, sweat, and tears into making Otakon the best con I could. Ran a pretty good convention in 2006 and then moved over to run guests (and programming in 2012) or handle special projects, as well as the nitty gritty details behind the scenes. Opening videos by real animation studios, big name guests, outreach to other events, direct engagement with Japan, broader cultural offerings, huge musical acts...I am proud to have played my part in all those things, though certainly not alone. Watched the industry evolve along with us, watched fandom grow and change.  Pulled out all the stops and called in favors, and got some of my dream guests for Otakon’s 20th. Helped launch Otakon Vegas. Made so many real and deep friendships among the staff.

Met a lot of my heroes along the way and am delighted to have made a lot of extremely talented friends. I’ve partied with rock stars, taken a meeting in studio GHIBLI, been to world premieres, seen sneak previews, been trusted with secrets, watched recording sessions and toured studios, been animated, almost appeared in a video game (still salty about hownthat went down), all of which has been lovely, but other things mean as much: having guests say nice things about me to my mother. Having parents tell me that Otakon brought their kids out of their shells. Hearing about friends, lovers, and families who were made better by what we do. Seeing the talent and passion and joy of discovery in our members. Making impossible meetings happen (Mr Ishiguro and Mr Shinkai were introduced at Otakon, along with many others).  Teasing the forum members here since day one. Cheering on friends as they achieve their dreams.

And now I am semi retired, but I’m not going anywhere. I am taking some time to catch up on all the anime I have barely been able to watch, reconnect, and will see you at Otakon. Right now the plan is to moderate guest panels, which should be fun and allow me to stay connected, and it is something we have needed for a while.  

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I had been dragged to my first anime convention in late 2002 because there was a DDR tournament going on there. I slowly but surely discovered the joy of cosplay, anime, AMVs, the dealer's room, the dance, etc. And then I discovered a lot of my friends were discovering the same things as well. I remember getting the DVDs for Great Teacher Onizuka and had a good time watching them. Started to discover more anime by attending more conventions in the area... and in 2004, I went to my first Otakon. Roomed with a bunch of people in the Marriott, spent 3 hours in line on Friday to pick up my badge, took tons of pictures and saw lots of things that tickled my fancy.

I've been going to Otakon since my first one in 2004, and after 10 years of being an attendee, I found a way onto staff (AMV Theater) in 2014. Considering that I had been part of the AMV community in some way since my first anime convention back in 2002, I figured the AMV Theater is the best place for me to share my love with the convention. I should be getting my 5-Year pin at this year's convention -- time flies!

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On ‎1‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 9:49 PM, alabaster said:
Quote

I grew up in suburban Baltimore in the early 1970s, and I would race home from elementary school to watch Battle of the Planets and Speed Racer. Later, Thundercats and Robotech showed off pretty animation and teased deeper stories.

OMG CAPTIAN CHESAPEAKE!!! Chanel 45, no?

Quote

... and Orange Road. 

I hadn't thought of this in years! it's still in my collection.

Quote

 Critical willpower saving throw failure.

I think the roll came out just right, and we're all the better for it.

Quote

...but other things mean as much: having guests say nice things about me to my mother. Having parents tell me that Otakon brought their kids out of their shells. Hearing about friends, lovers, and families who were made better by what we do. Seeing the talent and passion and joy of discovery in our members. Making impossible meetings happen (Mr Ishiguro and Mr Shinkai were introduced at Otakon, along with many others).  Teasing the forum members here since day one. Cheering on friends as they achieve their dreams.

And now I am semi retired, but I’m not going anywhere. I am taking some time to catch up on all the anime I have barely been able to watch, reconnect, and will see you at Otakon. Right now the plan is to moderate guest panels, which should be fun and allow me to stay connected, and it is something we have needed for a while.  

I want to thank you for all of this . . . and more. Otakon has brought so much to those both here on the forum and those who never will be here.

Thank you.

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WAY late to the anime culture "thing" - though to be honest I had been exposed to anime as a child and didn't know it. (ex. "Kimba the White Lion", "Speed Racer")

My stepson started watching Bleach online via a fansub. He also started asking for volumes of the manga "Whistle!" (soccer-based sports manga). Spending time in the Barnes and Noble manga section drew my interest to quite a few titles and I bought some that piqued my interest.

(Insert Japanese sound effect: ドンっ - ("DON!") - indicating a dramatic development or impending doom. Say it like the tolling of a large, ominous bell.)

After that, I was hooked.

My interest expanded to scanlations of titles not available here in the U.S. and I volunteered to be a proofreader for one such scanlation group. They were having trouble getting translators so I figured I could pick up the language and help with that too. "How hard could it be with the help of machine translation, huh?" Boku wa daibaka deshita, ne? It turns out that centuries of idioms and puns make Japanese a very difficult language for machine translators to correctly translate. My attempt to help with translation failed miserably. Therefore, I took "real" lessons at the local community college. Nakamura-sensei was very patient with us but after four semesters (up through JPN202) we really only were approaching a kindergarten-level of reading/speaking/listening (I won't get into writing kana, my writing was tantamount to caveman scrawl) :wacko: If you really want to learn Japanese, three hours of classes a week for four semesters isn't enough. You need to immerse yourself in the language.

But I digress. It was during the Japanese classes that I was made aware of the existence of Otakon. Most of my classmates were in their 20's and were excitedly discussing the upcoming Otakon convention. Again, my interest was piqued. ドンっ ドンっ

I've been coming to Otakon every year since (except for the last year at the BCC - it had become too crowded)

The scanlation group slowly dissolved (as most labor-intensive tasks with no income to compensate usually do... Otakon excepted, of course ^_^ ) but now I had been exposed to even MORE manga than was available here in the bookstores. The "world" of manga and anime I knew had been explosively expanded and I was introduced the now much-maligned 異世界 genre of stories ("isekai" - literally "alternate world"). This genre appears to be my sweet spot - maybe because I'm getting on in years and being transported to an alternate universe/world and acquiring OP skills is starting to really appeal to me... or maybe I'm just going through a second childhood. <_< All you SAO/Log Horizon/Isekai Smartphone-haters can go jump in a lake! :P

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