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Otakon 2012: Saturday Night's Alright for Conning

So it was less of a meltdown by Saturday and more a mass of swirling people, costumes, and odors. Seriously folks: deodorant, showers and fresh clothing are your friends. Compared to Friday it was cooler, but we’re not talking a massive cooldown here. More of “well, it’s not almost 100…..*flump*”. Thankfully it was possible to spend pretty much the entire day indoors, which is what I did for most of the day.

The early part of the day was filled with a couple of academic panels. Yes, you can do official university studies centered on anime, and you can do panels at a con centered on said studies, though accademia is not as popular at East Coast cons as it is at West Coast cons. Various topics like the history of Studio Ghibli, the curent status of anime academics and the changing nature of anime criticism highlighted the day, and gave one a wonderful excuse to not be outside. “No, I’m not sitting around watching cartoons, I’m engaging in an academic pursuit!”

Saturday also featured the majority of the Japanese guest panels and the major industry panels, though Sentai Filmworks was on Sunday and they had a fair amount of news (not something you can always say). It’s nice to see the industry making a reasonable comeback overall, especially given the massive number of licenses that FUNimation alone dropped on us (though admitedly a number of those licenses were pickups from Geneon’s catalogue, as were a couple of Sentai’s recent acquisitions). Also, given the near-SRO crowd for the FUNimation panel, they certainly still have a lot of fans since that room held over 1,000 people. Aniplex had a decent crowd too, though it was a much smaller room.

It’s also nice to see people in the industry taking a real interest in preserving the history of the medium by putting out older titles and by preserving the artifacts thereof, like various old magazines and other such materials. One of the folks at FUNimation, friend of Toonzone Lance Heiskell, did a panel highlighting much of the material he’s has collected over the years. It may not sound interesting when taken at face value, but when you see the way things used to be done in the industry, from the old advertisements to the massive tradeshow booths they had for a few years, it fills in a lot of the story on how we went from an industry based on a few living room couches and cons that were a small room at a small sci-fi con to where we are today: 32,000+ people filling major city convetion centers and arenas.

Saturday evening wrapped up with the fan parody run. Macross: Did You Forget About Love? is a promising start to a new series. Musical Downloader Pretty Sue-Me was nice to see resurrected from the archives and completed, it had been sitting unfinished for quite a few years, even if the humor is a bit dated by now. It’s always nice to see Evangelion Re:Death, though the rest of the run wasn’t particularly great. Pokeholics Anonymous was a good attempt, Gundam Seed: Wartfeld’s Counterattack relied on what seemed like too many in-jokes, and both the Ah! My Goddess and Bleach parodies were just plain lame and confusing. There was also much goofing around with friends including an attempt to locate an ice cream truck that took a little while.

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