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I'm packing right now for Otakon 2017, my personal favorite anime convention and the most attended of the East Coast cons. It's the con's first year in Washington, DC after many years in downtown Baltimore, so I'm excited to see how things turn out. This year the guests include repeat offenders Masao Maruyama (founder of studios Madhouse, MAPPA, and M2), Hidenori Matsubara (at the con to promote his stint as animation director and character designer for In This Corner of the Worldcheck out my review), and Ei Aoki (director of Re:Creators, Fate/Zero, and Wandering Son) as well as some new faces like Katsuyuki Sumizawa (screenwriter for Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Gundam Wing). I've got interviews scheduled with Maruyama, Aoki, and Sumizawa, so look out for those ... as soon as I get through my massive interview backlog from Fanime, AnimeNEXT, and Anime Expo! You can follow my exploits throughout the con via Twitter, as always.

On top of that, I'm hosting two panels, and I'd love it if you'd stop by and check them out:

  • "The Beautiful Backgrounds of Anime," Saturday 2-3pm in Panel 6: My old panel about anime background art is back, now with all-new series and a greater focus on the individual styles of particular art directors. Come for the pretty pictures, stay for the spotlight on an undervalued art form.
  • "The Rise of CG Anime," Saturday 9-10pm in Panel 4: Another returning panel, this one covers the long and fascinating history of computer animation in Japan. A lot of it is the same as previous years (the history hasn't changed, after all), but especially near the end I've got a bunch of cool new stuff to talk about. CG is good, actually!

And finally, to complete the theme of bringing back old stuff, I'm bringing back an Otakon classic to celebrate the con's move to DC. That's right folks, it's time for Otaku Bingo!

I made a bingo card full of everybody's "favorite" parts of the anime con, and it's up to you to mark them down when you see them and try to get five in a row. Both PDF and JPG versions are available for you to print out at home or at your hotel, and I'll have about 20 copies with me to hand out to anyone who wants to play.

See you at Otakon!

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