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Here's the panels I went to and what I thought:

Veterinary Medicine for Monster Girls

This one was great! It was super fun as well as super informative. I think it could have benefited from having set specific times for questions instead of just answering them as people yelled them out throughout the whole panel, but that's just a nitpick.

Bad Anime Bad

This panel is always a hilarious(ly painful) highlight of the weekend and this was no exception. Happy 20th paneling anniversary, and here's to many more terrible years!

Genres of Non Traditional Idol

I got up early to catch this one on Saturday and I'm glad I did! I'm biased because I'm friends with the panelist but I still think this one was a real hidden gem. I've got a lot of new bangers in my Spotify library and a list of artists to check out further once I get home. 

3D Printing For Cosplay

This one fell into a weird space for me. I'm pretty familiar with 3D printing (although not for cosplay) so they spent a long time going over stuff I already knew, but it was structured in such a way that my partner (with no experience in 3D printing) had a hard time following it from the start. Technical panels are hard to do but this one didn't live up to my hopes. 

Sailor Moon: Beyond Eternal

Another really fun panel! I just wish that we had time to watch the full musical clip the panelist had T.T Otherwise it was a great explanation of all things Sailor Moon and included some stuff I wasn't aware of and I'll have to check out!

Cosplay 201: Armor Patterning

This was extremely well done! I have very little background in armor work but I was able to follow it easily, plus the panelists had great chemistry with each other and were really funny. I've always been a bit intimated by armor but this might have given me the boost I needed to get started.

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The History of Metroid (I forgot the actual name)

This was a great panel and the host was really knowledgeable. I had no idea there was so much additional manga and media related to the Metroid series until I attended. Hope he comes back next year.

The Kabuki panel and demonstration

I've always been curious about the history and purpose of kabuki and the Professor did an awesome job both explaining the history and performing some basic kabuki for us. The schedule said it was supposed to go for 2 hours but ended earlier than expected which was a shame. I would've loved to see more.

New Anime for Older fans

Always a good panel

Con Horror Stories

I'm still bitter about this one.... 😠

 

Additionally, someone at the feedback panel suggested a history of Otakon panel in the future. 

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3 hours ago, CarolineAndJustine said:

Figured I'd kick this off since it didn't exist yet. Full disclosure, I co-ran three panels this year (Beyond Persona, Ace Attorney on Trial, and Sword Lesbians in Anime) so this is a tiny bit self-serving 🙃🙃🙃🙃

I had to leave when the Q+A started at the end but I was a bit sad you guys didn't mention Devil Survivor 2 in the "Beyond Persona" panel considering that it's way more popular (or at least appears more marketed) than Devil Survivor 1 (It-meaning DevSurv2- having a pretty good anime adaptation and all). Tho I guess that's a minor personal gripe... the rest of the presentation was great *claps*

Er...back on topic tho....unfortunately I didn't go to any other "panels" per say unless the Zen Garden workshop counts. I'll just say that...that was the first time I ever found time to go to a Shoestring Scientist hosted workshop/panel and I can't believe I've been missing out all this time.

Edited by Ikano
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6 minutes ago, Ikano said:

I had to leave when the Q+A started at the end but I was a bit sad you guys didn't mention Devil Survivor 2 in the "Beyond Persona" panel considering that it's way more popular (or at least appears more marketed) than Devil Survivor 1 (It-meaning DevSurv2- having a pretty good anime adaptation and all). Tho I guess that's a minor personal gripe... the rest of the presentation was great *claps*

Thanks for the feedback! Technically we did have it on the slide but in retrospect we didn't really make it clear that there was a sequel. We'll definitely rework that part a bit if we run this again - given the number of games we crammed in if that's our biggest mistake I consider that a success 😵

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My favorite was easily the Japonisme panel.  I knew some of the basics from previous art history lessons, but I never really knew how many of the trends in 19th century art were in part reactions to Japanese art (be it in imitation of it or a reaction against it), and he didn't shy away from some of the more uncomfortable truths in that history.  The presenter works for a museum and that experience really served him well, as his presentation was well-researched and well-presented.

Art of the Eyecatch was fun.  Not necessarily a lot of concrete information in that one, but still a good showcase of trends and how such a simple little part of anime has changed over the years.

I loved Companies That Knew Nothing About ANIME FAN WANTS, but that was almost a given because George Horvath is always a good, consistent panelist.  I had seen the previous version of this at Anime Lockdown, but the additions he made to this version made it even better and more complete.

I was ready to be skeptical of Best Anime Movies You've Never Seen, but the panelist put together a pretty good selection of titles that struck a reasonable balance between old standards, cult classics, and more modern selections.  Also, he had physical handouts with the full list on them, which was a nice touch.

There was a lot more manga-centric programming in general than I've seen in previous years.  Recommendations, artist spotlights, quiz shows, and most of them were pretty well done.  It's a nice change of pace, and I hope it sticks.

Speaking of trends in panels, I know Otakon has always been a pretty pro-mecha panel place, but maybe they don't need half a dozen different Gundam panels?  Even as a fan of the franchise, it feels a bit like overkill.

Overall, I was fairly happy with the programming.  I only saw one that I would call a dud, and that was mostly because it was just too beginner-level for my personal taste.  

(note: I was one of the panelists for Manga Like It's 1999 and The Wonderful World of Yas.  Both went well despite slightly inconvenient timeslots, and my only wish would have been for a bigger audience for the last one.  Oh well.)

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From Shojo to Josei

This panel was so much fun, and in addition to getting some great shojo recs and understanding how the genre began and developed as well as how josei came to be, I feel like I came away with a lot more info about the evolving political climate of Japan from the early 1900s to present day re: the role of women in society. The stat about the percentage of Japanese management roles occupied by women (down from 8.2% in 1996) will haunt me for weeks to come... But also GIRLS! SHOJO! JOSEI! I promise I had fun lmao. It was interesting to learn that manga was a more accessible industry for women to join at the time, resulting in shojo as we know it :)

Sword Lesbians in Anime

Probably my favorite of the panels I attended, closely followed by Shojo to Josei. Having just read Gideon the Ninth, a powerful recent entry into the sword lesbian canon, it felt like fate that I would get to attend this! The panelists were clearly very knowledgeable about the topic and put a lot of research into this panel. Additionally, they were super funny and had really nice voices, so on top of learning about the influences of the Takarazuka Revue (and the overarching thread of how conceptualizations of gender and sexuality in Japan have developed since the early 20th century), I came away from this panel feeling healed lol.

They're Here, They're Queer - LGBTQ+ Anime

This panel was mainly a slideshow of titles (mostly but not all anime) that included any queer rep (obviously not exhaustive), interspersed with some video clips. I appreciate the sheer number of shows they were able to fit into the panel in under an hour, and it was cool to have new things described to me and get a nostalgic recap of titles I was familiar with. I especially enjoyed the interrogation of the Ouran Host Club twins' relationship, underscored by Bo Burnham's Problematic. I was also glad to see some aro/ace rep in there! While there was discussion of certain instances of censorship of queer representation in these different shows, after the previous two panels I attended, I really wanted more of a narrative or analysis that linked these titles in a chronological fashion, but that's my main critique. (This was the third panel I went to that mentioned Princess Knight, so I'm getting a very clear picture of just how influential/foundational that manga was.)

The Hero's Journey - Storytelling in Shonen Jump

I really liked the idea of this panel, examining the similarities shared by Shonen Jump comics and also comparing their structures to the Western framework of the Hero's Journey. Overall, it was a fun exercise, and one that brought to light some very obvious overlap between the classic shonen structure and the Hero's Journey model. I just wish I could've gotten more out of it, but I was seated all the way in the back, where I could barely hear (more a mark against the venue/tech setup than the panel content itself). 

You're Wrong & You Should Feel Bad!

This one was on me... I should've probably looked a little deeper into what I was getting myself into. I enjoyed in the beginning (Beastars is furry Twilight, it's true!), but most of the time was spent critiquing Star Wars, which I've never seen, and the panel went over time. Otakon staff also packed us in like sardines, encouraged us not to leave any seats between people, which made me uncomfortable even with masks required. This was one element I would like to see improved overall: for many of the panels, there was not enough room to comfortably accommodate the interest. 

Overall, I thought the panel offerings were so cool and wish I could've gone to more! I'll probably be trying to watch a couple more on Twitch since that option is available, though I noticed the audio skips a bit (due to the convention center connectivity?) in those streams. In addition to the note about what felt a bit like overcrowding at some panels, another improvement I'd like to see is non-guest panelist info listed on the site and guidebook (if this is already the case and I'm just missing it, this was my first time at Otakon, please let me know where to go!). There were quite a few panelists I'd love to follow on social media or whose panels I'd be interested in attending in the future, and as far as I can tell, this isn't possible from the Otakon site and guidebook alone. I would also love to see Otakon approve a more diverse group of panelists, because (maybe by coincidence) none of the panels I attended were hosted or co-hosted by a panelist of color. Not sure to what extent this can be regulated, but I think it's important. 

Thanks for creating this post, OP!

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The Kabuki panel was really exceptional. The only downside was my having to switch seats because I got lucky enough to be next to a guy who took his mask off not only to eat but pick his nose 🙄

Everything else was pretty solid content-wise. Con Horror stories was unfortunate but I guess its not a con without at least one panel being a no-show.

Also, was it just me or was Panel 3 freezing cold?

Edited by windseeker
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6 hours ago, windseeker said:

Also, was it just me or was Panel 3 freezing cold?

I had a similar issue with the Main Events office it felt like the temperature was set to 60 🥶

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On 8/9/2021 at 9:41 PM, Ikano said:

I had to leave when the Q+A started at the end but I was a bit sad you guys didn't mention Devil Survivor 2 in the "Beyond Persona" panel considering that it's way more popular (or at least appears more marketed) than Devil Survivor 1 (It-meaning DevSurv2- having a pretty good anime adaptation and all). Tho I guess that's a minor personal gripe... the rest of the presentation was great *claps*

Er...back on topic tho....unfortunately I didn't go to any other "panels" per say unless the Zen Garden workshop counts. I'll just say that...that was the first time I ever found time to go to a Shoestring Scientist hosted workshop/panel and I can't believe I've been missing out all this time.

As one of the presenters for Shoestring Scientists content, I'm glad you joined us this year! 

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On 8/9/2021 at 6:18 PM, CarolineAndJustine said:

 

3D Printing For Cosplay

This one fell into a weird space for me. I'm pretty familiar with 3D printing (although not for cosplay) so they spent a long time going over stuff I already knew, but it was structured in such a way that my partner (with no experience in 3D printing) had a hard time following it from the start. Technical panels are hard to do but this one didn't live up to my hopes. 

 

 

Was this the 3D printing panel put on by the same presenter as the Sailor Moon Beyond Eternal panel, or the other 3D panel? Asking so I can pass along feedback to Keah if necessary. :)

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On 8/10/2021 at 6:45 PM, farfaraway said:

I'll probably be trying to watch a couple more on Twitch since that option is available, though I noticed the audio skips a bit (due to the convention center connectivity?)

Not in the way you're probably thinking. Our cameras and encoder relied on the facility network to reach our production system, which was positioned in a different room. It makes it easier for us to do our thing without disturbing the panel, which wasn't always streaming Panel 1 anyway.

In hindsight, 4 low latency NDI feeds might have been a big ask, and that's likely where the skips came into play.

The cursing jar got pretty full by the end of the weekend. But rest assured, potential revisions for next year have existed since about 5 audio pops in.

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Random question I guess, but I was a panelist this year and at the end of our panel a guy came up and asked if they could have a copy of my powerpoint. That's weird, right?

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30 minutes ago, windseeker said:

Random question I guess, but I was a panelist this year and at the end of our panel a guy came up and asked if they could have a copy of my powerpoint. That's weird, right?

I've definitely gotten this question from attendees before too over the years. I take it as a compliment but I don't generally share it.

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3 hours ago, WorldisYours said:

I've definitely gotten this question from attendees before too over the years. I take it as a compliment but I don't generally share it.

Good to know its not just me! I did thank the person who asked but gave them a no as well. Wonder what they would use it for though?

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My favorite panel was actually the panel called “Ninja’s and Neorealism: International Relations in the Naruto Universe”. I really enjoyed panel for it analytical look into Political and Social side of Naruto’s world. I found this panel interesting as a Naruto fan and in general. Always appreciated analytical looks at fantasy worlds.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know who did this panel. If you have any idea, please inform me. After being at that panel I wonder if the hosts do other types of analysis’ for other fictional worlds; not even necessarily limited to just manga and anime.

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On 8/9/2021 at 8:49 PM, KyoKyo said:

New Anime for Older fans

Always a good panel

Seconded.  Which speaking of, the panelists had asked people to rate the panel in the GuideBook app, which in past years was possible, but I couldn't figure out how to do that this year.

Other panels I enjoyed:

-Swansongs and Bullets

-FukaFuka: Kemonomimi Through the Years

-Veterinary Medicine for Monster Girls

-Samus Vs. Ridley: A Metroid Historia

-Easy Japanese Cooking

There was also one panel I was looking forward to, but which seemed to have been cancelled.  When the schedule first went up on the website it was there, but by the time the schedule was released to GuideBook it was gone.  I checked throughout the weekend to see if it would return, but it didn't.

It was the Otakorp's Financials panel.  It might seem like a dumb panel to have been looking forward to, but I always found it interesting in previous years, and was especially curious how not having Otakon in 2020 impacted things.

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