Otakon 2015

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Otakon 2015

1 August 2015 | Written by Maxxum

Otakon returned for its second-to-last showing in Baltimore, Maryland. And again, as is typical for the event, the area around the Baltimore Convention Center was, for a short time, a de facto little Tokyo.

This year marked the debut of the International Otaku Expo Association (I.O.E.A.) at Otakon. A new organization, whose goal is the development of Otaku culture by linking Otaku expos to one another, the I.O.E.A. sets a serious tone for encouraging cultural interaction by providing a better understanding of Otaku, dispelling some of the myths and prejudices held by people who aren't familiar with Otaku culture.

Speaking with the representatives of the I.O.E.A., Takamasa Sakurai, Kazutaka Satoh, and Dan Kanemitsu - one might not expect to learn from them that the Japanese people are not generally aware of "how much the Otaku culture is flourishing outside of Japan."

While speaking on discrimination against Otaku, Kanemitsu advised that "...one of the biggest stumbling blocks was the limitation of knowledge" and that "hone of the things that we believe will benefit everybody is to have a more diverse set of knowledge available, so you may not like what you see, but y'know if you stick around and look around a little bit you might find something".

Otakon brings together a wide variety of fans of anime, some shows being more mainstream than others, and it can be difficult to keep track of current stories, let alone new intellectual properties - though it's easy to find someone willing to explain in-depth the source of one's cosplay. One of the more striking anime's we discovered this year was 'Aldnoah.Zero' a mecha anime with an interesting Season One plot twist (we strongly advise that one avoid reading the Wiki article for Aldnoah.Zero). For the purest, "Zero" is a mixture of cell animation, and computer graphics that should be appreciated by most mech-heads.

Three days (and the Thursday Matsuri) is too short to see everything, but we can provide a small glimpse from our angle, narrow though it be:

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As with every Otakon, there is a Sunday musical show, this year presented by OreSkaBand, an all-female Ska band with an understated political commentary that would be over-looked by non-Japanese speakers.

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