Otakon 2022: Cosplay, K-Pop, and The Saga of Ms. Hina

A review of Otakon 2022 and what the convention had to offer.

Reviewing events is one of the hardest things to do as press, especially when the event you are attending had a record-breaking 40,000-plus attendees. There was so much to do at Washington D.C.’s Otakon, that it was hard to cover everything. Several different panels, workshops, and photoshoots were running around the clock and there was always something to catch. Here’s everything you need to know about Otakon 2022, including our thoughts on attending Otakon 2023.

*Disclaimer: Otakon provided press pass for me. Please keep in mind a team of two can only do so much when covering such a large-scale event. We covered as much ground as possible, including the most popular events, to give you an accurate picture of Otakon 2022.

Events at Otakon 2022

PIXY at Otakon 2022
Otakon 2022 photo of PIXY by Jesse Roar

There were a variety of events for badge holders to attend. Here is a quick list of things that Otakon had to offer:

  • Dealers Room
  • Artist Alley
  • Live Concerts
  • Panels
  • Workshops
  • Manga Library
  • Maid Cafe
  • Karaoke
  • Photoshoots
  • AMV Viewing
  • Gaming Room
  • Cosplay Contest
  • Anime Viewing
  • Autographs Sessions
  • A Lolita Garden
  • Formal Ball
  • Dance Party

Whether you liked shopping or reading, there was an area you could retreat to. Every day there were major concerts, with the opening night having three K-Pop performances from PIXY, AleXa, and Rolling Quartz. The following day, a J-rock group known as G.L.A.M.S performed.

G.L.A.M.S. at Otakon 2022 (2)
Otakon 2022 photo of G.L.A.M.S by Jesse Roar
G.L.A.M.S. at Otakon 2022
Otakon 2022 photo of G.L.A.M.S by Jesse Roar

On Sunday, a live orchestra concert was held featuring composers Kaoru Wada and Yuki Hayashi as they performed popular themes from anime like Inuyasha and My Hero Academia.

If you didn’t fancy music, then you could head to one of the many ongoing panels. These center around topics like Japanese culture, gaming, comedy, and the industry. Many guests like Steve Blum hosted their own panels where they talked about the industry and their jobs. You could also find Studio Trigger, who showed off the first episode of Cyberpunk Edgerunners, and MangaGamer, who are known for their work on visual novels.

There were also workshops available to those who wanted to explore the more artsy side of the con, although the popularity of these events caused many of the events to fill up within minutes. Fans could also look forward to the formal ball on Friday night and a dance party on Saturday night helmed by several DJs.

The Otakon 2022 Experience

Dealer Room at Otakon 2022
Otakon 2022 photo of Dealer’s Room by Jesse Roar

Overall, the convention felt very safe, and while there was a large crowd, everyone has to present a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination. The crowd had no problem with keeping masks on during the event, with unmasked con-goers only appearing during food and water breaks.

The largest problem for any con of this size is lines, but this is nothing that shouldn’t be expected for a large-scale event. The staff, which is made up entirely of volunteers, was wonderful when working with both press and attendees. The dealer’s room was large, and the prices were on par with other cons. Where Otakon really shined was in its talented artist alley.

There was no shortage of great artists present, and it was hard to choose which one to buy from. Of course, Genshin Impact, along with series like Naruto, were on full display. While you could find most of the popular series everywhere, there was also no shortage of little surprises for fans of more niche anime and gaming series.

There was just a lot to do, and if you love Japanese media, then Otakon is the place to be in the summer. There will be some lines waiting, and you may not make it to every event, but there are so many things going on at once that you won’t feel left out.

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The People of Otakon 2022

The most important thing about any convention is the people that attend it, and Otakon 2022 showed just how brilliant its fanbase could be. I would like to reiterate that no press pass or amount of sparkly events can change how a cons fanbase is. The cosplayers, many of which we have had the pleasure of talking with, are some of the most passionate and talented people you can find.

Featured below is a small taste of what we will have in our Otakon 2022 cosplay gallery, as there were just too many talented cosplayers to not have a separate article.

Cosplayers at Otakon 2022
Yae Miko by @scarletusagi, Brook by @superspiraleric, and Rannie by @LifeOfCosplay

If you were at Otakon, it was pretty easy to find your people. Most people were open to talking about anime and gaming, which made making friends easy. The most impressive thing that was seen from attendees, though was when the community came together to help find a missing cardboard cutout of Ms. Hina from Genshin Impact.

The owner of the cutout had it stolen and immediately took to online channels to try and get it returned. In short, the response and sleuthing the con-goers did to return the item was nothing short of incredible. Within 48 hours, the con attendees located and had the cutout returned to its rightful owner, but you could see multiple people working through multiple social media channels to make it happen.

That is an act of human kindness that is rare to see and, for me, shows just how positive the Otakon attendees are towards one another.

Planning for Otakon 2023

Otakon 2023 banner
Image via Otakon

Now comes the most important part of a review, is it worth it to attend Otakon 2023? My answer is an easy YES! While you should bring snacks and prepare to wait in lines, Otakon still proves to be an enjoyable yearly experience. The entire con is non-profit and run by volunteers.

There are guaranteed to be more quality guests, tons to do, and just being involved in the Otakon community is something that you should experience at least once. The biggest thing you should plan for is the cost of Washington D.C. and getting a hold of your badges early on so that you can have them mailed to you or easily pick them up.

You can also count on Otakon to keep up its health practices if the pandemic is still ongoing, something that quite a few cons have faced backlash over trying to back out of. If you have the time and money, then go ahead and book your trip for Otakon 2023 now. The experience is worth it.

If you are interested in booking using the Otakon hotel block, click here. You can also view badge prices on the official Otakon website.

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Jesse Roar
Jesse Roar

Jesse Roar is Press SPACE to Jump's resident otaku and Genshin obsessed writer. Jess is an industry veteran who takes pride in working with JRPG and indie developers. Along with gaming, you can find them collecting anime figures and having too much faith in Isekai anime.

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