Otakon 2002: Opening Ceremonies

posted on by George Phillips
Guest listing, and some opening thoughts about Otakon, the largest anime convention on the East Coast.

As fans and various other members of the anime industry shuffled into the Main Events hall, a white rabbit-costumed staffer hopped up on stage, bowed stiffly, and recited a rhyme to introduce Sue Monroe, this year's Convention Chair!

Not merely content with starting on time, Sue began the ceremonies nearly 15 minutes earlier than scheduled, as fans finished walking into the large hall. This sort of promptness set the pace throughout the con, as panels flowed smoothly from one to the next without trouble, and lines moved quickly, letting many people experience anime in such a magnificent environment as the BCC. This year, Otakon is host to "28 acres of anime!", Sue proudly announced. The sheer size of Otakon this year can be traced to the fact that Otakon was the sole convention occurring this weekend.

On the American guest list, Otakon was host to the following industry members:
Neil Nadelman (Translator)
Liane Centaur (TokyoPop SM Novel series writer)
Gilles Poitras (Author)
Jan Scott-Frazier (Animation Director and Con Personality)
Steve Bennett (Studio Ironcat President)
Doug Smith (Studio Ironcat artist, voice of Kentaro Oe)
Piro and Largo (Megatokyo online doujin artist & story writer)
Fred Perry (Gold Digger Author)

Fred Perry also brought a demo DVD, showcasing some new animation for an upcoming project. The video opened with a guy and a girl, both wearing tight spandex dueling a catgirl with leopard spots and a blue suit. The fight sequence may have lasted 2 minutes. At the end, Fred said to look forward to it in 2003. More information should be coming shortly about his new anime-inspired work.

Also, these Japanese guests were present:
Tatsuo Sato (Director; Martian Successor Nadesico) - 1st US anime convention appearance
Hiroyuki Morioka (Author; Crest of the Stars) - 1st US anime convention appearance
Yoko Ishida (Para Para singer)

Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts and various other matters, a number of the guests weren't present at Opening Ceremonies. They were expected to show up later in the convention:
Doc Faulkner (Music Composer for Dragon Ball Z)
Wendee Lee (Voice Actress)
Yasuhiro Nightow (Trigun author)
Yutaka Minowa (Vampire Hunter D Character Designer)
Masao Maruyama (Madhouse Producer/CEO)

Due to scheduling issues, however, Takehiko Ito (Creator of Outlaw Star) had to cancel his travel plans to Otakon entirely.

Finally, Yoko Ishida sang three songs, including the Neon Genesis Evangelion opening theme song, and the Ah! My Goddess! opening theme.

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