Monday, June 11, 2007

Otaku Omaha 2007

Otaku Omaha 2007, held last weekend (June 9-10, 2007) in the Carlisle Hotel Omaha located at 10909 M Street, was something new to hit the Omaha area. It was Omaha's first Anime convention. People have been watching, collecting and showing Anime in Omaha for the last three decades but an Anime Convention is more than the sum of those three.
Yes, they were showing Anime in two video rooms for people to watch, and they had a dealer's room for people to purchase VHS and DVD Anime programming. But there was MORE! The dealer's room was a cornucopia of genre items from, yes, VHS and DVD programming to models and music, buttons and pins to prints and stuffed Anime characters. Outside the dealer's room was an artist's area where very talented people were rendering Anime images, including caricatures of people in the genre style. Along with their main programming track they had two panel discussions going during the day. There was also a video gaming and non-video gaming room available.
Yet conventions are not about the components that draw the attendees but about the attendees and how they interact with each other. Cosplay (Literally "Costume Play." Dressing up and pretending to be a fictional character, usually a sci-fi, comic book, or anime character) is a very important part of any Anime convention. At least one quarter to the attendees were displaying some form of costume. Their Masquerade contest, while needing a guiding hand in its stage presense had almost twice the entrants I usually see at the SF conventions I attend. They definitely have a special enthusiam for the medium.
I hope that Otaku Omaha had a financially successful first year and can afford to continue bringing this caliber of event to the Metro because Omaha needs more places to play.