Tag Archives: Otakon

Otakon Bypass

It was bound to happen eventually, but I’ve decided to skip Otakon this year. Partly due to budget and work related issues, but also because maybe last year’s trip was the peak of my Otakon experience. Last year not only was the trip fun, but for the first time I got to share it with my wife.

Doing a con solo is still a lot of fun, but to share the experience with the one you love the most, well that can’t be beat! And maybe because of that, I wasn’t that worked up about going again this year since she couldn’t come. Nine Otakons in a row is a pretty good run, and almost 13000 miles of driving!

I still think Otakon is great, and the people I’ve met there, awesome! But maybe I’ll wait until the con moves to DC in 2017 before I make another appearance. It’ll feel funny not being there this year, but I’ll be back. Besides, I’m not sure I can stay away for 3 years. LOL, such an addict.

Otakon, Oblivion Island, And Stuff I Didn’t Know

It’s been weeks since the 2012 edition of Otakon ended and connections are still being made. One of the first things you do at pre-reg badge pickup, is choose a design for your badge. These designs are images from a popular anime that may or may not have guests or panels at the con. This year I chose the Oblivion Island design. I hadn’t seen or heard of it, but I liked the design and wanted something different than the other choices which were from shows I’d chosen in previous years.

Today, thanks to the cool folks at Funimation, I got to see Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror, for the first time, free on YouTube! When I saw the link in my subscriptions view I thought it was just a trailer to promote the August 14 release of the Blu-ray/DVD. Instead it was the full 99 minute movie in Japanese with English subtitles. I hadn’t planned to watch a whole film at my PC, but I was hooked by gorgeous visuals and a heart warming story of retrieving lost memories and relationships that today was especially resonant with me. So I guess I chose the right badge afterall.

The days leading up to Otakon were busy as always as I feverishly worked to complete my Sailor Mars cosplay. But in the end I just ran out of time and shelved the project for a later con (Dragon*Con hopefully) rather than wreck myself before making a 700 mile drive. That hurt a bit and should have been a warning that I needed to plan things better, but I had my new Mamimi along with a new wig for my Uhura, so I really didn’t take it as such.

No problems on the drive, only some anxiety about not changing the oil before setting out. Again, more planning needed. But somehow I managed to cheat failure and make it into the city as I had 7 times before. I had a lot of trouble getting through traffic to the parking garage, but nothing fatal. No problems with badge pickup either.

I had dinner with friends from the Megatokyo forums, but skipped out on the bar afterwards to get in before the rain resumed and to get some rest for the next day.

As usual, I was several hours later than I would have liked getting ready. But I finally finished up and hit the street in my Uhura cosplay. This costume had gotten a great reception on Sunday last year, so I was anxious to see how it would fare over a full convention day. Well it went over very well with nice compliments, including a “beam me up” from the crossing guard at the convention center. After that, all of my plans started going off the rails fairly quickly.

Otakon Pre-pre-flight

The good news is that the Sailor Mars project was coming along rather nicely. The bad news is that it won’t be finished in time for Otakon. T_T I thought about trying to push it through, but it would have meant working like crazy right up until a 700 mile drive. A cautionary tale of unexpected demise delivered by my lovely lady today convinced me that a more relaxed Otakon pre-flight would be more fun.

So I’m saving Sailor Mars for Dragon*Con next month. I don’t like missing my targets, but I’ve got one new cosplay plus a popular one from last year and an old favorite. Now I can rest up and be 100% for the drive to one of the most awesome weekends of the year for me! That is, me and 30000 others!

Otakon 2011 Aftermath

It’s been quite a summer of travel for me this year. Right after Otakon, it was off on a road trip to Toronto for nearly a week. Then back to work, followed by this year’s installment of Wizard World Chicago Comic Con.

Otakon was fun and full of interesting feelings for me this year. I’ve been doing contract work most of this year, so for a while, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to attend. But things worked out and I hit the road for my 7th consecutive Otakon. I had three cosplays planned, Miho Tohya, Stocking, and Uhura. The Uhura costume was fun, challenging, and a lot of work to make. But I finished in time for the convention.

I wore Miho on Friday and as I had expected, there wasn’t a lot of recognition of the cosplay. Miho is a character from MegaTokyo, a web comic and OEL graphic novel series. Still I had fun with the cosplay and enjoyed singing and dancing in it. One extra level of difficulty came from staying at the Sheraton, which is a couple of blocks from the convention center. That meant navigating the public streets in costume, something that would prove interesting as well as enlightening over the weekend.

Madoka and Kyubey

Saturday it was Stocking cosplay day. I had worked up the courage to go to the Panty and Stocking photoshoot, unfortunately I was late and basically missed it. It’s okay though. I was late because I just had to squeeze in some karaoke first. Karaoke trumps everything, LOL! Made it to the Masquerade, which was okay for the most part.

Normally Sunday is not a big cosplay day for me, but with a new costume to show off, this Sunday was different. I had no idea just how different it would prove to be. The heat had been a problem all weekend and even the convention center was hot in places due to AC failures. So I was bit concerned about makeup with a new cosplay. As I stepped out into the heat, my main thought was to get to the BCC quickly.

No sooner had I crossed the street than a woman with children stopped me for a photograph. She was excited telling me how much she liked my costume. Soon I realized that she had no idea I was a guy, so I just nodded and smiled to maintain the illusion. Pic requests are part of the fuel that make cosplayers go, so I was pretty happy when I reached the BCC where I was immediately stopped for a picture by a man with a professional looking camera. Again, no idea I was a guy.

I got a lot of compliments and picture requests for my Uhura cosplay throughout the day. It even lead to a very enjoyable conversation with a fellow Star Trek fan. In the dealers room, I noticed a couple of thing immediately. One, a lot of pic requests came from black people. Two, a lot of these were black guys! This is really the first time I cosplayed a character who was black like me, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be so popular.

At the end of the con, while walking back to my hotel, I’d learn that my Uhura might be just a little bit too popular. About a block from the hotel a black man on the street asked if he could take my picture. I agreed and struck a pose. He took the picture and then asked me, “Can I walk with you?” I’m not sure if I was alarmed, shocked or what. I just silently shook my head. He got the message and we parted company.

In retrospect, I realized that it was a good thing that I did not reveal my true gender. There’s no telling how he would have reacted given that he’d just tried to pick me up. This was when I had my epiphany. I’d been worried all weekend about my cosplays and whether I looked good in them, and as a crossplayer whether I was passing. Turns out I was passing pretty damn good!

On the way to the con I had random guys apparently trying to talk to me. At the con, when I was getting food, some of the staff clearly didn’t know I was a guy. I enjoyed some of the ruckus that caused as I left. On Friday night on my way into the dance, a guy stopped me for picture. That was the only pic request my Miho got, which actually looks kinda like rave wear. And on Saturday night on my way back to the hotel after the Masquerade in my Stocking cosplay, while waiting on the corner next to another random guy, I noticed him totally checking me out. Hello! I’m standing right here! Nevertheless, he was running his eyes up and down my body. If he knew I was male like him, I doubt he’d have done that.

The only logical conclusion to draw from all of this was that despite some misgivings, my crossplays were pretty good. And, I was especially attractive to black guys. Or at least they were the most likely to make their interest known in a visible manner. So as I left Baltimore, I had my usual post con glow but on this occasion it was mixed with an extra portion of pride for a job well done!

Spinning Up for Otakon 2011

Over the last week or so, I’ve had no less than two convention related dreams. So there’s no doubt my subconscious is pretty excited about going to Otakon as I am when I’m awake! A few months ago, I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to go, but it appears that the Lord has blessed me with that much, and more this year.

I always seem to have a few more dream cosplays to do and again thankfully, it looks like one of those is going to debut at Otakon in a few days. My Star Trek: Original Series Uhura is going very well! I was really worried last night after making a number of mistakes and things just not looking right. But this is usually the case because I intentionally make my costumes slightly too big first and then refit them after trying them on.

Uhura Cosplay Progress PicFinally, around 2am or so this morning, I put everything on after the refit and got that “OMFG this is cute!” moment that comes when the costume has really come together. It was quite a relief after having so many doubts and flubs. But it all works! I just have some wig work to do and makeup related things I hope to improve on, but I think I’m going to love this!

After making this costume, I have new respect and awe for Bill Theiss, the costume designer for Star Trek. On standard definition TV, Uhura’s minidress uniform, beyond being sexy, is not all that interesting visually. But when you put it together from the official pattern found in the Star Trek Technical Manual, you can see the fine details that make it a work of art. The front and back of the dress are formed from 3 segments whose seams converge on the insignia. It’s truly a work of futuristic beauty that I’m honored to have the opportunity to wear!