a con in review
For the first year at DC, it was as smooth as it can be. There were no reports of major issues for the pre registration line on thursday night. Those who pre-registered early received their badges by mail which was a smooth process. The feel of the space throughout the weekend was reasonable. It didn’t feel empty as the first year of Anime Next felt at the Atlantic City area but that only means that the space of DC was appropriate to the size Otakon has gotten. My favorite change was having the main stage being held at the con center rather then an outside space. It saved so much time in terms of traveling. Also, Anisong was a perfect way to kick off the first of Otakon DC. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t take pics of the event.
The location of the convention center is across the street from several different hotels with Otakon room blocks as well as within blocks of Gallery Chinatown which is filled with late night eateries with reasonable prices. In terms of convenience between the Baltimore Inner Harbor, it is about the same.
The con center itself held the majority of the panels and events though it also utilized the connecting lower levels and some rooms in the Marriott Marquis, a hotel with similar photoshoot worthy backdrops as the Gaylord for Katsucon. The ‘underground tunnel’ was a hallway connecting the Marquis and the lower level of the con center. It was large, but has some reminders to the skyway between the Hilton and the con in Baltimore. Thankfully, there was not much traffic there though the continual bag check did have some hold ups. A major change in security measure is the bag checks at the doors. There were alot of security staff to man tables so the line at the main entrance to the con was always moving, but it is something to note during the busy hours as there is a wait. Speaking of photoshoots, there are lots of places around the con to shoot, though the heat and the rain on saturday pushed many people in doors.
No complaints about the space and location. And with an extensive guest list, Otakon can only get bigger and better each year. Attendance numbers reported are 24,894, the lowest it has been since 2007. That isn’t saying much about a loss of popularity since attendees usually wait for the second year at a new location, waiting for staff to work out any kinks and problems. Next Otakon is scheduled for August 10-12, 2018 and I imagine the numbers to increase.