Three anime characters at Otakon, Baltimore Convention Center. Photo: Kazad/Artcentron
BALTIMORE— After much expectation, the annual Otakon Convention opened Friday at the Baltimore Convention Center with a lot of fanfare. As early at 10 am, lovers of Japanese anime, manga, video games, and music began converging at the Convention Center Baltimore dressed in their favorite anime costumes. Like past years, the anime fans dressed in their dazzling costumes were a major attraction in Baltimore City. While some were dressed in Japanese anime costumes, others borrowed from video games, and fantasy movies like Maleficent. From the Baltimore Inner Harbor through Charles Street and Baltimore Street, Baltimoreans and tourists could not stop taking pictures with their digital cameras and iPhones.
In the afternoon there was the well-known Otakon cosplay. During the parade, participants showed off their costumes to an appreciative audience. One of the fascinating characters during the cosplay was King Leonidas from the movie 300. As he paraded, the audience shouted: “this is Sparta.” The female cosplay costumes were perhaps most interesting. While some dressed in Marvel cosplay costumes, others dressed as sexy cosplay girls. One of the fascinating cosplay characters that got a lot of applause is Maleficent, the iconic villain from Disney’s movie of the same title.
Even as many enjoyed the cosplay and other events, the focus continues to be on the Yoshiki performance that will be held on Sunday as the major event during the famous Sunday Concert at Otakon. Yoshiki, the multi-talented founder of X-Japan has promised to thrill the audience with an eclectic performance based on his new collection of compositions entitled Yoshiki Classical. Considered Asia’s most influential musical artists and the biggest rock icon, Yoshiki has promised the audience something special during his performance.
Otakon is one the major things to do in Baltimore this summer. Considered the largest anime convention in the United States, the event draws participants from across the globe. From producers and directors of anime films to game designers and talented musicians, Otakon has become a major Baltimore event. There is music, cosplay, concerts, dance, free anime shows, and performances. All these have combined to make Otakon a great Baltimore show.
Considered one of the major tourist attractions in Maryland, Otakon Baltimore is a crowd-pleaser. It attracts fans from across the country, who spend a lot of money in the city. Baltimore hotels are some of the major beneficiaries of Otakon Baltimore. Like many other years, hotels near Baltimore Convention Center have been filled by Otakon guests. From the Hilton Baltimore to Sheraton Inner Harbor, Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, and Baltimore Marriot Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, there has been an increase in the number of guests. Besides these major hotels, several other places in Baltimore, Maryland have also seen an increase in the number of guests during this weekend event. Places like Hampton Inn Baltimore, Waterfront Baltimore, Maryland, Holiday Inn, Quality Inn and many others have seen an increase in the numbers of guests.