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Pictures from Otakon 2001

 

     The biggest anime convention on the East Coast is over, but it still took me about a week to recover. ;-) Otakon was absolutely huge this year, with over 10,000 attendees, using over eight acres of space and almost the entire Baltimore Convention Center. This made for a lot of stuff to do, but made it a huge pain to find people there.

     My weekend started Thursday night when I traveled to Baltimore for the COSP Mailing List's Dinner. Had some difficulties with the Light Rail getting there, but I made it to the Hyatt in time to meet the group before we headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe. The strains of the "Time Warp" began after we entered, and we were whisked away to two booths after a short wait. All in all, it was a good time. I got to know a few of the list members a bit better, and we looked at Nicole's photos from some previous conventions. Around 9:15 PM, I left to try to catch some friends back around the Convention Center, but unfortunately I wasn't able to contact them. After waiting at the Holiday Inn for a bit with no luck reaching Mousse, I left for home to get a decent rest for Friday.

     Friday was an early start, I gathered the rest of my stuff together, and left to pick up JC a little before 9:30. After a quick run through the local grocery store, we set off for Baltimore, and arrived at the Pre-Reg line around 11. About an hour later we were in; Jon went off to the ADV panel, while my friend Jill spotted me and got my attention. We went down to the Artist Alley, met up with some friends who were working the Art Show, and then got a quick bite to eat. As we got back, I gave Reene's group a call and found out they were just getting in to the convention. We joined them in line at the Dealer's Room for a bit while I put on the rest of my Asaba costume. I spent about two hours at the Costuming Panel run by Tikki, Yaya, and Cat, and then set off in search of food. At this point it was raining though, and I opted for a small snack/dinner via Aramark instead of getting my wig all wet in the torrential rain. At this point it was getting near 6:00, so I went upstairs to meet the people forming a Lunar Photo Shoot and took their group's pictures. After that, I hung around up on the fourth floor waiting for the COSP, ACP, C:CM, and all the other groups having Photo Shoots at 7:30. Afterwards, some of us made plans to go to Johnny Rocket's and in the meantime I found my roommate John who was just arriving to the convention (he had to work Friday). :-( The two of us walked around for a bit, then met the others, and after debating what restaurants would and wouldn't be open at 9:30 at night, we all went to Harborplace to discover that most of the food places were still open. We went to Johnny Rocket's after all, and though I can't speak for anyone else, I know the chocolate malt that I drank gave me a nice energy boost for the rest of the night. John and I popped in for the conclusion of Mystery Anime Theater 3000 (this year it was to the Samurai Showdown anime), then met the others from UMCP for the Anime Music Video Contest. Lots of great entries made the cut for the main competition; my only negative comments are that "Love is Flowers" really should have been a comedic video and "Body Count" was gratuitously spoiler and ending heavy (other videos were too, but to a lesser extent). We then went back to the hotel and got some rest. <5 hours sleep>

     I held the 10:00 shift at the Tsunami table, so I got up around 8, donned my Asaba costume and ate breakfast. When I was finished at the table, I tried to catch the end of The Right Stuf's panel to show Jeff my Kare Kano costume, but it had already ended. John, Greg, and I met back at the Tsunami table and then headed to Subway for lunch. It was around this time that we discovered that the train accident in Baltimore a few weeks before hadn't fully subsided; gas had built up in the sewers, manholes were a-poppin', and a long length of Pratt Street was ribboned off by the police. We had to take the long way around the Hyatt to get to Harborplace, but we made it and bought our subs. John took his back to the Tsunami table while Greg and I went to the Kawamoto panel. I'm happy, I got to tell him about the Batman Beyond/Cowboy Bebop reference, which he didn't know about. ^_^ After that, John went with me to "Dubbing Your Own Anime". Some people from Coastal Carolina Studios ran this panel, where they started by playing the rough cut of a dub they were working on (You're Under Arrest TV series). After watching it, they invited audience members to read lines, either the real ones or whatever they felt like saying (*evil grin*), and recorded it as a possible extra for the DVD release. I ended up with a line for Yoriko, something along the lines of: "I hear he's cute, and he's single" which I delivered with a great falsetto. ;-) Wandered about for a while, then had dinner with some College Park friends I hadn't seen much of during the convention. That was kind of neat because we were eating near one of the entranceways to the BCC and got to explain anime and the convention to a passerby who was curious about what was going on. I went back downstairs and spent some time hanging out with friends from IRC who I had finally found earlier that day. After hanging out there with the Tsunami people and EsperNet buddies for a bit, I went upstairs to catch some of the Cosplay. Ended up only seeing the last dozen or so skits. Most of these were good, especially the last one, but it would have been nice to have seen the whole event. Afterwards, I joined Reene, Coby, and some others at the Fan Parodies. Got to see all of "This Is Otakudom" this time (they showed most of it at Shoujocon, but I didn't catch the whole thing) and it was utterly hysterical. I tried catching the Mazinger Z showing at 1AM, but unfortunately there were problems with the tape and I just decided to head back to the hotel room. Stepping outside is when I discovered that all the fire hydrants on that leg of Pratt were open and spraying water, which some otaku were enjoying quite a bit, check out the picture of that one. <6 hours sleep>

     Sunday... can't really think of anything until the late morning. About all I remember was roaming about and seeing someone I know from back home (I'm originally from somewhere way out in the boondocks) in line at Starbucks. At noon, I helped Nik & company with sorting all the items in the Art Show by bidder, and managed to become the runner for the auction. John and I got some food from Harborplace, and I joined Greg at the Kawamoto auxiliary signing. At 4, we met up with my roommate and the two friends I was giving a lift back to Silver Spring. Upon returning to his car, Greg discovered his battery died (his car had a problem w/ a light staying on, so it wasn't completely unexpected). I pulled up next to him to give him a jump-start, but his cable shorted a fuse for my dashboard, which at the time made me think his cable had nearly killed my own battery. Thankfully, Jinnai John and his group arrived around the same time and were able to jump-start Greg's car, so once again I thank them for that. Dropped JC and David off at their apartment, returned home ourselves, and caught up on much needed good food and rest.

     So how was the convention overall? I guess the first thought is BIG. While being bigger gives nicer and cooler events to go to, it also means longer lines. The main thing I was looking forward to this year was meeting up with my friends from a chatroom in person, and hunting through 10000+ people to find them is not fun. Still, I got to meet some new people from the mailing lists and in general, which is good. And my Asaba costume got a much better reaction and recognition than at Shoujocon, so that's cool too. It was John's first convention, and he seemed to enjoy it (he certainly enjoyed taking over 300 pictures with his new camera ^_^)


     And speaking of which, pictures. My photos are posted along with notes and random thoughts that I spent way too much time writing. ;-p If you would like any pictures in higher resolution than the 640x427 versions I posted, email me at zeiram@zort.net Or email me if you have any comments, suggestions, would like to use one of my photos, want a picture of yourself taken down, etc. Since I took four rolls of film this time, I put up mini-indexes by roll on separate pages to reduce the clutter a bit. Or use the link below if you want to skip to the first image and progress through them in series.

Otakon Photos

  My First Picture

Roll 1 (Friday Morning to Night)
Roll 2 (Friday Night to Saturday Late Afternoon)
Roll 3 (Saturday Late Afternoon to Evening)
Roll 4 (Saturday Evening to Sunday Afternoon)

John's Otakon 2001 Pictures