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Going to Otakon! I need advice and tips on everything. XD

anime manga otakon cag insert topic tag here

#1 BriankLizard93   Hindsight is 20-20 CAGiversary!   281 Posts   Joined 8.3 Years Ago  


Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:33 PM

Hello CAG. I'm taking my fiancee on a trip to Otakon for her birthday (nerd love! wooooo!). This will be our first con. I'm just curious as to a few things. If you can, answer this stuff, or just ramble about anime and such. :)

1.) Any helpful advice to tackling a huge con like Otakon?


2.) What are some good import games? Granted, I only know how to speak English and French, but still. I'd love to find some great foreign gems.


3.) Any (sort of unknown) rare things I should keep a lookout for?


4.) Tips for attending things such as the T.M. concert, autograph signings, etc.?

#2 DNukem170   Banned Banned   8864 Posts   Joined 14.5 Years Ago  


Posted 21 June 2013 - 02:51 AM

Get in line early. For the concert, big autograph signings, and big screenings, get in line 2 hours ahead.

Do not get in line for Jason David Frank's autograph. Last year they had to cut his autograph session short, so they gave who was left a ticket to come back later. Only they didn't tell the other staff memebers. Ended up waiting in line almost 5 hours for the autograph and it cost me $10 to boot.

Do not buy food from the convention center. It is overpriced.

Public transport is your friend. Baltimore traffic is not.

Get there Thursday if you can. Jimmy John's actually delivers to you in line.

Bring your chargers.

#3 Indigo_Streetlight  


Posted 21 June 2013 - 03:42 AM

Be careful in the merchandise area and set a spending limit for yourself; when I went last year most of the goods weren't truly exotic-- rather they were more like overpriced DVDs, manga, and trinkets which are commonly available online. I did see some cool stuff like a Clock Tower game for the Super Famicom, import Sega Saturn games, etc.; unfortunately all priced $15-20 above market value :P


I tended to enjoy the starving artist section a little better; there you can sometimes work out deals for autographs and unique items since the artists are after all, hungry ;) Also the auction can be worth checking out if you're into any original anime or video game creations.


Some other activities include people-watching / getting your picture-taken with various cosplay junkies, attending panels with weirdly obscure topics, and the manga library. I'd definitely recommend the manga library, when I attended they seemed to have everything that was unusual and out-of-print. I could just about pull an anime series from mid-air and sure enough, they'd have the wacky adaptation for it.


As a final thought, I'd avoid the big signings and events...go underground instead. Take your fiance to a dance and laugh as you watch the drunken cosplayers collapse under the weight of their gigantic weapon-limbs. That's how you do a Con right :D

#4 Dark_Sage   Superior CAGiversary!   3567 Posts   Joined 12.1 Years Ago  

Posted 21 June 2013 - 03:56 AM

Don't attend autograph sessions. Seriously, why would you do that? You're not a 12-year-old girl getting your CDs signed by Justin Bieber, so skip that noise.


Bring an outlet charger for your phone if you intend to use it at the con. There are usually lots of outlets, so your battery's gonna be fine.


Know your prices on retail goods. Anime is almost always overpriced.

#5 Danger Zone: Archer   Not really here. CAGiversary!   2784 Posts   Joined 8.4 Years Ago  

Danger Zone: Archer

Posted 21 June 2013 - 05:22 AM

 Anime is almost always overpriced.

There always over priced. I don't know nothing about OtaKon, but i went to the Anime Expo out here in L.A three years ago ; and i wanted to buy the first season of Gundam 00. When i asked the guy how much for the whole season, he told me "$70" which was very over priced. i had seen it before for $49. I can understand, if it was the Jap version, but it was the english version. Hell, even the gunpla's (I'm assuming you know what i'm talking about) were expensive, you usually find them in Jap hobby shops for $15 or less. There i found them for $20 and up.


My advice for the OP, buy little trinkets instead of buying big things such as a game. A 

#6 DNukem170   Banned Banned   8864 Posts   Joined 14.5 Years Ago  


Posted 21 June 2013 - 01:07 PM

Aniplex and FUNimation will have booths set-up. Anime will be MSRP, though Aniplex often has some spotlight combo where you buy 2 sets or something and save $10-$15. FUNi uses FYE for their transactions, but you can't use Backstage Pass or any of their sales/coupons. Oh, and they charge tax.

Some of the stands will have anime at 10%-20% off, a couple stands will have slight manga sales where they will end up similar to RightStuf's normal price. There is one booth where you can get complete sets of old anime singles for $20-$30.

I forget the company name, but one store sets up a ton of fully painted Gundam model kits in display cases. Even if you do not plan on buying model kits, it's worth it to check out the displays.

Most stores last year that sold gashopon releases allowed you to trade in duplicates.

Bring a little bit of cash. Most stores last year had credit card machines, but several were cash only.

Also, be thankful the Orioles are away and the Baltimore Grand Prix is a week away.

Also be prepared to walk, a lot. The BCC is huge and Otakon also has several panels in the Hilton Hotel and the TMR concert will likely be in the Baltimore Arena.

#7 Psykodelik   Piw Piw Masta! CAGiversary!   1163 Posts   Joined 14.6 Years Ago  


Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:39 PM

Don't attend autograph sessions. Seriously, why would you do that? You're not a 12-year-old girl getting your CDs signed by Justin Bieber, so skip that noise.


He might not care about autographs, but his fiancee might want it.  If they want to wait for it why not. They can say they experienced it at least once.


Aside from that. I'd recommend a camel/hydration back (any brand will do and places like Big 5).They can range from $30+.  I've been using mine for at least 4 years to every convention now and love it. I can carry various items I don't want in my pocket and not having to hold a bottle everywhere I go is useful. They hold at most 2 liters of water and gets lighter as it finishes. 


Another to recommend (usually a given) pay in cash if you can. Some places charge extra fee if by card.  Always look around before you purchase, Next vendor you see might have it lower than you bought from previous.

#8 DNukem170   Banned Banned   8864 Posts   Joined 14.5 Years Ago  


Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:36 PM

Oh, and if you want to attend the FUNimation and Voice Actor panels, get in line well beforehand. Don't forget to get your 18+ wristband for VAs After Dark.

#9 Rexall   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   382 Posts   Joined 8.7 Years Ago  

Posted 07 July 2013 - 04:09 PM

I've been attending Otakon for 18 out of the 20 years.  I hope to be there this year, as I want to attend the Yoko Kanno concert.  A little about me, I've staffed many anime conventions, have staffed Otakon in the past, so I kinda know what to look out for when and where.


I'll give you a complete breakdown.




First off anime prices are YMMV.  Dealer tables cost money anywhere from 500-$700 a table, so these dealers need to make money on their investments.  I'm a fan of supporting the industry, but I am also a smart shopper.  When buying something, ask yourself do you really really need it.  Is it something you will watch/play a lot, or is it something that will take up space.  End of the day it is up to you how you want to spend your money.  If you see something, make note of it, there are hundreds of dealers, so keep looking around.  Odds are strong you will find another dealer selling the exact same item but cheaper someplace else.  Also keep an eye on your items, especially at the dealers room.  It's very easy to misplace an item and find it missing.  It happened to me last year when I put down the Excel Saga blu ray that I bought.  10 seconds later, it wasn't there.


If you have preregistered for the convention, I suggest you arrive on Thursday to pick up your badge.  Do not wait on line, go pick up your badge around 7-8pm.  There will be no line and you should be able to just walk in and pick up your badge.  I've done this for the last 4-5 years, and it has never failed.

If you MUST pick up your badge on Friday, expect a 3 hour wait.  The line will loop around the entire convention center, which is about a mile long, from 1 end to the other.  It will be hot outside.  If you are prone to heat stroke or can't stand out in the sun longer than an hour, than I suggest you take a walk around the inner harbor.  It's a tourist attraction.  Come back to pick up your badge around 12-1pm.  The lines should be gone and it will be more manageable.


Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes.  Your feet will hurt by the end of the day with the amount of walking you do.  Some of the escalators will be turned off due to weight restrictions.  Otakon attendees average more on the heavier size so some of those escalators can not handle that weight.  Make use of stairs or the elevators. 


Make sure to always have water with you.  There are water stations in all the panel and video rooms, but there might not be enough cups, a water bottle can help fix that.


Big events like masquerade, concert, autographs, will have a line.  Be prepared to arrive 1 hour early for autographs, 2 hours for Masquerade and Concert.  Please note there will be 2 concerts.  One on Saturday afternoon, the other on Sunday.  Not sure when on Sunday.


If you have a smartphone, download guidebook.  Otakon will release their schedule a day or two early.  There are a lot of things to do, so do plan your day out.


For food, the inner harbor Is great for cheap mall type food.  There is also another mall across the street which has cheap but tasty noodles.  If you want to do a sit down restaurant, there are plenty of restaurants nearby.  My favorites are the Edo Sushi place, Tir Na Gog (irish bar/restaurant) and La Tasca (love their sangrias and paella).  I do recommend the local restaurants like Phillips if you are into seafood, and The Fudge Factory.  This is where the R&B Group Dru Hill was discovered....(I think)


For drinks, on Thursday night go to the Power Plant and enter the Howl at the Moon.  They have dueling piano bars with singers that take requests.  I usually try to get them sing "What What in the Butt" as made famous from South Park or Electric Six's "Gay Bar" song.  for $5-$10 you can also take a water taxi to the other side of the harbor.  There is a bar there that has 100 beers on tap.  The place is called Max's Taphouse.  Take a cab back to the hotel but keep an eye on your drive. Some of these cabbies will take a 5 min ride into 15 mins to try to price gouge you.  I guess they know when a tourist is in town.


For late night entertainment, from about 11-2am, Otakon will have a dance, it's more like a rave party.  You can also walk down Baltimore Street for the strip clubs which close at 2am.


Otakon closes at 2am, most restaurants close at 2am, the mall closes at 10-11pm.  Pizzerias close around 2am.  So your only food options after 2am are the 7-11s

#10 DNukem170   Banned Banned   8864 Posts   Joined 14.5 Years Ago  


Posted 07 July 2013 - 05:36 PM

There are also a Subway, Jimmy John's and a Blimpie along Pratt Street. Also a bunch of pubs and grills everywhere along Pratt. The Inner Harbor also has a Hard Rock Cafe.

There's also a Barnes and Noble that usually has an Otakon special. The newsstand across from the convention center also stocks Ramune and Pocky.

Also, the Rt 64 bus (which goes southbound at Light St.) goes by a Walmart and usually runs 2-3 times an hour. It's $1.60 one-way and $3.50 for a day pass.

Also note that if you use the Light Rail it ends shortly after midnight and on Sundays starts at 11am.

#11 Rexall   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   382 Posts   Joined 8.7 Years Ago  

Posted 09 July 2013 - 01:49 PM

I forget when, I think it was 5-7 years ago, the McDonald's closed on Sunday because it ran out of meat.

That will give you an idea of what to expect.

#12 DNukem170   Banned Banned   8864 Posts   Joined 14.5 Years Ago  


Posted 26 July 2013 - 09:06 PM

So...who is going and what is everyone planning to do?

Hoping to go to the TMR concert and the Evangelion 3.33 screening. Also hoping they have Gundam Unicorn episode 6.

#13 Rexall   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   382 Posts   Joined 8.7 Years Ago  

Posted 29 July 2013 - 02:49 PM

I'm going. Haven't got my badge yet, I'm actually going to get my badge for free and won't be picking it up til Friday.

They also plan on screening the rurouni kenshin live action. Highly recommend seeing it. Btw, I thought they are screening Eva 3.0, not Eva 3.33.

I'll probably be killing time at the Animenext table in the dealers room or at the otakon merchandise table.

Did they announce when the yoko Kanno concert times yet?

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