Celebrating Asian Pop Culture at Otakon (photos)

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Allen Walker of the Japanese manga series "D.Gray-man," portrayed by Sleights of Hand cosplay. Photo by Jeff Malet.

Otakon, the giant anime convention, again took over the entire Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., this year on Aug. 10-12.

After 18 years in Baltimore, having outgrown the facilities there, the annual three-day convention celebrating Japanese and East Asian pop culture arrived in the District just a year ago, when 25,000 attended. Otakon has focused on its mission of bringing cultures together for learning, communication and fun.

Anime, the Japanese term for animation, is a distinct art form that has gained international popularity. Thanks to the rise of English-dubbed programming, Japanese anime has spawned a multibillion-dollar market in the U.S. that encompases film, art, music, literature and video games.

Otakon features workshops, guest panels, autographs and videos, plus a large Dealers Hall offering goods for sale. But, for many, the main reason to attend is the opportunity to dress up as a favorite anime character, a hobby known as “cosplay” (for costume-play).

View Jeff Malet’s photos from Otakon 2018 by clicking on the photo icons below.

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