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Otakon 2021 Attendance Exceeds 25,500

Otakon

As the first major event to be held in Washington, D.C., since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the attendance for Otakon 2021 reached an estimated 25,543 unique memberships, Otakorp Inc. has announced.

Despite challenges, including the global pandemic and the fact that the staff only had roughly 70 days to plan the convention once it became clear that Washington, D.C., was reopening, the number is down only slightly from the 2019 number of 28,430 unique memberships. That number includes total memberships/attendees, both pre-registered and at door, as well as staff, dealers, artists, industry, contractors, guests, and members of the registered press.

The final number may be adjusted slightly after audits are conducted to ensure accuracy. Updated numbers, when completed, will appear on the Events Statistics page on the official Otakon website.

In light of the pandemic, Otakorp Inc. required masks at Otakon 2021. In addition, through cooperation with the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, there were enhanced cleaning measures in place, as well as advanced technological safety measures, such as contactless temperature checks, and enhanced disinfection for everything from elevators to escalators to ventilation.

Otakon 2022 will be held from July 29 to 31 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

“Hetalia World Stars” will participate in a panel broadcast live from Japan at Otakon 2021

STANDARD: ©HIDEKAZ HIMARUYA/SHUEISHA,HETALIA WS PROJECT

On Saturday, August 7, the team behind “Hetalia World Stars” will participate in a live broadcast at an Otakon 2021 panel. This will include the producer, director, composer and a voice actor from the production.

The “Hetalia World Stars” live broadcast will take place in Panel 1 from 11:30-12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Among those participating will be Norihiro Kurosawa, the producer of “Hetalia World Stars.” Fans may know him for his work on “Chivalry of a Failed Knight” or “The 8th Son? Are You Kidding Me?”

Director Hiroshi Watanabe has had a long career in animation. Older anime fans may know him for his work on directing the “Slayers” series. Others may know him for some of his work on “Magical Princess Minky Momo.” He has worked on a number of other projects, from multiple roles on the “Hell Girl” series; directing “Jing: King of Bandits”; and directing “Ken En Ken: Aoki Kagayaki.”

On the production side, composer and pianist Conisch will join the panel. Viewers have heard his works in “Pokémon: Twilight Wings,” “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal,” and “Mardock Scramble.” Since making his debut as a composer with the anime “Hitohira,” Conisch has headed many popular programs, building a reputation for his diverse musical expressions that closely match the emotions of the characters, as well as his lyrical, yet aggressive and uniquely catchy melodies. His compositions demonstrate a rich, novel artistry that sublimates his own sensitivities with superior techniques. The main theme song “play Heath Wind” for the TBS program “HIRUOBI” is a hidden masterpiece that has continued to unfailingly permeate through Japanese culture even 10 years after it was first released.

Last but certainly not least, voice actor (or seiyuu) Atsushi Kosaka will join the discussion. In “Hetalia World Stars,” he voices Estonia, Prussia, and Greece. Fans of “The Prince of Tennis” may recognize him as Akuto Mitsuya, but he has also played a variety of other roles, such as Eiji Arashiba in “Scar on the Praeter.”

Otakon has thanked Frontier Works Inc. for helping to make this live broadcast possible.

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

Otakon to Partner with Embassy of Japan for Special Content

Ride Your Wave

Thanks to a partnership with the Embassy of Japan, Otakon 2021 members will get a chance to take a picture with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch, as well as participate in Japanese cultural events throughout the day on Saturday, August 7, including a kabuki lecture and demonstration, and a screening of the anime film “Ride Your Wave.”

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch can be viewed, and photos taken, at the Embassy of Japan booth in the Dealers Room. The Otakon Dealers Room is open from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, August, 6; from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 7; and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 8.

Also on Saturday, the Embassy’s Japan Information & Culture Center will be offering a special screening of the anime film “Ride Your Wave” (2020) starting at 2 p.m. From visionary director Masaaki Yuasa (“The Night is Short,” “Walk on Girl,” “Devilman Crybaby”) the deeply emotional film applies his trademark visual ingenuity to a tale of romance, grief and self-discovery. Surf-loving college student Hinako must find joy and purpose in life again, after a terrible tragedy results in the death of her firefighter boyfriend Minato.

At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Professor Kirk Kanesaka will present a kabuki lecture and demonstration. Kabuki theater has remained for centuries one of Japan’s most dramatic and colorful storytelling forms, and at points in Japanese history, its fandom rivaled that of manga and anime for passion.

Professor Kanesaka will introduce authentic Japanese kabuki from its earliest origins in Japanese mythology and its establishment as a popular theatrical form in Japan’s Edo period. He will explain the different roles, from tachiyaku to onnagata, as well as the stage and stagecraft involved. He will show how its daring costumes influenced Tokyo fashions over the years, how its heightened drama influenced modern popular culture, and how it has maintained its vitality up to the present day.

In addition to his talk, Professor Kanesaka will perform scenes from Fujimusume Kudoki (“The Love Lament of the Wisteria Maiden”) and Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (“Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees”) in su, i.e. sans makeup and costume, and he may even teach the audience how to do the same. The demonstration will conclude with a Q&A session.

In addition, officials from the Embassy of Japan will participate in Opening Ceremonies and will present the Masquerade Award at the cosplay competition.

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

Otakon 2021 to Broadcast Live from the Convention

For the first time, Otakorp Inc. will give viewers live insights from the convention floor during Otakon 2021. The coverage is free to everyone and will be hosted on Otakon’s Twitch channel.

Throughout the weekend, select events hosted in Panel 1 will be broadcast live, or on tape delay. In addition, the live show “Otakon Connection” will provide additional insight into the Otakon 2021 weekend.

This will be the first time Otakon will provide streaming events from the convention floor live in an official capacity. The success of last year’s Otakon.Online demonstrated the value of an online presence to Otakon members and potential members.

In addition, the live coverage will make the convention accessible to those who cannot attend this year. Streaming to Twitch will help expand the audience beyond those who can come to Washington, D.C., thus allowing Otakorp to extend the reach of its mission.

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

Otakon 2021

Otakon to Feature Fashion Events Including Guests on Live Remote from Japan

Orakon 2021

Fashion and J-rock music programming events are planned for Otakon 2021, featuring panels on fashion and alt. idols with Senanan; J-rock with Initial’L; and visual kei with LANTANA. These guests will be participating in panels via remote livestream from Japan.

Not just a designer but also a DJ, Senanan wears many faces. She has been featured as a model in publications such as “KERA!,” “FRUiTS,” “Koakuma ageha,” “SHUTTER,” and “Tokyo GraffiT” and has also been featured on TV.

Senanan designs her own brand, QissQill, and is a charisma blogger. Most recently, she has made appearances at famous events as an extensive crossover DJ, featuring idol, anime, and loud scene songs. Senanan was also active in Strawberry Syndrome, which features Rinahamu, formerly of the idol group BiS. Rinahamu was a member of the group CY8ER.

Senanan now designs for her brands XRN (pronounced Heren), sister brand of KRY clothing, and QissQill. She also produces the idol group RIPLIE.

Initial’L (formerly visual kei band Lycaon) is a four-person rock band with Yu-ki on vocals, Satoshi and ZERO on guitar, and Ichiro on drums. They started in 2016, and since then, they have released three singles, a mini album, and a full album. Initial’L stands out in the current rock scene for transcending genre barriers.

In 2017, Initial’L embarked on their first tour, FIREFLYTOUR: Road to BLITZ, playing 18 shows all over Japan. The final show of the tour was held at Mynavi Akasaka BLITZ. In July of 2018, they released their third single, “Can You Feel It?” and in September of that same year, their first full album, “Initialize,” came out. Along with the release of “Initialize,” they set off on the Initialize tour, where they played six shows in five locations all across Japan.

In 2019, Initial’L made their U.S. debut at Katsucon in National Harbor, MD.

LANTANA is a loud rock visual kei band based in Tokyo. Despite their intense sound and a dark visual kei mask, their songs feature pleasant hooks, with melodies that grab listeners’ attention.

LANTANA started in July of 2015. In December of the same year, they released their first mini album and held a Tohoku region tour. In February of 2016, they held their first sponsored event. With their next sponsored events held consecutively in June, July, and August, LANTANA released their first single.

In May of 2017, LANTANA’s second single was released, and in July, they held their first single-act event. In February of 2019, LANTANA made their international debut at Katsucon for the event’s 25th anniversary in National Harbor, MD, in the U.S. In September of 2019, LANTANA released three singles internationally with the help of Gan-Shin Records.

Otakorp thanks Chaotic Harmony Imports, which features official visual kei and idol merchandise from Japan, for helping to coordinate these events.

Chaotic Harmony Imports was created in early 2016 after seeing the high demand for visual kei merchandise that is often sold exclusively in Japan and hard to obtain. Understanding this gap, the founders of Chaotic Harmony came together to use their extensive knowledge, experience, and connections in order to help fans more easily obtain merchandise while still supporting the artists.

By utilizing the staff’s connections with management companies, labels, and artists, Chaotic Harmony Imports is able to purchase goods directly from the bands, which supports the artists and allows for a cheaper means of importation. Likewise, considerable market research was done prior to creating the company, which allows for Chaotic Harmony’s staff to understand the fans and their wants.

In 2017, Chaotic Harmony organized their first convention event with Avanchick at Tokyo in Tulsa. Since then, they have organized more than a dozen live concerts and fashion shows, as well as orchestrating online events.

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

Live-action Super Art Fight Returns to Otakon

Super Art Fight

Super Art Fight, a live-action art competition, will return this year to Otakon 2021. The live-action performance features two or more artists who battle against each other on a giant canvas.

With the help of two quipping hosts and the Wheel of Death, the artists will compete for the audience’s affection in order to score a win. The winner of an Art Fight bout is determined by the fans, and the fans alone, using a decibel reader to determine how loud the crowd cheers and to crown the winner.

Super Art Fight will pit cutting-edge artists against each other in the art of creative combat, reacting to the whims of the fans.

The competition has been a popular event at previous Otakons. Last year, a virtual version took place during Otakon Online, where the artists competed on a virtual sketch pad and secured wins through online polls.

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

Otakon 2021 Sunday Concert to Feature “The Band Returns: J-MUSIC Ensemble LIVE!”

J-MUSIC Ensemble

Otakorp has announced the Otakon 2021 Sunday concert titled “The Band Returns: J-MUSIC Ensemble LIVE!“. The concert is presented by J-MUSIC Ensemble.

J-MUSIC Ensemble is an 8-piece, jazz-rooted band that is dedicated to bringing new perspectives to the world of Japanese music. Featuring blazing brass melodies and chilling saxophone solos, this band fuses its background in the jazz tradition with the catchy and brilliant nature of modern Japanese music to create powerful new versions of J-Pop/J-Rock songs, anime and video game music, and more. Since its inception, the J-MUSIC Ensemble has been building a sizeable following of dedicated fans around the world and has been notably featured with figures such as Donna Burke (“Metal Gear Solid” series, “Final Fantasy”, “Tokyo Ghoul”) and Adam Neely, with appearances on Nippon TV, KAI-YOU, and other Japanese media outlets. The idea was conceived by world-renowned and Grammy-nominated saxophonist, Patrick Bartley (sasakure.UK, Wynton Marsalis, Jon Batiste), who grew up hearing video game and anime soundtracks while simultaneously learning jazz and other American music styles and had a dream to someday bring those worlds together.

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

Voice Actor Zach Aguilar is Added to the Otakon Guest List

Zach Aguilar

Zach Aguilar, voice actor with a variety of well-known roles including Tanjiro in “Demon Slayer”, has been added to the Otakon guest list.

As one of the youngest talents in the industry, Zach Aguilar is an LA-based voice actor known for being a vocal “chameleon”. His roles include: Byleth from “Fire Emblem: Three Houses”, Tanjiro from “Demon Slayer”, Koichi from “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable”, Genos from “One Punch Man”, Sieg from “Fate/Apocrypha”, Arthur Pendragon from “The Seven Deadly Sins”, Ota from “AI: The Somnium Files”, Otto from Re:Zero, Kunihiro in “Katsugeki Touken Ranbu”, and Nikaido from “March Comes In Like a Lion” to name a few.

Zach can also be heard in projects like “Sword Art Online”, “Pokemon Masters”, “Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans”, “Aldnoah.Zero”, “One Piece”, “Carole and Tuesday”, “Fire Emblem: Heroes”, “Skip Beat!”, “Judgement”, “Beyblade Burst”, “Kakegurui”, and more.

When he’s not in the booth, Zach can be found streaming on Twitch at twitch.tv/airzach and tweeting about pineapple pizza at twitter.com/airzach

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

Otakon Adds Abby Trott to the Guest List

Abby Trott

Abby Trott, voice actor and singer and best known for portraying Nezuko in “Demon Slayer”, has been added to the Otakon guest list.

Abby Trott is an actor/singer from Attleboro, Massachusetts. She has lived and worked in Tokyo and New York City, and is currently based in Los Angeles.

Not only is Abby known for portraying Nezuko in “Demon Slayer”, but also as Annette in “Fire Emblem: Three Houses”, Ivy in Netflix’s “Carmen Sandiego”, Windblade in the “Transformers: Prime Wars Trilogy”, and singing the English version of “Lifelight”, the theme for Nintendo’s “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”. Some of her other roles in anime include Mezato Ichi in “Mob Psycho 100”, Machi in “Hunter X Hunter”, and Veronica Liones in “Seven Deadly Sins”.

When she isn’t talking, singing, or screaming into a microphone, Abby likes to spend her time playing shakuhachi (Japanese flute) and chatting with her cats (French pun intended).

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

Otakon 2021 Friday Concert to Feature Video Game Music

Eric Roth

Openworld, the Friday concert at Otakon 2021, will feature exciting new arrangements of video game music for a chamber ensemble of world-class musicians. The concert will be conducted by internationally known composer/conductor, orchestrator/arranger, and concert producer Eric Roth. The concert is presented by AWR Music Productions.

Openworld features music from “Halo,” “Super Mario 64,” “Metal Gear Solid,” “DuckTales,” “The Legend of Zelda” series and many others. Selections range from ‘90s classics to recent releases.

The name of the production comes from a term to connote freedom of movement within a video game; OPENWORLD embraces that spirit of freedom, movement and adventure.

Roth is the music director and chief arranger for Openworld. He was previously the music director and producer of “Distant Worlds: Music from FINAL FANTASY” and “A New World: Intimate Music from FINAL FANTASY” by AWR Music Productions and Square Enix, the video game developer. His orchestrations and arrangements have been performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony and many other ensembles.

He was the conductor of the orchestra for ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s historic 2019 “Strings Attached” Tour, performing dozens of monumental multimedia shows throughout the United States and Canada. 2020 saw the incredible sold-out premiere performances of “Undertale LIVE,”for which Roth was the music director and primary arranger/orchestrator, as well as the groundbreaking recording he produced. 

During 2020, Eric’s arrangements for viola soloist Clara Takarabe were essential to her work on Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Neurology Telemusic Program in Chicago.  Also in 2020, guitar virtuoso Sam Griffin and ER collaborated on the colossal solo guitar audio release “The RPG National Anthem”Variations, a theme and variations based on the Main Theme of the original FINAL FANTASY game by Nobuo Uematsu. 

In 2016, the Pat Benatar/Neil Giraldo orchestra production launched with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Roth is the primary arranger and orchestrator for this project. In 2011 he was the orchestrator and associate poducer for “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Symphony”and also for 2013’s follow-up recording.

Since 2012, Roth worked as conductor and orchestrator for live performances with orchestra by chart-topping singer/songwriter John Ondrasik/Five For Fighting. He also rearranged those orchestrations for the successful Five For Fighting String Quartet touring production which culminated in the 2018 commercial release of a live recording. Roth has been the conductor for performances by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, ensembles accompanying artists such as Seal, Jewel, Dennis DeYoung and Stevie Nicks, and other orchestras and ensembles. He was also the conductor for the ‘once in a lifetime’ “Surprise, Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” at the United Center, Chicago 2011 for a roster of performers including Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, Usher, Kristin Chenoweth, Jamie Foxx and Josh Groban.

Original music includes the abovementioned “The RPG National Anthem Variations” for Sam Griffin, music for the dynamic harmonica and piano duo Konstantin Reinfeld/Benyamin Nuss, for the documentary film “Baseball’s Been Very, Very Good to Me: The Minnie Minoso Story,” for “Curious George’s Dictionary” award-winning application for mobile devices as well as other applications by Scrollmotion, Roth’s own recording of minimal percussion music, “Battery, Lyceum”for Percussion Ensemble and solo recitation, Marquette, Michigan, “The Clark Street Bridge Project”for 80-plus percussionists—for the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, “Secret Cheese”—for the Tate Modern, London. etc.

Roth’s been an instructor at the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music (New York), Boston University (Distance Ed.) and other institutions. ABD for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music composition at The Graduate Center (City University of New York), he holds a MA from Mills College and a BA from the University of Michigan. His composition teachers include Tania León and Alvin Curran.

Otakon takes place August 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.

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