2017 marked a change for Otakon- moving from Baltimore, MD to Washington, DC. I was initially a little hesitant to attend. Even though I had enjoyed past Otakons I was concerned that there would be growing pains as the event got used to the new venue. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not the case. If anything, the event flew by in an instant and I’m so happy I was able to attend.
We arrived in DC Thursday afternoon. This year, Otakon decided to shuffle their Otakon Matsuri events into the main convention programming instead of creating a special event on Thursday. Thankfully Otakon had made the switch to mailing out badges for those who preregistered, which meant we could spend the evening unpacking and grabbing dinner with friends instead of camping out in front of the convention center for hours in the badge pickup lines of previous years. The extra time (and hotel wifi) meant I could work on my panel presentation.
This year my friends and I hosted the “Sewing with Japanese Patterns” panel. As panelists we had to meet up with a staff member at the front of the con who escorted us to Panel Ops to get checked in and sign waivers. For whatever reason my cosplay contest submission didn’t go through, so I registered for an at-con slot later that day. Preparing for the contest was actually my first time trying all the pieces of Krul on together. I definitely recommend NOT doing this, as some technical difficulties arose with the makeup and made the whole process take longer than it should have. Craftsmanship judging itself took all of five minutes and we were free to explore the con until it was time for the AniSong World Matsuri concert. 2017 was the first time Otakon had teamed up with this organization for some seriously amazing talent. We got to experience an awesome rock concert with both JAM Project and TM Revolution performing. After the concert we attempted to go to a panel, only to have the panelist never show up- which we took as a sign that it was time for bed.
Saturday morning I was the first one awake and spent a good hour silently pantomiming my panel presentation to avoid waking up my roommates. Then it was time for the embroidery workshop. The presentation was super informative and I honestly hope more conventions host hands-on workshops to learn cosplay techniques. Right outside the panel location was Pokemon GO gym and a group of determined attendees with their phones out. It was my first time getting to join a raid battle and together we defeated Lugia, even though I failed at catching it. After spending some time checking out the dealers’ room we decided to grab some lunch. Even though the walk was short I still had a fateful encounter with a pigeon that resulted in needing to go back to the hotel and shower. This threw a bit of a wrench in plans, so it again took extra-long to get into Krul. Outside of the convention center is a gorgeous library that made a fantastic location for my photoshoot with Clouds Photography. After the shoot it was time for the panel. Despite my intense nerves, the panel itself went smoothly and we celebrated with pizza and sleeping.
Due to all of the activity the previous days, I still hadn’t seen all of the convention. We made our last rounds of the Dealers’ Room and Artist Alley and I made my way over to the Cosplay Ops for feedback. Otakons hall cosplay contest is unique in that they offer the opportunity to meet privately with the judges after the contest has ended to discuss how you did. Krul ended up taking home an honorable mention and I was able to get some pointers on future projects. We then finished up our last rounds and said goodbye to Otakon 2017.
(Krul selfie, I will add more of this costume to my portfolio once I get better pictures!)