Anime Cosplay costume parade mixed with a lot of music brought so much fun to Otakon 2016. Image: Kazad/Artcentron
BALTIMORE, MD.,-The Baltimore Otakon 2016 began in earnest Friday at the Baltimore Convention Center. As early as 10:00 am, anime culture fans were already assembling at the Convention Center. Dressed in different anime Cosplay costume, they were all in good spirit as the day began.
Just outside the Convention Center, a group of 5 made up of three men and two women stood in a corner, waiting for more of their friends to arrive. One was dressed as Captain America while another was dressed like a Ninja. A fellow dressed like Leonardo from the Ninja Turtle Series could not stop laughing on seeing another fan dressed as Gintoki. Excitement was written on their face. “We are ready for a day of fun,” Captain America said. “This is going to be a day of great merriment,” echoed Ninja.
Strangely enough, the sudden cancellation of appearances by Yoshiki, Masao Maruyama, and Jiro Ishii did not stop guests from having fun. “It is sad that they are not here. I really wanted to see Yoshiki. He was here about two years ago to perform the Sunday Concert and I loved it,” said Andre Midol as he crossed his hands in the ‘We Are X’ sign. By 12 noon, the Convention Center was packed full with guests who had come from all corners of the country to attend the event. They came well dressed for the occasion, and everyone was proud to show off their Cosplay costumes and best poses.
By 12 noon, the Convention Center was packed full with guests who had come from all corners of the country to attend the event. They came well dressed for the occasion, and everyone was proud to show off their Cosplay costumes and best poses.
In the main lobby of the Convention Center, there was Cosplay and people posed for photographs, showing off their anime and Cosplay costumes. As officials called out, groups of anime fans stepped up to get their photographs taken. While some of them looked serious, others were goofy. It was fun all the way as anime fans glamorized their Cosplay costumes with hilarious postures.
The game room also located in the lobby was a thrill center for many of the Otakon fans. Sitting before large monitors, they were all consumed by the games they were playing. While some watched with keen interest, others maneuvered the joystick in their quest to defeat the machine. In the distance, men and women dressed as different anime characters stood aside watching some of the video gamers unpredictable movement. They were lively and laughed excitedly.
Since the objective of the Convention was to have fun, people did not hold back. The fun was not limited to the Convention Center Lobby. Upstairs, many activities were taking place.
The Artist Alley and Art Show were packed with fans who wanted to savor every moment. In the Photo Suite, excited fans dressed up in their anime and Cosplay costumes showed off their practiced poses. From time to time, the photographers made quick efforts to correct their poses but they failed.
The comfortable seats located on the upper level were alluring for tired souls. While some fans took the time to rest after walking the streets and taking pictures, others sat in the OtaCafe to get some food. After all, they needed all their energy to enjoy the rest of day.
At about 5:00 PM, the excitement shifted to Hall D where Yui Makino performed in concert. The hall was filled with exhilaration as the Japanese voice actress, singer, and pianist performed. Her dexterity on the piano was enchanting. In order to get a better view, some people stood on their chairs while others moved down the lane. Makino who began playing the piano at 4 years old proved that she is a star to celebrate.
Makino’s performance was a continuation of the astounding outing at the Otakon Matsuri on Thursday. With a lineup of Lotus Juice, Shihoko Hirata, Diana Garnet, and Nerdy People of Color (NPC Collective), anime fans danced and played games under the blazing afternoon sun. Held at Baltimore’s beautiful West Shore Park at the Inner Harbor, the event set the pace for what happened Friday.
The Masquerade held at the Royal Farm Arena Saturday brought together a spectacular parade of costumes by Otakon fans. In addition to the display, there was a performance by MICHI. A singer well-known for her work with anime titles like Dagashi Kashi, thrilled fans with her performance.
Although this is an annual event, Baltimoreans could not contain their excitement seeing the Cosplayers walking down the street. Along Charles and Pratt Street, people brought out their cell phones and took pictures. “He is so cute, said a woman at the Charles Street bus stop as a young man dressed as a member of the SWAT walked pass. Otakon fans were very respectful and magnanimous. Whenever they were asked for a photo, they gave their best pose and smiled. It was all about the fun. In the final analysis, Otakon 2016 was a celebration of fun.