Otakon 2002

Welcome to Little Washu's Convention Report on Otakon '02. This event took place on July 26-28, 2002 in Baltimore; the biggest city in Maryland and home of the Orioles. Total attendance count hit around 12,800, with seven Japanese guests, several American guests, and one mascot (Hiroko-chan). This page was written by
Mark Clifton, Webmaster & Graduate Assistant to Little Washu.

Convention Report:

Even though this convention has been since 1994, this was my first trip to Otakon. Known as the biggest anime convention on the east coast, it was hosted at the Baltimore Convention Center, located just near the Inner Harbor (Tourist Trap) and next to Camden Yards. This location was great because it gave plenty of space for events, videos, and panels; but it also sucked because I couldn't get a hotel room anywhere near the convention (I was able to get one about three miles away at a Holiday Inn Express. . . Oh well). Another negative was the raping I got from parking in the downtown area, nuff said. Luckily there was plenty to eat outside the convention center, a contrast to other conventions I've been too where eateries were miles away.

Because of traffic around Washington, D.C., I made it to Otakon at little after 4pm. After a speedy run-through the Pre-Register Line (Three Minutes, Hell Yea!!!), I made my quick walk around the convention floor and then quickly to the Dealer's Room. I must say, the Dealer's Room was huge, with plenty of room to move around and load-up on goodies. I was able to get some Chobits Mangas and various goodies, not to mention all the free stuff I got from various booths like Bandai, Newtype, and ADV/SunCoast. Friday Evening was spent mostly at various panels, the dance, and a walk around the city of Baltimore.

On Saturday, I started the day by taking pictures of the Cosplayers roaming around the convention floor and in-out the dealer's room. At 3pm I went to the Bandai panel where we were told of the wonderous new titles that were coming in the next few months (they also gave away prizes, but I didn't win). Next was TokyoPop and the discussion on Intitial D and there Americanizing naming system (also had prizes, also didn't win any). Then finally ADV, where we learn the evils one company can do on a Excel Saga DVD and all the wondrous new titles coming are why (also with prizes, none I won). After that fun, I crashed in Video Room 4, where they were showing the Dance, Dance Revolution Music Videos from AWA.

That evening, I had diner at the Inner Harbor, where I ate a classy restaurant, Hooters. Once back at the convention, I joined the AnimeOnDVD.com Panel, where I stayed till 11pm (they were giving away a heap of stuff, but as you can guessed, I got jack). At 11pm, I walked over to Panel 2 where I made plans for a Tenchi ML & Washu ML meeting (posted the meeting on several bulliten boards around the Con). Sadly, no one from either mailing list appeared, thus I went on too the J-Pop and Dance. The day ended finally for me at 1am, after an hour of Fan Parodies and "This is Otakudom" in Video Room 4 (I would have stayed even longer, but the guys I was sharing the hotel room with were tired and I was the only driver. . . damn!).

Sunday and the last day of the con. Things were really winding-down now, not many people in cosplay and, sadly, the deals in the dealer's room were few if any. But no matter, I still attended the Pioneer panel at noon and was presented with clips of titles to come. Someone, during the panel, asked the question about Tenchi Muyo! GXP, in which Pioneer stated that they have yet to secure the American rights for them at this time. Other than that nugget of news, they also did a raffle for Pioneer stuff (and I didn't win anything, what a surprise).

Friday and Saturday Morning
Friday/Saturday Morning

Saturday Afternoon
Saturday Afternoon

Saturday Evening and Sunday
Saturday Evening/Sunday

At 2pm, the dealer's room closed, at which point most people (including myself) prepare to go back home now. I didn't stick around for the Con Feedback at 3pm, opting to have a late lunch/early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Finally, I left the city of Baltimore little after 4pm, taking with me the booty from the dealer's room, pictures of cosplayers, and memories that I'll probably forget by the next convention (luckily, I wrote this lovely con report to remember it by).

This year's best of show at Otakon was:  The Three-Headed Metal-looking Dragon (does it have a name?). The most common Costume themes at Otakon were:  DiGi Charat, Final Fantasy, Hellsing, and Ranma ½. Surprisingly, it was a very good convention and hope I might be able to go to it again in the coming years. Oddly though, I didn't spend as much money inside the convention as I did outside the convention (parking, dining, and novelty gifts), but I guess that's Baltimore for you.

Which finally brings me to the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Good:  Dealer's room, all the free stuff, Artist Alley, ParaPara, Dance, Music Videos and Count Dracula eating a hamburger (you had to have been there). The Bad:  Parking, Generic High School Prom, Open Mic Karaoke (it's always bad) and the Sum of All Fears. The Ugly:  the two escalators, at the exit of the Dealer's room, that were not used and that freak band, Saturday night, that wondered around and played electronic crap (must be industrial music).

Well, that's it for my Con Report, if you have any questions or comments, please contact me by either ICQ, AOL IM, or via email at washu@yahoo.com. Don't forget to checkout these websites from Otakon:  A Fans View and Anime on DVD. Next Anime Convention coming up is Anime Weekend Atlanta 8, hope to see ya'll there.

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