A convention can be a lot of things. It can be a shopping adventure, a first convention, a covered event or a lasting experience. I came into the world of anime blogging because of this convention and I learned to look and love anime in a whole new way. I wanted to share how I felt at that convention with a greater part of the world and with my family. That was Naka-Kon 2015 for me. Naka-Kon 2016 was a convention that gave me a bigger sense of placement in the world of anime. With panels that where funny and delightful, to superb cosplay and guests. This years, Naka-Kon 2016, was THE best one yet. I said that about last year and I am saying now about this years and I mean it. While not vastly different from the past year, it was still a new experience. With Guests more interactive with the floor, Ayu Sakata and Micah Solusod as prime examples, the convention this year felt much more personal. I.E. This is the very first convention that I have been a press member of and this is the very first convention I have covered in as much detail as I ever have done. While I did give a first impression of last years convention, it was very tongue in cheek and rough at best. I hope that this convention was a learning experience on my behalf and I do hope it will translate well into writing for further conventions down the road.
For starters the convention this year was much more laid out and had a very organized feel to it. While Naka-Kon generally relies on Volunteers for their main body of workers, they all were very organized and where at their best on trying to provide a great convention experience and flow. The Convention opened as it usually does on Friday’s, with a long line that stretches all the way to the vendor hall and back. The reason being is that the convention does not start until 4:00PM CDT that Friday. While many feel this is a dated practice, seeing as many conventions will start first thing at 10:00AM most days, to help give everyone a full three days to enjoy themselves. While Naka-Kon has not sidestepped from that practice, they still cram so much in that you can’t really find yourself complaining. Now, getting to our, Day One, we spent it pretty much like we do every year we go. Get to the convention early, wait in line for registration and then wait around until lunch time and head off to the local, Buffalo Wild Wings. After which we find ourselves going for an early check-in at our hotel and then back to the convention floor to queue up for the opening of the vendor hall. The Vendor hall this year was crammed full of amazing bits and bobbles, unfortunately I wasn’t able to grab a picture of the inside due to the fact that I am a scrub lord. It was however, absolutely the most packed one yet. Sadly, the Artist’s Alley took a hit this year in my personal opinion. It felt lacking compared to previous years and we do not know if that is up to the layout of the hall this year or the lack of artists actually pushing for slots.
In any event, the vendor hall was full of booths trying their best to vie for your convention cash. Figures where a highlight this time around with almost every, single stall having at least some sort of Figma, Nendoroid or traditional figure. From what I overheard from a few convention attendees, this was sort of off putting and watered down a lot of the potential purchasers. While I must admit that I was not concerned by it, it did feel less diverse than it had previously did the year before. Gripes aside, the vendor hall is always the primary highlight of this convention, if not at least the centerpiece. Now, as per usual there are other vendors in the convention that are not in the vendor’s hall, rather there are more highlighted ones that are just outside of the hall. Most notably was, Sakevisual, a visual novel company founded by, Ayu Sakata. The main highlight of their stand was the fact that this is a company ran by an incredible voice actress and Funimation Voice Director for, Assassination Classroom. They may or may not also have the artistic talent and voice talents of Micah Solusod there to help as well. The items they sold in question where some key-chains, a figure and of course their visual novels. If anything the pricing that was available from their booth was some of the more friendly pricing that I have seen to date. Especially when you can get their popular Jisei & Kansei in a bundled offer for only 20USD. Purchases aside, our day one impressions where just that. While we attended a few panels for day one, it was not a big push to attend many for that initial day.
A quick walk from one end to the other!
A quick lapse of the floor on a Saturday Afternoon!
Day two was more adventurous and busy. With many convention attendees only staying one day, Saturday is by far the busiest for any convention. The lines where long and the cosplay’s varied. We also managed to cram in a ton of panel time during this stretch of the day and it was that day from which we managed to feel most at home with this convention. From the hilarious Q&A with Micah Solusod to Erica Mendez’s Q&A, there was a varied atmosphere. The guest list this year was their biggest yet and Saturday was the day to go. With both Critcal Hit and Earthbound Papas holding concerts, the convention was alive and booming. While I did manage to get myself a stomach virus during the trip and a killer headache, I can sadly say I was not able to attend either concert but from what I was able to hear outside of the actual rooms, was melodious tones that you had to be there to listen to. As far as non-guest panels, the fan held ones where just as cheeky and varied in their set up. Our groups standard go-to panel has always been, Anime Mythbusters. Now, this panel is not for the faint of heart. A lot of math goes into figuring out what is possible and what is just simply anime. The person behind the panel is a passionate man who literally will pour himself into the research, all for the sake of hosting a popular panel that many can enjoy. Unless you hate math and science. Then you may not enjoy that part.
However I have to say that while panels do tend to suffer from early walk outs, many of the panels that we attended did not suffer to terribly from this phenomenon. They handled those who walked out very simply and frankly it did not seem to phase them as much. I personally always find myself wanting to sit through a panel, no matter how dry or dull it may seem. I always feel that if I were to ever host a panel *COUGHHINTCOUGH* I would hope that I would be given a chance to speak my portion and let them decide how they liked the panel. I really loved Erica Mendez’s panel about her time with Kill La Kill. It was an awesome insight into an anime that while, I have only seen bits of in English, I am still fascinated in wanting to fully watch it in English to compare it to the original sub.
Cosplay is always an important part of any convention and this years convention did not fail to attract many talented individuals! From a spot on Wolverine to a elegant and stoic Saber, the people behind the costumes where just as passionate about their cosplay, as they where their respective fandom and love for the convention. Naka-Kon does its very best when trying to accommodate for the various cosplayers that manage to trickle in from far and wide. That sadly does not usually translate to most of the surrounding hotels. The specific one that we stayed in was quite rough on terms for those who cosplay and provided a letter that was handed out to each guests staying for Naka-Kon. While not entirely unfair, it felt as if they had wrong impressions about those who cosplay. Granted, with every fandom comes a bit of a rough patch. That being said the convention did earn a massive amount of coverage from all respective media outlets and I can proudly say that OGZ was among them! However, we were not the highlight, the fantastic cosplay’s that were on the floor where the stars of the show! Please enjoy all the pictures that we took during our convention trip!
Now every convention is not without its faults… Take for example many attendees who felt harassed about their cosplay or for the ones who made certain panels almost unbearable. While we are not here to call out names or to slap others on the wrist, it is wise to note that it’s not just you in that room. Some came to enjoy this convention with their family and friends, not to hear you whine and moan about your seating in a panel. Nor to hear you scoff at someone who tried so hard on a cosplay. It really isn’t fair comparing Link’s to Links. When someone cosplay’s they do it because they love the characters and they love the fandom behind those said anime. They did not dress up only to receive complaints and scoffs. Wait, this is a convention review not a complain about the fandom post. Right! Sadly, these are concerns that always need to be address and I can say that from what I was able to hear and see, the convention staff was on top of making sure that no one felt persecuted or publicly shamed. Granted this is from what OGZ could hear and see. This is not to say that there were not rough patches elsewhere in the convention that I was not able to see.
With another year said and done and an almost bland taste now left in my mouth, I can always say that Naka-Kon is a highlight for myself. It is a convention that makes me feel at home and it is a convention that pushed me to create something I love dearly. Last year left me with an urge to push myself into the anime blogging/website business. This year, it left me with an urge to better myself and to strike out into uncomfortable territory. I want to be able to bring the best that I can bring to the table and while it may take a while, it will definitely be worth it all in the end. I would also like to take this time to thank, Naka-Kon for providing us a Press Pass. Thank you to Sakevisual for putting up with our tweets and a big thanks to Erica Mendez for accepting our Omakase Lanyard gift! It was very awkward for me to do that! Hopefully I will improve my conversational skills. Though it meant a lot to us! Thank you to everyone who greeted us! I actually ran into a few people on Saturday, mid-day who recognized our mascot! Lastly, thank you to everyone for helping make Naka-Kon 2016 incredible! Mainly Crimson and Takuto!
If you enjoyed this article please feel free to let us know in the comment section below! If you have not signed up for our email notifications, be sure to hit our follow button up on the right side or left side column! If you would rather comment on our article via twitter, feel free to do so! We will be posting a bit more about Naka-Kon 2016 through the rest of the week so I hope you all have something to look forward to! I look forward to hopefully being able to attend next years convention with a better grasp of covering a convention like Naka-Kon. This has been Kausus, thank you all for reading!
I would also like to note that all of these pictures and videos were recorded using an iPhone 6s+ on a simple tripod setup! So, if the quality is lacking, I do apologize ahead of time for it! I do plan on hopefully updating to a much better system in the near future!
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/ogz_kausus
Sakevisual Official Site: http://www.sakevisual.com/
Follow Micah Solusod: https://twitter.com/maioceaneyes
Follow Ayu Sakata: https://twitter.com/soymilkpudding
Follow Sakevisual: https://twitter.com/sakevisual
Follow Erica Mendez: https://twitter.com/tsunderica