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ShiroNyako

Otakon 2019: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Soooo much for this. I’m sure I forgot things.

 

The Good:

·         Lines. I say this year in and year out – the line management has come soooo far in the decades I’ve been coming to Otakon. There is space for lines when they pop up. Gigantic lines (like the dealers room) actually move very well. Pre-Reg pickup continues to be BEYOND blissful on Thursday, and the 18+ line was amazing as well that day! Bag check line gets its own bullet point.

·         Bag Check Line was Gold. I remember the issues with the bag check line the first time in D.C. (and most major conventions have moved in that direction) and I feel they are largely resolved. It didn’t take much longer to go into the WEWCC with this year’s check line than it did the last several years in Baltimore. I’ll address the food/drink issue in another bullet.

·         Space Management. This may be my favorite thing of all. The AMV, Video 2 & 3, Otachan, a couple workshop spaces and Makers Space were all in an area we could access without having to dash up and down stairs. While I recognize this is a strong reflection of what I personally was interested in, it appeared there was a concerted effort to keep the video rooms together as well as keeping things nearby (workshops, Otachan/Makers Space for those w/ kids) so a family wouldn’t be flung out toward the far reaches of the universe. I also noticed most of the panels were concentrated in a given area. I think this was an outstanding move – even if Otachan/Makers Space get moved later.

·         SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS. If space management isn’t my favorite thing, then this is. PLEASE BRING IT BACK. It was a great hoot for those who remember(d) some of those shows, a blast seeing the commercials and a bonus being able to bring the who family. It was a tough choice for me but I stayed in the dubbed room. I’ll have to try the subbed room next year!

·         Classic Anime: I enjoyed watching Dororo in its original form and compared it to the current show. I’ve not finished the new season but I did view enough to judge how the new edition is quite faithful to the original with a few updates. Likewise viewing Mach-a-go-go-go (Speed Racer) subtitled . . . for my first time. Also for the first time, I watched Bubblegum Crisis dubbed. I appreciated the AnimiEgo dub made its debut at Otakon in 1994 – but I’ll keep watching that subbed. Special shout-out to the person running that room who gave tidbits of information before the shows began, as well as showing old opening/closings most of us have rarely or never seen.

·         GUIDEBOOK. Keep doing this. You’re doing it right in my opinion. The added ability to bookmark folks in the dealer’s room in advance was SOOOOO helpful. While I didn’t take advantage of it, being able to purchase Maid Café and preferred seating tickets for the concerts kept things up to date. The alerts worked fine for me between my watch and my phone, and we were always able to see what was on our schedules at a glance. While some lamented the paper schedule not being out this year, 1) a person could download and print a PDF from the link on the website (my wife was one who wanted this) and – more importantly 2) it’s obsolete before the convention even opens. Guidebook can update in real time. Paper cant – unless you take a pen and an eraser.

·         Renaissance Hotel is my Only Hotel: This is my new “Days Inn” not because of price, or even proximity. What I loved about the Days Inn in times of yore was how the staff was. I had a great experience yet again with the staff of this hotel and will shoot for it next year when hotels open up.

 

 

The Meh:

·         Outside Food and Water Policy. It was a convention center policy first and foremost. I was not a fan personally, but I understood. I do wish the enforcement was uniform, but what can you do?

·         Protest outside the Convention Center. Again, not Otakon’s fault. While it was not my favorite thing to see/hear . . . when is a good time to protest? The goal of any protest is to draw attention to a situation. They succeeded. I wish them well in their struggle.

·         Food Pricing Inside the Convention center. Still not Otakon’s fault. Was actually about the same/cheaper to go back to the hotel and get better food there.

·         Friday Night Fan Parodies: I have to start by saying some parodies are way better than none. However the Friday night group mostly missed me. I enjoyed a couple of things but most of it left me – cold. But the Saturday night fan parodies (what I could see of them) were much better. I got to get my “It’s Gendo!” on before BGC.

 

The Sad:

·         No fuse beads workshop. We were looking for the fuse bead workshop and were disappointed when we saw it wasn’t there. Hopefully it will be back next year.

 

All in all, I want to thank Otakon – and all the great folks there in and out of costume – for making my 50th birthday such a blast! I’m all in for next year (my 24th consecutive – almost half my life) and hope to see you all there!

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Hello Everyone. Just to mention our party attended when Otakon moved from Baltimore to DC. Prior like most everyone we were attending In Baltimore. We were not able to attend last year. So this year we were all curious to see how things were going.

The GOOD:

First some shout outs to Steve who produces those great where to eat videos. This is as I always have said a must see for any Otakon attendee. A special thank you to Steve for giving us insight on how the Thursday Pre reg lines work, since we were picking up our badges this way this year. 

Also shout out to Becky who also gave us some great insight into wait times through her experience last year. Thanks again Becky!

With that being said I want you to know that we had no wait time to pick up pre reg badges on Thursday at 3PM. I was totally amazed and pretty please Otakon always make sure it stays this way forever. Thank you. 

Next the BRADIO concert. I mean nothing short of HISTORY was made with this Fantastic concert offered at Otakon. If you were there you know what I mean.  I must admit I did help Otakon Ops with line control during the que. This is actually something within my field I have done for years and it was my pleasure to help. Otakon ops personally thanked me for the effort and that was nice of them to take the time to do that I thought. Also congrats to the events manager for this event. I told her personally but the event ran very smooth. The initial escalator cutoffs on the second floor however were sort of new volunteers and were a little unsure of how to manage but some quick twitter sends to ops evidently fixed that. 

The Marriott tunnel is cut off with one volunteer checking badges first. What a great great idea. Next the only thing left is the security bag check. This cuts out a lot of time. Please keep that going. Thank you.

Also Otakon volunteers. Nice job! Very helpful ,professional, polite, and  enthusiastic. Well done and well appreciated! 

 

The ALMOST GOOD ( Yes I do not say BAD because nothing is BAD when your at Otakon. Its a happy place  )

This no outside food thing. Well obviously we need the addition of hydration stations since the enforcement because the water fountains near the rest rooms are really not enough. Also some people who have restricted diets really need options to bring certain small food issues in. Hopefully Otakon can resolve the issue next year in some way with the venue. 

Funimation autograph limits for Fruit Basket voice actors. Now this is nothing that Otakon can really control one way or another I guess, but the reason we wanted to go to Otakon this year was to autograph with one of the voice actors. To find out that Funimation so close to the convention changed the autograph session to only 50 people and then only if you preorder the dvd for a then only  chance to be one of the 50 selected leaves me at a loss for words. This autograph opportunity was going to be the reason and highlight of the entire convention. Since it wasn't able to happen we were extremely disappointed. I already reviewed this with Otakon and also a Board member so whatever Otakon can do in the future to control how autograph opportunities should remain uniform throughout the convention would be appreciated. 

The Ugly

Hey everyone. Otakon is a happy place. Nothing Ugly here 

 

 

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On 7/29/2019 at 4:09 PM, mitamaking said:

I am going to start by saying this was the best Otakon I have been to in Washington, I had a lot of fun, and after last year's con being borderline bad, it was a lot better this year.

 

The Good

You fixed the autograph line, this was the best autographs Otakon has ever done, I want to heap praise on the autograph staff and the way you had it set up. I would prefer it out of the Dealers Room so you could have autographs more than 8 hours a day, but otherwise it was great.

 

The Guest List: A bunch of guest who don't go to a lot of cons in the area, and Japanese guest. You are by far the closest con to me that can bring them in so I was very happy to meet the Trigger staff, Toru Furuya, Minmi, and Kaoru Wada, not to mention Kari and Kirk who have never been to a con near me. Those are just the people I saw, there were a ton of other great guest that I recognize but wasn't as interested in.

 

Promare movie premiere: I cheated and got in the line early, I am sorry for the people who actually followed the rules, but for this type of thing, considering it happens every year, you just have to cheat. The movie was a blast, the crowd was maybe a bit too hyped, I mean don't cheer a character's first appearance guys, Galo could suck (he did not). I am however very happy that the staff got to hear a crowd that excited for their film. Work with GKids more Otakon, get us more East Coast/US premieres, I feel like the number of those have shrunk lately.

 

Tatami Galaxy Blu Ray Premiere: Just fun, and I love the blu-ray cover, when I get it someday that will be the cover I use. I like Otakon doing smaller premiers like this and City Hunter, which I didn't go to, as well.

 

Bag Check on Sunday: I liked how the Marriott did their bag check on Sunday, I hope they do that again, it made Sunday a lot simpler. 

 

Discotek Panel: In a year where no one brought anything besides Manga Gamer to excite fans, Discotek did what they always do and saved the con from an industry perspective. Nothing too exciting for me but I am not going to complain about a panel with 12! announcements.

 

The Bad

Lack of Industry in the Dealers Room: No Viz, Aniplex, Crunchyroll, Good Smile, or GKids was a massive disappointment, I planned on grabbing Mirai from Gkids and. The Sentai booth and Funimation booth were just stores this year and had no reason to go to them if you were not buying anything, considering that the companies fall over themselves for AX it makes the East Coast congoers like myself feel like second class fans. This is nothing new of course.

 

The Ugly

Dude Where's My Schedule: Oh look no paper schedule, glad to see Otakong doesn't care about people who don't own smartphones. Don't claim that it was to save paper either, the Awesome Sheet of Awesomeness had a back that was really not needed, and rife with errors. I am so glad that they learned their lesson from when they did this before. Don't take that people didn't grabbed the printed out schedules on Sunday as proof that people didn't need them, just take it as it's Sunday, I don't need it anymore.

 

Lack of Water: There was no water stations at the con outside of rooms I felt, and not every room had water stations. I guess I should have paid for the overpriced water bottles in the con.

Agreed on industry in dealer room.

Print the schedule off before you leave for the convention.

Saw a water machine up by the ball rooms in the hall.

Water fountains everywhere. 

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8 hours ago, Kirarakim said:

Thank you and thank you for not being condescending and telling me anyone can update Wikipedia as though I didn’t know that. I imagine the Wikipedia article was first edited when Otakon  first reported the 29,000+ total attendance number but not updated to reflect total membership 

I see the 2018 number was updated but I wonder now if the other years are accurate or just a mismash of unique membership and total attendance numbers.

Also do we have both numbers for this year yet to compare to last year

 

Nope but If we do they'll go under the official statistics area as linked above in this thread, which is where I got last years data from. The only number we know for sure is the preliminary count of 28,411 which I'm assuming does not include staffers or the like, and will probably rise or fall based on a later recount. In my experience (since I like to see what the official number is after the fact), it takes a couple of weeks to months for the number to get posted on the website in past years.

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9 hours ago, WorldisYours said:

Ugly:

 

-The lack of US anime industry presence has been covered above, but I definitely think it deserves mentioning. I understand Otakon is not growing at an exponential rate anymore, but it's still rather perplexing to me that much of the US industry apparently thinks nearly 30k devoted anime fans isn't worth their time.

The problem here is that some companies attended SDCC the previous week, and it would be a big hassle trying to transport everything from San Diego to Washington D.C. in less than a week.

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Overall, a great Otakon! A lot of improvements over last year and it really feels like many of the kinks have been worked out. This is my sixth year in a row (three in Baltimore, three DC) and I don't plan on stopping. :)
 
The Good
- First off, the Guidebook descriptions were MILES better this year, I can't emphasize this enough. My group ended up going to so many cool panels (especially with the Japanese guests) because the descriptions were actually informative and engaging! Such a nice change from last year. Also I appreciated the added years on the video screening descriptions, which I think was a new touch this year? Either way, it was helpful.
 
- Speaking of guests... great lineup! Hirokatsu Kihara and Hiroshi Nagahama especially put on a great show, and I'd love to see them come back again. The Fruits Basket cast was also really charming.
 
- There were so many interesting panels this year, both fan panels and guest panels alike. Picking and choosing my schedule was hard! Just really good stuff all around. I loved the Studio Trigger live drawing and live animation with Naoki Yoshibe too - more of that in the future please! It would have been cool if they could have shown the final drawings and animation during the Closing Ceremonies.
 
- I didn't get to attend any of the concerts, but I liked the variety you had this year. It seemed like a lot of choose from depending on your tastes.
 
- Bag check was pretty painless, and the bag checkers I interacted with were generally pleasant. I also really appreciated the crossing guards outside.
 
- I really appreciated how most of the panel and video rooms were clustered in the same area (especially compared to the first year in DC, when they were spread out all over the place).
 
- Friendly congoers, helpful volunteers, and just a really positive experience all around.
 
The Bad
- Only "bad" for me personally (though good for my wallet), but a side effect of so much good programming was that I hardly spent any time in Artist Alley and the Dealers Room, and just people-watching in general. Ah well.
 
- The Promare line was capped by the time we arrived (at the time when lineup was supposed to start), which was a little annoying. I did appreciate that they told us immediately though. Also it meant I had time to finally check out the Dealer's Room/etc (and eat actual dinner!).
 
- Not Otakon's fault, but the KyoAni wall had some inappropriate comments and way too much self-promotion. Come on, guys. Do better.
 
- Sort out the outside food/drink policy with the convention center, and enforce it more consistently. My friends and I brought in water and food every day with no issue at all (granola bars, fruit, jerky, trail mix, peanut butter, crackers, etc.), but as others have said, this wasn't the case with everyone. Considering the price and quality of the food in the convention center, and the apparently poor treatment of the Aramark workers, that ain't great!
 
- Not bad necessarily, but it was a little repetitive having the AMV contest winners screening immediately before Closing Ceremonies (during which they were also (mostly) screened). Only really a problem if you went to both events though, I guess.
 
The Ugly
...Nothing, this year! Again, great con. ^_^
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19 hours ago, Kirarakim said:

I see the 2018 number was updated but I wonder now if the other years are accurate or just a mismash of unique membership and total attendance numbers.

Also do we have both numbers for this year yet to compare to last year? 

Since I'm the one who has audited the attendance numbers for years, the ones posted on our website are accurate. I don't touch Wikipedia as starting down that road would end up as a huge time sink.  

As for updated numbers, it takes a couple of weeks to go through the data and weed out duplicates, identify people who did not show up even after they bought a membership, find and correct exceptions that were made in reg in the name of customer service, confirm with staff about comps for industry, contractors, etc. I'm fairly certain we will be close to the preliminary reported number, but we want to be thorough about it and make sure we are consistent on how we report them.

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The Good:
Once again, WEWCC scores highly for the S P A C E !  It's so nice not to be feeling like you're in a slow-moving line when you're just walking down the hall.
The Membership! Every year I'm amazed at the awesome people that attend Otakon. Your patience when things don't work like oiled gears is inspiring!

The Bad:
(and not Otakon's fault at all) $21 for a "meh" gyudon bowl and a 20 oz Diet Pepsi in the food court. I realize the concession has bills to pay, but for that amount of money I expect more than a bowl of thinly shaved fatty beef and pickled veggie over steamed rice.

Edited by Fadamor
I'm an idiot.
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The Good:

The space. Every year that has been in DC I can't get over how much space the con has now. I honestly hope it never goes back to Baltimore.

The panels: Honestly, this was one of the better cons that had really interesting panels. While I'm not "huge" into panels. The fact that there were a number of panels that I really wanted to go to sealed it for me

The Game Room: This is maybe some of the best games in the game room this year. I like how a lot of the games were Japanese games with a mixture of US console games. I think since Otakon is loosing more video game vendors (due to other video game conventions popping up) and US arcade machines really shines the Japanese ones.

Line: No line con this year, yay.

Photoshoots: I love how it was all in one giant area.

The Bad:

The Guests. I wasn't that big into the majority of them. However, this was just my preference than any others.

Kyoto Animation Signing: Seriously, not Otakon's fault a lot but screw you for advertising on this. It would be like a lawyer showing up at a funeral handing out business cards. I honestly think there should at least been someone keeping an eye on it.

Bag Check- Security Theater again. Makes you feel safe, but honestly it doesn't and might make it worst. At this point I think Otakon should just raise the prices to get rid of this.

The Ugly:

No outside Food or Water: Seriously, this was the most messed up of them all. I had a metal water bottle on Friday that didn't get called out but Saturday I'm asked to get rid of it. I had to go back to my room. Plus with how inconsistent it was. I understand not bringing Pizza or McDonald's food into the place like the BCC was but there was seriously no communication or clear information about this. Plus what about people who are diabetic and need them? Or special diets from doctors? There needs to be something like "Can only bring this much in" or something. 

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On 7/29/2019 at 9:29 AM, Kirarakim said:

Speaking of guest and autographs Nagahama was great. He took a really long time in his autograph line because he drew unique sketches for everyone. He was also a really sweet man to talk to. 

Ugh, that was a kick in the groin. I tried hitting his signing both days, but the line had been cut a half hour early on Friday (not a big deal since it was a two-hour block) and then Saturday I was told his line was over and he had left at 3:30 (scheduled session was 3-5).

Edited by The Tsunami

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23 hours ago, MattTheMinion said:

Since I'm the one who has audited the attendance numbers for years, the ones posted on our website are accurate. I don't touch Wikipedia as starting down that road would end up as a huge time sink.  

As for updated numbers, it takes a couple of weeks to go through the data and weed out duplicates, identify people who did not show up even after they bought a membership, find and correct exceptions that were made in reg in the name of customer service, confirm with staff about comps for industry, contractors, etc. I'm fairly certain we will be close to the preliminary reported number, but we want to be thorough about it and make sure we are consistent on how we report them.

Good to know that the ones posted on the website is accurate. Is the care and thoroughness being taken with this year's attendance number a compensation for announcing the 2018 attendance of 29,293 last year, even going as far as releasing it in a press release 3 days after the convention, but then ending up over 1,100 off the accurate attendance of 28,116 on the website?

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3 hours ago, Krabstarr said:

Good to know that the ones posted on the website is accurate. Is the care and thoroughness being taken with this year's attendance number a compensation for announcing the 2018 attendance of 29,293 last year, even going as far as releasing it in a press release 3 days after the convention, but then ending up over 1,100 off the accurate attendance of 28,116 on the website?

To be honest the initial number released is a preliminary number based on raw sales data. Last year there was a communications breakdown involving how the 2-day and 1-day badges along with some at-con comps were tracked and a lot of them got double counted. That's why it should be announced as a preliminary number. This year we centralized the attendance count a bit more in order to be closer to the final numbers, but as we go through and check the counts it can still swing either way.

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21 minutes ago, MattTheMinion said:

To be honest the initial number released is a preliminary number based on raw sales data. Last year there was a communications breakdown involving how the 2-day and 1-day badges along with some at-con comps were tracked and a lot of them got double counted. That's why it should be announced as a preliminary number. This year we centralized the attendance count a bit more in order to be closer to the final numbers, but as we go through and check the counts it can still swing either way. 

I'm always grateful for your straightforward answers. Thank you very much for shedding some light on the attendance numbers.

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Only real thing that I have to comment on is to echo someone else's post about the cosplay photoshoot room.  It's absolutely awesome that Otakon reserved a dedicated room for the photoshoots and should certainly continue to do so for future years as the last two years have been absolutely messy and chaotic with the shoots in open areas.  However, the ballroom lighting is absolutely atrocious for photographs.  I hope next year Otakon will reserve a room or floor space in the WEWCC where there is better lighting.

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Kept meaning to do this, and I hope it's not too late!

The Good:

  • The Bradio concert! There's always a great variety of concerts to choose from, and I'm so happy that you got them as guests this year!
  • Lines (for the most part, see below) were handled very well. Thursday pre-reg pickup in particular went unbelievably smoothly, and we never had to wait in a line to get inside the building.
  • Variety of programming continues to be plentiful and excellent. Almost *too* much to do, but I don't see that as a problem!
  • Artist's Alley had so many fantastic artists this year! My wallet was crying at the end because I kept seeing yet another poster I had to have. (And thank you for not having people tabled at the very end facing the wall. Last year, we didn't realize there were people there and unknowingly skipped out on a bunch of booths. Maybe you could make both ends symmetrical with long "walls" of booths?)
  • WEWCC is an excellent fit for Otakon. So. Much. Space! The neighborhood is great, too, lots of fabulous restaurants within easy walking distance.

The Bad:

  • There really should be a separate line for people going into the Dealer's Room for just autographs instead of one enormous line that...seemed to get split in the middle, with people getting shuttled in via the second escalator? I lined up as early as possible in the Dealer's Room line to get in for autographs and as I hustled my way towards the back, I noticed people streaming down the other escalator. What was up with that? In the future, couldn't that be an entrance for autographs only, maybe?
  • It's incredibly hard to get answers from Otakon staff before the con...I had questions about various things and tried e-mailing and tweeting you guys. The latter was the only thing that seemed to work, and even then only half the time. Communication really needs to improve!
  • The food/drinks situation...the website said one thing, the social media pages said another, and the convention center staff said yet another. It was really unevenly applied, too; despite what the staff said, nobody had a problem with my water bottle and protein bars at the bag check. Can you folks sit down with the con center before next year and get a straight answer for specifically what is acceptable? It's a headache not knowing what you can do.

The Ugly:

  • The Kikuko Inoue autograph session...oof. I understand that she was only in town for one day and there's not much if anything you can do about that fact...but whoever's in charge for scheduling events should give way more time between guest's events. Autographs for her started over 15 minutes late because Opening Ceremonies ran overtime. We were informed that the autograph time would not be extended because she had a panel scheduled almost immediately after the autograph signing and that there was nothing that could be done for us. To top it off, Inoue ended her session 5 minutes early; I'm assuming she did this to make sure she'd get to the next panel on time (I know there's nothing Otakon could have done about that). If there isn't anyone to make sure that a guest can get excused when an event is going overtime, then more time should be budgeted between events. You have to understand how incredibly frustrating it is to get to a line super early, do everything you're told to do, and then have the line cut off in front of you because the con didn't manage time properly. I'm trying really hard not to be rude about this, but it was heartbreaking since this might have been my only chance to see Inoue.

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The Good

-line management was amazing, I never had any trouble finding the end and no line I was in or near ever appeared to impede foot traffic or anything. I guess the only slightly confusing line was the Dealer's Room on friday (but that line's always a bit iffy, so it wasn't too bad this year, definitely better over other years)

-registration! That was in and out to get my badge! Glad I didn't waste the extra money to have it mailed.

-old school viewings! I dragged my friend to see Twilight of the Cockroaches!

-gender neutral bathrooms! If anything, PLEASE add more! For me, personally, I am trans (and so are a lot of my friends, we DO tend to flock together, tbh), and while I've undergone hormone therapy, conventions are literally one of the only places some of my trans friends not accepted by their family can dress as their own gender.

-Guidebook app, worked well! My first time using it (due to only recently upgrading my phone)

-awesome selection of video games, especially the weird Japanese arcade ones that Tokyo Attack brought. I also saw an epic Jenga game one evening.

-DC itself was very nice! I know some people have noted some homeless people harassed them, but I also work in Baltimore some days. Do you have any idea how nice it was to only be approached by ONE homeless person the entire weekend? You can't even drive through Baltimore these days without being harassed by 3+ groups of squeegee kids and 4+ homeless people on just one brief in and out trip anywhere in that city now. Until Baltimore decides to get its act together, I'm good with sticking in DC, ungodly traffic be damned.

The "Meh"

-no outside food or drink policy. I put this on "meh" cus I was never once called out on it and I was eating my personal food constantly. The security staff certainly didn't care in the least. For the record, my plan was to simply lie, claim I needed a specialized diet if they asked. I might not be able to prove it, but they couldn't disprove it either, so I'm guessing it wouldn't be worth any headaches for them

-manga library. Please use Carolina Manga Library, they're really awesome

-I didn't find a lot of interesting stuff in the Dealer's Room this year. I wish there was just more vendors or something, I dunno.

-Why is Discotek the only anime or manga licensor with an announcement panel anymore? It used to be in past years, all the industry bigs had panels with announcements, but now, they all seem to do either AX or SDCC. To be fair, Discotek's is so awesome, nothing else would be able to compare anyway. Sure, I didn't care a ton about a lot of the announcements, but the energy they keep the whole time is just so awesome and it's such a blast to attend! They were actually full up again this year, I think word has spread that they have the best industry panels!

-where on earth were the damn photoshoots? I feel like they were so far removed from the rest of the con that I totally missed out! I think they were in the Marriott, right? Could other things be moved to there and rooms within the convention center be used for some photoshoots next time?

The Bad

-pre-convention communication. I feel like Twitter, Facebook, anywhere fell on deaf ears. I really needed to know who was going to be at artist alley, so I could plan accordingly, but that info got updated HELLA late, practically the day of.

-the lack of water at the con itself. I've been to other cons where they kept water stations everywhere and kept those suckers filled. I understand this is a way bigger con, but I'd expect at least in all the panel and video rooms, and several for artist and dealer's, there'd be massive amounts of water coolers. At least all the ones I used were filled.

-I really wish I had known about some of the premieres happening. I literally only found out about Promare during the GKids panel, and I had no idea on City Hunter or Uta Prince. Maybe just advertise these on facebook and twitter and such the week before the con? I mean, if you said something back in february, no chance I'd remember it come July.

-gawd, the DC traffic! wtf?!

The Good

-line management was amazing, I never had any trouble finding the end and no line I was in or near ever appeared to impede foot traffic or anything. I guess the only slightly confusing line was the Dealer's Room on friday (but that line's always a bit iffy, so it wasn't too bad this year, definitely better over other years)

-registration! That was in and out to get my badge! Glad I didn't waste the extra money to have it mailed.

-old school viewings! I dragged my friend to see Twilight of the Cockroaches!

-gender neutral bathrooms! If anything, PLEASE add more! For me, personally, I am trans (and so are a lot of my friends, we DO tend to flock together, tbh), and while I've undergone hormone therapy, conventions are literally one of the only places some of my trans friends not accepted by their family can dress as their own gender.

-Guidebook app, worked well! My first time using it (due to only recently upgrading my phone)

-awesome selection of video games, especially the weird Japanese arcade ones that Tokyo Attack brought. I also saw an epic Jenga game one evening.

-DC itself was very nice! I know some people have noted some homeless people harassed them, but I also work in Baltimore some days. Do you have any idea how nice it was to only be approached by ONE homeless person the entire weekend? You can't even drive through Baltimore these days without being harassed by 3+ groups of squeegee kids and 4+ homeless people on just one brief in and out trip anywhere in that city now. Until Baltimore decides to get its act together, I'm good with sticking in DC, ungodly traffic be damned.

The "Meh"

-no outside food or drink policy. I put this on "meh" cus I was never once called out on it and I was eating my personal food constantly. The security staff certainly didn't care in the least. For the record, my plan was to simply lie, claim I needed a specialized diet if they asked. I might not be able to prove it, but they couldn't disprove it either, so I'm guessing it wouldn't be worth any headaches for them

-manga library. Please use Carolina Manga Library, they're really awesome

-I didn't find a lot of interesting stuff in the Dealer's Room this year. I wish there was just more vendors or something, I dunno.

-Why is Discotek the only anime or manga licensor with an announcement panel anymore? It used to be in past years, all the industry bigs had panels with announcements, but now, they all seem to do either AX or SDCC. To be fair, Discotek's is so awesome, nothing else would be able to compare anyway. Sure, I didn't care a ton about a lot of the announcements, but the energy they keep the whole time is just so awesome and it's such a blast to attend! They were actually full up again this year, I think word has spread that they have the best industry panels!

-where on earth were the damn photoshoots? I feel like they were so far removed from the rest of the con that I totally missed out! I think they were in the Marriott, right? Could other things be moved to there and rooms within the convention center be used for some photoshoots next time?

The Bad

-pre-convention communication. I feel like Twitter, Facebook, anywhere fell on deaf ears. I really needed to know who was going to be at artist alley, so I could plan accordingly, but that info got updated HELLA late, practically the day of.

-the lack of water at the con itself. I've been to other cons where they kept water stations everywhere and kept those suckers filled. I understand this is a way bigger con, but I'd expect at least in all the panel and video rooms, and several for artist and dealer's, there'd be massive amounts of water coolers. At least all the ones I used were filled.

-I really wish I had known about some of the premieres happening. I literally only found out about Promare during the GKids panel, and I had no idea on City Hunter or Uta Prince. Maybe just advertise these on facebook and twitter and such the week before the con? I mean, if you said something back in february, no chance I'd remember it come July.

-gawd, the DC traffic! wtf?!

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8 hours ago, sulkyselkie said:

The Ugly:

  • The Kikuko Inoue autograph session...oof. I understand that she was only in town for one day and there's not much if anything you can do about that fact...but whoever's in charge for scheduling events should give way more time between guest's events. Autographs for her started over 15 minutes late because Opening Ceremonies ran overtime. We were informed that the autograph time would not be extended because she had a panel scheduled almost immediately after the autograph signing and that there was nothing that could be done for us. To top it off, Inoue ended her session 5 minutes early; I'm assuming she did this to make sure she'd get to the next panel on time (I know there's nothing Otakon could have done about that). If there isn't anyone to make sure that a guest can get excused when an event is going overtime, then more time should be budgeted between events. You have to understand how incredibly frustrating it is to get to a line super early, do everything you're told to do, and then have the line cut off in front of you because the con didn't manage time properly. I'm trying really hard not to be rude about this, but it was heartbreaking since this might have been my only chance to see Inoue.

Seconded.  I was so looking forward to getting my first ever autograph from a Japanese seiyuu and it didn't pan out.  Perhaps Otakon could only afford to have Inoue in town for just that one day, but IMO, her schedule was far too tightly compressed.  I just wish they hadn't scheduled her autograph session to start so soon after the dealers' room first opened, considering how ridiculously long the lines are just to get into that place on the first day.  Maybe Otakon should should have separate entrance lines just for the autograph sessions.

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On 8/8/2019 at 10:29 PM, Zeeba Neighba said:

Seconded.  I was so looking forward to getting my first ever autograph from a Japanese seiyuu and it didn't pan out.  Perhaps Otakon could only afford to have Inoue in town for just that one day, but IMO, her schedule was far too tightly compressed.  I just wish they hadn't scheduled her autograph session to start so soon after the dealers' room first opened, considering how ridiculously long the lines are just to get into that place on the first day.  Maybe Otakon should should have separate entrance lines just for the autograph sessions.

I agree about separate entrance lines. I don't see why they can't have Hall B's escalator as a separate autographs-only entrance? 

Looking at the schedule, Inoue basically got hustled from a panel to Opening Ceremonies to the autograph session to another panel with little time between events. I have no idea why they thought that would work. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 10:29 PM, Zeeba Neighba said:

Seconded.  I was so looking forward to getting my first ever autograph from a Japanese seiyuu and it didn't pan out.  Perhaps Otakon could only afford to have Inoue in town for just that one day, but IMO, her schedule was far too tightly compressed.  I just wish they hadn't scheduled her autograph session to start so soon after the dealers' room first opened, considering how ridiculously long the lines are just to get into that place on the first day.  Maybe Otakon should should have separate entrance lines just for the autograph sessions.

Inoue-san is one of the busier actresses, and while she enjoys our show, she had to be back at work on Monday to record [REDACTED].  That's been the case with many of our high profile seiyu, and a reason why east coast cons have more challenges with seiyu in general -- that extra 5-6 hours of travel time makes a big difference. 

At any rate, it's not a case of not being able to afford her, it's working around her schedule, which unfortunately typically means compressing ours.

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On 8/8/2019 at 9:56 PM, ashlynx said:

-pre-convention communication. I feel like Twitter, Facebook, anywhere fell on deaf ears. I really needed to know who was going to be at artist alley, so I could plan accordingly, but that info got updated HELLA late, practically the day of.

-the lack of water at the con itself. I've been to other cons where they kept water stations everywhere and kept those suckers filled. I understand this is a way bigger con, but I'd expect at least in all the panel and video rooms, and several for artist and dealer's, there'd be massive amounts of water coolers. At least all the ones I used were filled.

-I really wish I had known about some of the premieres happening. I literally only found out about Promare during the GKids panel, and I had no idea on City Hunter or Uta Prince. Maybe just advertise these on facebook and twitter and such the week before the con? I mean, if you said something back in february, no chance I'd remember it come July.

-gawd, the DC traffic! wtf?!

Hmm. May want to tweak your settings and put Otakon in the "always show" camp.  I was seeing social media posts from Otakon nearly every day, and the info was on the website, IIRC.   A few of the things were confirmed quite late in the day, though. I think the Promare announcement got something like 30k views just on FB.

Unlike the BCC some years, the water in WWDCC is potable, and I kept refilling my bottle all day. It's something I do at every con -- I refill whenever I see water.  I didn't have much trouble finding a place to do that, but I know we buy less bottled water than we used to because the water fountains by all the bathrooms work just fine. (As do the bathrooms, and there are more of those, too...)  I'd have to check but I think we reduced the number of water stations based on usage patterns; I know we *talked* about that at one point, but I'm not sure we did it.

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10 minutes ago, alabaster said:

-I really wish I had known about some of the premieres happening. I literally only found out about Promare during the GKids panel, and I had no idea on City Hunter or Uta Prince. Maybe just advertise these on facebook and twitter and such the week before the con? I mean, if you said something back in february, no chance I'd remember it come July. 

This stopped happening in the past couple years, but in the years prior to that, there would be a page on the website with information on Premieres and Special Screenings. It would be really nice if that would come back. I asked on social media this year if it would be back and got a "maybe" gif response, but nothing happened.
Can we please get the Premieres and Special Screenings page back on the website to make these events more visible?

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7 hours ago, alabaster said:

Inoue-san is one of the busier actresses, and while she enjoys our show, she had to be back at work on Monday to record [REDACTED].  That's been the case with many of our high profile seiyu, and a reason why east coast cons have more challenges with seiyu in general -- that extra 5-6 hours of travel time makes a big difference. 

At any rate, it's not a case of not being able to afford her, it's working around her schedule, which unfortunately typically means compressing ours.

Good points, all.  But what about my recommendation of a separate entrance line for autograph seekers so we could get to the autograph area without having to deal with the massive mob entering the dealers' room?

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18 hours ago, Zeeba Neighba said:

Good points, all.  But what about my recommendation of a separate entrance line for autograph seekers so we could get to the autograph area without having to deal with the massive mob entering the dealers' room?

I'll preface this with a big fat disclaimer:  not my job, not my call to make. 

That said:  The issue is likely access control.  The initial rush of people to the dealer hall is probably the single biggest logistical line management issue in the whole convention. The autograph area is in the dealer hall.  Anything that puts people in that space before it's open properly and the pent-up line of people is processed is ripe for massive abuse and confusion.  You'd have folks standing in the autograph line only to break out and hit the dealer hall, and thus skip the huge long Friday morning line there. It's much the same reason why certain escalators are one-way during key traffic points.

OR you'd have to assign more staff to make sure nobody popped out from Autographs to go to the other areas.

But I agree, it would be ideal if we had a way to make autographs its own space more easily. But as the guy who ran guests for many years when we were in Baltimore and stuck with a terribly limited space and virtually no lining area at all, this is a big big improvement. 

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On 8/15/2019 at 3:21 PM, Krabstarr said:

This stopped happening in the past couple years, but in the years prior to that, there would be a page on the website with information on Premieres and Special Screenings. It would be really nice if that would come back. I asked on social media this year if it would be back and got a "maybe" gif response, but nothing happened.
Can we please get the Premieres and Special Screenings page back on the website to make these events more visible?

I'm sure the web team will make note.  

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On 7/30/2019 at 12:31 PM, Paste connoisseur said:

Supposedly the ball on Friday had a tux only dress requirement for the guys, which is insane.  Apparently the people running it were talked down a little but that is a bit nuts.

As someone who helped out with the formal ball, this isn't really accurate.  It was a formal event, which means a person couldn't show up in shorts & a t-shirt.  Clothing such as tux's & ball gowns were highly encouraged but as long as you come in nice attire you'd be let in (ex: slacks and a button up shirt would be fine).  

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On 9/7/2019 at 12:09 PM, OtakuCop said:

As someone who helped out with the formal ball, this isn't really accurate.  It was a formal event, which means a person couldn't show up in shorts & a t-shirt.  Clothing such as tux's & ball gowns were highly encouraged but as long as you come in nice attire you'd be let in (ex: slacks and a button up shirt would be fine).  

Thank you. It's something I may consider this coming Otakon (assuming it returns.) I have gaggle of suits (about a dozen or so) but have yet to plunk down the yen for a bespoke tux.\

My next challenge would be to teach Dr. Mrs. how to dance. I'll start by getting her to watch "Welcome to the Ballroom" and work up from there.

 

~_^

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