Otakon 2008 Report Day 2

The second day is always a little more melancholy for me. The realization that Otakon is essentially half over along with the fact that Monday means work, make me question if I could have spent the weekend doing something more productive. I tell myself every year that I should just take the Monday off so that I won’t have an excuse, but I always forget to do it.

8:30 AM

I wake up. Waking up on Friday is easy; waking up on Saturday is the challenge. Even though the JAM Project concert didn’t end late, I usually find some way to stay up until the wee hours of the con and then somehow make it back to the hotel, which is still further than it should be—honestly though, at three in the morning, across the street might even been too far…

Out the door at nine to catch the Peter Beagle panel, to which I end up being late for. I’m not a Peter Beagle fan, I actually haven’t read anything by him, or seen any of the screenplays he’s written. In fact, I only heard of him when Otakon announced their guest list. One of my friends loved The Last Unicorn and wouldn’t stop talking about it, that’s the extent of my exposure to his writing. I figure his panel would be something good to sit in on and wake up, if not actually learn something.

At ten, it was the Bang Zoom Entertainment panel, I sat for about ten minutes before leaving to peruse the rest of the BCC. At eleven, it was the Bandai panel; moderately interesting, I did not score a Haruhi armband, unfortunately. I couldn’t help but take note of the late night Bandai Surprise panel, perhaps they took a pointer from Geneon? Either way, I had to go and get a Haruhi armband; it had become my goal for Otakon.

1:00 PM

The ever so coveted AMV contest, how I look forward to this each Otakon. Quite unfortunately, this year was a pretty big disappointment. Out of a good two to three hours of sitting there watching creativity splatter across the giant screen, the only AMVs worth noting were the ones made by the same hand full of studios or people that have put out quality AMVs for the past three to four years. As always there were the usual, mainstream anime laced with Adobe Aftereffects, a generic hash of images with a catchy song in the background, and the typical otaku-pandering fanboy allusion fest. Perhaps Youtube has spoiled people into thinking their terrible concoctions are good…Either way, there wasn’t much worth mentioning.

5:30 PM

Now here is an interesting panel that many have longed to see, the Fansub vs. Industry panel. I walk into the grand ballroom, already very much packed with fans eager to see the industry take names and file lawsuits, and fansubbers pointing fingers and yelling back internet memes. Much to my own embarrassment, I was eager to see the same. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you prefer blood baths), it was a very civil panel. Opinions were exchanged, thoughts were laid out, and both sides parted the room smiling; dare I even say, a mutual understanding might have been reached.

Fast forward to 9PM, the Bandai Surprise panel. Reminiscing back to the first Geneon Late Night panel, I walked into this panel with a handful of hopes and dreams (and desires for free merchandise), while fully expecting it to flop given how enthusiastic the actual Bandai panel was. To sum up my experience quite bluntly: if someone told me the industry was dying, Bandai sure wasn’t showing it. The panel started off quite typically, introductions were made, people smiled, and then they wheeled in the dollies full of give-aways. I walked out of the panel room in sheer awe…and wearing a lucky star school uniform t-shirt, Haruhi armband, and had a Gundam Seed t-shirt in my bag. No words can really describe how amazing that panel was, but I sure hope that video of everyone in the room dancing to the Lucky Star theme doesn’t end up on the internet.

~Paul Tung

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