As you may or may not know if you follow me on Twitter (and I mean me me, not this website’s account) or The Mega Man Network (as seen in the handy-dandy sidebar at right), then I ventured to Otakon a couple of weeks ago with the wife.

Nadia and I have been attending the convention for several years now — nine, in fact, with next year marking the golden ten. Fitting, as that’s the last year the con will be in Baltimore for about five years. In any case, I don’t think I’ve ever really posted about it here in all that time. This year, for no particular reason than I figured “why not?”, I’ve decided to immortalized my experience here.

To do that, I took pictures. Many, many pictures. The following isn’t even all of them.

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Say “hello” to the face of fear.

We’re not exactly a wealthy bunch, or even particularly well-off. We could be worse and we’re quite grateful for what we have, don’t get me wrong, but Megabus is our primary transportation option. And I can’t stand it.

For shorter trips — say, three or four hours from Toronto to Buffalo — it’s a fantastic option. But the 18+ hours from Toronto to Buffalo? All I could do is pray for the sweet release of death and hope that someone would know a way to resurrect me there. Truth be told, that would be an ideal way to travel: kill me in Toronto, stuff me in a box, find the Dragon Ball photo shoot, and get them to wish me back to life. I probably would have smelled about the same in the end either way.

Of course, getting home would be another issue altogether…

Oh, and the kicker? Even though everything was supposed to be pre-arranged, the folks at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel wouldn’t even let us go to our rooms when we got there because we didn’t have the credit card of the person who booked the hotel! So add a few more hours before we could finally collapse on a bed.

That won’t be the last you hear of them in this tale, either…

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But enough about that! I go to Otakon for a few reasons: 1) To see friends I only get to see about once a year, 2) to cosplay, 3) to see cosplay, and 4) to enjoy some good ol’ American cuisine.

While waiting in line with Maqqy for the dealer’s room to open (not because I planned to get/could afford anything, but I had nothing else going on until later), I got to see a lot of neat cosplay. Like these two of Palutena and Pit from Kid Icarus! Hm, looks like this Pit got the “good” ending!

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Despite the name and origins, Otakon is not exclusively about Japanese stuff — there’s a lot of American and other stuff there, too!

Nadia and I are fans of dragons, and as such, we’re also fans of Dragons from Dreamworks, so I had to get a picture of Hiccup and Toothless here. In addition, we’ve recently become Gravity Falls addicts, so I naturally snapped a pic of the first of many Dipper and Mabel cosplayers we would see.

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I swear I don’t know what this guy is dressed up as, all I know is that people were coming from far and wide (the top of his… hair? …could be seen from quite far away, as you might imagine) to take a picture. I did the same.

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No particular relation to these three; I just saw them all while waiting in line and had to snap some pictures. I think Shovel Knight had some cosplay love going on last year, but even more this year.

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Upon finally entering the dealer’s room, one neat booth I saw specialized in retro gaming. Embodying this was the patron saint of the Nintendo Entertainment System, R.O.B. the Robotic Operating Buddy, standing tall atop the highest shelf in order to pitch the wares of his partner in the whole “buddy” dynamic.

I didn’t get to look at too much, but one item that caught my eye was this vintage Tiger Electronics Double Dragon 3 handheld which, if I remember right, is going for roughly the same price as it did upon release? Take inflation into account, and it might even cost less!

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These Mighty Morphin Power Rangers figures were cool. I’ll bet when this Rita gets a headache, it’s a crippling affliction.

And hey, Gravity Falls figures! I never even knew these existed! Tough call for who has the best sidekick, though — Waddles and Bill Cipher are both cool, don’t get me wrong, but the rainbow-vomiting gnome is the kind of thing you can display without any context and still get the same reaction.

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I had to run for the Nintendo photo shoot, the first of two over two days. On the way, I ran into these fine folks. As great as Luigi, King Dedede, and Kirby here were, Mario in his go-kart was a runaway hit.

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I love this Great Fairy costume, specifically for the accessory. Look closely — it’s Figma Link in a bottle! They even put a little scarf on him to complete the Hyrule Warriors appearance.

Callie and Marie were on hand to lead the Splatoon cosplayers in a rally before reminding everyone to “stay fresh!”

For the sake of space, and because I don’t have comments on every single little thing, here’s a gallery from the first day of Nintendo cosplay shooting:

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Also, the guy in front of me as I was taking photos had this pin on his bag. Jealous!

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Photo courtesty of The Baltimore Sun, because I couldn’t take a good photo of myself, now could I?

For those wondering, I’m the Splatoon kid in red. My original costume plans fell through, so I had to slap something together really quick on a tiny budget. Sadly, it didn’t really go anywhere. I even got a vintage 1997 Super Soaker for it!

Due to some recent events, I ended up putting together a second last-minute costume that came together far better, but we’ll get to that shortly.

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Here’s a nice, big group shot from the Five Nights at Freddy’s shoot. I took a ton of pics from that (available upon request; I can dump them onto Tumblr or something) because…

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Nadia took part as the infamous Purple Guy. Kids loved her! And that worries both of us.

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Wandering the halls after the shoot, we ran into Ravio and Sailor Moon. I had to get a pic of Ravio because The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is like one of my happy places.

The Sailor Moon stood out to me due to her cape. Asking what that was about, she’s apparently cosplaying as a prototype design for the character, which is pretty awesome. Sailor Moons are a dime a dozen and many are done well, so it takes something extra to stand apart from the crowd.

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This guy’s costume was creative, awesome, and funny. “Steam Steam LOL.”

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A creative take on Bowser; I love the green pipe bazooka with the Piranha Plant boxing glove. I could almost see this existing in an actual Mario game.

Then we have this pair of Spider-Gwens. I asked for a picture, and I remember one saying as an aside that she wasn’t going to put on her mask. That was fine by me; seems like half the art of her is unmasked, anyway.

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I’m so very glad to see my idea of Pokemon Rangers come to some sort of fruition. The Green Ranger-ish Magikarp with Gyrados Dragon Dagger was especially creative.

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Down in the artist’s alley, I just had to get a pic of the one and only Sonic Man from the notorious 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog. They were quite thrilled I knew who they were, too! Since that base has been covered, I think I’ll shelf any such plans of my own now, though.

When passing Nappa, I did my best impression of the character from “Dragon Ball Z Abridged” saying “Ve~ge~ta!” in a sing-songy way. That got his attention, so I asked for the picture.

I haven’t seen a cosplay of “The Batgirl of Burnside” before, so I had to snap that, too.

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“Oh?? What a nice Katamari cosplay. Substantial, yet goes down smooth.”

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Some cool Zelda cosplays of Zant from Twilight Princess and Dark Link. I especially like the latter’s crimson red blade.

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Wow, talk about vintage! I knew that while I was in America, I’d have to get a shot of Bandit Keith. Meanwhile, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve seen a good cosplay of Vash the Stampede from Trigun. The bullet-riddled trenchcoat was a nice touch!

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On the way to the Nintendo photo shoot of the second day, Nadia (as San from Princess Mononoke) made a new friend.

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Photo courtesy of JackScarab.

As for my second day’s cosplay: following the death of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, I knew I had to put into action a plan I’d had on the back burner for a while. In very little time, I managed to cobble together this Balloon Fight cosplay as a tribute using my Movie Mario coveralls as the base. I like to think of this as my “Balloon Fight movie” cosplay.

I’m happy to say that this one went over much, much better than the Squid Kid I tried before. One person even hugged me for wearing it! That’s only the second time that’s ever happened! (The first, interestingly enough, was for cosplaying as Movie Mario.)

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Just before the shoot, the Cartoon Network cosplayers were still hanging around. Not sure if they had an actual shoot, but Ice King was there. Meanwhile, this other fellow liked my Balloon Fighter cosplay and wanted a pic. We chatted a bit and I inquired as to what he was dressed as. In a clever twist, he was “himself” per Too Many Cooks; he even had the theme music on hand! Brilliant!

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Another Dark Link, this one armed with Demise’s sword from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Killer prop!

From the shoot itself, which had to be moved outside (again) due to the sheer number of people who showed up:

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The guy on the right here was a standout, portraying the announcer of Super Smash Bros. and declaring Ryu the winner.

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Photo courtesy of JackScarab.

Another standout: an amiibo scalper! Some of us were genuinely worried the guy would be jumped, lugging all those around…

More of my Balloon Fight cosplay, as taken by Nadia and JackScarab. One shot I really like was all of the oldschool NES characters lining up, and sparring with Tingle (who had a Balloon Fight of his own) was cool as well.

I also did my own “Directly To You” shout-out to Iwata, and eventually everyone got in on that. During my solo version, Nadia says the person behind her said something along the lines of “I thought I was ready; I wasn’t ready.”

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Back in the dealer’s room for other reasons, I spotted these neat Mario items. I really wish I could have gotten the squishy Penguin Suit keychain, though.

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Planet or no, Sailor Pluto remains my favorite of the lot. It’s hard not to give props to a good Iron Man suit, and there is no way I won’t take a picture of a Back to the Future cosplay.

I was going to dress like that all year, if I could raise the money to get the clothes. Sadly, no one was interested. I’d have kept a daily blog, too; just me, wandering around as Marty, looking confused by the world the future has become…

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I spotted these two Warios outside of the shoot, but I wouldn’t WAHnt to leave them out.

Now, here’s what blew me away…

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No less than three different cosplays of WWE United States Champion John Cena! The third guy even had a posse, with one guy carrying the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the other a boombox playing his “My Time is Now” theme. Even after leaving the dealer’s room where I found him, his theme could still be heard from somewhere across the convention center.

It makes me want to go as Kevin Owens next year, but I fear I’d be missing out on some sort of joke.

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Enough cosplay and dealer’s room stuff. My roommates and I all went to Hooter’s for dinner on Friday night, and when a few others started doodling, I churned out this before my hand started cramping up.

It was a good meal, but unfortunately, the service was a little lacking — rather, the end with the bill. Took the waitress forever to get everyone rung up, and worse, she forgot to apply the discount to the appetizers we all got. We went there at about 10pm, but didn’t get out of there until going on 1am.

Even though I didn’t have any money for the dealer’s room, I didn’t come away empty-handed this year, thanks to the power of friendship!

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If you’ve been following this site, you probably have some idea of what I like. If not, then welcome! My name is David Oxford, and I am a fan of both Transformers and “fast food culture.” As such, having an area where these two mix in McDonald’s “Changeables” is right up my alley, and while I had a few some years ago, all but the ice cream cone and shake on the far right were somehow lost to me over the years. Fortunately, JackScarab had a bunch he no longer has use for and put these in my care!

Some of these I had before, while others are new to me. Happy Meal-O-Don was a favorite, effectively being a cross between Grimlock and Metroplex (or Trypticon, if you prefer) for the lot — in principle, if not in practice.

If you want the full story of what they’re all about, then I strongly encourage a trip to Dinosaur Dracula!, where you can find pretty much everything you’d ever need to know about the three-time Happy Meal premiums.

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By pure chance, I came upon an offer from Arby’s for a free DVD set of meat roasting for hours on end. You can bet your bottom dollar I was all over that, but the offer was only good to U.S. residents. Fortunately, my Otakon roommate Zaff acted as my proxy to receive the DVDs, which came in only days before Otakon, and now I have them!

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That wasn’t all she brought, however! Some years ago — long enough that I’d completely forgotten about it — she came upon these playing cards in an antique store. Nintendo playing cards from Japan Air Lines, still in their shrink wrap. These are incredible, and a valuable addition to my collection that I cannot thank her enough for.

The rest of the weekend was hanging out in our hotel room, watching episodes of Spongebob Squarepants and Teen Titans Go!, which seem to be just about the only things Nick and Cartoon Network respectively show these days. We also hooked up JackScarab’s laptop for some Markiplier gameplay of the just-released Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 and catching Maqqy up on “Dragon Ball Z Abridged.” Good times.

Between all of that, though? Here’s a word of advice if you ever decide to stay in the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel: stay far, far away from the seventh floor if you can help it. Over our time there, we encountered no less than three cockroaches — two in our room (the first of which caused quite the panic), and one in the hallway. The guy who took the report seemed rather familiar and nonchalant about the matter. Between this and the check-in fiasco, we’re not terribly keen on staying there another year.

Oh, and they really downgraded the cold breakfast bar, too.

The ride home was nearly as bad as the ride down, though I somehow managed to black out for a few periods at a time, so that helped.

Can’t think of much else to say at the moment, save for talking about some of the places we ate. Maybe I’ll do that in another post? We’ll see.

Hm, now I think I see why people tend to break their recaps down into days. It’s just past 9:05am as I write this, so I’m chalking it up to a “live and learn” moment for next year.

Last but not least, if you’d like to see the exclusively Mega Man cosplay and stuff I scoped out at the convention, head on over to The Mega Man Network for a gander. I promise it’s nowhere near as long as this!

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