Friday, July 20, 2007

The madness of Otakon, Pt. 1

Funny thing: my trip to Otakon was totally last-minute. I ran into a friend at the beginning of the school year (Year-round scheduling), and while catching up, she briefly mentioned going to it. I don't keep track of cons, didn't know it was so soon and so close, and wanted to try something new. It's only the second con I've ever been to (First was Katsucon '05, working at the booth for the store I was working for at the time), so I was still a novice to how everything worked.


-I don't know if I'd call the registration line a highlight, but it was memorable. The length was crazy: Across the street connecting the buildings, a huge loop in the opposite direction of the entrance then back, and hot weather with many people in thick suits. Some people were crafty enough to sell water. I spotted many memorable costumes, best of all a guy in full Spartan warrior gear walking down the middle of the loop for pictures. I got one, but like the others, it still needs to get developed.

-Many incredibly huge and creepy/handicapped-looking people. A guy behind me at one panel seemed to have four chins, and there were several points where I literally gagged while walking past certain people and catching a whiff of them.

-I spent a lot of the day walking around, trying to figure the layout of the building and where everything was. It was very confusing trying to get to the dealer's room, and it wasn't open immediately, resulting in long lines at the start.

-The dealer's room seemed decent, but there was a lot of identical merchandise at various places. I ending up getting Bobobo, Genshiken and Harlock DVDs, I Feel Sick, a Golgo 13 manga, a Mario mushroom phone strap, and best of all, a Robot Carnival cel, which inspired me to go make a topic about it. I ended up visiting a booth solely devoted to doujin, which had a section that was allegedly tradition shonen-based stuff. I looked at the first three, almost immediately found a topless Winry on a cover, and left.

-The Steve Blum line was a disaster. I got there a half hour early, sat in front of the door, was told that it was moved to another area, got in the closest line, was told 10 minutes later that it was for Vic Mignogna, moved into the real line, stood there for 20 minutes with very little movement, and a rep finally came out and said that everyone who hadn't got a reservation ticket had to leave. Some of this was my fault, but they could have tried to say that sooner. I heard that he might come back tomorrow, though.

-The Michael Sinterniklaas made up for that in spades. Due to traffic, he was 15 minutes late, but he felt so bad that he decided to make it up to the crowd by throwing change and pins into the crowd, and offering us to come up and get some of his gum. The guy was an absolute riot- Very friendly, enthusiastic, and funny. He had many funny stories and info about his time in the industry (Including the time when he first entered the VA business, and got a warning from his boss that he'd be stuck voicing hentai if he did badly). There was naturally a lot of Venture Bros. talk, along with two girls dressed as Triana and Dr. Girlfriend. The most memorable quote had to be him talking about times where he had to read a line without knowing the context of it in the script: "Grab hold of that shiny metal ding-dong!" This got a huge laugh, and when the time came for autographs, I had him sign my Venture Bros. Season 2 set with that, and a regular signature on Season 1. I also caught the second half of Stephanie Sheh's Q&A because I didn't have much else to do (She was under the alias of Jennifer Sekiguchi for some reason, probably union-related), and while I'm not a big watcher of most of the things she's involved in, she had some neat stories and answers, and belched into the mic in the middle of a question.

-One oddly funny event did happen to me in the Steve Blum line. The guy next to me was dressed as a Bleach character, and as we struck up a chat, he showed me some pretty bad Jhonen Vasquez ripoff stick figure comics he did (One of them was almost completely a copy of the toilet bit from Squee), and showed me a picture of Orihime he had Stephanie Sheh sign. What was the memorable moment of this whole talk was what he told me he said to her: "Orihime is a goddess, and you're the one who gives her life." Maybe the other way around, but still just as weird. (If you ever read this, sorry, guy. You were cool otherwise)

-Geneon's screening room showed the first four episodes of Dragon Hunters, covered in a previous blog entry. The bad news is that it was the rather lousy first episode, and it was the only one I could see before Sinterniklaas' panel started. I ended up leaving early, and I only hope the viewers stuck it out to the better episodes (And didn't get pissed that it wasn't anime).

-All sorts of crazy cosplay. I got a Kodak instant camera and won't be able to see everything for a while, but I remember a Spartan warrior, a female Prince of All Cosmos, several guys dressed as V, many, many Kingdom Hearts characters, SO I HERE YOU LIEK MUDKIPS, a 'Ph3r-bot' made entirely of cardboard, and a terrifying blue moogle complete with snout, which is going straight into my nightmares and leads into this.

Courtesy of HedgeHodge from Something Awful:

I couldn't think of anything clever, so I simply said to him, "So, you're a gay furry?" He looked at me, but didn't respond.

Looking forward to Day 2. Hoping I'll see some of you guys and the friend who told me about the con.