Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Otakon 2008 & My First Cosplay

I've been going to Otakon with my good friends Karin, Dan, and Jeremy since I moved out to Maryland in 2003. When I started, I didn't think of myself as a cosplayer, and to be honest I didn't really get why people wanted to participate when the only ones who were rumored to do so were fat, obsessed older men who couldn't get a life. I was much more interested in the fact that vendors would be there and in the industry panels. That is why I was totally taken by surprise at how well-run and interesting Otakon was and is!

I discovered first-hand that most cosplayers are people my age or younger, and that anything goes at a con, not just anime characters. Two years ago there was a horde of hobbits in very good costumes running around, and several Captain Jack Sparrows that even acted the part! People were very creative, coming up with ideas that had me laughing and amazed more times than not. Then right after Kingdom Hearts II came out there was a plethora of game characters of quality I couldn't believe! Dan even got into the spirit by dressing as Luffy for one day and Zoro another, with great success. So right then and there I decided that I would cosplay myself and started thinking of ideas.

Now cosplay can be tricky because unless you are experienced at it, you have to come up with something that works with your own regular look. I decided to go for a simple setup this time and design something generic: a Final Fantasy White Mage! As you can see, I think I did rather well for my first time. ^_^ And before you ask, no I don't know these people. That doesn't really matter to cosplayers though, as most of them are a really friendly bunch! The rule is that if you cosplay at a con, you should expect people to come up and politely ask to take your picture. Its nice to know that other people think you've done a good job.

These two here are my favorites from the whole con. The girl is dressed as one of the heroines from Gurren Lagann, Yoko, while the guy is Kamina from the same anime. If you've never watched the show (and I highly suggest you do, its one of my favorites!) take my word for it that they've done an excellent job! It was almost like seeing the characters come to real life.

And there you have it. I'll post more pictures when Dan gets his stuff online. He took more photos than me since he didn't dress up this year, and he has some really neat ones that will be fun to share.

In other news from the con, the Gurren Lagann artbox from Bandai looks AWESOME! And if you are fans of Lucky Star, look out for the surprise they're packing in the artboxes for those. Its mildly amusing. ^_^ The dub for "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" is really well done, and I'm very much looking forward to the Stateside release of Seirei no Moribito, which is an excellent anime about a disinherited prince chased into hiding by the Emperor's court. It's told very well in a world that feels like its right out of a Japanese folktale. Maybe I'll put up some screens and summaries for you guys of each of those shows so you know what I'm talking about.

Other panels of interest were the discussions on the finances of producing an anime and also the Fansub vs. Industry panel. It was really cool that we were able to be on hand for the first ever panel discussion between fansubbers and industry reps. That was something else. Most of the questions centered around how the anime market is changing and how much it has been affected by the development of the internet. As far as the industry guys are concerned, fansubbing is something that isn't going to go away, so they just deal with its existence as best they can. Their main concern is that with fansubbing, the authors don't get any kind of profit for their products, which is true. The fansubbers are mostly concerned that anime isn't available in the same manner worldwide as it is in Japan, where you can see it on TV.

I came away from the discussion with a distinct awareness of how consumer-minded having the internet has made me. I personally don't mind paying for my anime once I know what I like, but I would hate not being able to watch it for free or having to wait for something to come over the ocean before I could watch it, especially because it probably would never be shown on TV here. And I'm probably minorly addicted compared to many of the fans in the room.

So there is plenty of demand, but no easy answers. That seems to be the general consensus.

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