Photo Credits: Samantha Ferreira

The area surrounding the Walter E. Washington Convention Center was already abuzz with activity by the early hours of Friday morning. Hundreds of fans milled about outside the building, spreading across the block and beyond, their necks adorned with colorful badges attached to azure lanyards.

Photo of an Apple Store in Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: Samantha Ferreira

Inside the building, tens of thousands wandered through the various hallways and concourses, chatting, and catching up on times past. Though their faces were hidden behind face masks, it was hard to deny that there was genuine excitement in the air.

Photograph from Otakon 2021 - A dark-haired woman in a suit, a pink-haired woman in a black dress, and a blonde woman in a maid outfit pose for a photo.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

As with any convention, this year’s Otakon saw literally thousands of cosplayers walking the halls—more than one would usually see at an event that attracted twenty-five thousand attendees. From Chainsaw Man to My Hero Academia, it often felt like being immersed in a living, breathing celebration of anime as a medium.

Photo from Otakon 2021 - A man dressed as the lead character of Chainsaw Man poses for the camera

Chainsaw Man

Photo from Otakon 2021 - A man in a blue suit and a woman in a pink business suit pose and point at each other playfully.


Of particular note, though, was the creativity on display regarding this year’s mask mandate. It was hard to deny the inventive ways that cosplayers implemented masks into their costumes.

Photo from Otakon 2021 - A woman with short grey hear, wearing an MSBY jersey, poses triumphantly



Photo from Otakon 2021 - two individuals dressed as My Hero Academia characters pose for a photo.

My Hero Academia

The sheer talent on display this year, as always, was nothing of impressive; but, more than anything, anime cons would not be the same without the cosplayers who bring their best to every event.

I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone featured in this segment. You’re all amazing, and Otakon wouldn’t be the same without you.