Linus Lam Network News
convention coverage report of
Otakon 2013!

Welcome to another edition of Linus Lam Network News for 2013!  This news report covers our trip to Otakon 2013 for a huge weekend of anime and manga enjoyment and a whole lot more!  Held at the Balitmore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland over the weekend of August 9-11, Otakon 2013 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 2013 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. Guests of Honor included Shingo Adachi, Peter Beagle, Maile Flanagan, Crispin Freeman, Tsukasa Fushimi, Todd Haberkorn, Kyle Hebert, Home Made Kazoku, Chiaki Ishikawa, Hiroyuki Kanbe, Yoko Kanno, Tetsuya Kawakami, Roland Kelts, Kaoru Kurosaki, Masao Maruyama, Mike McFarland, Vic Mignogna, Kazuma Miki, Masayuki Ozaki, Takamasa Sakurai, Jād Saxton, Tomokazu Seki, Micah Solusod, Michihiko Suwa, Yuzuru Tachikawa, T.M.Revolution, Cristina Vee, and Shinichiro Watanabe. Main events included 20 Years of Otakon, Masquerade, Karaoke Contest, Anime Music Video Contest, Otakon Game Shows, Anime Name That Tune, Iron AMV Editor, Mystery Anime Theater 3000, Concerts for Yoko Kanno, T.M.Revolution, and more. Panels and workshops included 100 Years of Japanese Anime, 45 Years of Shonen Jump, 50 Years of Anime Openings, Amateur Voice Acting, Anime Amazons, Anime Mythology, Anime News Network, Anime parliament, Anime and Manga Studies, Anime vs. Hollywood, Anime's Online Expansion, Awesome Women in Anime, Beyond Pokemon, Cosplay 101, Creating Manga, Ball-Jointed Dolls, Fifty Years of Tomino, First Time Guide to Sewing, Ghibli Girls Tribute, I Love the 80s, Intro Japanese for Otaku, Japanese Action Sports, Japan 101, Japanese PVC Figures, Japanese Pro Wrestling, Japanese Rock Revolution, Ladies Guide to Hentai, Sword Props and Armor, Live Action Anime, Lolita Fashion and Shopping, Make-Up for Cosplay, One Piece Podcast, Otaku Hotspots in Tokyo, Respect in Cosplay, Science in Anime, Building a Gundam, Transformers Anime, Worst Anime of All Time, Basic Fundamentals of Drawing, Blooming Crafts, Book Binding 101, Creating Music and Audio for Video Games, Fight Choreography, Deleter Neopiko, Japanese Language and Culture, Tea Ceremony, Photoshop, Translating Anime, and much 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 Attack on Titan, Maji, Kuroko no Basket, Sailor Moon, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Sword Art Online, League of Legends, Final Fantasy, Evangelion, Bleach, Naruto, Madoka Magica, and much more! 
Please check out more cosplay photo coverage from our Otakon stock convention archives!
Report: Otakon received a lot of kudos for this year when it comes to rocking out a 20th Year Anniversary celebration.  From the stupendous Guest of Honor list to the 20 year veteran Con-Chair memories of running each year from 1994 to 2013, a much improved Registration process and more efficient line control, a large amount of fan-friendly panels to the amazing concerts, Otakon can certainly bask in the spirit of over 34,100 unique attendees who braved all odds of Maryland weather to enjoy the big weekend.

Picking up Press badges was no problem, only a few minutes at the Sheraton in the early morning and I was on my way!  Picking up an extra Pre-Reg attendee badge was also no problem, a quick process only lasting 5-10 minutes later in the day.  Otakon seemed to have a more aggressive stance on line control what with the incredibly popular Guests attending this year for autographs and concerts.  Many areas were capped off or diverted but it wasn't really a big problem since it only meant heading down paths which had existed before but not normally taken.  Examples: to get to Dealers Hall, one had to head down the far right end of the Convention Center, whereas to get to Artists Alley, one had to enter through the Pratt St. entrance or through another way.  It was a bit confusing as the routes seemed to change per day.  Also, Hall C Fountains where most of the big cosplay gatherings were hosted got crowded fast when lines for big video premieres started queuing up.  One always wonders if that down escalator could become a train wreck just waiting to happen.  Thankfully, staffers had stopped it occasionally to cap off the people going down into that area.

Dealers Hall hadn't changed much since last year.  Many large companies like Crunchy Roll, Daisuki, Viz Media, AniPlex, Funimation, and many others showing off their latest online wares as well as offering subscriptions to new attendees.  Plushies and figurines were all the rage this year; I spotted no less than twenty booths selling alpaca plushies and countless booths selling figurines of all sizes.  K-Pop is becoming a huge business and quickly shadowing over the current market of J-Pop and J-Rock.  Speaking to many fans, K-Pop is certainly a number one choice for tunes but they still come out in droves for T.M.Revolution and Yoko Kanno's concerts.  The artists alley is big big big as always, the booths seem to get bigger and taller every year.  Not surprisingly, My Little Pony artwork is everywhere.  Cosplay is always a huge draw for many attendees, so booths like Arda Wigs did splendid business as well as Lolita fashions, ready-to-wear cosplay for last-minute cosplayers, and prop weapons like swords, shields, and bokans.

Additional entertainment is never hard to find.  Hall C still boasts the largest gaming area when it comes to Otakon's standards.  The room comes complete with huge HDTVs packed with XBOXes, PS3s, Nintendo Wiis, various arcade consoles, PC Gaming, dance machines, pachinko machines, and RPG/CCG tabletop areas.  Karaoke lounge has not changed much, always in the same room and shares space with tables and chairs to relax on if you need a quiet place to get away from the crazy crowds.  For the little ones, Otakon has Ota-Chans that offer origami and finger-painting sessions for when daddy and mommy go shopping or go crazy at the concerts.  Autographs were always a calm affair and the lines were organized with curtained areas.  The Mariner Stadium hosted the big concerts and that helped to draw most of the huge crowds away to avoid packing more people into an already super-packed convention center.

All in all, Otakon remains a personal favorite and for those coming in for their first time, yes, it is always crazy and crowded.  Stay hydrated, stock up on food in your room, be aware of yourselves around Baltimore, and you'll do okay!

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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