Kicking off the Otakon 2012 reports, I'm starting off with the part of the report that most people here will be more interested in. As such, here's my coverage of the swag that I got at the convention.
As is my usual Otakon tradition (due to the fact that I'm a size XXXL, and I want to make sure that I get this before it sells out). The first thing I did after waiting almost four hours in line to get into the Dealers Room (yep, they actually opened the doors to the Baltimore Convention Center earlier than usual on Friday morning) was to head to the Otakon merchandise table and pick up this year's T-Shirt. This year's shirt was a navy colored shirt, with the shirt's back art reflecting the theme of this year: cooking.
There was one other piece of clothing this year that interest me, but was limited to just convention staff (although I hope they sell something like it next year). The item is a hockey jersey with the Otakon logo on the front and the number 94 on the back (in reference to 1994, the year of the very first Otakon).
This summer, there were a number of anime titles being released on DVD and Blu-Ray that interest me. As such, I made sure to limit myself before the convention so that way I'd be able to have a decent shopping list at the convention. In terms of Blu-Ray, I didn't pick up any titles this go round. This has to do with either the title not being in the Dealers' Room due to it just coming out in Japan the day before the convention (more on that in the video game section), the title being sold later in August and thus not yet ready to be on sale at the convention, or a title that interest me, but I held back on due to the busy month ahead cash wise of me once I return from the convention (of course, I did eventually splurge, using money from my tax return that I was saving for post-con in case of me being low on cash or big impulse buys, and picked up the Japanese Lucky Star BD set after reading about how it was 50% off at Amazon.jp).
As for the DVD's, I did manage to pick up the ones that were on my shopping list, as well as also pick up an impulse buy. Starting off my shopping list was the complete first series of Lupin III (aka the Lupin series that had some major directing input from Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata). Immediately following that in terms of DVD pick-ups was Hidamari Sketch x SP, a two-episode OAV of the multi-seasoned SHAFT title (with the show's fourth season airing this fall). Rounding out my shopping list was the second half of Hetalia: World Series, which I picked up on Sunday. As for the impulse buy, after considering it for a few cons, I finally decided to pick up the second half of G Gundam. What can I say? That show is so crazy.
In terms of video games, the one title that I was hoping the Dealers' Room would have would be the PS3 game/Blu-Ray hybrid featuring the movie Macross: Do You Remember Love. Yes, I'm aware that there's no English subtitles in that film. However, given how Macross is pretty much in license hell here in America, this is the only way I'll pick up this film. The problem here: the hybrid only came out in Japan the day before the con officially started. While I was lucky with a similar situation a couple of years ago with the second Project Diva game, I had no luck with the Macross hybrid (maybe I'll have better luck at Katsucon, unless Video Games New York will be at Anime USA).
Instead, the main focus of interest in the Video Games New York booth was their selection of import PS3 and PS Vita games (as they're region free). There were a few games that caught my eye when I was originally at the table. However, I didn't want to pick them up until I had more research, and even then, I eventually passed on some of them (i.e. .hack//versus). However, there was one PS Vita game, @field, that I did so some research on before Otakon (as I did want to get an idea of which import games to look for), and with the game being available at Otakon, I decided to pick that one up in order to prepare myself for import Vita titles (what with the Vita version of Project Diva coming the end of August).
When it came to Otakon, since most of the statues that were must haves were already ordered earlier in the year, I was more looking around for items that catch my eye this year (although I did look to see if anyone was selling the Yohko Asagiri figure that came out the end of June, but no luck, with me deciding to order it from Amiami instead).
Starting off my finds, I did find a couple of dealers selling the more recent Busou Shinki figures. Since this is Busou Shinki we're talking about, you can expect at least one later post showing off the figures. However, for now, here's the two that I picked up still inside the box.
Later (after picking up the first Busou Shinki figure and finding a cheaper dealer for the second figure), I noticed a dealer selling the Queen's Gate Dizzy figure that is an exclusive at the Hobby Japan Online Store. I saw a similar figure at Katsucon 2011, which interest me. What finally got me to buy it here was two factors:
1. It was actually cheaper at this dealer;
2. The dealer was actually selling the "Player 2" color (and when it come to figures of girls in sexy outfits, I usually prefer to pick up the alternate color over the regular one).
I also happened to see that Chun-Li figure that I saw at Katsucon being sold her at Otakon. Despite the price drop of $150 on Saturday (and the vendor having a "buy 1, get one 50% off sale on Sunday), I decided to pass on it this time once again due to the fact that August will be a big month purchase wise for me (not to mention the fact that I had concern about where to put this in my roommate's van, as it was already filled up with items when we checked out of the hotel Sunday morning). I'm kinda hoping that the statue will still be there at Katsucon next year.
This year at Otakon, there were two Japanese guests that interest me in terms of trying to get an autograph. Unfortunately, there was one big problem: the first guest that interest me, Aya Hirano (Haruhi Suzumiya, Konata from Lucky Star) only had one autograph session at the convention, and it was taking place immediately after her concert on Sunday. As someone who wants to leave the convention before 3:00 PM (due to the fact that that's the latest my roommate will have to get his van out of the hotel parking lot after checking out), that meant the session was out of the question.
Luckily, the second Japanese guest that interest me had more convenient times in terms of autograph sessions. At this year's Otakon, Aniplex was very busy promoting Madoka Magica at the con. Among it included guests who worked on the show. This included three of the English voice actors and the show's writer, Gen Urobuchi (who also worked on another big Aniplex title, Fate/Zero). However, the member of the Madoka Magica line-up that really interest me was Ai Nonaka, who voiced Kyouko in the original Japanese version. Of course, while most people associate her with Kyouko, my interest in getting her autograph had to do with another title that SHAFT worked on (although the item is from the Xebec version): Mahou Sensei Negima. In that show, Nonaka voices Konoka, the granddaughter of the school headmaster who happens to room with main characters Asuna and Negi, is part of a shoujo ai pairing with swords girl Setsuna, and, in the manga version, is part of the Library Exploration Club with fan favorites Nodoka and Yue.
With Ai Nonaka having a regular autograph session at noon on Saturday, I made sure that I was able to attend that session (as the other regular session was Sunday while I was checking out of the hotel), and I was able to get her to autograph my Negima art box.
As a bonus for you guys, here's an additional picture of another Negima art box autograph that I got at Otakon 2007. That time, the girl who autographed it was Mamiko Noto, the seiyuu of my favorite Negima girl, Nodoka. NODOKA-CHAN KAWAII!!!
Starting things out in my "other" section, some weeks before the convention, I entered and won a con-sponsored contest in which people attending the convention were to guess where one of the convention's mascots, a crab named Crabby, has "invaded" (the answer was the Funimation HQ in Texas, with me figuring it out via the statue of Shin-chan). As such, I won a Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt prize pack consisting of a wall scroll and a binder. As such, I headed to the press relations area (located in the Sheraton that's connected to the convention center via the Skywalk) on Friday and Saturday to pick up my prizes (the reason why it took two trips was due to one of the people working Press Relations on Friday was unaware that I also won the binder, although I don't blame him for that, as pick-up was rather easy once I knew where to go).
As for the Dealers' Room itself, there's only one item that I got that I'd classify as "other", and that was volume six of the Hidamari Sketch manga. However, the real fun in terms of "other" was what I picked up at the Artist Alley. While there was some pictures that attracted me (including a few sexy cat girl pictures), the main thing I was looking for here was any handmade items based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I did manage to find a few artists selling pony-related goods, with a couple selling homemade pony plushies. Of the first "artist", while I didn't buy one of their plushies, I do have to comment her here because one of the pony plushies she made involved Pinkie Pie dressing up as the Marvel Comics character Deadpool, with my reaction being the one comment that she was waiting since she put that plushie out for someone to say: Chimicherry Cherrychanga. As for the other dealer, I saw some of their pony selection on Friday, but waited until Saturday to see what their Fluttershy plushie was like (as she's one of my favorites of the Mane Six). However, when I checked the booth on Saturday night, I saw one character that I knew I had to pick up, even if they were $60 each. The character: Derpy.
BTW, for more Derpy cuteness, you should see the following video that appeared on Youtube a few days after the convention.