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Otakon goes Vegas, adding festival outside Baltimore

Otakon, the annual celebration of Japanese pop culture held in Baltimore, is going Vegas, baby.

The three-day festival, one of the longest-running anime conventions in the U.S., is usually held at the Baltimore Convention Center. But organizers said starting in 2014, it will have a sister gathering at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Fans shouldn't expect this new staging to be an exact replica of what anime fans have been seeing since the festival arrived in Baltimore in 1999.

Otakorp Inc. described the Vegas event as an opportunity to try out new formats and events in a much smaller and more intimate setting.

"We're nearing the capacity of our home in Baltimore; the next logical step would be to expand," said Victor Albisharat, the chairman of the Otakon Vegas Convention. "With that in mind, we're working on some exciting new events and formats that might not lend itself to our larger event in Baltimore."

Otakon Vegas is scheduled for Jan. 3-5, 2014, while Otakon Baltimore arrives Aug. 9-11, when it will celebrate its 20th festival.

That leaves plenty of time between the events for fans to plan trips to see both.

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