You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘pachinko’ tag.

One Saturday morning I decided to check out this get-together on Meetup.com for art professionals and I found parking just a few blocks away from where the meetup was going to take place. I also arrived a bit early so I was able to walk around and take a few pictures before this particular meetup began.

The first few pictures show the Glut Food Co-op, which was originally founded in the late 1960’s by a couple of conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. Glut, with its carrot-shaped sign has become a Mount Rainier institution that frequently attracts those who are looking for organic food but want a locally-owned alternative to chain stores like Whole Foods.

The next photos show the various sights around Mount Rainier.

A line of solar-powered toys line the windowsill of a beauty parlor.

This next sign outside a barber shop had this to say about being a barber.

So what exactly is a barber?

A barber is a person who practices primarily in the art of men’s grooming needs. Some barbers nowadays will also cut a lady’s haircut but a barber’s forte is generally men’s haircuts, beard trims, shaves, and mustaches. Barbers usually only do haircuts and don’t usually do perms, coloring, blow-drying or curling and straightening irons. Barbers used to be only men and cosmetologists were women. There have been a lot of changes in recent years because of the unisex salons and these days many people don’t know the difference between what is a barber and what is a cosmetologist.

Barbering is becoming a lost art. In the old days, everyone knew what a barber was. Many people are unaware that barbers were once surgeons and dentists and clergymen. The traditional barber pole is a symbol that comes from the bloody bandages blowing in the wind. The technical term for barbers is a “tonsorial artist.”

Wow! One can really learn something new while taking a walk around a certain area.

The next photo shows a row of colorfully-painted buildings including the public library, the local office of Progressive insurance, and a Masonic lodge.

The Masonic lodge has a trio of really colorful murals featuring birds flying against an orange background with blue flowers, and red-orange diamonds.

You can see the colorful bricks outside the Progressive insurance office.

The colorful bricks continue to the local public library that’s located next door.

The Mount Rainier library is one of the smallest libraries I have ever visited in recent years. It’s basically one small room. Despite its small size, I saw a few patrons browsing the books and using the computers and other resources.

The meetup took place at the Bird Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant.

The meetup took place outside in the restaurant’s courtyard, which had this vintage pachinko machine on display. (I didn’t attempt to try playing it so I don’t know if it’s there purely for decoration or if it is really a working machine.)

After the meetup ended I decided to do something that I had always wanted to do but I kept on putting it off. I figured that since I was in Mount Rainier anyway, I should check out that local legend about how there was a family whose exorcism of their teenage son provided the basis for both the bestselling novel and subsequent movie The Exorcist. I’m going to write a separate blog post devoted to this so stay tuned.

Advertisements

Last Saturday I went to Baltimore where I took part in two distinctively different events. I drove my car to the North Linthicum Light Rail stop where I took the Baltimore Light Rail to the North Avenue stop. I found myself in the Station North Arts District once again (I was there for Artscape 2014 a few weeks ago plus I’ve attended numerous drawing events at the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School that’s held in The Wind-Up Space.) This next photo shows the reason why I made the return trip to that area.

photo12

This year I decided to take part in this year’s Station North Salon Show and Saturday was the only day that I could drop off my art. (I had a major event at my church the following day that ran at the same time as the drop-off hours on Sunday.) I packed two of my smaller art pieces in a large bag and carried them around on the streets of Baltimore. While I was on my way to my ultimate destination, I took some photos of the area.

photo1

photo2

photo3

I finally arrived at the place where I was supposed to drop off my artwork at The Chicken Box, which is pictured below.

photo4

Inside of The Chicken Box is pretty eclectic, to say the least. I found an old-fashioned clawfoot bathtub in the middle of the room that didn’t look like it was hooked up to any water pipes.

photo5

I also saw this French flag being hung on a wall for some reason that I couldn’t fathom. (Bastille Day was a few weeks ago and I don’t know of any other French national holidays in August.)

photo6

Once I registered my artworks, one of the organizers present decided that they should be hanging in the nearby Station North Arts Cafe and they asked me to bring my pieces to that place. The next photo shows the entrance to the cafe.

photo7

The official start of the show will begin this Friday, August 8, so I’ll write more about this show in a couple of days. After I dropped off my artwork, I continued to walk around the area while I took some more photos of the area.

photo8

photo9

photo10

photo11

photo13

photo14

photo15

I finally arrived at the majestic Penn Station building, where I took the below photo. After I took the photo I arrived at the nearby Charm City Circulator bus stop, where I boarded the southbound Purple Line bus.

photo16

I rode this bus until it arrived at the stop that’s closest to both the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore Convention Center. I walked over to the convention center where I saw banners and signs pointing out the second event I decided to attend in Baltimore on the same day.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

That’s right, I decided to attend BronyCon for the second year in a row. I enjoyed myself so much last year that I decided to go back, even though Saturday was the only day that I could attend because of tight finances and the fact that I was attending a major event at my church the following day. As I walked over towards the entrance, I noticed one of the nearby vendors selling these inflatable My Little Pony knock-offs.

BronyCon 2014

Once I got inside I saw a whole bunch of people all ready to celebrate all things My Little Pony. A few days after I took these photos, someone wrote this disparaging article for the Baltimore City Paper about how Bronies have ruined My Little Pony by doing porn drawings of the various characters. She seemed to insinuate that there were plenty of Pony porn on sale at BronyCon with this quote.

“But there will also be artists who add sexualized equine pictures and other graphic images to the internet. Braeburned, Welcome Princess Celest (a link on their vendor profile on the BronyCon website leads to this personal Tumblr, which then leads to this NSFW site), Lil Miss Rarity, and Siden are just some examples of artists drawing not-kid-appropriate work who will also be vendors.”

As my photos show, I did not come across anything that even remotely resembled pony porn. Besides, every fandom has it sick porn fanatics but they are definitely the minority. I’ve seen porn images featuring various Disney characters and I once came across a photostory done by someone in the Asian Ball Jointed Doll fandom that featured one male doll homosexually raping another male doll. And the creator even posted a warning that her photostory included what she called “non-consenual sex.” Porn involving cartoons and/or toys is nothing new but it doesn’t necessarily mean that all fans of My Little Pony are pony sex-crazed obsessive freaks. Not by a long-shot. By the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m personally not a fan of such stuff.

Now that I got that heavy stuff out of the way, here are the photos of what I actually saw at BronyCon.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

I finally arrived at the Registration area where I paid my $50 admission for a Saturday-Only pass. I arrived in the afternoon and there weren’t a lot of people in line so I was basically in and out in less than 15 minutes.

BronyCon 2014

After I got my pass I went up to the third floor where I sat down at a table and ate this lunch that I brought with me. (I packed both lunch and dinner along with some small bottles of Diet Pepsi and a few freezer packs in my insulated Wegman’s bag because Baltimore Convention Center food is mediocre and way overpriced. Harborplace is located nearby and slightly cheaper but I find that bringing my own food and drink from home to be the cheapest option.)

BronyCon 2014

There was this plushie in an empty chair next to the one I sat in. It was obvious that it belonged to someone so I took this photo and uploaded it on both Twitter and Instagram with a message of where I found this plushie. After I finished eating I left the plushie in the chair in the hopes that its rightful owner sees my online message and goes to that chair to retrieve it.

BronyCon 2014

The one thing I noticed is that there were more people at this year’s BronyCon than last year. I attempted to attend a workshop on making ponies from polymer clay but I was unsuccessful because there were so many people lining up that security had to limit attendance in order to keep in line with the fire code. The Traveling Pony Museum was held in the same room as that polymer clay workshop and there were so many other workshops scheduled in that same room that drew such large crowds that I ended up not getting a chance to see that room at all this year.

Despite my gripe over the increased attendance at BronyCon this year, it was still nowhere near as bad as last year’s Otakon in the same location. According to this tweet, BronyCon attracted 9,607 attendees, which is still manageable compared to Otakon 2013’s draw of 34,100 people.

I spent a lot of time taking photos of cosplayers and the various items that were on sale at the convention.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

At one point I checked out the video games in the Baltimare Arcade but it was so crowded that I ended up just taking pictures of some of the screens before I moved on.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

I managed to get into the second workshop I wanted to attend. (It really helped that it was held in a very large room.) The workshop was on “Pony Sculpting” and it was interesting hearing these panelists talk about their experiences with using various types of sculpting materials (such as polymer clay and epoxy).

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

After the workshop ended the audience was invited to see the panelists’ handiwork up close. I was very impressed with their work.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

I wasn’t able to get into another workshop that I was interested in (it was called “Shadowbox Building Workshop” and you had to buy this kit from one of the tables in the Dealers’ Room ahead of time—I went to that table only to find that the kits were sold out) so I spent some more time taking pictures of the various cosplayers that caught my interest.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

I was able to get into the last workshop that I was interested in. It was called “How to Draw Ponies With the MLP Drawing School.” I had looked up this workshop on the BronyCon website and the description invited people to bring their own paper and pencils. I packed my sketchbook along with my colored pencil before I headed off to Baltimore. When I entered the room, the participants sent volunteers to provide paper and pencils to anyone who forgot to bring them. I was pumped to try my hand at drawing ponies.

I expected the workshop to be similar to the last time I was in Florida in 2011 when I spent a few hours at DisneyQuest where I took a half-an-hour drawing lesson that focused exclusively on drawing Minnie Mouse’s head. I thought this workshop would just focus on one or two My Little Pony characters. Except they brought up an image of Twilight Sparkle and they started off with saying that you need a reference drawing while starting to draw that pony in Adobe Photoshop (which was shown to the audience on the overhead). Then a minute or two later, they deleted what they were doing and they brought up a reference file of a different pony. Then a minute or two later they deleted what they were doing and brought up yet another pony and began to draw that pony for a minute or two before deleting that drawing and moving on to someone else, and so on. They were jumping around from character to character and I literally couldn’t keep up. At the same time people in the audience were asking questions like “How do you draw Spike the Dragon?” or “How do you draw Rarity?” and the panelists would begin drawing either Spike or Rarity for a minute or two then switch to another character.

It was literally “Drawing Lessons for Those With A.D.D.” and it was driving me crazy. Eventually they switched back to Twilight Sparkle yet again (the same pony that they started the workshop with) and started drawing her. I decided to just follow along and draw Twilight Sparkle because I grew tired of starting a new character and then erasing in order to keep up with the panelists. When they jumped to yet another character and removed Twilight Sparkle from the overhead presentation, I grabbed my smartphone, did a Google search for Twilight Sparkle, and continued drawing that pony and ignored the presenters and their frequent switching from one character to another every two or three minutes.

By the time I finished my quick drawing, it was 9 p.m. and the end of the hour-long workshop. The panelists apologized for being too quick with this workshop and they said that at 9:30 p.m. they were going to give another workshop on “Extra Drawing with the MLP Drawing School” where they promised that they would take things more slowly. By that point I was getting pretty tired and I was in no mood to wait around and see if these people were going to keep their promise and provide a slower drawing lesson with this later workshop. Besides, I felt that starting a new art project at 9:30 at night was too late for me. So I basically took a quick photo of my pencil drawing of Twilight Sparkle with my smartphone, packed up my stuff and moved on.

BronyCon 2014

I decided to check out BronyPalooza, which is this big dance party that gets hyped as being the biggest event of BronyCon. I skipped BronyPalooza last year because of exhaustion but this year I arrived at BronyCon late enough that I was able to check it out.

BronyCon 2014

I found that BronyPalooza was a live performance featuring DJ’s and rappers. Most of the people just stood around. There were very few seats and they were all occupied. There were very few dancers and many people crowded the stage and just stood there. The next photos showed how far away from the stage I was because of the crowds.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

I didn’t last long at BronyPalooza. My feet had grown sore and I had to be at church the next morning so I basically left and took the next Baltimore Light Rail train back to the North Linthicum station where my car was parked then I drove home.

The next photos show the front and back of my Saturday-Only pass.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

And here’s the front and back cover of this year’s BronyCon program book.

BronyCon 2014

I only bought one thing at BronyCon this year. I found this vinyl pony named Dr. Whooves (a My Little Pony character that is a parody of Doctor Who). I only paid $15 for him and he is totally cute. He is also small enough that he doesn’t take up much space in my home.

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

BronyCon 2014

The night before the start of the first day of Otakon I took a plastic grocery shopping bag and reused it in order to pack a few extra things to bring to Otakon with me. I had heard of various meetups that were taking place and I decided to pack a variety of small items just in case I happened to run into a meetup already in progress. The items were a mix of tiny Asian ball-jointed dolls, My Little Pony figurines, and a couple of Japanese-imported Arpakasso plushies I purchased at previous anime conventions. The below photo shows what I brought. The figure in the foreground is Derpy Hooves. In the back are (from left to right) a small pink Arpakasso plushie, Rainbow Dash, Orient Doll Ji, Soul Doll Kimmy, Soom Mini-Gem Uyoo, Bobobie Sunny, and a larger light beige Arpakasso plushie.

What I Brought With Me to Otakon 2013

I didn’t get any opportunities to open the bag on the first day but on the second day I found one meetup where I could display what I had brought.

Anyway, I had every intention of checking out this panel titled "Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland’s Effect on Anime & Manga" even though it was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. (which meant I would’ve had to get up really early for the commute to Baltimore). But then I woke up in the middle of the night with total muscular pain throughout my whole body. I tried shifting around in bed but it was no use. I finally had to get up and take some ibuprofen before the pain finally stopped. As a result, I overslept so I not only missed that panel but also another panel that was scheduled for 10: 15 a.m. that I wanted to go to titled "Nintendo: Entertaining Since 1889." I was so tired and stiff that it took me a while to get my body into gear so I could do something simple as to take a hot shower (which helped loosen my tight muscles). I also decided to put on some compression socks that I originally purchased when I underwent my hip replacement back in 2008 and I suffered from edema in the immediate aftermath of that surgery.

I arrived at the North Linthicum light rail station where I saw these cosplayers.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

By the time I arrived in Baltimore I managed to miss the scheduled 1 p.m. showing of a video that I really wanted to see titled Beijing Punk. I managed to get into the Baltimore Convention Center through the front doors because the line of people waiting to register and get their badges was way smaller than the last two days.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

Once I got in I went up to the 400 level of the Baltimore Convention Center where I found one of the many Asian ball-jointed meetups that were being held throughout Otakon weekend and they were all organized through the Den of Angels forum. I’ll admit that I had my trepidations about attending because I still remember this bizarre incident from last year when, at the first meetup I attended on the first day of Otakon 2012, these two women came up to me, claimed that I had posted a photo I took of a bag that belonged to one of them on my own Kim’s World of Art website five years earlier, asked me to remove that photo, then walked quickly away before I had a chance to ask them any questions (like "Do I know you?" or "What photo are you referring to?"). While the other doll meetups I attended last year were all free of similar weirdness, I was still unnerved by that incident.

Fortunately the meetup I attended on the second day of Otakon 2013 was free of such weirdness and everyone present were pretty nice and friendly. I also got a chance to take a lot of photos of gorgeous dolls while I took my own dolls out of the plastic grocery bag and displayed them in public.

Fortunately the meetup I attended on the second day of Otakon 2013 was free of such weirdness and everyone present were pretty nice and friendly. What was cool was the willingness of one meetup participant to help another meetup participant re-string her doll after her doll literally fell apart during transit. (That’s why some of the photos include doll parts.) I also got a chance to take a lot of photos of gorgeous dolls while I took my own dolls out of the plastic grocery bag and displayed them in public.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

It turned out that the 400 level terrace was a very popular place to hold meetups so there were usually many of them going on at the same time. In addition to the Asian ball-jointed doll meetup, there were also meetups for Star Trek,

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

Dr. Who,…

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

and furries.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

In addition to the meetups, a group of cosplayers (including one dressed as Santa Claus) were playing cards in the same area.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

When the Asian ball-jointed doll meetup began to break up, I headed down to the lower levels. I wanted to visit the Artists Alley but I found the best way to reach it is through the Dealers Room, where I took this photo, which is a bit on the NSFW side.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

I didn’t spend much time in the Dealers Room because I really wanted to visit the Artists Alley and I didn’t get a chance to do so yesterday because my feet grew very tired and sore after all that walking in the Dealers Room. I finally made it to the Artists Alley, where I ran into someone cosplaying as Luke Skywalker standing next to R2-D2.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

The Artists Alley focused on aspiring artists and crafters who sold a variety of handmade items including drawings, jewelry, plushies, hats, lolita dresses, and self-published zines.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

While I was in the Artists Alley, I looked in on the progress of this giant work of art that Eric Maruscak of Pepper Ink was working on throughout Otakon.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

I wanted to go to Video Gaming room but it became a challenge to do so because the security would block off certain stairs or escalators in the name of crowd control. I found that walking around outside then going back inside the Baltimore Convention Center was the quickest way of going to the Video Gaming room. While I was outside, I took a photo of the bleachers that were recently set up in advance of the upcoming Grand Prix of Baltimore, which will be held on Labor Day weekend.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

I managed to re-enter the Baltimore Convention Center where I found these cosplayers.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

After much maneuvering around the security’s maze-like crowd control efforts, I finally made it to the Video Gaming room.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

There were a variety of video games that were all on Free Play. However getting to a video game console was difficult because nearly all of them were occupied with small lines forming behind the current players.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

The one video game I was able to reach wasn’t working and one of the Otakon staff told me that he thinks that someone had beaten the game and the game became inoperable as a result. One interesting tidbit about this busted game: it used a vintage pre-Wii Nintendo controller. (I’ll admit that I didn’t realize I was holding the controller upside down until a few days after Otakon ended.)

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

I managed to try my hand at one of the pachinko machines because they were less crowded (I had never used one before and I couldn’t find instructions in English on how to play one so I just shot the metal balls at random and I have no idea if I did well or not) but that was the extent of my hands-on experience. The proceeds from the pachinko machines went to a charity called AbleGamers and I was given three free unopened packs of Magic the Gathering cards as a "thank you" gift for paying to play pachinko.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

There were smaller less-known video game companies who were showing demos of their latest video game.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

Even though it was the Video Gaming room, there were plenty of card games and board games as well. The non-electronic games were just as crowded and popular as the video games.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

There were plenty of cosplayers in the Video Gaming room.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

After a while I left the Video Gaming room and just took pictures of cosplayers in the hallways and outside the Baltimore Convention Center.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

After my earlier failed attempts at attending workshops and panels, I finally managed to get to one scheduled Otakon event but I had to really go through all kinds of obstacles to get there. I saw the English-dubbed version of this feature-length anime titled Wolf Children. I hadn’t originally planned on seeing that movie until I saw a description about it in the programming booklet while I was eating the dinner that I had brought with me while sitting in one of the comfy chairs in the hallway. I thought the plot of the movie sounded interesting. On top of it, when I pre-registered a couple of days ago I had a choice of a variety of designs for my badge (most of which were anime scenes) and I picked this one design because I thought it looked really cute. When I looked at my badge and saw "Wolf Children" on it, I thought it would be really cool to see the movie behind my Otakon badge.

Otakon Preregistration, August 8, 2013

I know that crowd control can be a challenge for a really big convention like Otakon but there were times when I questioned some of their methods of crowd control. The event I wanted to get to was held in a room that was located on the lower floor of the convention center and I was on the floor directly above that room. Normally one could take either the escalators, the steps, or the nearby elevator to get to the lower floor. I had no argument with reserving all of the elevators only for people with major disabilities. But access to the steps and the escalators was also closed off. In order to get to the lower floor, I had to exit the building, walk around the building from the outside until I hit the front doors that led to the lower floor, then re-enter the building. I have no idea why people had to leave the building in order to get to the lower floor.

Once I got to the lower floor there was this scrum of people that I had to literally push my way through in order to get into another line so I could get into the theater showing the film that I wanted to check out because the synopsis intrigued me. In this case the term "line" could be used very loosely. It was almost like you had to pick a large group at random then endure more waits as the security alternated between letting each group get into a more organized line that led to the doors where the movie was being shown. There were so many people trying to get in that the movie ended up starting a half an hour later than originally scheduled. At least the room was very large so there were plenty of seats for a giant crowd like the one that I was a part of.

The movie was worth the wait. It’s got a similar "human female student meets fellow male student who’s a supernatural creature" story to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series except I thought that Wolf Children was way better than Twilight. The main female character, Hana, faces (and eventually overcomes) all kinds of obstacles that would’ve brought Bella Swan to a total nervous breakdown. The animation is incredibly beautiful and the story was very well written. I saw the dubbed version and I thought that the dubs were done very well. It’s too bad that a film like Wolf Children doesn’t get a wider theater distribution because I think that movie would definitely hold its own against the likes of any Pixar film.

Since the movie started a half an hour late, I ended up arriving at this workshop that I wanted to check out late. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get in at all because over the last few Otakons, the conventional wisdom is that if you want to guarantee of even getting inside the door, you should arrive at least a half-an-hour early. If you want to guarantee of getting inside the door and getting a seat, you should arrive at least 45 minutes-1 hour before the start. But, amazingly, I was able to get inside and get a seat with no trouble at all. The workshop was titled "Introduction to Deleter Neopiko2 Marker" and it was a hands-on demonstration of the Japanese-made Neopiko2 markers that many artists use when creating manga. I was very impressed with the quality of the markers and I felt that they were way superior to Sharpies. (FYI, in case you were wondering, I didn’t do that drawing below. It was originally a black and white photocopied drawing and I only colored it with Neopiko2 markers.)

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

After the workshop ended I did a little walking around the Baltimore Convention Center. For once I was actually at an anime convention past sundown and I noticed that one of the hallways of the Baltimore Convention Center was bathed in this really pretty blue light that reflected on all the people walking down it.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

While there were a few late night panels and events that intrigued me, I was totally exhausted. The good news was that the compression socks I wore the entire day helped my feet alot and I was able to physically last longer on my feet than the day before. However, even with the compression socks I had hit a point where I couldn’t take Otakon any more so I decided to leave. As I was on my way out the door I took this one last photo of Otakon’s second day.

Otakon 2013, Day 2, August 10, 2013

Previous Entries

Categories