I said it last year and I will surely say it again, Naka-Kon is the convention that just gets better and better. Being our second year as press and our very first year as a VIP attendee Naka-Kon is a convention that pushes to create a convention experience that is inviting, helpful and down right lovely. This is a convention that is first and foremost a peoples convention. What we mean by this statement is simply that one can feel at home here. The staff, for the most part, is personable and everyone else from the guests to the vendors are all lovely individuals. While it may just be another layer to the already standard convention etiquette rule set, it is a nice part to have.
Cosplay was front and center this year, especially since a few of the fan panels were lacking in quantity this year; that is not to say that there were not any good ones, just ones that didn’t tickle our fancy one way or the other. The industry focused panel from Funimation was a particular highlight and massive interest for us as we got to see great new releases and new announcements, such as the announcement that Kantai Collection (KanColle) would be getting a home media release this June 27th. The humor was great and the panel hosts were even better. Out side of official guest panels, the general events and local cosplay shoots were engaging moments of pure joy and bliss.
To top that off this years convention was great for first time attendees. Just about every other person we chatted with said that this was their first convention or that they were coming along with their child for their first. This is something that I feel is very special about Naka-Kon. Out of the conventions we have attended, I can say that not any other one has been more family focused and inviting than this one right here. We loved seeing supportive parents out and about on Friday and Saturday, just being there to support what their children loved. Even the guests got on-board with this and were more than happy to accommodate making many of the children attendee’s feel safe and welcomed.
If you are interested in seeing out slew of cosplay pictures, then please feel free to enjoy the slideshow that we will feature right below this section! If you spot your picture and would like us to, Tag, Share or Remove, please feel free in asking us!
To accommodate a wider taste-bud pallet Naka-Kon featured for the first time bulgogi recipes and beef pho vendors that catered to the whole of the convention. The vendor hall wasn’t slouching either as they rushed to bring snacks, drinks and sweets from the land of the rising sun to the mouths of fellow attendees. Just thinking about all the delicious items we saw while browsing the floors just makes us salivate even more so; damn. Big thanks to the local Kansas City store Yoki for being a fantastic sponsor of the convention and for making our trip home so much more tasty with your sweets and drinks! Feel free to give their website a visit!
Now the biggest highlight for us and many was the performance by the J-Rock band RONDONRATS. This group was amazing, kind and rocking; I don’t think there was one disappointed person in the audience that night. This was the groups first United States performance and frankly it felt like it was one that they knew would go well. It is hard to not enjoy a band that loves what they do and is receptive towards a foreign audience that cheered and banged their heads to the sweet melodious tunes. The group also covered a few hits from anime and the likes of Hatsune Miku. This is a band that we hope gets a chance to come back and play for us once more at Naka-Kon 2018.
Aside from that the convention was as smooth flowing as it could possibly be. While lines and wondering what the difference was between VIP and Kon Supporter was, the convention itself was a rousing success; both for seasoned veterans and first time attendees. The vendor hall was of course a primary highlight and the biggest part of any convention. It allows the attendee the chance at grabbing some sweet, sweet merch that they would have to wait weeks to possibly ship from Japan. It is also a chance to support local and international businesses and artists that travel far and wide to conventions like these.
While of course Funimation is a local company, it is still great to walk into a convention and actually pick up a copy of your favorite anime. Others included phenomenal artists like LucidSky who make us jump for joy whenever she is at our local convention. Her art is some of the best that we’ve seen and we cannot help but plaster our walls with them.
Naka-Kon will be once again held at the Overland Park Convention Center for March 16th-18th, 2018. The staff that works the actual center itself is friendly, engaging and, frankly, enjoy the diverse crowd of guests, cosplay and merch as the rest of us. Thank you for another amazing year and thank you for the memories that we make with every passing convention.
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