Just to start off, this was our first time at Otakon ever.
The first hurdle was finding our badges and that was a bit of a chore seeing as how most of the staff at the lines did not know where we needed to go. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait in the giant line for them, we went to the registration desk and they pointed us in the right direction. I understand that Otakon is a huge con, but having to go to another hotel outside of the con was a bit frustrating, even at Anime Expo you pick up your badges for pre reg, press, and walk in at the same area. We were glad though, for the press lounge and the interview rooms being separate from the rest of the con. By the time we had gotten there we had missed our interview with Kyle Hebert due to complications at the hotel, but this was our fault and not the convention’s. Happily though, he showed up a bit later and agreed to join us on Konoha Corner for one of our live shows, this ended up being much better than we had originally planned, so it all worked out well in the end. Sadly the only person that we didn’t get a chance to interview was Maile Flanagan, Naruto for the Viz dub. Hopefully next time we will be able to interview her at a con, get her on the show, or be able to give her a card.
The lines were extremely long, getting to the autograph line an hour early didn’t guarantee you were going to make it inside either, and several press people were denied entrance into the room despite talking to the guests prior to their panels to arrange to make sure they got certain things signed. Several times the lines were either cut off an hour to 30 minutes before the guests even arrived, or the guests were moved from one room to another, and live tweeted about it. Sadly most of the people in line who needed this information did not own smart phones, so they stood in line to get an autograph from someone who wasn’t even there, then when they finally got there, they find out not only had they been moved, but that they were now gone because no one showed up for some time, simply because it was changed last minute. These are things we heard from talking with people after we had already gotten a chance to meet with the guests and getting stuff signed. It was the first time I had felt horrible for having press status and being able to go in relatively early, even though we had been waiting for over an hour before the ones we needed to be at began.
The dealer’s hall was massive and offered lots of amazing things, it was a bit confusing to navigate, but really, what dealer room isn’t? Tracking down the booth for Little Kuriboh took us about 25 minutes, however finding the Crunchyroll, FUNimation, and Aniplex booths, was simple.
The staff was very kind and professional with us, not sure if that was because we were press or because we actually knew how to be polite when asking questions.
Our only main issue was that the map was a bit confusing when it came to finding panel room 6 in the Hilton. But the staff was very helpful in pointing us in the right direction. Again this was our first time at Otakon and we were just beginning to learn the layout.
Cosplay; there was a huge amount of cosplayers, and a wide variety as well. Unlike most cons I have been to this year, Otakon was not overpopulated by one specific cosplay group. *cough* homestuck *cough* In fact we got a lot of great pictures there that you can view on both our Instagram and Tumblr pages. Though Tumblr has more, since we didn’t like cropping the images.
Once you get over the size of the con and learn to walk through it without bumping into to many people you start to get used to it, and it begins to feel like a much bigger version of the cons you are used to.
The biggest difference of course, is the guest list. Todd Haberkorn and Vic Migogna are at so many cons that it’s almost common place, but groups like TM Revolution and Home Made Kazoku as well as Yoko Kanno, Shinichiro Watanabe, Crispin Freeman, Kyle Hebert, Mike McFarland, and Masayuki Ozaki just to name a few. So yes Otakon is well worth your time and money and we would go back in a heartbeat. We drove 10+ hours to be there and would gladly do so again, but I think we’ll just take a flight next year and make things easier.
Long story short, we had lots of fun and can’t wait to do it all over again, and hopefully miss less stuff next year, because we got lost so many times.
More from Fairy Tail Podcast