Gee, It’s An Otakon Invasion!

31 Jul

Otakon Invasion on Light Street

Driving down Light Street this morning, my mother and I spotted two men in white overcoats strolling towards the Convention Center.  One of the young men had what appeared to be blood spatter adorning his coat.  At first, I was alarmed.  Why would someone wear a bloody ensemble out in public on a Saturday morning?

“They’re just doctors,” my mom said.  But no.  This couldn’t be right.  As I eyed the young men a bit more carefully, I noticed their dark accessories and giddy expressions… and it hit me: Otakon.  Sure enough, we drove just a block further and there were flocks of people sporting wigs, capes, wings, etc.

Every summer, hardcore anime enthusiasts can be found roaming the Inner Harbor territory in Baltimore.  According to John-John Williams IV of the Baltimore Sun,

“Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, with an emphasis on music, movies, and fashion. The three-day convention is entering its 17th year. It has been held in Baltimore since 1999.”

Baltimore Tourists

When I worked as a waitress in Little Italy of downtown Baltimore during my high school summers, we had Otakon patrons waltz on in for some good Italian grub wearing full warrior princess garb.

While I do not fully understand the concept of Otakon, I truly respect these passionate people.  I can safely say that these are some of the most confident individuals that I have ever come across.  These fans assume the identities of their favorite anime characters, and they hold nothing back.  They have no qualms about looking a little bit different to pay tribute to something that they care so deeply about.

I don’t know that I will ever resort to their extreme levels of fan-dom, but I will certainly take their presence as a reminder that sometimes, you just have to loosen up and abandon some of those pesky inhibitions.  Every now and then, it’s refreshing to make a bold fashion statement or just fight the status quo.  That is some Otakon inspiration.

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