This past weekend, I was at 20th edition of the biggest east coast anime convention: Otakon
While it was my first time at the actual convention itself, I did attend their music festival last year which was such an awesome experience, I felt I had to see the real deal.
And the real deal I saw…but not really.
For their 20th anniversary , Otakon invited big time musical artists: Home Made Kazoku, T.M. Revolution, Ishikawa Chiaki and Yoko Kanno.
This means a LOT of people wanted to attend these performances. A lot of peoples means LINES.
Lots of lines.
Basically, Linecon East.
Which is still not as bad as Linecon West (also known as Anime Expo)
I once again made the trip from Montreal by bus.
So I departed on Wednesday night to arrive in Baltimore on Thursday at 1pm
Waited to group with 7thwraith , Will , InugamiKotaro and his cosplayer friends, and then went to pick up my badge which was so easy I thought it was a Joke. (WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME AX ?? ) At least that gave us the time to chill.
At the bar, having a drink with Gintoki #otakon20 pic.twitter.com/EYzVkEpAgn
— Chris(黒月) (@Kurotsuki) August 9, 2013
Friday presented a couple of challenges.
At 6AM, 7th and I woke up to go line up in order to get a ticket that would get us an Autograph by Yoko Kanno. Ticket that would be handed out at 10am.
I thought he (7th) was crazy to wake up that early, but little did I know that everybody else was as well.
We went to line up with Omo, Moy, Momotato and Wah. Also I got to meet DigiKerot who came all the way from the U.K , and that is awesome.
After getting the ticket at 10AM, we tried to get into the 11AM line for the T.M. Revolution autograph ticket, but due to people line cutting , we got cut short of 6 people.
We then zerg rushed into forming a line at noon for the Yoko Kanno concert ticket that they were giving out in limited quantities at 1PM
The ticket acquired, we rushed to get our early-morning-line trophy:
The Yoko Kanno Autograph:
And then I went to line up to get an autograph by Home Made Kazoku.
I was rather taken aback by MICRO and KURO’s perfect English.
Got them to sign one of my favourite CD of theirs and bought swag:
Later at night, we went to a bar and somehow all reached a general consensus : fuck Basu !
Woke up too late to get a Seki autograph which was at 11:30 , when I arrived at 10:40 they were already capped.
I wandered around for a bit and by 12:30 I realized I was once again too late to start lining up for the Home Made Kazoku x T.M. Revolution concert (for which the seating began at 3PM)
Lined up with Fnzna and Proxors
We didn’t get too much of a bad seat, and InugamiKotaro had given me his King Blades for that concert, so I wota’ed pretty hard.
The highlight of that day for me was the Home Made Kazoku concert
I have loved that group for a long time , and it was my first time seeing them live.
The complete set list is pending (assuming it ever does arrive)
but from the top of my head, I remember them performing
- 流れ星 ～Shooting Star～
- No rain no rainbow
- Home Sweet Home
- We Are Family
They had an awesome stage presence, and they knew how to use the crowd.
Then there was the T.M. Revolution concert.
I had already seen him in Japan at Budokan in January, so when I compare the experience , I have to say I am really disappointed by his Otakon one.
First of all, he started with Preserved Rose, expect, with the pre-recorded Nana version.
That felt terribly flat to me.
beyond that, what really got me down is the way he handled the crowd.
He handled us like he goes in Japan crowd
Basically, there were a couple of time he didn’t sing because he was waiting for us to sing for us.
Having witnessed this first hand in Japan, his (Japanese ) fans know his lyrics by heart.
So half the fun of his concert is us singing along with and for him.
In Baltimore however, this doesn’t work, because well people don’t know the lyrics, and even if they did, he never gives a sign that it’s our cue to sing, so people never knew what hit them when it happened.
That being said, I nearly went crazy when he started singing 「Naked Arms」 which I had wanted him to do since Japan ( yeah I know, I still need to write my Japan post ).
And while his crowd antics failed, It was still great to see Takanori being Takanori on stage.
he certainly has a lot of energy and it shows awesomely.
The concert closed with him performing a song with H.M.K
I have no idea what that song was, but it’s great.
On that evening, Kevo made me discover “everclear”
and we started an Anime drinking game with Lerxst, Link, Krizz and fnzna.
First we watched YuruYuri and had to drink every time Akari appeared in a scene.
We got pretty wasted by watching episode where she had the most screen time
Then we watched HeartCatch Precure and had to drink every time Erika made a funny face, which is when I called it quits to avoid intoxication.
Meanwhile Kevo and Link….
OH GOD THEY KNOW THE TRANSFORMATION SCENES POSES pic.twitter.com/hIWNZgW84i
— Chris(黒月) (@Kurotsuki) August 11, 2013
7th was bro enough to come walk me back to the hotel because I was pretty damn gone.
Started with going to get a picture with Home Made Kazoku at noon and consequently miss lining up since 9AM for the Yoko Kanno concert.
The good thing is after my picture, I spotted InugamiKotarou in line and stole a place in line with him.
We were a bit far, but that didn’t make the performances any less awesome.
Ishikawa Chiaki opened the concert
She performed the following songs
- アンインストール (remix) ?
It was unfortunately very short, but great nonetheless.
And then, Yoko Kanno
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words what it is that I felt as I attended this live.
But I can tell you that I was overwhelmed with so many positive emotions.
Here is the official set list of track she played courtesy of Otakon
Resonance of the earth
Gravity ～Baltimore special medley
Power of the Light
Someday My Prince Will Come
The Real Folk Blues
Wo Qui Non Coin
Star Spangled Banner
The two most earth shattering awesome moment for me was
1 )when she played Gravity and the The crowd started singing along her piano.
I had rarely experience something so beautiful before.
2) When she played Power of the Light, which is my favourite from her.
I had not even dreamt she’d play anything from Brain Power, but she went and did. That was just amazing.
A funny moment was when we sort of tried to sing Real Folk Blues along her Piano, but kept mumbling it and failed miserably. We even got the lyrics wrong and she shook her head.
btw, have I mentioned how adorable and cute Yoko is ?
She came in with a Nekomimi on her head and that was simply brilliant.
and she was very coquettish
After her live, there was a surprise Ishikawa Chiaki extra autograph session announced.
I rushed to buy a shirt and get her to sign it for me.
And that was my last event of Otakon.
As my first real Otakon, I have to say I spent more time in lines than at AX somehow.
However I’m not exactly sure at which of those two I had the most fun.
Meaning that I may have to come back again next year.
PS: Before I forget, the few pictures I took over there can be found on facebook for now.