Monday, August 1, 2011

Post Otakon 2011

Well Otakon 2011 is over.  The count for the convention is still growing, but last I read there were over 31,300 people attending.  That's a lot of people.  Thoughts after the jump.

Let's start with the matsuri.  That was a bit of a bust.   It was pretty much a handful of stands under some tents sandwiched in the Hilton courtyard,  and games like this.  For food there was a Thai stand, a stand selling water and cotton candy, and a stand with had all sorts of Japanese candy, odango, and onigiri.  The first two stands had minimal or no lines, and the third stand had a line 20 people deep at all times.  I stood in line for onigiri, which were all out by time I got there so I settled for odango and Ramune.  There was music, which was probably good, but I didn't stick around for any and I don't think many other people felt compelled to either.  I realize that a matsuri in downtown Baltimore would have to be limited in scope, but this showing was rather disappointing.

Nobuo Uetmatsu: a tiny man the center of attention of a sea of people
A thing I learned:  If you want get the autograph of huge personality, and there is a Q&A session just prior in a different locations, then skip the blasted Q&A in get in line for the autograph.  I did not, and though I left the Nobuo Uematsu Q&A 45 minutes early, the autograph line was already full and closed.  I could have waited nearby for an hour and forty-five minutes for a slight chance of getting in line and getting an autograph before the session ended, but I decided to get a sandwich instead.  I did purchase DISSIDIA 012 FINAL FANTASY Original Soundtrack -Limited Edition- box set from the dealers room for the autograph (and according to that link, I overpaid), but at least it's good music and a nice set that I will have available for future chances.

The Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert was fantastic.  The Baltimore Symphony was wonderful.  Nobuo Uetmatsu obviously attended this also, and at the end he joined the choir on stage and sang with One Winged Angel.

Speaking of concerts, let's speak of K-On Invades.  By this point in the convention, I learned and got in line an hour early.  Consequently, I got a pretty good seat near the front.  Now I didn't know what to expect here: this was a concert by the English voice actors that portray the characters of the fictional Japanese band After School Tea Time from K-on.  It turns the voice actors got on stage cosplaying as their characters, and they sang popular songs from the anime (in Japanese) to the karaoke tracks.  That's right, they were pretending to play the instruments in their hands.  And I loved it.

Mio, Yui, and AZUNYAAAAN from the mosh pit.  Sorry, Mugi and Ritsu fans!
Now I'm sure a lot of people feel cheated here.  One of my hotel roommates said he heard that it sucked because they weren't really playing.  Come on everybody:  we are all here at an anime convention where everyone dresses up and pretends to be their favorite anime character, and we all came to this dark conference room to listen to the music of a make-believe band.  The Japanese voice actors sang the original songs, but it was even then a different band that recorded the instruments.  At what point do we stop suspending reality so that we can be outraged at the fiction we knowingly embraced?  These people are professional voice actors, not professional musicians, and they put on a great show.  They also sang pretty well, though I note with irony that their "lead singer" "Yui" was easily "Mio's" inferior.

I found the workshop on video game music largely uninformative for me.  This is probably because my previous convention experience is largely academic music conventions, but of course Otakon has a different audience attending its workshops.  Still it was kind of fun to watch the guy throw together 2 bar loops in FL studio that fit some kind of crazy game scenario.  I left early for the K-On concert, so I may have missed some amazing revelatory information, but I'm not going to stress over it.  At the very least, I have been validated:  This head panelist ALSO uses FLStudio, in Windows, on a MacBook.  I'm not alone.

The OverClock Remix panel was something else.  They basically showed off their newest releases and their new live performance group, and sold tee-shirts.  And they sold out quick.  But I think the most important part of this panel were these people:

Team Avatar ready to Con!

Katara there is Amy Sieh of Flickerfall.  Zuko is Vinnie, also of Flickerfall.   Everyone here I believe was an active participant of the OC Remix panel.  Katara played violin with the live performance, and Toph was at the merchandise table.

Overall I think I had a successful Otakon 2011.  I want to go back but I think my studies and limited income are going to make Con-going a limited experience.  I want to hit MagFest on the new year, and also I'm thinking of shooting for Dragon*con in 2012.  And not to mention other professional conventions I'm sure I'll want to go to once I discover them.

One last thing - I played this:

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that you had a good time at the convention.