Dear Otakuthon Staff,
Last year, I wrote my first anime convention review about my impressions of Otakuthon, a three-day celebration of all things anime, manga, video games and Japanese pop culture. It’s Quebec’s largest fan-run anime convention located in the downtown Montreal area at the Palais-de-congres. This year’s edition welcomed more than 25,533 attendees. The anime convention is organized by the Otakuthon Cultural Society.
In comparison to last year’s edition, I do think that the fourteenth edition did its best to improve from what they had done last year.
A. Keeping it Fresh with New Changes (that I Noticed)
- Otakuthon’s pre-registration line-up allowed con attendees to have proxies. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but having done the pre-registration line-up for the past twelve editions of the anime convention, it’s pretty damn handy.
- Proxies need only present their own photo-ID and the photo-ID and the confirmation number of the person you’re picking up the badge for. Registration accepted photocopy versions of the photo-ID and confirmation number documents.
- This year marked the first edition of the Host Club occurring on the first day of the anime convention, up on the seventh floor terrace. It’s a bilingual role-play event where you, as the customer, can hang out with your hosts from anime series such as Bungou Stray Dogs, Haikyuu and My Hero Academia.
- Registration to participate in the event was during pre-registration only. The ticket was priced at $15 CAD. I didn’t personally attend the event but I heard it was sold out.
- There were more contest games to participate in this year. More trivia-based, more guessing games with clues, more Pokemon and more 18+ rated too.
B. In My Mind… The Highlights of the Fourteenth Edition
When it comes to a local anime convention I’ve attended for a long while, most of my experience is just hanging out with friends who I’d only be able to see once a year. Every year, I would see a small number of panels, participate in one contest, do some karaoke, become a shopping fiend and see a concert if the content interested me.
This year proved to be a similar experience in the sense that I wasn’t doing a lot, but the things I did go see were thoroughly entertaining.
I can say that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen guest hosted panels at Otakuthon. I used to run around trying to catch all the guest-hosted panels during my earlier years and it’s funny, I realized that the older I became, the less interested I was in to wait at the beginning of the line-ups to collect autographs and sit in during Q and A’s.
This year introduced a large group of Japanese industry guests who were all animators of popular anime titles such as Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Sailor Moon, One Piece, Macross Frontier and Shokugeki no Soma.
I tagged along with my dad on the first day of the anime convention because he always seems to catch the most interesting events. We went to the animators’ Q and A panel and a subsequent live drawing event. The level of their talent was extraordinary and it was fun watching them draw live and hearing their answers to questions posed by fans of their work.
Listening to their experiences as animators added to my little knowledge about how the animation industry works in Japan.
In their Q and A panel, one question posed to the animators about their favourite food to eat during breaks. Mamoru Yokota (who worked on Macross Frontier and Air the movie) stated that he doesn’t have time to eat when working but always thought about eating meat. Tomoyuki Shitaya (who worked on Shokugeki no Soma and Bakuman) said he liked eating Royal Jelly and supplements for iron for his body.
Yokota’s experience of working on Macross Frontier is telling of how animation companies can be really desperate to find artists to work for them.
Yokota retells how he was working at a pachinko parlour and helping animation studios during his free-time. He first started working on Macross Frontier on the series’ fifth episode titled “Stargate.” He was excited to do the drawings for an action anime since he worked on more emotional based anime, even though most of the work on Macross Frontier was done in CG.
To his dismay, the fifth episode was a date episode.
After that particular episode, Yokota said he never wanted to work on the series again but the company begged him to continue and he did.
Most questions posed to Shitaya was based on his work on Shokugeki no Soma. He stated that the trick to drawing such delicious food was to draw while feeling hungry. His drawings were based on observation.
In terms of choosing what foods to draw for the anime, Shitaya stated that the anime followed the manga, therefore the food menu was already pre-set. However, changes to menu items in the anime happened case by case.
Both Yokota and Shitaya agreed that the hardest productions they’ve worked on were the One Piece films. Shitaya found it difficult to draw characters of varying heights in the same scene. Yokota commented on how it’s hard to adapt to a particular drawing style and how a long popular franchise has so much material to absorb. It’s also a hassle when you’re forced to re-do a lot of things in the animation process.
The live drawing session had all three animators drawing while taking questions from the audience. Most of the questions posed were either aimed at all three artists and some individual questions.
I think it’s cool to win the animators’ drawings for free by playing rock, paper, scissors at the end of the panel.
I honestly thought I wouldn’t win anything because my luck isn’t great.
The two invited guests I went to see on the final day of the convention were Misty Chronexia (left) and Nux Taku (right). They are both Quebec-based aniyoutubers. As Nux describes them, Misty is a living anime encyclopedia while he’s an anime philosopher.
The only thing that annoyed me when I went to go see their panel on Sunday morning was that the room had changed. I don’t remember if the Guidebook app reflected the last minute change.
I did learn some interesting tips from their panel on “How to be an Anime Youtuber” and can see how it can be applied to all content creators, period.
When it comes to deciding on whether you want to be an aniyoutuber who wants to do live or narration-style videos, it depends on the angle you’re taking in the content you’re creating.
If you want face recognition from your audience, then be on camera. This style of creating video content involves acting skills and making yourself presentable on screen. I think face recognition also adds to how viewers want to connect with the creator of the content they like. For example, reaction videos needs face recognition.
If you’re a shyer person and don’t want to be recognized by people, then you can do voice-over. Nux notes that developing a voice for performance takes a lot of practice. The voice you use for a video depends on the angle you’re tackling.
In terms of using background music for your content, you could use Youtube’s royalty free library.
If you’re not into Youtube’s collection of free music, then you can:
- Use OSTs from anime that aren’t popular
- Use Atlus soundtracks because they are pretty lenient
Using remixes and song covers are an option because they cannot be copyrighted by the Youtube bots, however, people can still strike your video for using them.
One tidbit that I should learn to practice and use is creating a backlog of ideas to create posts for. The thing to remember is that despite having a long list of ideas, you should tackle a topic or idea that appeals to you.
(Continue on here for the second half of this love letter to Otakuthon 2019.)