We had a really great time at Otakon 2009, our third convention! We were especially excited for this year because one of our favorite voice actors, Crispin Freeman, was going to be a guest. We brought along Shuichi again for two days, and had a lot of fun attending doll meets, panels, taking pictures, shopping, and just enjoying the convention.
We took the light rail into Baltimore again on Thursday night for pre-registration badge pick-up. We arrived around the same time we did last year, expecting the line to be about the same length as it was then. However, after walking around the entire convention building only to find that the end of the line was wrapped around back to the front where the line started, we realized we were wrong. The line moved at a pretty decent pace, however, and it is always fun to be there and to get into the convention spirit. The staffers kept holding up the lines around the doors on the sides of the building (they said to avoid a fire hazard) and the people around us in line were entertaining to watch. When the line moved enough for them to pass in front of the door they would sneak like they were in Metal Gear Solid to get past it. Once we finally got inside we picked our badges and got our membership bags. Then we headed back home to get ready for the next day. We were very happy that it didn't rain in line like it did last year!
Day 1 - Friday (7/17)
When Friday morning rolled around, we were really excited that the convention was finally starting. This year we once again brought my Asian Ball-Jointed Doll, Shuichi, along with us. He was dressed in a cosplay outfit that the character wore in the Gravitation manga, and I made a sign for Yuki so that he would match what he wore in the scene. Since Yuki wasn't going to be coming with us, we took some pictures of them together before we left (the pictures are in our Doll section linked below). We took the light rail in to Baltimore again and were very surprised when we arrived to see that there was a line to get in, even for people that had their badges. The line moved pretty quickly to get inside, however.
The first thing we did was walk around to take pictures of the cosplayers, which is always a lot of fun. Everyone is always so creative with their costumes and really talented at bringing it all together. This year some of our favorite cosplayers were of Cloud and Aeris from Crisis Core, Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride, Waldo from Where's Waldo, and the Power Rangers.
The first panel that we attended was for voice actress Kikuko Inoue. Her panel was very entertaining, and she was really funny. She called herself the 17 year old voice actress (she has apparently said this for many years), and she seemed very happy to be there. One fun part of the panel was when she asked for suggestions from the audience for songs that her band, Wild Strawberry, should perform in the future. We also really thought her impression of the Japanese Mickey Mouse was really cute! After her panel we went and had lunch and then headed down into the Dealer's Room. That is always one of my favorite parts of the convention because there is just so much stuff to look at that they just don't seem to have anywhere else that you can see in person. You can easily spend hours in there shopping around. We had a lot of fun and bought some pins, a Dissidia trading figure (we got Cloud!), Cloud and Aeris figures from Crisis Core, and four double volumes of Gravitation in Japanese, among other things.
After the Dealer's Room, we headed into the Artist's Alley and found that it was just as much fun as the Dealer's Room to go through. We completely missed going through it the first year, and only spent a few minutes in it last year, so it was nice to actually spend time looking through all the tables. We bought some really cute badges, pins, and Dr. Horrible artwork. Once we had finished shopping we headed back upstairs to attend a doll meet-up with members of the Den of Angels community. It is so much fun to see everyone else's dolls and to meet the other forum members in person.
Day 2 - Saturday (7/18)
The main thing that we were looking forward to for this convention was to see Crispin Freeman's panel. Since we wanted to get really good seats we got in line pretty early. It turned out that they were not going to clear the room after the Gaia Online panel which was running before it, so people in line for the next panel were able to go into the Gaia Online one as people left. We got to see about an hour of that panel and it was pretty interesting to watch. After that panel was over we rushed to find better seats and somehow ended up in the second row! Crispin Freeman was a really good speaker and kept the audience entertained for the whole panel. He had many really interesting stories and was very good at answering everyone's questions. His stories about working at Disney, voiceover outtakes, and awkward fan encounters were priceless. Love his voice!!
We ate lunch in our favorite hangout at Otakon, the Otaku Café. It is really fun to watch the karaoke performances, especially the two guys that performed One Winged Angel when we were there. After lunch we went back to the Dealer's Room and Artist's Alley and bought more stuff. It's really amazing how much more stuff you can find each time you go through there, even after you think you've seen it all. We bought a Koizumi figure from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (we've been looking for him for awhile), a Makoto Tateno art book, character goods from Love Control, Kyo Kara Maoh, and Junjo Romantica (we absolutely love the Anime Stuff Store table), and more pins.
We then attended Travis Willingham's panel, which was also a lot of fun. We loved his stories about pudding and how he came up with his username for an online game. Although he was a very entertaining guest, the questions from the audience got pretty annoying. After the third person asked for an autograph you could tell that even he was getting annoyed, as well he should have since one of the rules is that you should not ask for an autograph at the panels. Travis would probably benefit from following Crispin Freeman's lead, where he set the ground rules down at the beginning so everyone knew which types of questions he would answer and things like that. In any case, we really enjoyed seeing his panel and then went to the Inner Harbor for dinner.
Day 3 - Sunday (7/19)
Ah, Day 3, always so sad when it arrives! Once again the excitement and energy seemed gone from everyone as they did the last things that they wanted before the convention was to end. We brought Shuichi again and attended a small doll meet. Afterwards, we saw episodes 3 and 4 of Genshiken 2 in one of the video rooms. We then went to Ota-chan for the first time and made some origami. In the Dealer's Room and Artist's Alley we bought a Cloud figure from Kingdom Hearts (can one ever have too many Cloud action figures?), an awesome Get Backers grab bag, pencil boards, a Junjo Romantica clear file, a Kyo Kara Maoh art book, posters, bookmarks, and artwork. As we were waiting at station for the light rail, we thought that we heard bagpipes coming from the convention center, and sure enough we did. We could barely see him from our vantage point, but later found some great videos of the event on YouTube. It seemed like a nice way to bring another wonderful convention to a close. Once again, as quickly as it came the weekend was over and we get to start looking forward to the one next year!