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Otakon Convention Takes Over Baltimore

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Ron Matz is an Emmy award-winning reporter who joined the Eyewitness...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you’re going to be downtown this weekend you’ll be seeing thousands of people in costume. The reason is a huge convention that’s in town.

Ron Matz has more on what’s happening at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Welcome to Otakon–a three day gathering celebrating Japanese and east Asian pop culture.

“Think of it as a Japanese Comic-Con. People come here from all around the country. Some people even come from other countries, including Japan. They come here to have a good time,” said Patrick Chou of Olney, Md.

There’s a near-gridlock on Pratt Street as thousands of costumed anime fans head inside.

“I just like seeing all the people. It’s great being part of the community,” said Jenny Harris from Portland, Oregon.

“They are expecting over 30,000 people here, it’s becoming more popular,” Chou said.

Champion sumo wrestlers seem to be the center of attention. It’s a big convention. Otakon will bring 35,000 people to Baltimore this weekend.

“To me, Otakon means the freedom to like what you like. It’s the freedom of not being judged by what you like. It’s a complete free zone, no harassment from others. Everybody came here to do one thing, that’s to love what they love,” said Wayne Cornish of Abingdon, Md.

Fans will watch east Asian films and each other. Panels and workshops will be offered, too. Complete fandemonium from out of this world, but still distinctly American.

“I always enjoy seeing other people enjoy anime. This is my first year, I love to dance and I love to share dance with other people,” Cornish said.

Otakon will continue to be held in Baltimore for two more years, but the convention will move to Washington D.C. in 2017.

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