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Monday, August 14, 2017

Otakon 2017 in DC: Out with the Old, In with the New

[Quick Note: If you're reading this because you attended my panels & are looking for the content lists, just skip to the end.]

When I did my Otakon report last year, I nicknamed it "Final Otakon" because it was the last time it would emanate from Baltimore, Maryland's Inner Harbor. Therefore, this year's Otakon, which has now moved to Washington D.C.'s Walter E. Washington Convention Center, was "New Otakon". Luckily, New Otakon managed to fight against the stigma of being a "New" version of an iconic creation, because this year was outstanding & managed to not only feel like Otakon of old, but also give me hopes for the future.

That being said, my initial & immediate feelings were a little rough. For example, "Day 0" (a.k.a. Thursday) was always known for long lines of people waiting to grab their pre-registration badges, but there was next to none of that this year. In fact, when pick-up opened at 3:00 pm, I was literally able to just walk up to a booth & get my badge; even by 5:30 pm, the line was only a short wait, at best. Luckily, those feelings were crushed come the start of Day 1, & by 6:30 pm on Day 2 (what I call "Peak Otakon"), the con was filled with people & the sheer energy of it all made me feel absolutely comfortable. I think the best praise for a con is that, following the move to a new location, you still get that comfortable & familiar feeling, & New Otakon felt like a true-blue Otakon by the end.

What really blew everyone's mind, though, was the sheer size of the Washington Center, because this place is absolutely gigantic; the con didn't use close to the entire center's space, yet already felt comfortable. The Dealers Room & Artist Alley were just unbelievably massive, though. Not just that, but the layout was so attendee-friendly that, by the end of Day 2, I already knew where everything was, which is amazing to think about. Combined with the locale-filled section of our nation's capital that the center is in, New Otakon feels just right in Washington D.C.

Now I can simply go over the various stories I have about what happened with me at the con, but I'll just direct you to my Twitter page, as I covered more or less all of the awesome moments from this past weekend over there. Instead, let me go over what panels I held, both in the giant AMV Theater, & what I covered in each of them:

First up was Friday morning's Memorable & Forgotten Anime Openings in Video Games. This panel came about while I was compiling clips for a "Forgotten & Obscure Anime Openings" panel that didn't get approved for AnimeNEXT this year. I started thinking about including some game intros that utilized anime for the sake of doing something different, and that simply grew into me finding so many examples that I decided to make it into its own panel. For being one of the earlier panels at the con, I had a nearly packed room for the most part, and everyone seemed to be pretty into it, which is nice. I also wanted to give proper credit, so I included which studio did the animation & who directed it, if it felt pertinent or notable. The focus on this first attempt was primarily on the 90s, showing how FMV anime intros in games advanced from the early-90s into the early-00s, but I could easily do another panel focused around the 00s to now. Anyway, here's what I showed at the panel:

Panic! (a.k.a. Switch!, Sega CD)
Sonic the Hedgehog CD (Sega CD)
Battle Heat! (PC-FX)
Oyaji Hunter Mahjong (3DO)
Sakura Wars (Saturn)
Mega Man 8 (a.k.a. Rockman 8: Metal Heroes, PS1 & Saturn)
Langrisser III (Saturn)
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (Saturn & PS1)
Valtva (Saturn)
Last Bronx (Saturn & PC)
Spectral Force (PS1)
Tales of Destiny (PS1)
Blue Breaker - Egao no Yakusoku (PS1)
Burning Rangers (Saturn)
Dancing Blade: Katte ni Momotenshi! (PS1 & Dreamcast)
Myth II: Soulblighter (PC)
Evil Zone (a.k.a. Fujin Ryoiki Eretzvaju, PS1)
Battle Arena Toshinden 4 (a.k.a. Toshinden Subaru, PS1)
Psychic Force 2 (PS1)
Chrono Trigger (PS1)
Saiyuki: Journey West (PS1)
Growlanser (PS1)
Eternal Eyes (a.k.a. Koukroseatro: Yukyu no Hitomi, PS1)
Tech Romancer (a.k.a. Chokou Senki Kikaioh, Dreamcast)
Breath of Fire IV (PS1)
Oni (PC & PS2)
Suikoden III (PS2)
Spectral Force 3 (Xbox 360)
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes (Wii)
Namco × Capcom (PS2)

After that was Saturday morning's Never Skip These Anime Endings!, which was simply me flipping the script on a popular anime con panel standard. Go to any anime convention & you'll see at least one panel that's nothing but a compilation of anime opening sequences, or OPs for short. What you never see, though, is a panel all about the other side of the coin, which is the anime ending sequence, or ED; the most you'll see is an OP/ED mix panel. Therefore, I was curious how interested people would be in a panel that was nothing but EDs, and thankfully it went over pretty well. While not quite as packed as Game OPs, the AMV Theater eventually got to about 2/3 capacity, and numerous people afterwards did comment on the novelty of the concept, so I think I can call this experiment a success. To help keep it engaging, I split up most of the EDs used into categories, with some random picks interspersed between each category, which I think helped give it some personality. So, without further ado, here's that line-up:

"the Fourth Avenue Cafe" by L'Arc~en~ciel (Rurouni Kenshin #4)
"Mystic Eyes" by Hiroki Wada (Vision of Escaflowne)
"ROLLING 1000 tOON" by Maximum the Hormone (Air Master)
-EDs More Iconic than OPs-
"Burning Love" by Takeshi Ike (Dancouga: Super Beast Machine God #1)
"Get Wild" by TM Network (City Hunter #1)
"Chin~requiem~" by ※-mai- [a.k.a. Yoshitomo Yonetani] (Betterman)
"King of the WILD" by Shonan no Kaze (Tiger Mask W)
"Take My Soul Forever" by Psychic Lover (Ring ni Kakero 1)
"Eternal Loop" by Saber Tiger (Hajime no Ippo #3)
-EDs That Change it Up-
"Houki Hoshi" by Younha (Bleach #3 [All 13 variants at once!])
"Kesenai Tsumi" by Nana Kitade (Fullmetal Alchemist [2003] #1 [Episode 7])
"I Want You" by Savage Garden (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Diamond is Unbreakable)
"Ima wo Kakenukete Ike" by Nobuhiko Kashiwara (Shinken Legend Tight Road)
"Closet Freak" by SPYKE (Hareluya II BØY #2)
"Towa no Sono Saki ~You're the Best Buddies~" by Masaaki Endoh (B't X Neo)
-Previews Within EDs-
"Mirai no Eve" by Ali Project (Avenger)
"Bouken Suisei" by Kurumi Enomoto (Tales of the Abyss)
"Juggernaut" by Sadie (Mazinkaiser SKL)
"Voice" by Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Tide-Line Blue)
"Eien Blue ~Blue Forever~" by Make-Up (Saint Seiya #1)
Gintama's Parody of "Eien Blue ~Blue Forever~" Sequence (Episode 282)
"Moonwalk" by Monobright (Gintama #21)
-No OPs... EDs Only, Please-
"Jan・Night・Jan" by Haruo Minami (Super Zugan)
"The Trouble Man" by Eikichi Yazawa (Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge)
"Ride on Shooting Star" by The Pillows (FLCL)
"Can You Feel My Soul?" by Himitsugakudan Maboroshi (Overman King Gainer)
"Work Guy!!" by Yoshiki Fukuyama (Kamen no Maid Guy)
-Wait... WHAT?!-
"Drowning" by The Backstreet Boys (Hanada Shonen-shi [Yes, this happened...])
"Do You Want To?" by Franz Ferdinand (Paradise Kiss)
"Dreaming Under the Moon" by Miliyah Katou (Beet the Vandel Buster #2)
"To All Tha Dreamers" by SOUL'd OUT (Yakitate!! Japan #2)
"Bokutachi ni Aru Mono" by Romi Park (The Law of Ueki #4)
"Just Awake" by Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter × Hunter [2011] #1)
"Heart of Sword - Yoake Mae" by T.M. Revolution (Rurouni Kenshin #3)

Without a doubt, New Otakon is probably one of my highlight Otakons, so I'm already looking forward to what Otakorp has in store for next year.


  1. I was at Otakon 2017 dressed as Teppei Takamiya!
    Here's the pic =

    1. Very sweet. I actually never came across you, from what I can remember, because I wouldn't mistake a Messiah Fist. In fact, I have that exact toy, & I just modified mine not too long ago.