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We’re graced by a dangerous duo of mecha/mahjong enthusiasts this time around: Dave Cabrera (@Sasuraiger) and Carl (@SDShamshel) join us for a convention report of Otakon 2022 which was held in Washington D.C.
Intro (0:00 – 22:54)
Carl of the Ogiue Maniax blog and Dave of the Kawaiikochans webcomic and GamesoftRobo Substack introduce themselves. Both were panelists at Otakon 2022, and Carl was also Press like us; check out his interview with voice actor Mariya Ise.
We were initially going to jump directly into the con report, but wouldn’t you know it 24 hours prior to the recording it was revealed that Sony’s monopoly of the anime industry continues to grow, as Crunchyroll has acquired Right Stuf Anime. What does this acquisition mean for anime fandom in the US? We don’t know. Are we still going to be sponsored by Right Stuf now that they are under the Sony umbrella? That we also don’t know; note there’s no promo this time around since well, who do we even invoice now? For now, the only thing we DO know is that all merchandise previously classified as “erotica” has been de-listed, to now be sold on another site…which doesn’t yet exist. It’s possible that future episodes will be sponsored by Right Stuf once more, but now is probably a good time for us to start setting up that Discord and pushing some more Patreon incentives, huh?
Convention Report: Otakon 2022 (22:54 – 2:09:37)
The downside of going to conventions is that you don’t REALLY get to see people a lot, especially not in this COVID era (yes, contrary to what you see on TV, COVID is still very much a dangerous thing) which leaves us personally still gun shy about going to room parties and group dinners and what have you. If you see someone, it’s often in passing while they’re on the way to attending one thing and you’re on the way to attending another. On the bright side, it does enable us to expand our coverage of the convention, as Dave, Carl, and ourselves each went and saw a variety of things. There were, of course, multiple instances where all of us were present for the same event or guest, so all of us can weigh in on our thoughts.
There are also things we totally forgot to talk about at all which happened over the weekend, but that’s what the pictures are for:
11 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 211 – Otakon 2022 Report With Dave no Kawaiikochans & Carl of Ogiue Maniax”
I’m only about halfway into the episode, but this is an obscure point that I don’t expect you’ll bring up, so I’m asking it now:
Did Crunchyroll have a significant presence at Otakon? Big booth on the exhibition floor, one or more panels, that kind of thing?
Reason I ask: the Sony-owned anime brands — Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Aniplex USA — were not at Anime Central in Chicago back in May, and were screamingly obvious by their absence. Usually, theirs are the first big booths you come across as you enter the exhibition hall after badge pick-up. Instead, this year you’d enter the exhibition hall and there was this enormous empty space, the size of a basketball court or two, before you got to any industry presence. In the past, Crunchyroll / Funimation (RIP) / Aniplex have been some of the biggest destinations on the show floor. For example, last ACen (2019), Aniplex had that huge Fate/Grand Order USA Tour thing (that you guys would have seen later in the year at AWA). This year, the biggest industry presence in the hall was Japanime Games (that anime maid card game) and Bushiroad flogging BanG Dream.
Having the biggest name in anime no-show to a top five convention is unusual, to say the least.
So that’s why I’m interested to know if they stood up Otakon too. My fear, frankly, is that Sony has now decided that with a near-monopoly on anime outside Japan, they no longer need to spend time and money reaching out to fans. Like the cable companies of old, if you want to watch anything, you’re stuck with them.
I guess what would ice it for me would be Crunchyroll no-showing at other big cons like Otakon, and if they stop doing Crunchyroll Expo. This year’s CRX ended without an announcement of next year’s dates (and usually conventions need to book facilities years in advance), but I can’t recall for sure whether they’ve made that kind of announcement in the past.
We did bring it up later in the episode, so it’s not that obscure a point, but there was quite conspicuously no Crunchyroll booth present at Otakon. We figured it was because they had their own convention now, and so we didn’t expect to see one at Anime Weekend Atlanta either. You’d think they’d want some presence outside of the West Coast, but the absence of those giant booths at least offered some welcome aisle space. Still, let’s be real: those big exhibitor booths were originally constructed for use at MIPCOM in Cannes or whatever before they recycled them for us lowly anime conventions.
OK, now I’ve made it to the end of the episode. In the episode and your comment, Daryl, you ascribe Crunchyroll’s absence to them having their own con now, while I kind of think it’s a result of the Sony takeover. It’s hard to really know either way, because CRX started in 2017, so just about the time they had a few years under their belt, Covid hit and wiped out a year and a half of in-person cons. One data point that would be good to know is whether Crunchyroll attended the late 2021 in-person cons, like Otakon (kind of the first big one to come back) or AWA.
There’s also Anime NYC, which is “powered by Crunchyroll” according to their logo, so it’s a safe bet they won’t no-show there.
Still, if we’re in a world where Crunchyroll only shows up in person to AX in LA, Anime NYC, and their own con in the Bay Area, that’s kind of a big FU to fans in the other 90% of the country.
I’ve been going to Otakon on and off for 2 decades, but yearly over the last 7 cons. Gacha games, Goodsmile, and Crunchyroll’s presence has nearly disappeared as of this year. Goodsmile hasn’t come since I believe (2016). No Cygames booth, no FGO booth this year. It was definitely interesting. No Goodsmile booth sucks because the price for their figures is about $20-30 higher without them there selling their new figures.
I spoke at length with a staff member about their draw and he told me they were trying to keep autographs 100% free, get more K-pop, and more Tiktokers. He said having a new K-pop group debut was significantly cheaper and allowed them more leverage for attaining a wider audience. This makes me think the cost of Hololive was too much or Covercrop denied them since CR expo was so close.
Also, to the guy who said Mariya Ise’s autograph line wasn’t long – you said you went back to the hotel Saturday during autographs between 2-4. She nearly had 1000 people lining up for her autographs. They had to reroute Kaho Shibuya’s autograph to a different area to break up the massive fire hazard that Mariya Ise’s line caused. I almost got trampled by her fans as staff said “if you’re here for Ise, line up on the right – if you’re here for Trigger, line up on the wall.” About 50-ish fans for Trigger were trying desperately to get to the wall while the out of control Ise fans went nuts. They nearly flipped a girl in a wheelchair….
This was my only complaint for the entire con: there were several people there with accessibility badges – like myself – they wouldn’t let safely queue somewhere separate from the chaos. I was literally knocked over, and a nice staff member let me go to the front of the autograph line for Trigger because they saw what happened. The Ise line capped instantly, and if you came anytime after that it probably looked under control. But the amount of people they dispersed was insane. They were definitely undermanned for the Saturday autographs. I had 0 issues Friday!
Just curious when a Japanese Voice Actor gets a line that intense; was it all Hunter x Hunter people? I’m glancing at her roles and wondering what would cause such a commotion.
I’ve been going to Otakon on and off for 2 decades but yearly over the last 7 cons. Gacha games, Goodsmile, and Crunchyroll’s presence has nearly disappeared as of this year. Goodsmile hasn’t come since I believe (2016). No Cygames booth, no FGO booth this year. It was definitely interesting.
No Goodsmile booth sucks, because the price for their figures is about $20-$30 higher without them there selling their new figures. I spoke at length with a staff member about their draw and he told me they were trying to keep autographs 100% free, get more K-pop, and more Tiktokers. He said having a new K-pop group debut was significantly cheaper and allowed them more leverage for attaining a wider audience. This makes me think the cost of Hololive was too much or Covercrop denied them since CR expo was so close.
Also, to the guy who said Mariya Ise’s autograph line wasn’t long – you said you went back to the hotel Saturday during autographs between 2-4. She nearly had 1000 people lining up for her autographs. They had to reroute Shibuya Kaho’s autograph to a different area to break up the massive fire hazard that Mariya Ise’s line caused. I almost got trampled by her fans as staff said “If you’re here for Ise line up on the right – if you’re here for Trigger line up on the wall.” About 50ish fans for trigger were trying desperately to get to the wall while the out of control Ise fans went nuts. They nearly flipped a girl in a wheelchair…. This was my only complaint for the entire con – there were several people there with accessibility badges like myself – they wouldn’t let safely que somewhere separate from the chaos. I was literally knocked over and a nice staff member let me go to the front of the autograph line for Trigger because they saw what happened. The Ise line capped instantly and if you came anytime after that it probably looked under control. But the amount of people they dispersed was insane. They were definitely undermanned for the Saturday autographs. I had 0 issues Friday!
I cannot wait to mute the notifications of the AWO discord!
Great to hear Dave and Carl on the show! And the con sounded like a blast, despite covid still being completely awful.
Really hope to make it over next year — would be my first Otakon (and first US con in general) in 10 years. Hoping by that time we can all be a little less covid-nervous, but who knows.
Great episode as always!
Why does Daryl look like a grumpy librarian in the photo?
Also, each time an anime gets re-issued on Blu-ray, and the picture quality is WORSE, whoever is responsible should get jail time.
It was great to see you all at Otakon, and thanks to Dave, Carl, and (naturally) yourselves for this latest episode! Even though I was there, as you said, no one can attend or visit everything. It’s funny how casually we say that we went to a con, or were at a con, while at the same time we realize that it’s impossible for any one person to see more than a fraction of the programming available—in reality, everyone only goes to a small part of a convention, and episodes like these help to fill in the gaps ^_^ Colony Drop, as you know, was a big inspiration for the Royal Space Force 25th Anniversary Fanzine. And speaking of which, wah, if you can make it to Otakon next year, I’d like to say hello (have we ever actually met?)
The fact Acrobunch and the J9 series have gotten Blu-ray releases over here is fulfilling a legacy for US anime fans that goes back to the days of the C/FO, as the C/FO Magazine (which many people felt was the best part of the organization) covered those series extensively.
That special August 1, 1983 issue of TIME magazine devoted to Japan (on TV in Japan that week: Cat’s Eye, Orguss, Plawres Sanshiro, Sasuraiger, Sasuga no Sarutobi, Urusei Yatsura, Srungle, Votoms, Creamy Mami, Dunbine, Urashiman) helps to keep things in balance when we look back on American presentations of Japan in the 1980s, and assume they were all fearful, negative, stereotypical, or superficial. TIME was the epitome of the American media mainstream; you could buy it at any supermarket check-out counter, and, needless to say, in an age before internet news it had tremendous cultural influence. And yet, I would say that magazine issue paid attention to Japan in more depth and breadth than does your average hardcore weeb at a 2022 anime con, perhaps myself included.
You discussed Anime Expo; it seems fair to say it is a corporate con in the sense industry ads have a Blade Runner-like omnipresence (I’m not really exaggerating, with multi-story video screens promoting One Piece)–but they are at any rate from our industry, as opposed to, say, from Laugh-O-Gram. And of course, I’m there as industry. A part of me certainly misses the students from one of my anime clubs, Cal-Animage Alpha, who started it all, although happily I still meet with some even now at AX. Students or not, Anime Expo was an ambitious con from its earliest years, and it delivered—at AX ’96, when there were still less than 3000 people, you could meet Anno, Oshii, Ishiguro, and Kawajiri all at the same event (in terms of talent-to-attendance, I argue it was the single greatest US anime con ever).
But speaking as someone who attended the first AX in 1992, I also view Anime Expo in 2022 with pride. From I-10 eastbound (which, by coincidence, goes all the way to Florida), I saw a banner for it stretching across one face of the Los Angeles Convention Center. It must have been the length of a football field and two stories high, which would mean the banner by itself was bigger than the entire floor space of the dealer’s room at AX ’92. Evoking this kind of gigantism may make you feel even less inclined to ever go ^_^ but, like Comic Market, I say it’s something an otaku should see at least once. Much of Expo’s size compared to Otakon is also due to simple demographics–after all, twice as many people already live in the Los Angeles metro area, as in the DC metro area.
You talked about the practice of groups crediting themselves and not the creators in digisubs. When we did a fansub of Honneamise in 1988, not only did we at least translate all of the opening credits (it’s true Japanese names can be difficult to parse even for Japanese people, but the proper response to the problem is to ask questions and do research), we waited until the last of the ending credits had finished to only then tack on our own credits afterwards; we didn’t think it was correct to impose our names over any part of the actual film itself, when we didn’t own it and had done nothing to make it.
Regarding Hong Kong, Gerald (and others) might want to check out “A Summer’s End” and “In the Ocean I Learned To Float” from Oracle & Bone Studio (asummersend.com), which are yuri visual novels set in the city during the 1980s. Hong Kong was a very romantic city to me in college, in part for political reasons (it was perhaps the freest part of the Chinese-speaking world at the time, where the contrast had been drawn still sharper after 1989), but also from its media. Admittedly these were impressions drawn from movies and magazines, but to be demi-equitable ^_^ in the 20th century people in other nations often got their impressions of America the same way. My university library subscribed to Sunday Morning Post magazine (the Sunday colour supplement of the South China Morning Post) and to the great Far Eastern Economic Review that came out weekly from an office in Centre Point in Hongkong (they used the single-word spelling). One of the Review’s columnists, Richard Hughes, had been Ian Fleming’s main contact in East Asia (during the war, Fleming supervised Hughes’ work for the Secret Service as a double agent for the Soviets), and was also the direct inspiration for the “Dikko Henderson” character in You Only Live Twice—“Tiger Tanaka” was inspired by another journalist friend of Fleming’s, Torao “Tiger” Saito of the Asahi Shimbun.
Heck yeah Reign the Conqueror! I have no idea how that show was forgotten by the entire world, as if it was something disappointing, or “good animation bad writing” case. While it was an actually great mature animation.
Also, never get rid of the warning in the beginning of each episode. It is needed for that impossibly rare case you are wrong on the Internet.