Falling in Love with Anime… Again – Otakon 2015 – by Sam Liz

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I sat with an empty word document for over a week. The title on the document “Otakon 2015.” I don’t know why I had so much trouble putting into words all the cool things that I saw. But the words would not come. How do you put into words the sense of camaraderie in our love for Japanese entertainment? The sheer bliss of meeting some of our favorite stars, the rush of joy when you find an item that screams at you to buy it! Hanging out with your friends and being your true geeky self. Eating mediocre food, sitting on the floor and smiling like all is good in the world.

When it comes right down to going to Otakon the joys are as simple as can be. Going to panels, seeing stars, buying nerd stuff, wearing cool cosplay and having a blast. This event really is all about the fans and what we like. You can tell when you walk around that the people running this really care that the fans are having a great time. From the water stations scattered everywhere to making the exhibit hall walkways wide enough to traverse (aside from one small spot in Artist Alley but hey, nobody’s perfect). A lot of the staff were even in cosplay.

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I really can’t leave out the cosplay. This event had way more cosplay going for it than San Diego Comic Con did. Even cosplay unrelated to Japanese culture. I saw every Disney Princess, DC, Marvel, Cartoon Network and more. Of course the majority of the cosplay was of the Japanese entertainment persuasion.   

This event is reasonably affordable to get in, panels of all interests and kinds, a manageable amount of people,  clean bathrooms (yes to me this is very important), wonderfully accommodating staff, and PARTIES! They have a rave after the floor closes and adult themed panels well into the early hours of the morning.  They have a masquerade, a cosplay cafe and a Karaoke cafe. They have a LARP (Live Action Role Play) room and a dance lesson room.

I admit there was so much going on I couldn’t make it to all the things I wanted to see. I know I am leaving out a lot of the activities that this Con had but nobody wants to read a list article.

I found myself walking the exhibit halls and just looking at everything. The people in cosplay (*squee* BELLE) , the figurines, the booth displays, and all of the costume items for sale. There were moments when I wished I could go back in time and have all the people at the con in my school. Having grown up during a time where all things nerdy were not cool it would have been nice to have more nerds at my school to talk to.

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I sat in the panels listening to people speak with such passion. Hearing everyone in attendance converse with such love for their chosen fandom was energizing to my frayed mind (San Diego Con wiped me out). While sitting in a room with some of my favorite voice actors and asking them questions, I realized I was falling in love with manga/anime all over again.

If you are a Japanese entertainment lover then this is the con for you. I am excited to go back next year and bring my husband along. It was a fun trip with many laughs and good merriment (besides that night when my friend’s car broke down on the side of the highway and we limped it off into a scary neighborhood and prayed for our dear lives. But that is a story for another time). Until next time…

Stay Gold My Friends.

– Sam Liz

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