Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Otakon 2017 Con Report: Friday

After a thankfully uneventful Thursday before the con (mostly consisting of me introducing my roommates to both &pizza and Vatican Miracle Examiners, also me raging at Guidebook for deleting my schedule for the third time that week) the con was off to a humid start! I was worried when I first saw the bag check line, especially since the panelist line skip was at a totally different entrance than panel ops had said it would be, but honestly I got through the line in 10 minutes or less this entire weekend and I never had anything in my bag (including food and water) flagged. Although the increased bag checks are partially why I didn’t do any cosplay shooting this weekend, for Friday I had wanted to grab a squirt gun for Lapis from Spirit Circle (the glass and metal structure of convention centers would make for a killer setting) but Otakon said no guns that shoot any kind of projectiles at all unless they have the orange tip so I’m simply going to get photos of that cosplay a different time.

For me Friday morning was the only slow part of my con, my roommates and I actually ended up going on some Pokemon Go raids instead (we beat a Lugia with 3 seconds to spare! And I think someone in the group caught the Zapdos we also beat!). After that though the entire con was craaaazily overstuffed, there were several panels I stepped out early from because they were only “okay” panels and I figured if I was just constantly being distracted then yeah I should just indulge and use that time to go visit the Artist Alley and Dealers’ Room instead. 

I made an effort to try and prioritize on going to Japanese guest panels this year since there were so many of them, I think I didn’t end up really going to a single fan-panel this year and there were a lot of them that I was interested in! The best panel I went to was also the first one I saw, Writing for Anime with Katsuyuki Sumizawa which was a total hoot. I was busy enough before the con that I didn’t really have a chance to research any of the Japanese guests (and therefore be able to ask questions during the Q&A) but apparently Sumizawa has worked on some Gundam series so that gave me a frame of reference for some of his work.
“Mr Sumizawa, are there any characters you felt like have been annoying in your Gundam shows?”
“Do you mean annoying to write or just annoying in general?”
“In general”
“He says no, there are no annoying characters in Gundam Wing. Now in mumblemumble Gundam and Gundam mumblemumble-”
Apparently ANN is going to have an interview with him up soon and I’m looking forward to it, he seemed very comfortable hamming it up a bit for the audience and like he genuinely enjoyed working on all of his shows which is a combination which works well at cons.

I also went to part of the Tomoki Kyoda Focus Panel.  Weirdly enough was a lot of general talk surrounding Eureka Seven Hi-Evolution, even though the world premier wouldn’t be until the next day, and I generally question Japanese companies that decide to hand out promotional material written entirely in Japanese to an audience where very very few of the folks can listen and understand Japanese much less read it. After that I also stopped in for the Toshio Furukawa & Shino Kakinuma Q&A (a couple of voice actors, who I didn’t even realize were a couple!) and again I was mostly unfamiliar with their work but it was still funny to hear them clown around. In general I’m not that interested in American voice actor panels but that’s because they’re so far removed from the actual creation and interpretation of the show and the original Japanese voice actors at least had a closer contact with the creative staff during their own work on the show. (And psst, Justin interviewed them!)

After all of this I was off to the Friday AniSong World Matsuri and, well actually first I had to stop back in my room and, remembering the god-awful headache I had the Friday of Otakon 2016 I doused myself with the migraine painkillers just in case and decided that continuing to wear a wig for the rest of the night would be a bad idea (sorry Momoka, and this was even after I fixed up some of your details!). So THEN I was off to the Jam Project & TM Revolution concert with a friend and I had a fairly good time! I was glad to be going with a friend, concerts aren’t usually my thing so I would’ve just felt out of place otherwise, but both of the bands had super great energy and I was very pleased with myself for having bought one of the pen lights to wave around. (I remember back in college telling my mom that people didn’t bring lighters to concerts anymore, they waved around cellphone screens instead, and while she still thinks that’s a little sad she totally thinks that my pen light looks fun and that yes it will probably serve me well in it’s new role: emergency signal light in my glove compartment). 

I then made the Totally Adult decision to go straight to another concert (I was starting to get worried about my voice for my panel the next morning lol), the Project Beck & The Slants concert buried deep in the Marriott. I do wish The Slants had played first since I was more interested in hearing them, and it was getting late so I had to leave after hearing only a few of their songs, but I think I like them! I was again hanging with friends, one of whom got interview a lot of the band, and they told me that the band has two sounds to it (a more 80s wave style and a more punk style) depending on the members and I think I heard more of the 80s style that night. Totally something that I’ve been meaning to listen more to and hey maybe now I’ll actually remember to do it! (And hey, Kory interviewed them, yay for friends doing interviews!).

(up next, Saturday! Plan is to publish that either later this week or early next week depending on how busy I am over the next few days but they're already 70% written!)