On the third day of Otakuthon, I decided to explore the things that attract people to the event. It isn’t just cosplay… well, okay, the cosplay is pretty awesome, but there are also screenings, video games, shopping, competitions, art, and all things Japan.
I was afraid that I might be the only person to arrive at 10 a.m., but I was wrong on that count. The hall was busy and Otakuthoners were streaming in from the subway entrance and different doors of the Palais des Congres.
I began in the expo hall, thinking that I might get a t-shirt I’d seen the first day and didn’t have the cash for. Instead, I ended up admiring artist after artist, offering posters and prints, stickers, buttons, and commission pieces.
I braved my way up to the seventh floor, I wanted to check out Otakuthon’s cafe, where a group of six maid-dressed greeters bowed to me as I entered. Hair of every shade available tucked into treats that came from both here and abroad. A band with a female lead was rocking out hard, assuring me that the cafe was not going to be my place to chill until I figured out where to go.
I continued on until I found a room full of people playing a Cosplay RPG Battle. I wandered on into an Anime Name that Tune as well. I found the “games” room, where groups of people, sometimes just two, sometimes larger groups, were engaged in all kinds of games from Go to something that vaguely resembled Dungeons and Dragons but with a lot more dice. Other games were played with cards or with fancy world-like set-ups for war games.
Having spent some time in each, I then went to see what a “Gunpla” is and how to modify it. Gunpla, as I found out, stands for Gundam Plastic Model, and it is essentially a model robot or transformer or something similar. While this room was pretty quiet, the models on display were impressive.
From there, I went to the fifth floor. I peeked into a few rooms. Some were showing new anime or old ones. There were also workshops and panels. I hung out in one on publishing your own BD. Perhaps the one that intrigued me most was the masquerade for dolls. These large, jointed dolls were being dressed, their hair combed and styled, and then positioned for display.
On the fifth floor, I also stumbled into the video games room where a variety of computer games, arcade games, and even dance dance revolution was there to be sampled. What I liked best of all was the manga library which gave me a free bubble tea sample (more like a shot of bubble tea) and had a staff of librarians signing out books. Also, there was an origami workshop. Win.
I poked my head in a few other rooms, and realized it was time to enjoy the cosplay one final time.
Until next year Otakus….