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Baltimore Comic Con is a small but wonderful comic book convention held in Baltimore, Maryland. It is held at the Baltimore Convention Center. This year it was held from September 5th to September 7th, 2014.

Although this was my first year attending as press, I went last year as well.

One writer that was an absolute pleasure to meet was Tom King. He took the time to autograph Grayson #1 and A Once Crowded Sky for me. Although Tom spoke many praises for his work on Grayson, he expressed his passion and love for his novel: A Once Crowded Sky.

Here is a quick synopsis from Amazon on A Once Crowded Sky:

A tour de force debut novel from a former CIA counter-terrorism officer, A Once Crowded Sky fuses the sensibility of bombastic, comic-book-style storytelling with modern literary fiction to bring to life a universe of super men stripped of their powers, newly mortal men forced to confront danger in a world without heroes.

The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane.

After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he’s forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice–PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day.

A Once Crowded Sky

I look forward to reading A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King and reviewing it for everyone.

Another person that was a pleasure to meet and watch and listen to at a panel was Charles Soule. He offered his talents on Death of Wolverine, as well as other works like She Hulk and Inhuman.

Death of Wolverine

Since this convention was local to where I live, my absolute favorite comic book store was present and I had to make a stop at Third Eye Comics’ booth! If you’re not familiar with Third Eye Comics and live in the Maryland area, I highly recommend checking them out. Everyone, from Steve, the owner, to all the other workers take the time to learn your name and what you enjoy. They are an absolute joy to be around and indulge in your comic book needs.

Baltimore Comic Con may be small, but is absolutely worth the experience. I highly recommend at the very least taking a day out to enjoy.

By Sean Jacobs On 11 Jun, 2014 At 03:58 AM | Categorized As International News, PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 1 Comment

No Gravatarartscape GAMESCAPE @ ARTSCAPE in Baltimore,MD  

“A showcase of video games and the creators who make them”

  Artscape is a weekend arts festival where part of the Baltimore City downtown area is filled to the brim with all sorts of sights and sounds of famous and local musical artists to world renowned talents in Rap and R&B.  While walking the streets, you will also bump into locals to share a beer with or find a new food dish to NOM NOM on.  What you normally wouldn’t find until this year is GAMESCAPE, where you can interact with international and local game developers.   You get the opportunity to play new games created by the very ones displaying them – think of a more intimate PAX convention.  There will also be classic arcade titles there for your enjoyment for the first time for you younger gamers, or for nostalgic purposes for us not so older gamers.  With roughly 20+ developers and games available you will find games geared towards all ages from basic color match games and mind puzzles, up to 2D platformers and beyond you will be entertained.  I would suggest if you have children and/or nieces and nephews this too might be a place to bring them to while you’re in town. download (1)                                       gamescape The fun doesn’t stop after ARTSCAPE ends at night, later you can ham it up with gamers and other lively folks featuring live performances of video game music.  The scheduling for this particular event is July 18th & 19th from 11am to 9pm and July 20th from 11am to 8pm.  Below is a list from the ARTSCAPE 2014    

Participants     University of Baltimore: Aaron Oldenberg Game: Student Work Current work from students and faculty in University of Baltimore’s Simulation and Digital Entertainment program, including senior capstone projects, Global Game Jam competition entries and faculty creative work.   CAVE Team: Jonathan Moriarty Game: CAVE CAVE is a 2D-platformer where the player has to manipulate their perspective on the environment in order to solve puzzles and progress through the cave.   BrinkBit: Bryan Bamford Game: Playing Favorites Playing Favorites was conceived around a campfire in September of 2013. The designers wanted to take the laughter and fun of a house party with best friends and capture that feeling in a mobile game.   Earthborn Interactive: Hadar Silverman Game: Flutter Bombs Flutter Bombs is part of a much larger project exploring physics based player control through the travels of a butterfly.   OriGamic: Shawn Pierre Game: Henka Twist Caper Henka Twist Caper: 1/2 twisting, 1/2 caper, 3/2 madness.  Twist your body.  Twist the controller.  Stay in the box.  Find the sweet spot.  Stop everyone else.   Critical Gameplay: Lindsay Grace Game: Black Like Me What are your color matching skills?  Black Like Me is a simple puzzle game. Match the color to win.  The longer you play, the more the colors look alike.  The game starts easy, but doesn’t stay that way.  This game is mesmerizing, simple and fun.  Can you really tell your colors apart, or in the end does everything just look black to you?   LelexSoft: Alejandro Rodriguez Game: Dungeon Dive Dungeon Dive is a dungeon-crawling game show in which players take on the role of contestants in pursuit of wealth, power and survival in a dungeon that is constantly changing, never providing the same experience twice.   Nice Nice Games: Alexander Grube Game: X-Zip-It This is a mobile game about unzipping zippers.  The game takes advantage of touch controls by having obstacles that require certain gestures to remove.  The goal of the game is to unzip the zippers as fast as possible on each stage and earn gold! Salokin Games:   Andrei Shulgach Game: Elite Force This is a survival game, but players can use a unique set of weapons to defeat the enemies that spawn each round.  Players can upgrade their abilities like in a standard survival shooter, but a few unique aspects like and make the experience more enjoyable and memorable.  The experiences in battle are carried over to the main menu where statistics are updated live on holograms.  All of this is to make the world and atmosphere feel authentic and exciting.   Seven Hills Games: Greg Aring Game: Battle Prism Designed around the theme “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” Battle Prism is a multiplayer battle and objective game where you can only interact with tiles and other players that are your color.  Players can switch between three colors (red, green, blue) strategically to navigate colorful, Tetris-like levels, escape and attack opponents, and score points in objective games (capture the flag, oddball, and more.).  Three dimensions of color make for interesting multiplayer interactions and adds a new element to the multiplayer arena battle genre.   Cameron Reigle: Game: Pizza Robot Rush “The genesis of Pizza Robot Rush was attempting to connect my studies of illustration with affection for the 16-bit games of the nineties.  I wanted to explore the unique visual elements that came to be out of crafting of games working under imposing technical restrictions, while also provide an interactive experience to the audience that would be allow them to be interested in what they were seeing, but could be played and quickly moved on from and talked about.  Hence, we have a brightly-colored game with a goofy narrative and sci-fi elements that involves a trio of misfit robots delivering Pizza as quickly as possible.”   UMBC Game Developers Club: Michael Lueng Game: Student Projects “Each year, our student run club produces 2-4 games after stages of pitching, prototyping, and voting.  We then form teams of artists and programmers from a variety of majors at UMBC, and build our games over the course of the year.  After the year ends, we look for opportunities to share our work with the community at events such as Gamescape, Magfest, and URCAD.”   Nice Nice Games: David Kim Game: Null X Void Null x Void is a 1D Fighter with the objective of trying to push your opponent off of the stage.  Contrary to other fighting games which involve two or even three dimensions of movement, Null x Void is restricted to only one dimension.  This forces players to either just push the opponent off the stage or to swap the opponent off the stage as they are getting pushed against.  Players will have the choice of choosing from multiple characters that each have their own unique ability, as well as multiple stages, each with their own twist, to spice things up in battle.   Jacob Fleisher: Game: The Adventures of Crocduck Crocduck is a 2D sidescroller in which you play as a half crocodile, half duck, who spits bees from his mouth, who fights hordes of ghosts, crabs, and clouds, controlled by an evil, sentient, space-faring fern. BatteryStaple GamesL Chris King Game: Echoes of Eridu Echoes is a love letter to Mega Man X, and remixes it with full multiplayer (local and online) and roguelike elements, including randomized level generation, powerups, enemies, and bosses.   Pie for Breakfast Studios: Chris Totten Game: Dead Man’s Trail “We created Dead Man’s Trail after a historical research survey of zombie media and literature.  We wanted to take elements of what makes zombies so terrifying and embody these elements in game mechanics in a survival game.  With DMT, players travel across the country while keeping their party of travelers happy and healthy.  These travelers each have a specialized job that aids the journey, so each is a valuable resource that must be preserved. Players may also loot towns in 3D dungeon crawling levels where they must get in and get out before a horde arrives.”   MABNanZ: Micah Betts Game: Combat Core Combat Core is a 3D arena fighting game that borrows elements from games like Power Stone, Custom Robo, and Super Smash Bros.  It focuses on multiplayer combat using customized fighters, weapon pickups, powerups, and environmental hazards.   Critical Gameplay: Lindsay Grace Game: You You is a game about play and the illusive pursuit of meaningful play.  Each level of the game is about problem solving a space for You to meet objectives while making sense of the in-game content.  Using the player character, You, the player is both making meaning out of nonsense and finding meaning where it is absent.  The game is designed as a light-hearted critical reflection on the intersection of narratology and ludology.   Mindtoggle: Lindsay Grace Games: Penguin Roll and My Child Knows Chinese Penguin Roll: A simple, kid friendly game where players must tilt their device to roll a penguin home. This game hit the top 100 ranking for Action and Arcade games in 3 countries on iOS.   My Child Knows Chinese: A collection of mini games and digital toys to teach toddlers (age 2-3) Mandarin Chinese.   11:11 Studio: Denver Coulson Games: SuperTrip and UDLR:Swipe SuperTrip: This game is not for the faint of heart.  This is for the adventurers, the go getters, and the true heroes of this world.  With SuperTrip, you and your friends will travel to locations you never thought were there.  You may even find hidden gems in your own hometown you’ve never noticed before!  The goal of the game is to reach all the destinations. You’ll choose how many waypoints you’d like to discover, how long of a game you’d like, and go!  You can race your friends or go as a group.  The mechanics of the game will push you a little out of your comfort zone as you travel through possibly the innards of a city or perhaps the backwoods of the country.  Even more, a sense of camaraderie will be built with your team as you share unique experiences that, before SuperTrip, never would have happened.   UDLR:Swipe is a a game focused on the satisfying feeling of swiping. Pixel Bomb Studios: Jonathan Pilley Games: Croq and Brain Blazer “Our approach to games relies heavily on making games that we enjoy developing and that we know gamers will enjoy playing.  We’re particularly focused on mobile at the moment, but expansion onto other platforms (such as Steam or consoles) certainly isn’t out of the question in the future.  Right now, we’re working as hard as we can to make the best games we can and would love to be part of an event such as Gamescape with like-minded and committed groups and individuals.   Starogre: Jon Schubbe Game: InterCubes Intercubes is an installation of suspended cubes and projected graphics, driven by live performance and audio-visuals.  The installation is interactive, and each player controls an arcade button that is connected to one of the three cubes, and plays a social, head-to-head version of Simon Says with a twist and more planned.   Curator  Ben Walsh Ben is the CEO and founder of Pure Bang Games.  Ben is also the founder of Gamescape, and co-founder of Innovate Baltimore, a community development organization aimed at connecting Creative Tech entrepreneurs with the people they need to build and grow their businesses.

Sound off if you will be going to Baltimore’s ARTSCAPE come July 18th-20th. If so, maybe you might bump into a couple of RealOtakuGamer.com staff while you are enjoying the city’s festivities!

By SarahTheRebel On 9 Sep, 2013 At 11:49 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWriter Bryan J. L. Glass (Mighty Marvel: Women of Marvel, Thor: First Thunder) and artist Victor Santos (Ghosts, Polar: Came from the Cold, Filthy Rich), two-thirds of the Harvey Award-winning Mice Templar team, will join forces once again for a creator-owned superhero series: Furious!

BALTIMORE-TEASER-4

Furious is a five-issue miniseries where celebrity, fame, and superheroes meet.

“Furious, the character, is driven by the same outrage and anger we all feel toward injustice, but as a superheroine she realizes she actually has the power to do something about it,” says writer Bryan J. L. Glass. “But no matter how noble the intention, there’s always a price to pay for reckless action.”

Staring into a fractured mirror of her life, the world’s first superhero, Furious, seeks to atone for her past sins by doling out rage-fueled justice! But the spotlight of our celebrity-obsessed media threatens to undo her noblest efforts and expose her true identity before she can achieve redemption.

Furious, the series, is driven by those consequences: an adrenaline-fueled crash into the darkest depths of one woman’s shattered world and what she chooses to do about it!” added Glass.

For fans who can’t wait, Furious will be featured in Dark Horse Presents #31 on December 18.

You know I can’t wait to read about a new female superhero, especially in a universe where she is the only one of her kind.

Furious #1 (of 5) is in comic shops everywhere on January 29, 2014!

By Charles On 29 Aug, 2013 At 05:38 PM | Categorized As Animation, Conventions, Editorials, Featured | With 0 Comments

No GravatarGoing out on a limb here, but if you had mentioned to that small collective of dedicated fans in State College, PA, who gathered on a nondescript weekend in 1994, that their meet-up of anime fans would one day go on to be the second largest anime convention event in the United States, they probably would have looked at you funny, laughed and added “maybe in our dreams,” before running off to watch some tapes or “talk shop.”

And yet, 20 conventions later, that is the truth of Otakon- the largest anime convention on the East coast, and gathering ground for all sorts of otaku, geeks, nerds, Japanophiles, hangers-on, confused parents, and anyone who appreciates either anime, fandom, or both.

Now I’ve been knew to this “game.” My first Otakon was in 2009, and it held a sort of mystery to me. I had heard of it time and again from friends online, but had no idea where it was, and little interest to attend. When I finally did cross through those doors and into the massive space that is the Baltimore Convention Center, I was immediately overwhelmed by what I had stepped into. It took me three years to finally “get it right.” And then two more thrown in “for good measure,” because as much as crowds might unnerve me at times, the prospect of friends and fellowship entices me more.

Blame it on my “history” of attending smaller conventions, but that was really where my fandom gestated. Cons like Otakon differ from smaller fare, and the dynamics of the smaller cons are less about big-name guests and announcements, and more about getting to know your fellow fans. I spent the majority of my  congoing life at those events (and I frequently cite Hampton, VA’s Nekocon as the standard by which I formed my congoer identity), and was generally accustomed to the “simpler things”- meet friends, hang in hallway, grab some food, repeat until Monday. Otakon is not that convention, and hasn’t been for over 15 years. While those types of interactions are definitely a part of the Otakon experience, more of it can best be summed up as “brave crowd-stand in line-see event- repeat until Monday.”

Read reviews for Otakon 20, and you will read a lot about lines. Lines were the order of this convention (so much that one writer quipped that “lines are part of the real Otakon experience.” True, if that’s the experience you seek).  A stark departure from the smaller events where lines seem to only exist outside 18+ content, or in front of autograph tables as anxious attendees wait for a chance to meet their idols. Lines for autographs are definitely long at Otakon. Lines for concert tickets equally so. Lines for the Dealer’s Room, lines for the panel rooms…I know plenty of bloggers and attendees who spent upwards of 7 hours standing in line.

But not me. Like Eric Cartman, I hate lines. And I usually find that what waits at the end isn’t worth the loss of time “better” spent wandering, chatting, or resting my aching body. My Otakon 20 wasn’t about getting to meet Shinichiro Watanabe (though I did, briefly). It wasn’t about snagging that coveted Sunday Concert Pass for Yoko Kanno (though I did, indirectly). It wasn’t even about attending the premieres for Oriemo 2 and Wolf Children (the former I had no interest in, the latter I had seen already).

For me, Otakon 20 was much like Otakons 18 and 19- I was there to experience the weekend as a whole, not the individual parts. I wanted to see the crowds, talk to the fans, tag up my StreetPass, and maybe decompress in the Harbor when the stimulus became too much. I wanted my “stage” to present content, then vanish for hours with friends while we people-watched and drank copious amounts of coffee. That has been my Otakon experience ever since 2011, and for me, it works.

On that level, Otakon 20 was a rousing success. Maybe not as over-the-top awesome as last year’s event, but still a successful weekend all around. They’ve been getter better, as well, since my first “road show” in 2009- part of that revolves around better programming and guest options, part around me knowing what the hell I’m doing- but as each convention passes by, I “get” it more and more.

Since I elected to eschew the lines and made it to exactly one panel that wasn’t one of mine, I can’t rightly call this exposition a review. One of the downsides to the way I experience Otakon is that I see very little of the “con,” but a whole lot of the convention space and community. On that front, I have little comments that I haven’t said before- Otakon is a frenetic mass of controlled chaos, kept in check my beleaguered volunteers who sometimes find themselves in over their heads, not unlike the attendees themselves.

Were their line management problems? Definitely. I witnessed line cuts a few times, and lines set up in the wrong places, but mostly as I passed them by on one of my “walks.” Were their rude staffers? I’d find it hard to believe there weren’t any, given the size and stress of the weekend, though I never bumped into any. Were there memes? Yes, moreso than the last two years, but nowhere near as annoying as 2009. (And one of them- a crowd of people constantly singing “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” from the Mulan soundtrack- were less annoying than quirky. At least they were being “productive” with their hall karaoke.)

Again, nothing I haven’t seen before, and nothing unexpected given the size and scope of Otakon itself. (Although the incident with the bubble bath in the fountain was something entirely new.)

The community this year was surprising- more and more anime-centric cosplay (especially from breakout hits Free! and Attack on Titan), less visible non-anime stalwarts (like Homestuck, MLP and Doctor Who), and a healthy amount of discussion centered around the 2013 anime crop, and how “awesome it is.” One of my early Friday panels- We Con, Therefore We Are, a critical look at convention culture and otakudom, co-hosted by the indomitable Daryl Surat of Anime World Order, and Doug Wilder of AnimeconsTV- exceeded my meager expectations by leaps and bounds: I hoped for 40-50 people, I got almost 1000, and none of them were there to “troll”, only discuss and debate. Which they did, all weekend, as people kept stopping me to comment on how thought-provoking and insightful the panel was. I had intended to present my observations and research from the past five years of activity in the community, and was surprised at how many other long-term members of the same community were coming to the same conclusions, and how their general opinion of the situation wasn’t too different from my own.

Community. Yes, it always comes back to community. Because, when it comes down to it, community is why Otakon has grown by such leaps and bounds, and community is why the convention culture is so strong, fragmented as it might appear. Time and again, I will insist that community is what is driving the attendees to devote such time to their “hobby,” and through the community are their devotions validated. You see it in the smaller, more intimate cons, that thrive off their core of attendees who pop up every year to support their local fandom. You see it in the massive throngs at Anime Boston and Katsucon, who pack the halls of large convention spaces with cosplay and conversation. You see it at Otakon, where these other groups converge for a single showing of support and “insanity,” for who else would choose to brave those crowded halls, if not the “crazy ones?”

On Saturday night, I (alongside friends Kit and Haru) was sitting in Harbor East, having dinner with voice actor and theologian Crispin Freeman. At this “oasis” maybe a mile from the BCC, there were no cosplayers, or congoers of any type, and the lightly packed dining room of the pub we had selected was soon the site of a conversation between the four of us about how the community had changed. Crispin had been part of the convention community since almost the beginning. He remembered how those early cons had been very anime-centric, and the fans hungry for more information. As a media/industry guest, he also had been somewhat insulated to the shift from anime-culture to community-culture that had been so dramatic in the past 4 years. He had not seen the subtle (and not-so-subtle) shifts that altered the dynamic and motivations of the attendees as a whole. As we sat there, talking about Convergence theory and the changing times, it made me ask myself a question- one that really has no solid answer, only observations.

Has Otakon exceeded its intended scope? What is the point of the con now, as the motivations and practices of a new generation of fans have overtaken older concepts? Has Otakon, still a bastion of Japanese media and culture appreciation, evolved?

I would think so. It’s become something more than just a fan convention- its become a destination all its own. It’s  been that way for years now- all roads (at least on the East Coast) do lead to Otakon, that special pilgrimage that needs to be experienced at least once. Overwhelming or not, it’s a rite of passage all its own, but one of those rites that has the potential to pull in as many people as possible, and keep them there. New fans or old-timers, it’s still living up to its mission statement, and managing to accommodate all the needs of every fan who walks through the doors- from the staunch Japanophile to the artist and creative, to the confused teenager who’s wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into. Otakon is, and always will be, a place for every fan, everywhere.

Lines or not.

By Charles On 5 Aug, 2012 At 11:00 PM | Categorized As Conventions, Editorials, Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarEarlier in the summer, I posted a recap of three weeks of consecutive congoing. This, alas, was neither unusual, nor the end of my con season. Summer, particularly June and July, are busy months for East Coast congoers. So while on the one hand I was able to get a few weeks rest after three straight, the busiest weekends of the season were still in the cards.

Two Guys with Glasses

I will preface what follows simply: ConnectiCon and Otakon are two very different shows. One is a multi-genre con with a huge internet and gaming presence, situated in a (mostly) dead city in the middle of the year. The other is thrice as large, located in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Mid-Atlantic and focused on a diet of pan-Asian culture. They are separated by a thin barrier of weeks, during which time (generally) the same attendees prepare for both. I have been attending them for the exact same amount of time, and have had both amazing, and awkward, years there. But if you asked me to choose between them, I was steadfastly refuse. They are NOT the same con, nor should they be thought of as such.

Let the reviews begin.

ConnectiCon: July 13-15. 5 panels, 3 roomies, 2 pillow wars.

I’ve written many critiques of the city of Hartford, none of them particularly positive. I’m fond of saying that CTCon is the best part of the city, a point that anyone who has actually been there will likely agree with. But that does no real justice to the scope and breadth of the actual con. Started as a webcomic-focused convention, ConnectiCon has grown into the largest multi-genre event in New England. While attendance lags noticeably behind Anime Boston, the con more than makes up for it in community and content.

Friday night fun…on Sunday morning.

I started attending in 2009, and have made it a point to return each year. Unlike many other fan conventions, CTCon takes it’s mission statement to heart: their goal to present a “massively multi-genre” event, coupled with a huge space at the Connecticut Convention Center, allows them an unprecedented flexibility in scheduling panels, tournaments, interactive events and vendors. When the con succeeds, they do so splendidly. But when something goes wrong, it becomes more visible.

Much like Katsucon and AnimeNEXT, CTCon was hit hard by the “line effect:” a huge jump in attendance that forced the fire marshal to shut down panels at capacity, relocated the registration line outside into the summer sun, and caused backups in the halls as attendees lined up to (hopefully) grab a seat in panel rooms. More than once, the top floor had to be completely shut down to accommodate crowding for Main Events. Events ran over, panel rooms filled long before the start time, and traffic had to be re-routed in the vendor spaces. This led to grumbles and complaints online and in person. Which was a shame, considering the wealth of options attendees had to choose from.

Those Hartford parking prices can be insane…

However, those options ended at the vendors. While CTCon had a huge artist and dealer space in previous years, reshuffling forced the number of exhibitors down visibly this year, resulting in more complaints and grumbles from both vendors and attendees alike. The visible devotion to gaming space effectively capped merchandise, and left some people going home with less stuff and more cash.

For my part, I caused several of those pesky code violations with over-capacity rooms, and spent little money anywhere, but the weekend was a rousing success. Looking past the lines and lacking selection of goods, was a well-structured weekend full of panels and gatherings for any type of fan. While I hope CTCon manages to correct some of the flaws in execution that hit it this year, it’s still one of the best conventions in New England, and one that I highly recommend.

Otakon: July 27-29. 5 panels, 32000 attendees, 1 purchase.

Otakon. The granddaddy of east coast cons. 19 years going strong. The second largest anime con in the country. This behemoth of an event has come from humble roots into one of the more dominating of culture festivals. And all I could think about going in was “there are HOW MANY seats in Panel 3?”

See, this year I was selected to be part of the featured panelist programming track, which right off the bat scared me. While I give panels at upwards of 10 cons a year, and have been a guest at about 8 of them, there was something different about Otakon. And I’m not just talking about size here. Yes, this is the largest event I’ve ever presented at. Yes, this con has a long, glorious history that I am now a part of. But imagine trying to live up to that legacy, when you’re used to presenting at small-mid size cons.

After seeing multiple members of the Avengers, Loki calmed down and let this photo be taken.

Otakon is more than just a con. Otakon is a way of life. People have been known to spend all year looking forward to JUST this convention. The variety of cosplay, programming options, Japanese guests, vendors, artists, and PEOPLE is greater than all the other cons I go to. Combined. Otakon is not a convention for fans of anime, it a gathering for fans PERIOD. There are no easy words to describe the power and appeal of Otakon, though I’ve tried repeatedly to do so before. It’s something one must experience for themselves- hollow words just cannot convey the scope. It’s such a powerful concept that after it was done, it practically erased ALL the emotional connections I had to the four cons that directly preceded it, until only Ota-memories remained. AMA, for all my love, feels like a lifetime ago, compared to what I experienced last weekend.

And now there I was, with everything I had to offer displayed before tens of thousands of people. You can imagine the stress there.

But I survived.

Saturday night Death God panel: who’s more morbid? Me for hosting, or all these people for showing up?

I wish I could say more about the con than just those words, but there really is no other way to describe the immensity of the Dealer’s Room, or the hordes of costumed attendees that arrived on Thursday decked out and left Monday the same way, or the snaking lines and energetic high that permeated the weekend. I can’t elaborate on the laughter booming through the room during “Anime’s Craziest Deaths,” or the cheers during “Beyond Miyazaki.” I can’t put into words the exhaustion from arriving as the doors opened and leaving when the BCC closed, grabbing ice cream before heading back to my room for an impromptu party. That was my Otakon, and mine alone, one of many stories going on that weekend.

Oh, and Panel 3 had 1700 seats, most of which were full when I took the stage.

And with Otakon, my summer of cons came to a close. My year isn’t over, and I have between 2 and 4 more left to attend before November is out, but looking back on where I’ve been…Fall is going to be so easy.

So long, Otakon. Until next year!