It’s times like these that my inner fangirl comes out.
Baltimore’s Otakon is aptly described by one of the staff members as “a three-day costume ball.” Believe me when I say this: the costumes get better every year . The minute I walked into the convention center around noon on Friday, I ran into DN Angel and two devilishly beautiful pixies that were accompanying him.
Cosplay is the game and there is no messing around. As I walked around in a sea of Lolita’s, Chobits, and SailorMoons, I cursed myself for leaving my wings at home. My plan for next year: dress up in a school girl uniform ala My Sassy Girl and run around the convention saying things like “Wanna die?” and “Drink coffee!” while flirting with guys before forcing them into my 3 1/2” Steve Maddens and prancing about yelling “Chase me! Chase me! I’ll kill you if you don’t!”
Otakon is really about the fans which means it’s serving up full on entertainment: anime screenings like Genshiken, School Rumble, and Gantz (news about this in PWCW), live action movies like Korean gangsta film Marrying the Mafia, Terracotta Soldier (starring Zhang Yi-Mou and Gong Li) and Sex is Zero. I actually missed Sex is Zero, which is supposed to be a hilarious account of hormones, hormones, hormones and the unwavering focus of adolescent boys, but I have a pretty damn good excuse which I’ll elaborate on later.
After sitting in on DMP’s two panels, one that featured manga-ka Makoto Tateno, I headed out to the Nana Kitade concert which I pretty much missed because the venue she was performing as was so far away and I got there waaaay late. I was crying quietly into my beer when I was consoled by the sight of Sakuragi Hanamichi whom I quickly snapped a photo of. A group of Southern fanboys/fratboys for North Carolina helped me further dry my eyes by buying me fresh beer and telling me that Katena was the opening act for MUCC, a Japanese rock group. When I asked for more detail, one young man in a well formed UNC baseball cap and black t-shirt adorned with random hirigana script drawled “Well, they’re like emo-rock, you know, Blink-182, Green Day.” Sure, if Anthrax were emo-rock. You remember Anthrax, don’t you?
When MUCC came on stage, the heavy guitar licks and slamming of the bass had me thanking the gods of fate for my training in the mosh-pits of Boston as a youth. I threw down with the NC fratboys for two songs before heading back to the convention center to find out the lastest news about yuri and yaoi manga.
When the call of the DJ’s became too strong to resist, I made my way over to the rave in the west wing of the convention center and danced my ass off with the thousands of young people moving gracefully through the breakbeats of Daniella Downs, glowsticks in hand.
2am came way too soon so when I finally made it to my room and lay my head on my pillow, I asked myself a new, but rhetorical, question to help myself unwind and relax: Do Japanese men wear more make-up than I do? Do Japanese men wear more make-up than I do?
And that was Day 1.