First of all, I gotta give mad props to Brice Adams for giving me the opportunity to see what this is all about. Otakon 2002 (to Brice is "Lulu-con", he's somewhat crazy about Lulu from Final Fantasy X, and was very excited to see alot of girls cosplaying as her) at the Baltimore Convention Center from July 26-28, 2002, was my very first anime convention. I did not want it to end, it was THAT fun. My highlights there were:
>Girls. One priority to anime conventions
>Awesome cosplays to snap
>Anime fans to talk to everywhere
>The hilarious "fandubs"
>Showings of Ultraman & Mystery Anime Theater 3000
>The Game Room.
So here's a journal of the whole trip.
July 25, 2002
Reisterstown, Maryland, 1: 30 PM: Met Brice for the first time. Dropped my stuff at his house, and went around town running his errands and introducing me to his friends that were going to Otakon also, unfortunately one of them didn't make it.
At 8 or 9 PM, we picked up Rick and Mike and did some heavy duty clubbing at Hammerjack's, a club in downtown Baltimore just blocks away from the convention center. The place had some Pros and Cons: Good looking girls of ALL races to bump and grind with, in spite of the whack music they play, god knows how the many middle fingers stuck out when the DJ played Nelly's "Hot In Heere", but the clouds lifted when Ludacris' "Saturday" stormed through the club. The place was so loud I thought my head was going to explode, it's like a tank pulled up into the place and fired a missile. Upstairs in the bar, that one room looked like a strip joint! Girls with skin tight jeans or shorts dancing on top of the counter. Things were alright until the shocking part came up I was like "What in the hell was I thinking being in this place?": One of the girls lifted her shirt up! She wasn't wearing a bra either!
While riding back home, disaster (sort of...) struck in the car. Brice thought he lost his cell phone at the club and was really pissed off about it. Rick, as drunk as he could be, was trying to tell him to call his company to shut the phone off. Things all of a sudden turned funny for the better when I saw that right next to Brice's elbow was his cell phone. Halfway back to Rick's apartment, it was 2:30 AM, Rick was acting too silly, very typical of a drunk person, talking about how horny he was for this chick he saw at the club. In the parking lot, Brice and I had to haul him to the front door, he couldn't walk. Instead of going to bed, we hooked the Dreamcast up and pulled an all nighter on Marvel vs Capcom 2, nothing but pure rushdown action with Storm, Magneto, Cammy or beamin' with Cable, Sentinel, and Cyclops.
July 26, 2002
5:55 AM: Sweaty. Dirty. No food. No sleep. About to rain outside. Had the same clothes on which we wore for the past, I'd say 13+ hours! But the thought of the fun that Otakon had in store for us kept us going. After Brice picked up his friend John, we came back to his house just to get a few things from my car. After that, we headed into the city. After trudging through an underground parking maze, we hauled our bags a few blocks to get to Days Inn at around 7:00 AM . From what we found out a couple of hours later, we were at the wrong hotel cause we at the last minute misinformed about where we were staying at by Kris, walking in the place with her bottom lip pierced *coughcough..jrocker*. Then we had to walk *in the rain* another few blocks to get to the right hotel: Holiday Inn. It took about 8 hours to get a room, I don't quite remember what the circumstances were, it was torturous sitting in the lobby for 8 hours sleeping or playing Game Boy Advance while watching cosplayers walk by, we had talked to a Final Fantasy cosplay group: people cosplaying as the basic classes of Fighter, Black Mage, and White Mage. Next there was a Skuld (Oh! My Goddess), then a Vanessa (King of Fighters) passed through. Just seeing cosplayers in the lobby (I wanna go in there!!) and knowing our biz was far from over completely drove us crazy. Brice however, formulated a plan to get around the waiting. Every hour we alternated one person at a time to go to the convention center and go to the registration desk. Instead Brice and I decided to go together, while Kris waited in line to check up on our room. The excitement was building up as we approached that huge glass building. There were cosplay people standing outside letting people take pictures of them. To my surprise, the line for people that pre-registered (like myself) moved alot faster than the people registering on the spot.
For some reason things were still not looking great for us. Brice was not in a good mood for half the day, I admit I wasn't either about what was up with our hotel room, on top of that, we wanted and NEEDED to shower. We went down to the Dealer's Room, one big auditorium full of shops selling anime VHS tapes, DVD's, wall scrolls, posters, t-shirts, video games domestic or import. As we were looking around, Brice's cell phone rang and the good news came out: "Our room is finally ready!" We celebrated with a shopping spree! Don't know what Brice got, but I got a few games, and a DVD. We ran into some other people that he knew and we made a pact that we would split money with each other on the room.
After that we ran back to the hotel and finally got out of those clothes that we wore for a record shattering 30+ hours, and getting in the shower. Feeling like brand new people, I hooked the Dreamcast up to the television and me and Brice snuck in a few matches of Marvel vs Capcom 2 (we play FIERCE! that's what makes it so fun for us) and headed back to the convention. Everywhere we went, there were rooms showing Ultraman, some random anime from here to there, and some rooms were showing some stupid fandubs, like some common people took the original dialogue and music from the anime "The Record of Loddoss War" and put their own lines and music in to make it hilarious. My favorites had to be the Fushigi Yugi fandub about Otakon itself, one funny part is when they made a big diss on the worst mapping server, Mapquest. And the rude crude Hamtaro fandub, with that black "gangsta" atmosphere. Half the audience walked out in the middle of it, it was that bad. After watching stuff in different rooms, all we did was walk around taking pictures of cosplayers, making long conversations, and collecting AIM screen names (which unfortunately I lost....).
July 27, 2002
4:00 AM -As I was knocked out fast asleep. I kept hearing voices. Couldn't tell if they were real or not. Due to the air conditioning, I was on the floor freezing. I had no blanket. Too many stuff were piled up on top of the beds. So I slept with my arms inside my shirt. Then I realized the voices were real, it was several of the guys we met down in the Dealer's Room were in there, talking about bringing his PSOne system with the portable screen. One of them tripped over my foot.
11:30 AM: Before heading back to the convention, we decided to get some food. We were gonna eat at Burger King, but instead, something next door was 100 times better than BK: An Italian Restaurant. After I got my pizza and spaghetti, I walked to our table with a big surprise, a girl sitting at our table talking to Brice about what anime they like to watch and she said she would hang with us until a certain time when she had to meet up with some people. My mind just kicked in reminding me that I had left my camera at our hotel room, and we took her up with us. But we didn't just grab the camera and run. We snuck in a couple Marvel vs Capcom 2 matches, right in front of her. then went back to Otakon.
At the top of the escalator, there was a mob of Final Fantasy cosplayers from parts 6-10. But there was this one eccentric that cosplayed as Squall, making it hard to imagine what if the real Squall acted like that since he's anti-social. All the FF cosplaying females gave this guy a dollar just to get hugs and kisses from.
After all that I decided to go to the second floor and make a scene myself. All I did was have all those people repeat after me: "OTAKON!!!"
We did our usual thing like we did last night, watch stuff in the viewing rooms, talk to people, get screen names and other stuff like that. Eventually we had discovered the "Game Room", where people challenge each other in the hottest fighting games and Dance Dance Revolution, which to my surprise had the biggest legion of spectators, even the DDR clones. The gaming room was one big auditorium with 100 TV sets, some had Guilty Gear X, Mark of the Wolves, a Sega Saturn with Dungeons and Dragons Collection, Dead or Alive 3, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Capcom vs SNK 2, and Marvel vs Capcom 2 (where Brice and I spent most of the time at). But when I waited for my turn at MvC2, there were several Neo Geo Cartridge Consoles with King of Fighters 96' next to MvC2, as I played, I had a 20 win streak, with custom teams mostly consisting of Terry, Andy, Joe, Iori and Kyo, and for the first time in my life, I actually got to play King of Fighters 2001 on the other Neo Geo, which I understand is slightly more expensive than the Neo Geo system itself! Then some unexpected company came up. I saw that the guys I'd usually see at the tournaments particularly at Gametime in Northern Virginia, half were cool to talk to, others were just bigheads that think they're the shit, oh well this world is full of assholes, better get used to it. It became a stroke of bad luck that my skill on MvC2 started plummetting a little since I saw those guys.
Later on, there was a masquerade/cosplay contest, with lots of skits, cosplay, music, and re-enactments of scenes from various role playing games, the King Ghidra singing Bohemian Rhapsody was pretty good. After that it was back to the game room. Eventually, the crowds got big and split us up. I tried calling Brice back on his cell phone, but assuming because it was 1:30 in the morning and everything was closing for the day, I just walked back to the hotel room, and Brice and the others were already there. I discovered that 2 new people had joined us. We pulled an all nighter with a laugh fest of random subjects, such as the funniest car accidents and other stuff. Eventually at around 5:30 AM, we finally went to sleep.
July 28, 2002
This is the last day. Nothing much happened. We knew Otakon would end in under a few hours and we didn't have time left. So we just made one more quick trip to the Dealer's Room for a couple of more things, and went to the hotel to pack up our bags to leave behind the fun that this convention had brought us.
Hope next year will be better!
Now, you see that link at the bottom? Click it! These are the pics I finally posted up. There is not much, but soon I don't know when or never, but Brice will burn up a CD with his half of the con, and then it'll be boomin! If you were at Otakon 2002, especially anyone that sees themselves in any of the pictures I had just posted up, sign my guestbook/guestmap, e-mail me or hit me up on AOL Instant Messenger, and talk about how it went on your side. If you're interested in joining Brice and I for our next Otakon adventure, hit me up on that too, nothing wrong with that.