Otakon, 2013 Review: Full (And Finally)!

This is long overdue, but unfortunately I just don’t really have anything to tell you all.  Otakon 2013 was pleasant, if not overwhelming.  As you know my last convention review, Tekkoshocon Pittsburgh 2012, was relatively negative.  Otakon didn’t have any real serious issues to bring up.

Everything went fairly smoothly, the only real issues were a few line-building issues around the panels based in the attached Hotel; which the Otakon people really had no control over.  All of the line issues were architectural, too; the wall where the line had to be formed had a double door every ten feet so the line was broken up twelve times before it wrapped around the corner.

Other than that, though, the only real problem was that there were over 30,000 people traipsing about so it was crowded from time to time in the hallways.  And once again the biggest choke point was the corridor between the convention center and the hotel where a few panels were being held.

Highlights were the Voice Actors After Dark panel, of course, and the Cosplay Burlesque was actually pretty cool to watch, too.  The VA After Dark panel was comprised of Todd Haberkorn, Mike McFarland, Jad Saxton (pronounced like Jade, a recurring joke was calling her something akin to Chad), Cristina Vee, and Kyle Hebert.  This was the second time we’ve seen Todd Haberkorn and he was entertaining, and a little creepy, as usual.  Mike McFarland was very entertaining as Seth MacFarlane since he did several very good impressions of the man’s characters (Peter, Stewie, and Brian Griffin).  Cristina Vee and Jad Saxton were both a little too cutesy and seemed out of their element for much of the dirty humor contained within the panel, but they got a few good lines nonetheless.  Kyle Hebert walked in half way through the panel and jumped right into things as if he’d been there the whole time; definitely a natural to the dirty mind platform the panel required.

But the real star of the VA After Dark show was the Sign Language guy, Semaj, who just made the whole experience twice as fun as it already was.  He was a spectacular sport, especially considering the dirty things they made him sign.

Another highlight was Crispin Freeman’s Mythology in Anime panel.  On his website he lists a few similar types of panels he runs and I think, honestly, you could just have a Crispin Mythcon and enjoy it.  Just Crispin Freeman lecturing for two days straight; he’s entertaining, informative, and he puts complex philosophical points in a very simple context that even laymen can understand.  Trust me, I understood it all, so a regular person should be fine.

That hair is mythological enough.

That hair is mythological enough.

We saw Vic Mignogna, pleasant as always although he can get a little preachy at times and some of the things he says makes it seem like he lives in a bubble, but he’s still a very nice man and is probably one of the most fan-dedicated Voice Actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to (I’m really not sure how he has time to record anything, he’s at just about every con I’ve ever been to).  His main drawback, more so than the preachiness, is that he refuses to share the location of his fountain of youth.

Look at him...he's in his fifties!

Seriously!  Look at him…he’s in his fifties!

I’m still not sure entirely how, but we managed to miss every one of Maile Flanagan’s panels, if you can believe it.  Just bad timing on our parts.

And what seems to be a regular motif with any of my convention reviews…

Our favorite place to eat while in Baltimore was Mount Vernon Pizza.  It was right down the street from our hotel, the staff was friendly, and the food was really good.  Some pretty good coupon deals, too.

~RCS

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