Madhouse to Create Animated Short for Otakon®

Jun 23rd 2009
Sneak Peaks Available Over Coming Weeks

Baltimore, MD (June 23, 2009) – Otakon 2009 will once again feature an original opening animated short, created by award-winning Studio MADHOUSE. The animation will premier at Opening Ceremonies and be shown several times throughout the convention.

This year's segment is co-directed by Takuji Endo (Paranoia Agent, Highlander: Search for Vengeance) and Yoshinori Kanemori (Death Note, X); Kanemori also serves as character designer. The short will feature Otakon's mascots, siblings Hiroko-chan and Hiroshi-kun, who were the focus of last year's opener.

While once again Otakon's staff provided a number of possible gags and situations, Mad House's staff was given free reign to improvise broadly. The inspiration is, once again, the much-loved Daicon IV openings.

The 2008 segment featured Hiroko and Hiroshi racing to the convention center as various familiar characters tried to stop them. In the final fight against a giant mecha (futuristic mechanized walking vehicles), the two joined forces in a special attack that caused all the manhole covers in Baltimore to strike the monster (a reference to an incident in 2001 in which a chemical spill caused several nearby manhole caps to rocket into the air). The opener was a hit with fans, who'd last seen the mascots in a CGI short created by Otakon staffer Chris Ochs several years before.

"Last year, we threw in everything but the kitchen sink, and somehow they put most of it in," says Otakon's Jim Vowles, the head of Guest Relations. "The end result was loaded with in-jokes and geek references – but the animators had a bit too much fun making it, and some of the parodies were a little close for comfort. We're hoping to avoid some of that this time around, without sacrificing any of the fun." (Concerns over parody character likenesses have prevented the 2008 version from being shown in public after last year's convention, though efforts are underway to obtain the clearances necessary to make the animation available online.)

Otakon plans to release sneak peaks – sketches, designs, and other images – of this year's animation over the next several weeks, so members can follow the process. For more information on Otakon's animated shorts, visit http://www.otakon.com/animated.asp

Otakon 2009 will be held July 17-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.



ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its sixteenth year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Since 1999, Otakon has been held in Baltimore, Maryland; currently, Otakon is one of Baltimore's few large, city-wide events, drawing over 25,000 individual members for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 70,000 "turnstile" attendees). Otakon is a membership-based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, 501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff – we are run by fans, for fans.

For more information about Otakorp, Inc., see http://www.otakon.com/otakorp/index.asp
For more information and the latest news on Otakon 2009, see http://www.otakon.com/

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