Otakon 2016 Con Report - Sayonara to Baltimore Edition

Otakon 2016 Con Report - Sayonara to Baltimore Edition

The annual Otakon anime convention may have originated from Pennsylvania, but after calling Baltimore its home for the last 18 years it's hard to imagine it taking place anywhere else.  For better or worse, the sights and sounds of Inner Harbor have become synonymous with the convention and with the overall Otakon experience.  But just like everything in life, all good things must come to an end.  Otakon has long since outgrown the physical capacity of the Baltimore Convention Center and the BCC itself is woefully aged and decrepit.  Thus Otakon will be moving to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown DC until at least 2024.  The city of Baltimore has pledged that they will do whatever they can to bring Otakon back to the city, but we'll have to wait and see if anything comes to fruition in the next eight years.

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Fiesta Asia Silver Spring 2016 Street Festival

Fiesta Asia Silver Spring 2016 Street Festival

Fiesta Asia had their 6th annual Asian Street Festival at Silver Spring, MD on June 26th, 2016.  Normally scheduled for the beginning of May but postponed to June due to being rained out, the Silver Spring festival is a smaller, more compact version of the big bonanza that takes place in Washington, DC.  I was in Silver Spring for a couple of hours and took photos and video from performances by the Mongolian Dance Ensemble (which included ultra-adorable kids in camel costumes), Chin Daiko taiko drumming, Spotlight Studio Indonesian dances, Arabesque Dance Theatre, Kuchipudi Dance Academy, Leilah Moon, Asala Raqs, Beta Academy, and a Hawaiian performance.

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AnimeNEXT 2016 Convention Report

AnimeNEXT 2016 Convention Report

The AnimeNEXT anime convention took place at its new home in Atlantic City, NJ this past weekend from June 10-12, 2016.  Previously held in Somerset, NJ, AnimeNEXT feels right at home in the larger space that it occupies in the Atlantic City Convention Center.  The location offers a number of places where con-goers and cosplayers can hang out at and take photos which includes the beach, boardwalk, and hidden parks and locales.  The new location should allow AnimeNEXT to continue to grow and thrive after having outgrown the Garden State Exhibit Center.

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Philadelphia Sakura Sunday Festival 2016

Philadelphia Sakura Sunday Festival 2016

On Sunday, April 17, 2016 I went up to Philly to attend the annual Sakura Sunday event which is a Japanese culture festival at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center.  This is basically a smaller version of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Sakura Matsuri from the previous day in Washington, DC.  Despite the weather being fairly warmer this year compared to last year the trees were only starting to green and there weren't any cherry blossoms in bloom, maybe next year the surrounding vegetation will be livelier!

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Washington DC Sakura Matsuri Festival 2016

Washington DC Sakura Matsuri Festival 2016

This will be just a quick post from the Sakura Matsuri Festival held today in Washington, DC. The annual Japanese culture festival is back and located in a new location.  Previously held on Pennsylvania Avenue, the festival is now located in a lot near the Nationals ballpark close to the Naval Yard.  I'm not sure in terms of square footage if the festival encompasses a larger or smaller space compared to previous years, but the new layout meant less traffic choke points and made it a little easier to move around.  The location at Pennsylvania Avenue was notorious for its congestion, especially around the food areas which made it a slow crawl to get anywhere.

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Zenkaikon 2016 Convention Report

Zenkaikon 2016 Convention Report

The Zenkaikon 2016 anime convention that took place from April 1-3, 2016 in Lancaster, PA went by so quickly this weekend and yet there was a lot of awesome fun that still needs to be digested.  The 10th annual Zenkaikon (aka Zenkaikon X) was just as big and wonderful as previous years.  So big that we broke the escalators several times throughout the weekend.  I spent the majority of my time going from various voice actor panels and main events so I didn't actually get to take very many cosplay photos. I'll just have to rely on the collective Internet to relive some of the awesome cosplay that I saw throughout the weekend.

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Skip Beat! Anime Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign - Industry Game Changer?

Skip Beat! Anime Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign - Industry Game Changer?

[Update 3/17/2016] This campaign has been rebooted on Kickstarter. [End Update]

Today marked the start of yet another crowdfunding campaign. But unlike many other campaigns that are simply trying to get their products out to market, this campaign could potentially have long-lasting implications for the North American anime industry.  The one-woman show behind Pied Piper, Inc. launched the Skip Beat! Anime English Dub For North America campaign on Indiegogo which could have very positive ramifications if it should meet its $210,000 funding goal by the end of the month.

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MAGFest 2016 Convention Report

MAGFest 2016 Convention Report

The MAGFest 2016 Gaming and Music Festival took place from Thursday, February 18 through Sunday, February 21, 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, MD.  There's not a whole lot to talk about here since in general it was just awesome.  A place for video game and video game music nerds to hang out, play games, attend concerts, and meet industry guests.  This year was bigger than ever.

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Katsucon 2016 Convention Report

Katsucon 2016 Convention Report

Another year, another Katsucon anime convention.  It's back and it's bigger and better than ever.  Except, this year will forever be remembered for the Fire Alarm Evacuation that upended the festivities and leaving people stranded in sub-freezing and windy weather.  It wasn't all bad though and many positive things happened to make this a memorable experience.  If Otakon was able to survive the Fire of 2010, then I'm sure that Katsucon will survive the Freezing Fire of 2016.

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AniMore 2016 Convention Report

AniMore 2016 Convention Report

The first ever AniMore anime convention was held during the weekend of January 22-24, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  AniMore is one of several conventions held by Black Materia Inc. and some had looked to it to fill the anime void that Otakon will leave behind once it moves to DC.  All first time cons have their growing pains, but in the case of AniMore some jerk named Jonas decided to ruin the party by dumping 2-3 feet of snow causing travel complications and preventing many attendees, vendors, and panelists from showing up and have caused people to dub this con as BlizziMore or BlizzardCon.  Still, for the small amount of people that braved the storm and bunker-ed down in their hotel rooms there was still enjoyment and merrymaking to be had.

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