Otakon 2015 Photoblog

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I don’t really have a big story to go on about coming out of Otakon 2015. The main reason I’m doing this post is really just to share some cosplay photos I took, and there aren’t a whole bunch.

Last year I said Otakon was a sign the anime and manga industries were still growing or at least healthy just judging by the attendance and content being shown off. I guess things this year felt pretty stable in comparison. Almost everything I saw at a couple of the anime preview panels though pretty much consisted of two things: moe high school drama, nostalgia about Japanese media from the 90’s — the last era of nascent Japanese technological and cultural dominance, or both. You still have to look pretty hard for stuff that’s not moe teenage drama in the anime/manga world, but it’s still there.

Speaking of nostalgia, I did get to sit inside and play an arcade cabinet at Otakon this year, which I haven’t done in probably over a decade. It was a new game in an old favorite series too: Darius Burst AC EX. First, I didn’t even know Darius Burst had an arcade version, one that actually came out before the iOS version (which is the only version available outside Japan). Otacorp had hauled this thing out of Japan and put it in free mode in the gaming area. It didn’t just feel like an old arcade game though. It had modern graphics (for something originally based on a PSP game) plastered on a super-wide screen inside a booth-like cabinet for four players. That whole end of the gaming area was really an early 2000’s arcade when you think about it: DanceDance RevolutionIn The GrooveTaiko Drum Master, etc.

One thing I’ll say about the state of today’s Japanese gaming though is this was the first year I really started to see mobile take over with even the otaku audience. For the last few years Otakon has been a sea of 3DSs with maybe a few Vitas and PSPs in the mix. This year was no different, especially being the first Otakon after Super Smash Bros. hit the 3DS, but I saw a lot of iPhones and tablets out running some kind of rhythm game. I think it’s one of those Hatsune Miku games or something like them. I don’t find rhythm games as fun without some kind of physical gimmick like a drum or a dance pad though. I definitely saw more people playing them than PSPs or Vitas, and probably almost as many as were playing 3DSs.

When it comes to anime and manga one thing I’m starting to sense the growing prevalence of is fan-made content. The manga industry in Japan has supported fan content for decades in the form of doujinshi, and it’s probably been happening in the west for a while too, but I think the YouTube era has brought about essentially the anime/video equivalent. Abridged anime parodies remain a cornerstone of some of the screenings at Otakon, and the panel featuring some of the producers of those parodies was massive this year.

As for buying things at Otakon, I’ve made my peace with the fact that the dealer’s room is mostly an Amazon showroom but for otaku products. The exceptions for anime, manga, and games are maybe three or four stores that offer varying levels of deals.

Here you go:

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