EVIL JIM:
The Otakon 2005 Blog

This time, not only did Matt "Crimson Christian" Williams go to Otakon, yours truly got the chance as well. Here are my journal entries for each day, along with lots of cool cosplay photos.

The blog is below. The pictures are here.


DAY ONE: FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2005

Otakon is everything I knew it would be. Dealers, anime screenings, industry experts, voice actor and webcomic artist panels, and lots and lots of awesome cosplayers.

Surprisingly, I wasn't as jittery as I usually am when I'm in large crowds. Maybe it was because I was among people just like me--more likely they're even worse than me. But we'll see tomorrow when I put on my Willy Wonka outfit. After taking pictures of several costumes and getting a general tour of the convention center's layout, Matt and I set off on our daring quest to find myself an umbrella and him some red tape. (For the cross on his chest. Did I mention he was going as Youji from Weib Kreuz?) After futiley searching the area surrounding the con, we gave up and Matt bought some red sharpies. His opinion? The sharpies are more comfortable and less restricting. Long story short, he got glomped. Several times.

Anyway, after that I watched the nominees for the music video competition. "Wizard of Osaka" dominated them all. Sitting next to my friend Carolyn (from the Evil Jim comic) was one of four Willy Wonkas I saw today. We had a very nice chat in between videos and I suggested we have a "Wonka-off" tomorrow. What that exactly MEANS, I have yet to determine. Aside from Carolyn, I met three other people from Ithaca College, two of which were actually working for Central Park Media in the dealer's room. I bought some DVDs, including the latest Lupin III DVD, and a Samurai Champloo wallscroll. Unfortunately, I didn't stop to think that it was too big for my suitcase. I'll have to remember to give it to the guy who's carting my cane to and from Baltimore.

Then we checked out some very, VERY bad karaoke players. Matt and I couldn't get through the waiting list to sing the Transformers 1985 movie theme before I had to run to the "Hakurenbo" preview screening and Matt had to get to the Puffy AmiYumi panel. "Hakurenbo" was quite good, unfortunately they never turned off all the lights and the projector's brightness was severely low. I don't believe I got as good an experience out of it, considering it was the scariest project several of the dub voice actors admitted to working on. But the animation was great, and I loved the concept of the film.

Then there was the voice actor panel. I got to be in the same room as Scott McNeil and the woman who voiced Julia in Cowboy Bebop. The panelists started the event with a food fight consisting of strange pink edible snowballs. Have you ever eaten Peeps? These things were more disgusting than Peeps. Yeah. Many funny questions were asked. "What do you think your most famous characters smell like?" After lots of prodding from the audience and fellow panelists, InuYahsa's actor admitted "I think one or two parts of InuYasha smell like Kagome." Scott McNeil, in his famous gravely voice: "Piccolo smells like cucumber."

So that was my first experience at Otakon. I feel much more at ease than I expected. This weekend should be a blast.

DAY TWO: SATURDAY, AUGUST 20, 2005

It was quite a day. Thanks to all the attention brought on by my home-made Wonka costume (thanks Moms!), I met a lot of...shall we say, "interesting" people. I experienced my first glomps, and accepted them just as Willy Wonka would have done--with a cringe and a rude dismissal. Apparently one of the glompers had not fully understood Depp's Wonka character, because she called me a jerk. I was in character! Jeez. My friends and I passed out Wonka candy to all the picture-takers. I even ran into a couple other Wonkas (with better canes and wigs, but I was still considered the best by several people because I was either taller or because I had the right voice). But by far the weirdest Wonka there was the goth Wonka with an Oompaloompa on a leash. Freeeeaky.

What to talk about next? How about the most annoying convention-goers: The "OH MY GOD!" groupies. They started out in the dealer's room, probably promoting one of the pavilions, where they first spotted me and shouted "Willy Wonka! OH MY GOD!" as I passed. After the dealer's room closed, they migrated to the third floor, where they proceeded to pester everyone at the convention by having them scream their trademark phrase and signing their large "OMG!" sign. And they wouldn't leave me alone every time I passed by. Finally, justice was served, as Otakon staff sacked the groupies with the convention's "No soliciting" poilcy. Basically, the same rule banning "Glomp Me!" or "Will Yaoi For Food" sigs also can ban the “soliciting” of shouting. Horray!

Matt and I spent our first two hours in the cafe, where we waited to sing the title theme to Sonic X, "Sonic Drive." I started it off by asking "Does anybody here watch Sonic X?" We got a couple yells, and then I said "Does anybody watch the REAL Sonic X?" (Because the 4Kids dub sucks.) I don't think anybody watches fansubbed Sonic X. That disappointed me. Matt and I traded off on our duet for the song, and I was probably off-key most of the time. That wasn't a problem, however, considering our mics were very low compared to the actual song blaring from the speakers. We had been practicing that song for weeks, only to have it overpower our own singing. Ah, well. After the duet, we met a group of Trigun cosplayers we had seen yesterday. They constructed a very impressive Wolfwood cross from the end of the series, in full deployment mode. Foam inside, sheet metal and wood outside, this baby weighed a good twenty or thirty pounds. Matt hung with those guys most of the day, while I went off to do other things.

Other things, such as watching the fan parody S.T.E.A.M., by the creators of This is Otakudom. This movie was just as good. It had a 24 parody, and that in itself gives the movie huge ratings in my book. The world can most certainly be saved by S.T.E.A.M.

After that was over, I went in search of Matt. I passed a man in the best shirt at the entire con: It was white with plain black lettering that read "InuYasha is the worst show ever." He had gathered a good twenty people around him, preaching about the atrocity that is InuYasha. It was very satisfying to see someone telling it like it is.

I resumed my search. Matt noticed me before I noticed him, and as I should have expected, he was first in line for the hentai panel starting at 12:30am. He had me do my Wonka routine to the woman standing guard at the panel room door. I had them pass around the remainder of my candies, and I headed back to the hotel to get some much-needed rest, as well as to enjoy the series finale of Paranoia Agent. (It was freaky fantastic fun.)

DAY THREE: SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2005

As the convention wound down, I traveled through the crowded dealer's room looking for something to take back to Pat, who couldn't attend the con with us. I found a nice artbook, as the single vendor that had the only Belldandy figurines at the con sold out on Friday. I was a little displeased at how few anime from five or more years ago have been so underrepresented in favor of the mass marketing campaigns of the major distributors. I couldn't turn my eyes in any direction without seeing something from Naruto or Fullmetal Alchemist, but I had to look up close and into the bottoms of every box to find other, less publicized shows.

After the dealer's room, I got to see Otaku No Video for the very first time. Once that was over, I rejoined my friends, who were finally all together in one group and hung out in the main area as the convention came to an end. Although it officially ended at three, the center remained open for a couple more hours, and most everyone was perfectly content to lounge and relax right where they were. We sat on a balcony and watched as a game of kickball began on the entrance plaza two floors below. More and more people joined in, and in a matter of minutes over half the floor was dominated by a circle of people kicking a giant red ball to one another. As I watched, I started thinking about what an awesome thing was taking place. Here were people from all over the country, who didn't even know each others' names, and they were all coming together to play an impromptu game of kick-the-ball or whatever it was called. That's when I realized how awesome this convention really is. So many people with different origins and different careers all share one thing in common: They're geeks and nerds and otaku, and they all want to have a good time.

Otakon is awesome.

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