Otakon 2016 has come and gone.
Otakon finished up it’s final run at Baltimore’s Convention Center, after 17 years, and what a great run it was. Otakon will be moving down the road on I-95 to Washington D.C. next year in the hopes of better facilitating a growing fan base. The overall sentiment, however, from the people I talked with was that of sadness and disappointment that it was leaving Baltimore, my daughter and I included. Lola and I are relative new comers to all things Otakon. Fans of anime, manga, and all things Japanese since forever, this was only our fourth trip to Otakon, but every trip just as good as the next.
There was a comfort level established. We knew the lay of the land, the close proximity of the Convention Center to the Inner Harbor to the Renaissance Hotel where we stayed. We’ll miss the spectacle that was cosplayers interacting with each other, and especially pitches of Orioles fans walking past the Convention Center to get to Camden Yards, when the team was in town. What a hoot. Do Orioles hoot?
Well they definitely holler.
It was second nature for us to go left to get to the vendors room or a right down the hall to go to artists’ alley or head on up to the outdoor pavilion to see all the coordinated cosplay group photos being taken. It was our home away from home. Otakon in Baltimore will be sorely missed. Goodbye Baltimore, we’ll miss you.
Hello D.C., can’t wait to get to know you. The venue may be changing next year but the heart of the community that is Otakon will not. The warmth and acceptance from 30,000+ fans is and always will be unsurpassed. I have never met a more diverse group of anime, manga, gamer, and nerd-geek cosplayers with hearts of gold. Truly an amazing community. My daughter Lola had this to say about her visits to Otakon…
“Every time I’m here I feel like that girl in that Blind Melon video. At home or school sometimes I’m looked at as weird for liking what I do, but here, I feel at home here, accepted, with open arms. Everyone’s wearing bumble bee costumes”
We’ll only have fond memories of our 4 years of Otakon in Blatimore, and look forward to another 5 in Washington D.C. It hasn’t been confirmed but there is a chance Otakon makes a return to Baltimore after it’s 5 year stint in D.C. but it all depends on wether or not Baltimore City leaders come up with a plan to expand, upgrade or replace Baltimore’s aging convention center.
Enough of this sappiness, let’s get to why you came here in the first place. Pictures, let’s see some pictures. What better way to showcase the heart of a community that is Otakon than with pictures. So many were taken but here is a splattering of what Lola and I witnessed at this years Otakon 2016. You’ll see her cosplaying as Silica from Sword Art Online and Tinkerbell. You’ll also see cosplayers of all shapes and sizes and genres. Such a beautiful sight to behold. Enjoy!
Click thumbnails for larger image
Want to see more?! Here are some additional links to fellow Otakoners who posted some awesome pics.