Otakon 2018 was sort of like a milestone for me; it marked ten years since I started cosplaying.
I first cosplayed as Luke fon Fabre from Tales of the Abyss at Otakon 2008, which was my second time going to a convention. I went every year since 2007--this was my eleventh Otakon! Wow.
It was nice to see a growth in attendance for the con since moving to the new location in DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. There were a lot of cool things about the Inner Harbor, but it had been clear for years that Otakon had outgrown the space. A lot of us approached the first year in DC with some hesitation, but last year was one of my favorite years of the convention. The concerts were outrageously fun, there were cool panels, and I got to hang out with some people I hadn't spent time with in a while.
For some reason, in the month leading up to this year, I just wasn't feeling it.
Maybe it was that there was no one on the guest list I was particularly excited to see. Maybe it was that several of my friends had decided to skip Otakon and spend their money at other conventions (that's fair--DC is very expensive, and while Otakon used to be the east coast convention, several more conventions have become more of a staple than Otakon is right now). Like every year, I was working on a cosplay right up to the last few days before the con. Maybe I'm getting older and burnout is hitting me; I attend about four to five anime conventions a year, and there isn't anything in particular that sets Otakon apart. When the schedule released, I spent an hour combing through it, and after I found a couple panels I was possibly interested in attending if I wasn't busy at the time, I just felt...bored. I wasn't excited for the con at all.
That isn't to say Otakon 2018 was bad! I'm in a place where I don't mind spending lots of time away from the con to hang out with friends at restaurants and eat good food--albeit at high prices. I had a good time in my cosplays, but there was nothing particularly good for me this year. Especially not at the cost of the badge, the hotel room for three nights, overnight parking, food, and five and a half hours of travel one way.
I've decided to skip Otakon next year. Maybe I'll never return; maybe I will. Since moving to New York, it's been more expensive to visit, and my local convention scene is growing. I might as well support that and spend less money.