Saturday July 31: Many thanks to Aniplex’s announcement of the Welcome to the Space Show screening, Saturday’s agenda was a lot more clearer. Our plan of action was to watch Aniplex’s major feature, slide into Madhouse’s panel, shoot cosplayers along the way and finally head to the dealer room and artist alley. While, my initial intent was to also catch h.Naoto’s fashion show and Osamu Tezuka’s documentary, things just didn’t pan out. Prior to the heavily anticipated screening, Bryan found a nice corner in the Hilton sky walk to capture more cosplayers in action poses.
The screening for Welcome to the Space Show was scheduled for 11:30 am in the HD room, so we thought 11:10 would be a good time to show up. Although not entirely wrong, the buzz for this movie created multiple rows of patrons waiting. Fortunately, the wait wasn’t too long unlike that of a sneaker or new game system release camp-out. At one point, Otakon staff volunteers were passing out sticker packs in support of the movie. For someone that likes to keep memorabilia like ticket stubs, this was a wonderful substitute.
A bit before 11:30 rolled around and we were zipping through the huge line. Grabbing a decent seat wasn’t an issue either due to the size of the HD room. The Aniplex spokesperson came out to introduce the creative team behind the movie including director Koji Masunari, producer Tomonori Ochikoshi and character designer Masashi Ishihama. And as a bonus, they announced the creative team behind the movie will be autographing at the dealer room at 5 pm. Without revealing too much about Welcome to the Space Show, its definitely apparent Aniplex was aiming to compete with Studio Ghibli. And they proved to be a worthy challenger.
The feature film ended close to 2pm and all I could think about was how sensational it was. Bryan and I were thinking of posting up somewhere for an hour to snap more photos of cosplayers prior to hitting up Masao Maruyama’s panel. But inconveniently, a fire alarm went off and Otakon staff started directing patrons out of the convention center. Eventually, all of us were re-directed to go across the street. While looking for time to kill, we decided to grab a bite.
This is where the tweets came handy. Monitoring both Otakon and Otakon Press’s tweets gave us real time notification of when it was safe to go back in, rescheduling of panels and finally, the “real culprit” tweet. Fortunately, there was no real fire. It was a false alarm that didn’t leave many patrons happy. But no harm done means no foul right?
We came back around 4 pm and took the opportunity to shoot more cosplayers. And afterwards, the dealer room and artist alley would be a point of destination. I have to say, Gurren Lagann’s Yoko Littner and a few of Durarara’s lead characters seemed to be one of the more popular cosplay choices this year. Unfortunately, we weren’t in close vicinity of the cosplayers dressed as Izaya, Celty or Shizuo. For the rest of the cosplay shots taken this weekend, you can visit our flickr.
No anime convention is complete without at least visiting the dealer room. With Otakon, they have both an artist alley where you can purchase the premium work of independent artists. There is also a dealer room where you can browse for your favorite artbooks, manga, dvds or figures. While I was going around looking at a variety of artbooks, I couldn’t pinpoint a single item I wanted to purchase. So I redirected my goal to collecting business cards from my favorite artists. I’ll be certain to visit their web stores soon enough. Bryan on the other hand made out with some fantastic artwork by Alice Meichi Li and Shilin.
The evening concluded with an attempt to watch Shotaro Ishinomori’s Cyborg 009. But without subtitles, it wasn’t long before people started to leave. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the final day of Otakon. But many thanks to Alyce Wilson and the rest of Otakorp, Inc., I was able to experience Otakon 17.