Otakon to move to Washington DC in 2017

Otakon, the annual anime and manga fandom convention is taking place this weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center. It will be Otakon’s final year in Baltimore. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC will begin hosting Otakon starting in 2017.

Why the move? Because the Baltimore Convention Center hasn’t aged gracefully. From the official Otakon website:

The primary driver for this move is the state of the facilities in Baltimore and their uncertain future. The Baltimore Convention Center has not aged gracefully and there are proposals to replace both the BCC and the Arena over the next five years. Any upgrades would require at least a temporary move and would result in disruptive changes in our facilities regardless of the final outcome.

The Arena is the Royal Farms Arena located a block away from the Baltimore Convention Center. I haven’t been there is years, so I don’t know if it too has not aged gracefully.

Another problem with hosting Otakon in Baltimore is the city itself. Parts of Baltimore are dangerous, not the kind of places you’d want to go dressed up as Sailor Moon.

twitter.blmYou also never know when the Baltimore police will kill someone. It happens all the time. When it does, there’s good chance there will be riots and the city will burn. Black Lives Matter.

There’s a reason the HBO series The Wire took place in the city of Baltimore.

A man walks past a burning police vehicle, Monday, April 27, 2015, during unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A man walks past a burning police vehicle, Monday, April 27, 2015, during unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

I’ve been to Otakon only once, and I didn’t care too much for it. Although my interest in Anime and Japanese pop culture is not the greatest, I do have some interest in it. What stood out the most was how rude and obnoxious everyone seemed to be. I had more people bump into me at my one day there than I had the prior twenty years combined. I’ve been to Star Trek cons. I’ve been to comic book cons. The fans at Otakon are just different.

Another thing I don’t like about Otakon is the price. They don’t sell single day tickets. The event takes place Thursday through Sunday. If you want only to go to Friday’s convention, you have to purchase a four-day $100 membership. They get away with this because they cater to hardcore fans, the type of fans who wouldn’t dream of going to Otakon for only one day.

I’m a much more casual fan of anime and Japanese pop culture. My casual fandom isn’t conducive to forking over $100 for the privilege of attending a convention for one day.

Scarlet Johansson in ‘Ghost in the Shell’

Paramount and Dreamworks Pictures released the first image from the upcoming movie Ghost in the Shell. It’s a live-action version of the popular anime of the same name. The image shows Scarlet Johansson in the starring role of cyborg Major Kusanagi.

In the anime, Major Kusanagi is Japanese. Scarlet Johansson is not Japanese. Some people are bothered by this fact.

The director on the film is Rupert Sanders. He’s the hack who directed Snow White and the Huntsman, a truly awful movie. It featured Kristen Stewart in the title role and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. The movie didn’t work for all sorts of reasons, but one of the most glaring issues in the film was the casting. Snow White is the most beautiful woman in all the land. This gets her in all sorts of trouble with the Evil Queen, who used to be the most beautiful woman in all the land.

In what universe is Kristen Stewart more beautiful than Charlize Theron?

Kristen Stewart always has a look on her face like she just smelled Adam Carolla’s socks after some vigorous unicycling. Charlize Theron looks like Charlize Theron. At no time in the film was Kristen Stewart made to look more attractive or Charlize Theron made to look less attractive. We know Charlize Theron can be made less attractive.

It turned out Rupert Sanders was fornicating with Kristen Stewart during production of the film, so his judgment was probably… clouded.

Getting back to Scarlet Johansson playing Major Kusanagi. I don’t care that she’s not Asian. To me, it’s not a big deal. When the live-action movie based on Attack on Titan was released with an all Asian cast, I don’t remember anyone complaining. In the anime version, the characters, all except one, are western.

Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan

I don’t think this movie should even be made. The original anime is a classic. Not everything needs a movie version. In fact, most things don’t.

Hello Kitty's parents sound like a couple of jerks

It turns out that Hello Kitty, the iconic character created 40 years ago by the Japanese company Sanrio, is not a cat, but a human girl. She’s also not Japanese, she’s British. Who know? Christine R. Yano, anthropologist from the University of Hawaii and author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek across the Pacific, that’s who.

According to Yano, Hello Kitty is a British girl who just happens to look like a lot like a cat. Her real name is Kitty White. Her parents sound like a couple of jerks. They have a daughter with birth defects so severe, that it makes her seem feline, and they respond by naming her Kitty. They look at their infant daughter and see a newborn baby with ears on top of her head and whiskers jutting from her face, and they give her a name that is a synonym for a cat.

What a couple of passive-aggressive assholes.

I don’t know who Hello Kitty’s parents are, but I hate them with the intensity of a thousand suns. They obviously made a lot of money off their daughter’s malformations. They should have taken some of that money and used it to take Hello Kitty to medical specialists. British children should have bad teeth, not look like the family pet.

Japanese Batman giant-robot toy

I stopped by Barnes and Noble yesterday and saw this awesome looking “Vinyl Invader” Batman giant-robot toy. It’s made by Funco and it stands about 11 inches tall. It retails for $35.00.

It’s made to look retro and Japanese. It looks a lot like the old Mattel Shogun Warrior toys from the 1970’s, only smaller. I never had a Shogun Warrior, but I remember seeing them in Gemco and they were at least two-feet tall.

I didn’t buy it yesterday, but I now wish I had.