This was both my first time to Otakon and my first time at any convention. Let me say that this will not be my last convention by a long shot. I came with my best friend and by the end of the convention we decided that we were going to come every year we can. I had an amazing time at the convention, not only did I make new friends, but people also recognized my cosplay! In fact, I had my picture taken twelve times, not including the photo shoot I was in…not that I was counting or anything. The first day I stayed from the very beginning to the very end — an entire eighteen hours. I didn’t even eat breakfast or lunch that day. I fed off of the excitement in the air. That day I spent mostly attending panels, the next two days I spent hanging out with my new friends which was just as fun.
Click below to read about the panels I went to and my thoughts on them.
The following are brief explanations of the panels I attended and my thoughts on them.
Best Manga You Never Read: This Fan Panel gave a rough list of the “Best” manga released from Tokyopop that were not well received from America, even though they are supposedly very good. I have no idea why they only talked about Tokyopop releases, but they did, and except for the fact that Tokyopop went out of business, I won’t complain. I made a note to look at most of the manga mentioned. These titles include: Karakuri, Dazzle, Gundam: Ecole du Ciel, Planetes, Nosatsu Junkie, Kodocha, HarlemBeat and Descendants of Darkness.
Becoming a True Pokémon Master - An Introduction to Competitive PKMN Training and Breeding: This Fan Panel is self-explanatory. I already knew everything the presenter, who refused to be referred to as a Pokémon Professor, explained in the first half of the presentation. EVs and IVs were old news to me, but when he started going on about this random number generator thing I was completely lost. At that point I decided that battling competitively would most likely never happen for me and arriving to the next panel early was much better use of my time than trying to keep myself awake here. I did enjoy the humor, though.
Otaku and the Grim Reaper: This Fan Panel was also a bit of a let down; the presentation was over in less than half an hour and I learned nothing. Considering how I entered with little previous knowledge other than what I read or watched, I was not impressed. However, since this panel was over very quickly I had enough time to see Intro to Learning Japanese for Otaku which I enjoyed thoroughly.
Intro to Learning Japanese for Otaku: As I just mentioned I greatly enjoyed this panel. The presenter, who’s job is to train flight attendants, spoke clearly and eloquently. He explained numerous ways for otaku to learn Japanese by using tools like manga and anime. Out of personal faults I can’t say I will learn Japanese now, but I have been inspired to try. Somehow, he made it seem very feasible.
Super Japanese Book Binding: This panel was very poorly done. We were promised that everyone who attended the panel would be able to follow the instructions along and leave with a bound book. Unfortunately, it seemed the panel was “Low on Supplies” and every row of five or six had only enough material for one person to leave with a bound book; I was not one of the lucky ones. I tried my best to follow along with what supplies I did have (I only had paper) by mapping out instructions for the thread, but I failed.
Alchemy 101: What it takes to be a real life Alchemist: Before I entered this panel, I was expecting a history on Alchemy. What I got was a large serving of decorated fluff. The panelists attempted to tie alchemy into everyday life but failed. They talked about aliens and all this supernatural mumbo jumbo and made countless assertions most of them I knew were false. Nothing they said made any sense. Many people, including me, left in the middle.
Demon King Daimoh: This anime was very interesting since I read the manga and the anime goes farther than what I could read. My friends and I enjoyed this greatly. It is very different from the manga; far more perverted, but also more over-the-top and funnier. My best friend and I are going to continue watching this when we both return from our respective vacations. The showing did its job. It now has two more fans.
High School of the Dead: I have many reasons why I don’t like zombies. It doesn’t pain me to say that I left after the first episode. However, my best friend loves this anime and watched it again during here. I have read the manga and I know this anime is good, but it just isn’t for me.
OMG!..WTF Did I just Watch?: This panel was a showing a lot of crazy videos from Japan. All these videos were hilarious, I don’t think I have laughed so hard in months. This was one of my favorite panels.
The Best Japanese Commercials You’ve Never Seen!: Another great panel—the name says all. My friends and I now have more inside jokes than we know what to do with. Having high blood pressure has never been so funny.
Neuro: This anime was a bit of a let down. The manga was both funnier and more interesting. The anime also took some minor liberties with the plot that I didn’t like. My best friend was bored, and although he laughed when everyone else laughed, I know he didn’t like it.
Dance in the Vampire Bund: This anime took major liberties with the plot that I really didn’t like. If I were you, I would just stick with the manga.
Anime and Manga Studies: A New Decade: This panel was interesting to say the least. I can’t say I learned a lot from this panel, but I did get various resources. I can now probably use manga and anime in my papers in college. I did learn that manga and anime is starting to take root in academia; however, not in the way I hoped. Currently, academia is looking at the roots and influences of and in manga and anime. I am happy that academia is starting to recognize manga and anime, but I was hoping to see something more technical.
The following is a picture from Rohrvision Photography who led the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann group. I am old man Simon (in the center and in all black).