Well, Otakon/Weebfest/Animelosercon/Homestuckcon/Adventuretimecon/Avengerscon/Anythingbutanimecon 2012 is over and I am home. Or rather, the con was over for me on Saturday afternoon when I came down with con flu and spent the rest of the weekend vomitting profusely and passed out in bed. Because of that, I missed a large number of the panels that I wanted to attend (The Abridged Series, Dubs That Time Forgot, The Art of Fanservice, etc.) and didn’t get to hang out with anyone.
So then what did I do? Well, I was more or less dragged along to Otakon so that I could hold spaces in line for the Tetsuya Kakihara events (moar liek Tetsukyaah Kyaahkihara amirite ladies?) I proved successful at this, but just barely. This segues into one of my biggest complaints with the con organization: the fundamental issues with dealing with lines and crowds. Otakon is a pretty big con at 30,000+ attendees. Out of 30,000 people, only 100 can get autographs from a given guest at a given signing. The 100 person limit isn’t the problem; after all it’d be overwhelming to have the guests signing for hours on end. The problem is that there’s really only so much time and space available but not really an optimal way to handle this bottleneck.
I first tried to get in line at 2:00 for a 4:30 signing. The staff told me to come back later since the line at the time was for Hidetaka Tenjin. So I came back at a little bit after 3:00 and was told that they weren’t going to start lining up until 3:30. At this point I just stood there where the line would form. The area started to fill up shortly thereafter and by about 3:20 there was a large cloud of people surrounding the entranceway to the queuing area for autographs. By my count once we lined up, there problem were already 100 people there. Essentially, there was no real way to “pay” for events. There’s no money option like at cons like NYCC, but there is also no real way to pay with time due to the caps on when you can line up.
A similar issue popped up, causing me to miss the The Worst Anime of All Time panel. I started to walk over to there half an hour before it was ready to begin (and when the panel already in that room was ending) when I saw a communique from the Twittersphere informing that it was already at capacity. I did at least get to salve my pain with some schadenfreude when I heard about the people that camped out in a panel that they didn’t care about in order to get into the Avatar panel that was supposed to follow it. I say “supposed” to because apparently the panelists no-showed. Whoopsies! Seriously though, I really hope that in the future they clear rooms when the panels end so that people that are just sitting there to have a place to sit don’t take up spots from people that actually want to see the panel.
But on the plus side organization-wise, the Guidebook app was a godsend. The usual delays and moves that plagued Otakons in the past were really easy to plan around this time when they’re pushed directly to your phone ahead of time.
Oh hey, I just said Avatar didn’t I?
One of the most common questions that I was asked this weekend was “Why do you keep twittering every time you see a white person cosplaying as Korra?” Well, it’s complicated. The short answer is “lol social justice warriors lol”.
For anyone that doesn’t know, the production of the live-action movie of Avatar: The Last Airbender got a lot of very much justified criticism for the fact that they cast white people in all the main roles. It’s dumb from a verisimilitude sense (why are these Chinese monks all white people?) and from a legit social justice angle (despite being this being perfect vessel to help with the underrepresentation of Asian actors in Hollywood movies, they still use white people.)
My general interpretation of things was that when this genuine activism reached Tumblr, it turned to shit when social justice sallies (not social justice activists!) really took to The Legend of Korra to the point where I’ve found at least three separate blogs on Tumblr dedicated solely to policing and bullying people over how they interact with the show. When I say “social justice sallies”, I mean people that have appropriated social justice concepts like feminism or anti-racism in order to use them in petty, bad faith, and generally harmful ways. In the context of Avatar/Korra, the weapon of choice was to claim that anything that you didn’t like was racist, with the worst offense being anything that made Korra “white”. I put “white” in quotes because that term is completely nebulous. Not in the “race as a social construct” way, but in the “constantly moving the goalposts so I can be right and you can be wrong and btw kill yourself.”
This causes sightings of not-sufficiently-dark Korras to get infinity reblogs in RAEG. So my counts of white versus non-white Korras was my way of chuckling at this inanity, with added jabs at the appropriation of things like trigger warnings or PTSD (and my lack of photos to prevent the cosplayers from potentially getting bullied). The most inane aspect of this is that in general, any non-Japanese person doing anime cosplay is going to be pretended to be someone of another race, and hell many Japanese cosplayers are also going to pretend to be someone of another race. All those white Sailor Moons or Japanese Marios! But for some reason Korra is this unforgivable offense.
Next, some non-inane thoughts on the non-inane cosplay that I observed there.
After waiting on lines, looking at cosplay, and vomitting, the final thing that I spent a decent portion of time at Otokon doing was perusing the dealer room.
I spent zero dollars. I really wanted to buy some Muv-Luv Senjutsuki models/figures, but I didn’t see any. Instead, it felt like almost every booth sold the same naked Holo wallscroll, same giant-sword-and-giant-tits High School of the Dead wallscroll (which I feel like I always see in any of those “my otaku room” pictures”), same Cat Planet Cuties wallscroll, same bootleg-looking Vocaloid t-shirts, same Oreimo hump pillow, and same assortment of trading figure packs. I keep wanting for something interesting to catch my eye, but every booth just sells the same stuff that I could’ve bought at any time from CD Japan or YesAsia or whatever if I actually liked those series.
That said, if I ever wanted to start collecting terrible VHS dubs of terrible anime (being totally non-sarcastic here!) I would sooooo raid those few vendors that had those shelves of full of 5 for $10 copies of Baoh and Harmageddon. (But sadly zero copies of the magical negro arc of Marmalade Boy.)
And with that, BARF. Still not over this con flu…
(PS: for the love of God, PLEASE get some new jokes/references/memes in your AMVs/parodies/panels. A lot of the audience wasn’t even born when Evangelion/DBZ/Sailor Moon/Tenchi Muyo/Detective Conan first aired, and soon there will be people that weren’t even born when Zero Wing was a meme.
Actually, scratch that. Please, no more memes in your videos, period.)
Also, don’t lie. You totally answered one of those craigslist personals. And as of this writing, there actually was one w4m missed connection!
(The rest of our pictures are here.)