It'd been three years since I attended the king of east coast anime conventions; some things have changed quite a bit, some stubbornly remain the same, but overall it was the Otakon I remembered well. For someone whose interest in anime is minimal, the scene is not without its long stretches of sheer boredom. But fortunately, the Pokémon collecting aspects, even if short-lived in the grand scheme of things, are more than sweet enough to make it worthwhile!
As always, click on pictures to see a larger version!
An Otakon tradition of mine has been to modify the membership badges to suit my tastes, which generally means editing in my signature scratch cat. Last time I turned some sort of panda piloting a robot panda into Meowth piloting a robot Aipom; this year the choice was as obvious as it gets. I'm not one for cosplay, but Les (my coinLESs Meowth) has always shown a flair for accessorizing, and found some appropriate headgear for the occasion.
When I wasn't shopping, I didn't really have a whole lot to do aside from check in on my friends and just wander aimlessly. Sometimes I sat down and whipped out my old standby time-killer, Pokémon Pinball R/S. As you can see, the Meowth GBA mascot pheonixxfoxx gave to me as a freebie came along for the ride. I should have brought my DS, though; everyone had one, and it was pretty awesome to see the vast age range of Pokémon players, from little children being dragged along by their otaku parents to rockin' grandmas. Really!
On Friday, my brother (iluvmudkips) found a Cyndaquil TOMY for me, new in box! Somehow I have never ever had a Cyndaquil TOMY so this was a splendid addition. He treated me to a new-style Meowth for me as well, which now happily hangs out by my monitor. Neither of these were available when I attended Otakon on Saturday, so my brother really helped me out... isn't it nice to have collection buddies?
Shaymin--whose presence at the convention was surprisingly small--got a collection boost in the form of Skymin friend plush and the land and sky activity keychains (one spins, one glows). My Shaymin collection feels really strong now! (You don't know the half of it... yet!)
Once I was through with the dealer's room, I headed to the artist's alley. Meeting other pkmncollectors members were up to random encounters, which unfortunately never happened. But I knew of one encounter that was guaranteed! After all this time working with her in and out of the community, I finally met denkimouse, seen here as a very impressive Roark, along with her sister (Ritchie) and friends Myly (Sparky) and DFA (NPC). Not pictured is the infamous Pyon, whose music livened up the whole (gigantic) room, and whose keyboard I got to sign. Unfortunately I only got to meet Gin once, and assuming I would see her again later, chose to take their pictures at a less hectic time... but it never happened. So the amazing life-like portrait is a representative facsimile of the time when I visited.
I bought this Pikachu/Cubone sticker from Gin's very talented friends, and Gin herself very graciously presented me with two surprise gifts: a pristine Meowth bound ball and a very elusive Meowth "grabbie" figure, which clasps things in between its paws like a clothespin. They're both so excellent--bound ball is absolutely perfect, and the grabbie hands Meowth is rather uncommon. I love its gold koban too. :D
I also picked up my Japanese copy of Pokémon Pearl which, thanks to Gin, now hosts a Movie 11 Shaymin! (No, I will not trade or clone or hack. Please don't ask.)
The DS displaying my Shaymin is a brand new Navy unit that my replaces my old dead black one. This out-of-production model was picked up for me by regen... thanks to her I have the color I've always wanted, and a DS with two working screens again! Thanks reege!!
After meeting Gin, I took a look around at the other artists in residence. I did not expect to find anything as I am quite picky, but I came across a most amazing print. I am normally not a fan of renderings that are stylistically a great departure from the traditional Pokémon style, but this is such a whimsical and charming piece I had to make an exception...
"Plz dont drop me" by pancakefries
Isn't this... gorgeous? Hilarious? Fantosmo? I can't wait to get this framed. I think it's something that even non-fans of Pokémon will enjoy. The artist has more excellent Pokémon/vidya/art in general on her deviantart page; be sure to check it out!
After what feels like a bit of a dry spell, Chimchar got some major representation with three new plush. It's definitely much cuter in plush form than in most plastic forms! The leftmost seems to be a revamp of an older plush, but seems to have more vibrant colors (especially any stitched material such as the eyes) and has an open-mouthed smile. The rightmost Chimmy has a tag in the shape of a speech bubble, so when I pressed its "press me!" paw and it didn't make a sound, I was a little worried that it was defective. But instead, I found that its blazing buttocks glow! How... yeah! There was a fourth one that was quite cute as well, but was priced a little high for my budget.
My hope of hopes for this convention was that I would find the Aipom DX plush that came out last month. They had the Piplup line DXs, Buneary DXs, and a few others, but not only could I not find an Aipom DX, I couldn't find ANY Aipom. But my brother assured me he had seen one somewhere on Friday, and called me as I was speaking to Gin to tell me one had been found.
As it turned out, this was not the Aipom DX... but that's alright, because it seemed to be an Aipom I'd never seen before! Reviewing some pictures at home, it might be another copy of a semi-recent Aipom I already have, but it might also be a slightly smaller version. It feels different than I remember... well, whatever it is, it's quite adorable, and a strong contender for one of my favorite Aipom plush.
That about wraps up my Otakon experience, at least as it pertains to Pokémon. I wish I could have overcome the shyness to approach some great (and/or hot) (and/or "special") cosplayers for pictures*, and I wish I could have met more pkmncollectors, but all in all it was a good experience. Good Gin, good Pokémon, good friends, good times. Maybe I'll see you all next year!
*This site pretty much did the work for me, and better than I ever could. Here are all its tagged Pokémon cosplay photos, plus one page featuring untagged Pokémon cosplay photos that would be a crime to miss. You can check out cosplay from other anime/game series (including my favorite animes Pirates of the Caribbean, Sweeney Todd, Batman, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) by clicking on the filters above the pictures.
By the way, my super SMJ haul is finally completed and all in one place now, and in the meantime I've gained quite a few new pieces from community members, so I have not one but two major updates waiting in the wings. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but by the end of the week I should have my super update finally complete. There will be lots of neat stuff with something for everyone, so stay tuned!