I couldn't help but get nostalgic of my youth while I listened to excited fans pointing out cosplayers of characters they recognized. Young and old alike were bouncing with joy, chatting with their friends about autographs and pictures they planned on getting, as well as showing off their treasures from the Dealer's Room. I over-heard a woman in the Artist's Alley telling her friend; "I only get to talk to _____ during smaller cons like this. It's a chance for fans to actually spend more personal time with them. If we were at Otakon, it would be impossible."
While Kotoricon may not be the fledgeling it was last year, it manages feel like a huge event without getting over-crowded and uncomfortable.
I spent my day attending the panels of voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch and Stuart Zagnit. I also got to enjoy "Pokeholics Anonymous" by the YouTube comedy troupe Underbelly. Johnny was warm to his fans, and agreed to voice requests of his beloved characters for the audience. After all of the audience's questions were answered, he also told a story about accidentally hitting a homeless woman in the face with a bag of quarters that had me laughing so hard, I cried.
"It's not what it used to be. It's really hard. My band Eyeshine is still an independent group, so if someone downloads our music from a torrent, it's effecting us, not a record label. It's okay to download one, maybe two of our albums, but as long as our fans buy some of our music, I'd be happy."
Next was the Underbelly Panel, which also had me laughing almost non-stop. Underbelly is an online comedy troupe that has recently enlisted the talents of Stuart Zagnit, the original Professor Oak from Pokemon. Their videos mainly focus on geeky fandom of all kinds, and points out aspects of anime that are painfully true. Fans who asked questions were given random prizes, and they held a Pokemon costume contest judged by Mr. Zagnit and voice actor Jamie McGonnigal. Every panel that I visited was completely full, which was a great change from last year. There's nothing like a crowded room of otaku to make anyone pumped up.
Overall, it was a great convention. I don't have enough space to even describe everything that went on over the two days of Kotoricon, but it was so much fun. I have confidence that every year, the con will continue to grow, and give South Jersey a chance to shine in the world of anime conventions.
For more information about the convention, its guests, or the charities they raised money for, visit their website here.
Click here for a gallery of my Kotoricon 2012 photos!