Otakon 2017 just passed and it was in the Walter E. Convention Center in Washington, D.C. for the first time (in case you somehow missed that memo). We anticipated a few growing pains with Otakon moving to a new space and having to organize and accommodate.
Otakon definitely needed the larger space (and more logical layout) that the new convention center provides. It also allowed for a massive expansion of both the dealers’ hall and artist alley. Which is great because we like to buy things. Like this great Princess Jellyfish print from Matt and Jessie at The Geeks Next Door.
We are big fans of them and their work. And of course we picked up a few anime series and a model kit or two.
The new space was wonderful, although there were of course a few issues, some of which were more problematic than others. The convention center required a bag check and only allowed two entrances to be opened (the bridge from the Marriott and the Mount Vernon Square entrance). While this is a requirement of the convention center, not the convention itself it did of course affect the attendees. There was a wait on Friday morning, but in our case it was only about 20-30 minutes and then we were able to enter the convention center. The rest of the convention we did not have any wait time to enter. And 30 minutes is not at all unreasonable for a bag check (we have definitely faced longer wait times for past Otakons without a bag check). And registration we walked right up to the booth. No wait time whatsoever.
The acoustics in the room where the Anisong World Matsuri was held were a bit wonky to the point that some of the instruments reverberated and echoed and precluded the audience from being able to tell that there were even vocalists. This was definitely more of an issue for the heavy musical performances on Friday night with JAM project and T.M. Revolution. 🙁
The panel rooms were large and spacious, very few rooms reached full capacity to the point where attendees were turned away. Cakedablerd and Kurenai Kiba’s Anime Boobies panel (which was truly hysterical) was the only panel we attended that had to turn people away, although we understand that it did happen with one or two other panels as well, including Kamile’s Let’s Dub a Hentai. Otakon 2017 definitely had a lot more space in all of their panel rooms than in previous Otakons.
Some people have stated that they miss the way that Otakon took over the Baltimore Inner Harbor, and we can agree with that criticism. While this is not a fault of the convention staff, the different venue definitely led to a different energy. The almost frenetic pace and vibe was definitely missing. While we enjoyed that, we can also understand that many people look for that in Otakon and it was not present. The sheer mass of people in one place that were all united for the appreciation of anime at the BCC and
the way that they over flowed into the Inner Harbor was pretty spectacular.
And thank you to everyone that came our to our panels and workshop. Especially everyone who stayed until 1:30 in the morning for our Dressforms for Dummies Workshop!! We know that the last thing anyone wants to do after a long, hard day of conning is get wrapped in duct tape, but you were troopers!! And you made some awesome dressforms. Kurenai Kiba and Yoseijira loved all the feedback that they received on their Rumiko Takahashi folklore panel. We are glad that you liked it as much as they did. They love talking about her and her work and sharing their love with all of you.
If you are curious the few pictures that we took at Otakon 2017 can be found here.