Otakon 2001 took place in Baltimore, Maryland from
August 10-12. Mike
and I left at about 8:45 on Friday morning around
Trenton, NJ. Traffic jam notwithstanding, the trip
down to Baltimore was pleasant, and we got to our
hotel at 11:30. It was time for the weekend adventure
We found our hotel and the
Baltimore Convention Center rather easily. We
really lucked out, in that our hotel room was
not only free (Mike's dad gots da hooks up, yo),
but, it was also right next to the con. Just a
quick walk over the skywalk, and we were there!
Since we couldn't check into our hotel room yet,
we decided to go straight to the con. This being
my first big con, I really didn't know what to
expect, despite what Mike had told me about the
Once we had gotten our Otakon program and badges
(I got Ed from Cowboy Bebop! She's my fave), I
finally saw first hand how big it was! Geez, there
were already tons of people there. It was nothing
like the smaller cons I had gone to. We looked
at the schedule to see what was going on. The
first screening of the Music Video Contest was
in just a little while, so we walked on over to
that. My god. The screening room for *just* the
Music Video Contest seemed like a small airplane
hangar. You could fit all of Shoujocon into this
thing. As we took our seats, we saw some of our
New Jersey peeps, which was cool. The music video
contest itself was fun. A lot of excellent stuff,
and a lot of crap, too. Out of all the Otakon
Music Video Contests that have been held, this
was most definitely the best one. Some of the
things I remember about the contest was getting
up and going *nuts* when our friend Scott's video,
"This is Your Life," aired. Also, there
was a strange aura in the room when Maboroshi
Studio's video played...heh, I won't comment any
further on that. All in all, the contest was one
of the main highlights of the con...and it was
only the beginning!
After the contest, we went
to Burger King for lunch. How weird. In a con
with thousands of people all around, we managed
to meet up, with no planning whatsoever, with
all of our New Jersey crew. Being the freaks we
are, we critiqued the music videos we just saw,
and then parted ways. It was now time for the,
dum dum duuummm...the dealer's room! Dang, Mike
wasn't kidding when he said this was a fan's dream!
Soooo, much stuff, it was nuts.
On this particular trip to the dealer's room,
we simply roamed around, scouting the place out.
I think on that trip, I got an Evangelion poster,
and a Kenshin poster. For that afternoon, we pretty
much went in and out of the dealer's room, and
bought random stuff. Oh yeah, and Bandai (see
right) had a really neat set up. Too bad there
wasn't much actually there... Anywho, at some
point, we finally went to our hotel room. Daaayum,
it was sweet. Kinda big, definitely snazzy. Oh
yeah, we be big pimpin'.
Or something. By this point it was time for Mystery
Anime Theater to start. We waited on the line
for that...and never got to see the show. Why?
Cuz we wanted to see the Classic Fan Parodies.
We figured we could see a part of the MAT3K for
a little bit, and then sneak off to the Classic
Fan Parodies, but, as time went on, and nothing
was happening, we ditched it, and went straight
to the Classic Fan Parodies. What a mistake that
was. That stuff was unfunny, and a waste of time.
We hoped that the people who attended that show
wouldn't think that that the "Hot New Fan
Parodies", in which our "This is Otakudom"
would air, would suck as much. Well, after that,
we went to the hotel room and slept.
On Saturday, Mike and I woke
up early, in hopes of catching the anime FLCL.
After dragging our sorry asses out of the hotel,
we got to the con, only to find out that FLCL
was canceled. Saddened we became. Instead, we
decided to get on the dealer's room line with
Mike's friend, Jerry. While in line, something
cool happened! Mike and I were just standing there,
when a guy came up to us and said, "Hi, I'm
Steve." At first, it was kinda freaky, because
we weren't sure if we knew him or not. There was
an uneasy moment of silence before Mike said,
"That's nice. Do I know you?" Steve
then said something like "No, but I'm a fan
of your sites." FINALLY, a fan!! A glorious,
sociable fan! It was really great to finally meet
a fan of our sites, and he had the balls to come
straight to us. A few minutes passed, when another
strapping young lad (^_^) appeared. He kind of
stopped, looked at us for a second, and said to
me, something like, "Hey, are you Meri?"
When I said yes, he said, "You owe me a screencap."
When he said that, I realized that I had conversed
with this person before through e-mail! I was
supposed to have sent him a screencap of Vegeta
in his pink shirt, but I forgot. But, lo and behold,
this guy was dressed up as Vegeta in the pink
shirt. :) And so, another fan was with us.
Steve, Trevor (the pink shirt
Vegeta guy), Mike and I talked and hung out on
the dealer's room line, and then shopped together.
Oh baby, did I splurge this time around. I got
more posters, wall scrolls (Bebop, Kenshin, and
Eva!), some comics, a Kenshin decal for my car,
among other things. During that shopping trip,
random people said "Hi Meri!" to me,
and I met some other fans. It was super neat.
Thanks for saying hi, wherever you are! Soon,
a few hours had passed, and it was time for lunch.
After many cell phone calls and posts on bulletin
boards, Mike and I met up with two people from
the #db chat room. Crono and CV accompanied us
and much fun was had. They were really nice guys.
I remember we ordered this big cup of fries that
we couldn't finish, and...on well, you don't care
about that, so I'll move on. Upon returning to
the con, Mike and I went to go see the special
guest panel with voice actor god, Hikaru Midorikawa.
An otherwise pleasurable experience, the panel
was marred by the annoying squeals and questions
of yaoi fan-girls. Please, does *every* question
have to be about Heero, and gay relationships
with Gundam boys? Anyway, other than that, I found
that panel to be really fun, and Hikaru seemed
like a cool, kinda shy guy. The highlight was
*definitely* at the end when he shouted, as Tamahome,
"MIAKA!!". Being a huge Fushigi Yuugi
fan, I cracked up over that. He sounded just like
At 2:00, we went to one of the
video's rooms to see "Boys Be. My god, what
a surprise that was! It was a very fun and horny,
but cute, anime. I liked it so much that recently,
I went and ordered some episodes of it. :)
After that anime, we just went
in and out of the dealer's room, where we got
more useless crap. :P
We knew that Saturday night
was the night of Overflow Screening 1, in which
Yuugi music video, "Again", would
air. So, what Mike did was write a message on
the bulletin board telling our friends to meet
us there. After doing that, we went to our room
for about an hour, since we were exhausted, and
needed to drop off all of the purchases we made
in the dealer's room. I took a nap, while Mike
tried to figure out the wonder's of the ice machine.
As 5:30 rolled around, we went
to go stand in line for the Cosplay. The Overflow
Screening 1 ran into the Cosplay, so we figured
we'd leave the Cosplay early to go see that. Sadly,
we never got to see the Cosplay. Time was going
by, and the thing hadn't even started yet, and
we had to make it to the Screening. So, we missed
that event as well.
It was now time for Overflow
Screening 1! All of our friends met up there...it's
like we had a small army going to the thing. As
the screening started, so did the nightmare. Never
in all my years as an anime fan have I been so
disgusted with other fans. No wait, that's a lie...I
keep forgetting about the DBZ fan base. Anyway,
during each of the video, people would boo, scream
"Next!" or "This sucks!" and
other terrible things. People don't know that
it's very hard to make music videos. Not considering
the creator's feelings is something I don't think
*anyone* in our group tolerated. Hell, not even
that...you just don't scream things out during
something like that. Seriously, this was the main
low point of the con.
Luckily for me, something
neat happened. Seeing as how people were booing
every video so far, I was worried my music video
would get the same crowd reaction. However, as
soon as my title screen (with my name, anime,
song title, etc.) appeared, people started cheering!
I'm not sure if this was because people knew who
I was, or if they liked the anime I used. In any
case, I was glad that something positive *was*
going down. Better still, the audience stayed
damn quiet during my video (and well they should!).
The only incidents that happened were some whoops
during the nude scene (which didn't bother me
at all) and some fan girl cheers for Tamahome
and Hotohori. When my video was done, people actually
applauded it, and some were on their feet. I felt
relieved that I didn't get booed out of the place.
Moreover, I was glad people actually liked the
video. So, after that, I was able to start breathing
again, and my face wasn't as white as a ghost
from nervousness anymore! Also in that screening,
we saw the music video of one of our New Jersey
pals, Rob. His Kenshin OVA video *kicked* ass.
The screening featured a lot of bad videos. Fortunately,
there was also a ton of really great videos too,
and I was glad we were able to see them.
Then came time for the BIG event,
the reason we were going to Otakon (ok, that's
a bit of a stretch): The airing of our fan dub
parody "This is Otakudom." This our
same army of friends in tow, we all got to the
large screening room, and anxiously awaited our
fan dub. First was the classic, "Koko wa
Otaku." Then....a somewhat crappy Utena dub.
Then....a really, really bad and inaudible Evangelion
dub. This was the saddest thing at all: after
all of the bad fun dubs, lots of people left!
All our efforts of posting fliers, wearing This
is Otakudom t-shirts, and just promoting it, were
all going to waste, because our fan dub was after
a lot of crappy junk that people couldn't bear.
I don't blame them, though. If I wasn't involved
in the fan dub, I would have left too. However,
once our fan dub showed (at a late 11:30 PM),
there were still lots of people around. Our moment
of truth had arrived! Months of hard work was
paying off, as the fan dub had people rolling
for a good 50 minutes. I was very proud of everyone
involved, and happy to see the main guy behind
it Scott (whose DBZ video "This is Your Life",
won first place in his category), got flocked
with people after it aired. It was very well received,
and got just the reaction we had wanted. The reaction
was somewhat different from the one at Shoujocon,
as some jokes were received differently than others,
but it still went over extremely well.
Some of the big surprises were seeing how mine
and Mike's DBZ/X-Men
Trailer appeared on the big screen, and seeing
the finished product of our friend Jon's Fushigi
Yuugi/Army of Darkness Trailer. All the members
of the "This is Otakudom" production
got together for hugs and photo ops (see left).
It was a wonderful experience that I hope I won't
soon forget. After that, it was nearly 1:30 or
so, so me and Mike went to sleep. Bottom line:
Saturday kicked bootay.
Sunday morning, we spoiled ourselves, and slept
in rather late. After having a free breakfast
at the swanky hotel Regency Club (we were allowed
in because of Mike's dad...ah, things are good),
we rushed off to the con. Of course, we went to
the dealer's room, and got more fun goodies. On
the way out, we met up with Trevor and Steve again.
We hung out with them, as we waited for Jerry
and Mike's other friend, Germ (not his real name,
mind you), to arrive. When they showed up, we
all went into the dealer's room.
We had a blast, to say the least. At some point,
Jerry and Germ went and dropped off their goods
at heir hotel room, and Mike, Steve, Trevor and
I went and got lunch. Thanks again for the pizza,
Steve! Then, it was time for the Media Blasters
panel that Mike and I wanted to attend. Lucky
us, it was canceled. Figures. To kill time, we
went to a panel called "Otakumentary"
(how ironic, we used that phrase in our fan dub!).
It was basically a home video documentary about
anime. So, seeing as how there was nothing else
we wanted to do that day, Mike and I decided to
head back to New Jeresy. We said our goodbyes,
and packed on into my car for the ride home. It
was on that trip home that I got into my first
car accident....that took place in a parking lot.
O_o No one was hurt, thank god, but some damage
was done to my mom's car. It was very suckful,
and I felt terrible for a good while. But, things
got back to normal as we returned to our homes,
showed our families our anime purchases, and let
the trip sink in as we relaxed.
Despite some mishaps, Otakon was everything
I could have imagined, times two! The airing of our
fan dub and the positive reaction to my music video
were the two things that stood out in my mind. I was
really glad to meet some really great fans of the ToT
and D-EX, and I saw some excellent anime. The three
days seemed to last for a long time, and I wish I was
back there, dag nabit! It was just an awesome trip,
and I can't wait for the next Otakon. I know I forgot
a few things in my reflections of the con, but basically,
this is what happened. Thanks for reading my ramblings.
I'll now leave you with my photo gallery! Thanks for
all the pics, Trevor!
It's Vash the Stampede! All of 'em!
A wicked cool, large
Ya know Trunks has to
Chichiri, no da!
Miss Relena, I presume?
Steve Bennet sports a shirt
Where do I know them
Meri and Mike shop on
The cast of "This
is Otakudom" is very happy!...and tired!
Seen here are Meri, Mike, DJ, Doug, Carol, Scott.
Uh, I can't make out the other people, sorry!
"This is Otakudom"
lines up for a group shot.
Trevor in full Vegeta
Trevor, Mike and Meri
look *damn* pissed off. :)