Goodbye Baltimore: Otakon 2016

A lot happened in 2016 that was unpleasant, and another item on that list was Otakon’s final year in Baltimore.

Otakon and the Baltimore convention center have personal significance to me. Otakon was my very first convention that I ever attended, and I started going back in 1999 when it was in Baltimore for the first time. Though I know this con didn’t always call the Baltimore convention center it’s home, it always felt like the center of all things Otakon to me. Back when I first attended Otakon, I was bullied for my interest in anime. It wasn’t the cool thing to do at all, Otakon was my annual escape to a place where everyone was like me and I felt at home. I never would have expected it would have grown so much.

It can be a good and bad thing. I am certainly thrilled for the con’s success, but at the same time the crowds have been unbearable at points for some of my friends and it has truthfully overgrown the convention center which prompted this move.

I had bugged my significant other for some time to go to Otakon and since this was his last chance to see it in Baltimore, I told him he was going.

I even managed to convince him to cosplay with me. I also did another new cosplay: my own interpretation of Princess Neptune from Sailor Moon. But I sadly did not get nearly enough shots of it. :-/ I did make it to a Sailor Moon shoot though and had some fun there.

2016 was also a year of cosplay mishaps, at least for Otakon. I got my dress for Princess Neptune, only to find the bust was not quite large enough at the last moment, forcing me to get a different dress at the last minute. It still turned out pretty well though…

Then there was this other mishap…

Just for fun, we decided to cosplay Dr. Krieger and his virtual waifu…it was going to be a fairly quick and easy cosplay and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it, so I purchased a dress on Amazon to use. For my other half, I didn’t have much work to do aside from the beard because he unfortunately could not grow a krieger-esque beard. So I did what I could with makeup, and it was passable.

Things were going okay at first. I was very proud of my look and my partner who has never cosplayed was even enjoying himself.

I went to the photo suite to get our costumes photographed and absolute disaster struck.

The zipper on the side of my cheap and quick to order dress split.

It was a cosplay disaster of epic proportions.

Luckily Otakon has a cosplay rescue and I totally made use of it. The super awesome person who helped me managed to pin the dress together enough so I could get through the shoot, but it was definitely not a permanent solution. I ended up buying a random school girl outfit in the dealer’s room to change in to, which although it still worked for the character on the whole, it was not a canon look and I feel the effect was a little dulled by this. It was amusing, during the time we were in our canon cosplays, how excited people would get to see us.

On the whole, it was a good con. I always enjoy Otakon and I finally managed to convince that special someone in my life to give it a chance, and we even watched some new anime along with a lot of AMVs.

It felt bittersweet, knowing I would not be coming back to the Baltimore convention center next year for my annual visit. Another sad change was the loss of a popular shooting location: the McKeldin fountain. This installment was set to be removed and remodeled months ago into something more modern by a city decision, but I had been hoping no action would be taken until after Otakon. I was hoping to get one last set of photos there….

Sadly, it was not to be. 😦

2016 was the end of a lot of traditions and comforts. I’m still going to Otakon in DC of course, but it just feels like such a loss having it leave the city.

So in short, goodbye to Otakon from Baltimore, we will miss you.

See you in DC.

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