Baltimore Convention Center Hosts Otakon 2013

Sixteen anime enthusiasts from RHS attended the annual Otakon Anime Convention Aug. 9, 10 and 11 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Many Otakon attendees dressed up in costumes as their favorite cartoons, comics, Disney/Pixar/Studio Ghibli and anime characters. “Not only is it centered around anime, but it also focuses on Japanese culture,” said English teacher and anime club supervisor Sean Pang.

Although smaller than Comic Con, Otakon still offers a very broad range of programming, exhibits and other events. Throughout the convention, anime and live action Japanese films are shown on big screens and in theatres, where many television shows premiere their pilot episodes. Even fans are able to showcase their work, with parodies and anime music videos.

There were also a variety of panels and workshops on topics such as voice acting, how to draw manga and Japanese culture. Special guests had meet and greets, from animators, designers and directors to actors. “I got a chance to see my favorite voice actor [Vic Mignogna] in person,” said senior Kathleen Cene, who attended Otakon for her second time this year.

Another main attraction is “The Artist Alley,” where artwork is displayed and sold by writers, artists and musicians. A separate art show allows amateur artists to display and auction their artwork. “I think it is great that artists are able to display their work, make money and view other artwork,” said senior Mallory Cary.

Amidst this jam packed schedule is also a room dedicated to playing video games on computers and consoles, with tournaments scheduled throughout the weekend. There is also a “Dealers’ Room” in which anime and manga related merchandise are sold by vendors, publishers and retailers.

Otakon ensures that every event is interactive. In addition to musical performances, it also features karaoke for the music fans and “Otakurave,” a dance party hosted by local and national DJ’s. After 20 years, Otakon’s planners have perfected the fine details to make sure that there is something for every fan. This has helped to ensure that the Otakon Anime Convention is a success, year after year.