Kelsie here, ready to share my experience from Otakon 2018! I am oh so tired but my heart is full even if my wallet is a little less full. My brain is still buzzing with all the great and fond memories from such an unforgettable weekend.
On August 9th I traveled some 2,000 miles to get to Washington D.C. On the 4 hour plane ride I was full of excitement, thinking about all that was to come. I was particularly over the moon thinking about the upcoming Mystic Messenger fan panel and the merch that would be available at the event. I wouldn’t have planned my trip to Otakon if it wasn’t for Cheritz. Dandelion, Cheritz’ first game, was what introduced me to otome and visual novels as a genre. My passion for otome continued to grow after that as I found games like Code: Realize, Amnesia: Memories, and the many Voltage titles. As one of the United States’ largest anime conventions I knew Otakon would offer more variety than the cons available to me back home. I planned to search out any and all traces of otome I could find at Otakon.
The plan for day one was to get to the Cheritz merch booth first thing. Of course this idea was shared by many Mystic Messenger fans and the line was quite lengthy when I arrived. I’d say my wait time was about 30-45 minutes but I walked away all smiles with a Jumin/707 shopping bag full of brand new merch. Next I stopped at the Voltage booth. I was very jealous of all who were able to pick up Voltage merch at Anime Expo so I was overjoyed that I was able to pick up some adorable Voltage men for myself! The only otome related panel that day was MangaGamer’s evening panel. It was a slim hope but I really wanted to hear more about Steam Prison. Unfortunately it was absent. Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome fans will be glad to hear that MangaGamer will be localizing Kalmia8’s Fxxx Me Royally! – Horny Magical Princess. Like Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome this will be another 18+ otome. Sadly that was it for otome news from MangaGamer.
Day two was the big day. Lining up for the Mystic Messenger panel was supposed to start a half hour before but when I arrived an hour early there was already a significant line. I want to start off by saying the entire panel was a like a dream. If I talked about all that happened within those wonderful two hours this blog post would be way too long so I want to share my personal highlights. First off the voice actors. Shim Gyuhyuk (Yoosung), Yeong Seon Kim (707), Sujin Kang (Ray/Unknown), and Ho San Lee (V) did live performances of key moments from the game as well as a unique scenario written specifically for Otakon. It was utterly hilarious and you could just feel the love and admiration in the room for these excellent voice actors. Ho San Lee quickly became my favorite voice actor with his short quirky quips in English as well as getting the entire room to yell, “WAKANDA FOREVER!” (Ho San Lee voices Black Panther in the Korean versions of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.) Not to mention him leaving the whole room in shock and awe as he said, “Rika… I HATE YOU.”
We also learned a lot from Sujin Ri, Cheritz producer and founder, concerning inspiration for the characters as well as Cheritz history. She revealed a shocking revelation that originally Nameless was going to be Cheritz last game. Yes, Mystic Messenger was close to not existing at one point. She said that it was the fans of Dandelion and Nameless who sent in letters and messages of gratitude that gave her the courage to develop one more game. I can’t thank you enough Dandelion and Nameless fans. Mystic Messenger came along during a dark time for me and reintroduced positivity back into my life. It will always be dear to me so thank you so much to the Cheritz fans and to Sujin Ri for not giving up! One other thing from Sujin Ri that I found interesting was 707’s origins. She wanted to create a character that did what she did, someone who created code. He was also created during a time of uncertainty for her so he became a character with a dark past and a dark cloud hanging over him. Everything ended on a high note as Sujin Ri promised that the after endings and more DLC will be coming to Mystic Messenger! Cheritz will be uploading a video of the full panel at the end August so I hope you will look forward to seeing the panel in all its glory!
At the beginning of the final day I didn’t have plans to attend the closing ceremonies but then Cheritz sent out a surprise tweet. Suddenly closing ceremonies became a priority as they would have a video reveal for the voice actor playing TEO in their upcoming game The Ssum. With no more otome related panels and plenty of time before closing ceremonies I went back to the Vendor Hall and Artist Alley to see if I could find any hidden otome gems. I didn’t find anything in the Artist Alley but it’s definitely possible I missed out as there were so many incredible artists’ works to take in. I did hit the jackpot in the vendor hall as I found a vendor with lots of small items from several otome games. I picked up some goods from Code: Realize, Collar x Malice, Uta No Prince-sama, and excitedly Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. MangaGamer also had some cute Ozmafia merchandise at their booth as well. I stopped by the Cheritz booth to see how their stock was doing and they had practically taken their booth down. They sold out of almost all their merchandise that it became a place for fans to hang out. Sadly but also excitedly closing ceremonies arrived and Sujin Ri took the stage. The Ssum video played announcing Seunghoon Seok will be voicing TEO. Cheritz has uploaded this video online so go take a look! Before leaving the stage Sujin Ri announced that the global version of The Ssum should be arriving sometime later this year. One final great otome surprise was seeing that two cosplayers cosplaying Victor and Queen Victoria from Code: Realize won an award at the Cosplay Masquerade. I didn’t catch their names but they totally earned it. Their costumes were incredible!
And then it was all over. I already miss seeing all the 707 cosplayers. I didn’t get in line for autographs from the Mystic Messenger crew but it was heartwarming to see the line jam packed with fans. As a Mystic Messenger fan my time at Otakon will always be a warm memory I keep close to my heart. The next couple of days in Washington D.C. I went out adventuring and seeing the sites while also reflecting on my Otakon experience. My time in D.C. was incredible and I hope I’m fortunate enough to return for another Otakon in the future!