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August 12 - August 14, 2016
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Home  //  Programming and Activities  //  Events: Thursday Matsuri
Events: Thursday Matsuri

Welcome one and all, otaku of all ages, to Otakon's Annual Matsuri!

Once again, we bring you an amazing show for you to kick off the Otakon weekend right, with music, games, awesome food, some of our local anime clubs and groups, even a Yukata contest, as well as a few surprises for all of our attendees, but best of all, it's free to attend! You don't even need your member badge. You can avoid the lines and come hang out with your friends and Otakon family at the Matsuri, then get your badge later, since we run the Matsuri from noon til 9PM.

The Otakon Matsuri will be held on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015, at the Baltimore West Shore Park, down by the Inner Harbor and the Maryland Science Center, just a few blocks from the Baltimore Convention Center at the point marked on the linked map. We'll have staff and signage for everyone to get to the Matsuri, so keep an eye out for them.

2015 Performance Lineup

12:00PM - 1:00PMYukata Contest
1:15PM - 2:00PMKieran Strange
2:15PM - 3:15PMRichie Branson
3:30PM - 4:30PMSwimsuit Contest
5:00PM - 6:30PMProject: Beck
7:00PM - 8:45PMBack-On

2015 Otakon Matsuri Yukata Contest

Hello and welcome again to the 3rd annual Otakon Matsuri Yukata Contest!

We're happy to announce that we'll be holding this contest again this year, and it plans to be bigger and better than before, with more spots for contestants, new guest judges, and bigger prizes! We're opening the contest right now to the first 20 people who want to participate, and we'll have spots for up to 10 more at the Otakon Matsuri on Thursday, July 23rd 2015, at the West Shore Park in Downtown Baltimore, the same place where the Matsuri has been held for the last few years, just a few minutes of walking from the Baltimore Convention Center.

Now, for those of you who are interested in the contest, our judges will be judging your Yukata on the following categories:

  • Most Traditional How classic and traditional your Yukata is.
  • Most Original How unique and inspiring your Yukata is.
  • Best Presentation How well you show off your Yukata to the judges and audience.
  • Audience Favorite - This will be chosen from how well the audience receives your Yukata and presentation.

The contest has reached the maximum number of entrants.

This contest is open to all ages, it is free to sign up as the Matsuri is also a free event. Again, if you are interested in participating, please fill out the form and send it in to us. The first 20 people who send in their form will be added to the list and expected to show up at the Matsuri for the Yukata contest. We tentatively plan to hold the Yukata contest around 12:30-1pm on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 at the Otakon Matsuri at West Shore Park.

For those of you who do not make it into the pre-sign up period for the contest, again, we'll have up to 10 additional spots available on the day of the Matsuri. From the time the Matsuri starts, which is 12pm to the time the Yukata contest starts, we'll be taking additional applicants for the Yukata contest.

We hope to see you all there, either showing off your fancy, awesome Yukata, cheering on your friends/family, or hanging out and enjoying the Matsuri! See you all soon! Ganbatte!

2015 Otakon Matsuri Swimsuit Contest

Is it too hot out for your normal cosplay? Want to be comfortable while listening to some of the amazing acts at the Otakon Matsuri? Then come check out and be a part of the Free! Eternal Summer swimsuit/cosplay contest, held at the 2015 Otakon Matsuri, sponsored by Funimation!

We have 15 spots available for contestants who want to beat the heat, as well as show off their best Free! Eternal Summer swimsuit and or cosplay. For this contest, our panel of judges will be looking for the several different aspects from each contestant, so get your swimsuit and cosplay tailored towards these following categories:

  • Best Free! Eternal Summer cosplay - How well your cosplay looks compared to a character from Free! Eternal Summer.
  • Best in Show - How well and unique your presentation of your swimsuit/cosplay is while you are on stage.
  • Judge's Choice - The favorite swimsuit/cosplay that the judges all agree on.

Each contestant will have up to a minute on stage to show off their swimsuit/cosplay, then all our judges will make their decisions for each category. Prizes will be given out at the end of the contest, and prizes are given on behalf of both Funimation and Otakon.

Sign ups for the Free! Eternal Summer swimsuit/cosplay contest will begin an hour before the contest starts. The contest is tentatively scheduled from 3:30pm-4pm on Thursday, July 23rd at Baltimore west shore park, where the Matsuri is being held.

All contestants must be at least 18 years or older, and all cosplay and swimsuits must be of good taste, and within the guidelines of both the Otakon cosplay guidelines and Baltimore's clothing laws. Remember, no costume is not a costume, please keep your swimsuit/cosplay within the lines of decency. Above all, have fun with it though, we know all you Free! fans will not disappoint with your excellent cosplay!


A new swimming season is here, and Haru, Makoto, Nagisa, and Rei are anxious to get back in the pool. But things aren't all flip-turns and finish lines. Haru's passion for swimming is drying up, and with their futures looming ahead, Makoto and Haru are having a hard time focusing. And a new Samezuka student appears just in time to jeopardize Iwatobi's chance at nationals.

Club Booths

The following groups will be hosting booths at the Masturi:

  • Anime Rest Stop
  • Baltimore Anime Denizens
  • Baltimore Genshiken
  • Delaware Anime Society
  • DMV Anime Watchers
  • End of Forever
  • It's Sugar
  • Kotoricon
  • Manly Battleships
  • Otagen Anime Club
  • T-Mode
  • Tainted Reality
  • UMBC Anime Club
Be sure to stop by and check them out!



BACK-ON is a hybrid rock band that blends a variety of music genres. Unified by KENJI03's piercing vocal melody and TEEDA's mixture of English and Japanese rap, BACK-ON is a group of four childhood friends from Tokyo, Japan that enjoys pursuing for the new rock sounds.

Since the start, BACK-ON has not only had concerts within Japan, but also overseas including America, Germany, Canada, Europe, Brazil, Taiwan, and Mexico, receiving high acclaim for their refined and aggressive performance.

BACK-ON has previously released songs with GReeeeN under the collaborative band BAReeeeeeeeeeN. Individual BACK-ON members have also collaborated with other talented artists such as Koda Kumi and SoulJa. In addition, the band has composed songs for other artists and is esteemed for their song composition.

Recently, the band has sung both theme songs of the anime series Gundam Build Fighters, spanning two seasons, as well as the theme song of its new sequel, Gundam Build Fighters Try. To be in charge of three consecutive Gundam series theme songs is a unusual accomplishment.

On October 5, 2014, BACK-ON performed a successful concert at the Akasaka BLITZ music venue. The band is currently on its Japan & World Tour 2015.

Main Anime and Game Collaboration Works

  • Air Gear (Opening)
  • Eyeshield 21 (Opening and Ending)
  • Fairy Tail (Opening)
  • Gundam Build Fighters (Opening)
  • Gundam Build Fighters Try (Opening)
  • One Piece (Opening composer)
  • Tales of the World Mythology 2 (Opening)
  • Tales of the World Mythology 3 (Opening)
  • Gundam G Generation Frontier (Opening)
  • Gundam Breaker (Theme Song)
  • Gundam Breaker 2 (Theme Song)

Richie Branson

Richie Branson (born Marcus Brown II) is a music composer and producer who has worked with a variety of notable brands including Marvel Studios and Def Jam Recordings.

As a composer, Richie has worked on a multitude of notable projects, including providing additional score for the hit MMORPG Marvel Heroes, and producing soundtrack for the mobile game Mission: G-ROK, backed by Grammy award winning rapper T.I. and legendary music mogul Russell Simmons.

He is also an accomplished hip-hop artist, gaining notoriety in 2012 after penning multiple songs for Adult Swim and touring with mc chris. After gaining a loyal following as a hip-hop performer, he achieved billboard-charting success with the release of his "From Guardia With Love" album.

After his nostalgia-filled videogame influenced raps went viral on various major gaming blogs (including Kotaku, IGN, Destructoid, and more), Branson began an intense study curriculum in computer programming. Armed with experience coding in C# and Javascript, he began developing his own games in late 2014.

Connect with Richie:

The Game Theorists


You know and love him, it's "Trailer" Drake McWhorter! A member of The Game Theorists and a former member of, TrailerDrake is the creator of Smash History, Unpopular Gaming Opinions, Crossover, and more! He's a connoisseur of everything geeky, a master of useless trivia, and did we mention that he's a snappy dresser?

Connect With Drake:

Gaijin Goombah:

After gaining a degree in International Relations, living abroad, and spending two years in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, Gaijin Goombah decided to devote his YouTube career to teaching multiculturalism around the world through the medium of video games. From recent to retro, he explains a multitude of cultural references found in these games, and how video games can better educate the world about not only different cultures, but also perspectives and ways of thinking. Together with the other Game Theorists, MatPat, Drake, and Ronnie Oni Edwards, Gaijin pursues something more than just mind-rotting in games; Education and understanding of the world we live in.

Connect With Gaijin Goombah:

Kieran Strange

Aside from being an acclaimed Cosplayer, LARPer, Slytherin, Firebender, Half-Elf Rogue, and self-proclaimed crazy cat mum, Kieran Strange is a quirky, dynamic young artist blending pop sensibilities, edgy guitars, and extremely high-energy live shows into her own personal brand of British pop-rock.

Raised on a variety of music genres above her grandmother's pub in a small fishing village in southern England, Kieran left her family behind at the tender age of seventeen to follow her heart and chase her dream of making music, all whilst singing songs about zombies, relationships gone awry, D&D, and video gaming.

As she stands firmly as a voice for the different and discarded, Kieran's die-hard fans, who are disenchanted with the mainstream sense of mind, have coined themselves the #Strangers; their numbers span across the globe, from all four corners of North America out as far as Europe and Asia. Kieran is fiery, verbal, and passionate when it comes to her beliefs, and some of the causes she fights to help support are feminism and equal rights, autism awareness, cancer research, eating disorder and mental health awareness, and anti-bullying both online and off.

Hot on the heels of her debut EP Adamantine Heart , Kieran will be unveiling her sophomore EP Last Hero Standing in the spring of 2015. She also worked with the cast and crew of transgender television sitcom The Switch to compose a theme song for the show. Amidst multiple convention appearances, art work releases, and costume crafting, Kieran is also currently working on a side-project with Japanese-inspired apparel and accessories company Tasty Peach Studios, which will feature J-pop influenced tunes written by Strange, along with cute animations and designs in collaboration with TPS's talented graphic artist, Ryan Zanfei, who is responsible for the extremely popular characters currently featured in TPS' products.

"I was really anxious about being open with the world about who I am," says Strange, "especially when it comes to how much I love to game and LARP, and my cosplay. I was scared the music industry wouldn't take me seriously. But the strength and confidence I've gained from the incredible con-goers and cosplayers I've met all over North America has inspired me to just be myself, wholeheartedly and unapologetically. And I encourage every single one of my #Strangers to do the same!"

Kieran Strange Social Media Links

Project BECK

Six Friends Four Bands One Love!

American Pop Punk band The Cheyenne Line, Youtube musician Kid Yuki, and long time friend and bassist Houston all shared one thing in common; They LOVED Beck:Mongolian Chop Squad. So, after years of traveling from state to state attending conventions as fans, these guys decided to combine their talents. With the help of voice actor Greg Ayres, and nerdcore rapper Doctor Awkward they formed a band to perform their favorite songs from Beck:Mongolian Chop Squad. Originally meant to be a one performance only project, they were thrilled to find out that so many others wanted to share in the experience as well. Join Sam, Greg, Doc, Peri, Houston, and Cody for their Otakon Matsuri performance full of loud rock music, adrenaline, and celebration of an anime that was made to Hit in The U.S.A.

Matsuri Food Vendors

Looking for something to snack on while enjoying the festivities of the Otakon Matsuri? Check out the various food trucks and desserts we'll have available at the Matsuri this year. The following will have various foods for you all to purchase and enjoy right at the Matsuri, so you don't miss a single thing throughout the day:

Smoking Swine
Cruisin' Cafe

Top off your meal with a refreshing dessert from Dessert Fantasies. They'll have a booth at the Matsuri with all sorts of delicious desserts and ice cream.

Finally, come check out the Otakon Booth at the back of the Matsuri, where our staff will be selling various drinks and refreshments, as well as sno-cones to cool off with.

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