Linus Lam Network News
convention coverage report of
Otakon 2012!
 

Welcome to another edition of Linus Lam Network News for 2012!  This news report covers our trip to Otakon 2012 for a huge weekend of anime and manga enjoyment and a whole lot more!  Held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland over the weekend of July 27-29, Otakon 2012 saw lots of attendees ready to party on with a bunch of dedicated artists, live performances, gaming events, cosplay fun, and plenty of opportunities to hang out with fellow anime and manga fans. Our exciting trip to Otakon 2012 starts here!  Coverage you can count on, here at Linus Lam Network News!

Highlights: Various live programming events kept the attendees well-covered throughout the weekend. Big events included Cosplay Contest, Anime Music Videos, Anime Trivia Contests, Karaoke, and Guest panels. Panels and workshops included functions like Anime News Network, Traveling to Japan, Legend of Zelda, New Anime for Older Fans, Anime Fandom and Getting Older, Japan's Law and Order, Giant Robots, Vocaloid, Touhou Project, Digital Painting, How to Draw Chibis, Masquerade 101, Art of Kimono Dressing, Jojo's Posing School, Fandom and Criticism, Steampunk, Anime and Manga Studies, Composing Music for Games, K-Pop vs. J-Pop, Worst Anime of All Time, Japanese Traditional Theater, Weirdest Games You Never Played, Great Anime Openings, Making New Animation, Sentai Filmworks, Culinary Manga, and lots more.
Cosplay: This year's trip to Otakon saw lots of inspired costumes from numerous anime and manga characters and more! Chart-topping displays for this year included characters from Magica Madoka, Legend of Korra, My Little Pony, Panty and Stocking, Soul Eater, Bleach, Pokemon, Black Butler, and much more! 
Please check out more cosplay photo coverage from our Otakon stock convention archives!
Report: One of the pleasures of visiting Otakon every year is because it is the east coast's largest and most popular anime convention.  Everyone talks about it and everyone goes to it.  But perhaps this year that same fevered pleasure and anticipation to provide the best coverage possible quickly turned into a few hours of sour grapes when Friday's pre-registration line screeched to a grinding halt and stayed that way in the scorching hot sun with temperatures in the triple digits.  Instead of getting in at the usual 9-10am, the coverage started at a very late 4pm in the afternoon after just giving up on the pre-reg line after an hour and relaxing in the room until the line was almost gone.  By that time, it was a challenge to play catch-up and quickly get back to a decent quota of photos that speaks of the Otakon Experience.  One has wonder if the pre-reg line mess can be blamed on the rising attendance to 32,000 or if registration staff had a bad pick of the third-party lot with zero motivation in getting the attendees processed as quickly as possible.  I think it's both.  They are usually very fast, but this year it's like Otakon just wanted to deliberately piss off as many attendees as possible in order to keep the crowds down.  Just a thought.

One thing I'll never understand is Otakon's panel selection process.  It's Otakon vs. every other anime convention out there.  For example, Otakon didn't have any My Little Pony panels because they didn't feel it was their target market or something.  And yet, AX, Fanime, Katsucon, and other anime conventions hosted My Little Pony panels.  On the flip side, Otakon hosted plenty of Steampunk panels while the others... not so much.  Just by the name alone, you'd think Otakon was inclusive to all sorts of wacky otaku-related objects of fancy and that includes My Little Pony.  I guess MLP just isn't otaku and Steampunk is?  They even had a panel about posing from Jojo's Bizarre Adventures.  Think about that for a bit.

As usual, Otakon doesn't save any space for just sitting around doing nothing as every square inch of real estate inside the cavernous Baltimore Convention Center is used for your otaku pleasure.  The gaming area is hands-down the nation's largest hall anyone can enjoy without having to worry about crowds or waiting in long lines for a chance to play their favorite video games.  The Dealers Hall is three times larger and just when you think you've found the exit, you're immediately duped into spying a special piece of merchandise and oh no!  You're lost again.  That's actually kind of neat.  Maybe your wallet would disagree.

One of the most interesting trends Otakon has caught on this year is the K-Pop explosion.  Korean boy-band sensation VIXX held a concert and there were plenty of panels for K-Pop and dealers sold tons of exclusive K-Pop merchandise like trading cards, posters, CDs, and concert DVDs.  One has to wonder if this is just the beginning of an even larger phenomenon about to happen in 2013.

Waiting in line for pre-registration should never take up a better part of your day for Otakon.  It's supposed to be fast, efficient and not even be registered as an afterthought.  It's not supposed to be a painful trial by fire.  I mean, aren't you supposed to save time by pre-registering instead of registering at-con?  Let's hope someone upstairs gets that message and transforms into a crazy otaku hell-bent on implementing a way to make it simply go faster.  Because if it doesn't, you've got a lot more ambulances paying to visit to possible attendees fainting from heatstroke.  And the guy outside who sells Ice Cold Water for Only One Dollar?  He deserves a staff badge.

Come check out more cosplay and events photo coverage from our Otakon stock convention archives!

Be sure to visit the next Otakon!

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