Otakon 2023 Recap!
By Skywing Knights // September 1, 2023
Very quick post today, mostly because life continues to be insane and crazy, as always. But I just wanted to touch upon my experience at Otakon 2023 this past year.
Overall – just an outstanding experience. Last year, I recall many people complaining about the lines, heat, and crowding that occurred. Having worked in trade show events myself, I had a strong suspicion at the time that a lot of these problems were in fact the result of events (conventions included) coming back after COVID-19. At the time, many events were short staffed and still scanning for COVID-19 vaccinations, which slowed up the process of a LOT of things, causing issues like the ones Otakon faced. Still, I could also understand the concern of many who were dealing with the heat – I recall it being VERY hot outside and sadly no one can control the weather.
Definitely not Line-A-Con… Thankfully in This Heat!!
All that to say though, hands down, if you had told me Otakon had suffered from these issues last year, I almost wouldn’t have believed you if I had only gone to Otakon 2023 alone. There wasn’t a line in sight this year and I was floored by the convention’s efficiency. Perhaps the only issue I found this year was the heat and that again, can not be attributed to any convention. (Go figure, it was the hottest weekend of the year and literally the week later the temperatures dropped by about 15 degrees).
Other that that though, I was really floored by just how smooth everything operated this year. I was only able to attend for the Friday of Otakon, but I had friends who went on other days and that testified that they had the same experience.
But then… what did I do at Otakon if I was only able to attend for one day?
Otakon 2023 Prep Work
Mostly be a dork, like I usually am when I go to conventions just to chill. Tsukasa325 and I debuted our newest cosplays – Kaoru Kamiya and Kenshin Himura respectively. (Btw, be sure to check out my latest blog where I break down the history behind the man Kenshin was based on – Kawakami Gensai!) We had been working on these for a while and it was a blast to do a duo cosplay together again. We got the fabric for both characters from Nippori in Tokyo and once back in the states, we got to break out the Embroidery Machine for Kaoru’s pieces, which was SO much fun and a great use to my new Janome.
Kenshin was supposed to be simple, but of course, it can never be that way. In the face of NOT finding his sakabato available in anything other than metal (which I already had and couldn’t use at a convention), I learned how to do 3D printing in the 3 weeks prior to the convention. (Please read that as: I didn’t sleep for the 3 weeks prior to the convention as I set to work printing out over 104 hours worth of pieces – about 19 total – and then putting them together and painting them).
3D Printing 101
Despite the sudden jump into the deep end of 3D printing, I’m now head over heals in love with it. (I thank my lucky stars that I was able to purchase my printer on Amazon Prime Day – at about 40% off!!) So I definitely plan to do more and learn more regarding 3D printing in the future.
The model I used for the Sakabato was from Etsy here. Definitely give some love IntentionalDraw for his work – I totally recommend it. His model of the Sakabato was exactly what I neede. Not only that, he was incredibly helpful both before and after the purchase of the files. I debated for awhile on the settings to use. But ultimately printed the item in 1.6 mm in layer height. Additionally, I used a 50% fill to give the whole thing a sturdiness to it. And it turned out pretty well I think! Frankly, I think I like it better than my live steal Sakabato. I love the artistic touch I was able to give it to match the live action version.
Due to the heat outside during Otakon, Tsukasa and I, despite our desire for photos, opted to forgo them for now. (Both so we wouldn’t pass out and so that the PLA wouldn’t become brittle or melt. It was well over 105 degrees that day with the humidity and we weren’t sure how it would hold up). But we did get a few inside when we went to the Rurouni Kenshin Photoshoot hosted by Adrienne Higgins and Naes Signis. Was incredibly fun!
Rurouni Kenshin: Poke!
I’ll definitely talk more about Kenshin’s construction at a future date. But overall, I’m incredibly happy with how he turned out. Perhaps the one thing I might change is that I might use a wig for him in the future. I opted this time around to use my real hair since it matches Takeru Satoh’s in the live action films. However the humidity and the teasing of my hair to get it to appear the way it did was… a bit too much of a hassle for my preference. So we’ll see if I decide to change that at all in the future, lol. (Though I’ve been told I need to do Battosai as well… and ponytail wigs are the WORST on the scalp. So maybe my real hair will get another go at pulling off Kenshin…) 😉
Coming Shenanigans After Otakon 2023?
So what’s coming next? Well, more Japan blogs for sure! But I’m also working on another project as well as a couple of new panels. (Got any guesses for the subjects)? ;D I’m thinking my next events will be the MD and NC Ren fests, following by Katsucon. But we’ll see! At the moment, it’s been a week since Ota or so and I still feel like I’m in recovery mode. ^^; So we’ll see what happens.
If you went to Otakon 2023 as well, I hope you had a blast like we did! And a massive thanks to Otakon’s amazing staff for such a wonderful full comeback after all the crazy that was COVID. You guys stuck the landing this year. It was awesome.
Till the next event,