Every year I attend a little convention known as, Naka-Kon. Every year I try to pull something away from a convention that dynamically evolves into something better and better. This year was no different when it came to unfamiliar experiences, coupled with something truly spectacular. Naka-Kon is a convention about people first and foremost. Now yes, I understand that every convention you go to is about people. What I mean is that Naka-Kon is a place where people can experience new beginnings and birth new memories.
It is a convention about bringing together individuals and sharing in the love of everything anime and more. One blatantly obvious thing that stands out is just how much the local staff supports and enjoys the cosplay. I overheard janitorial staff commenting on epic cosplay and enjoying seeing everyone happy and enjoying in the art of cosplay. No harsh comments nor the odd stare from what I have witnessed. What I also got to witness this year was a pleathora of new faces who decided to make Naka-Kon 2018 their first Naka-Kon. I can safely say from a press standpoint that they made the best choice.
This years Naka-Kon was the best yet in terms of information expression, line management, and congestion. The staff made sure to best ensure that the line to get into the vendor hall was not a monster to contain and made clever use of line breaks and organized waiting queues. While I would argue that having an individual with a “Line ends here” sign would make things much more manageable, I feel that Naka-Kon wanted to try something a bit more manageable. That is one thing I did enjoy about Anime Nebraskon was the overall line management and I would encourage Naka-Kon staffers to take note.
Personnel wasn’t as… unpleasant as last year, although the individual who was less than pleasant in the registration hall last year was still there. Their demeanor was less hostile although when I approached and asked to take pictures for review reasons I was greeted with a very half-assed, grunted response. Still better than being screamed at for helping someone out. On the note of the registration hall it was pretty much unchanged, except for the fact that all even purchases were moved to a mini-kiosk right out side, which made buying for events so much more enjoyable! The same can be said for buying autograph tickets! It made so much more sense to have these near to where an event would be held; bravo.
This allowed for first time attendees to better understand the process and experience a convention that was about making people priority one. That was something I felt reverberated across the entire convention. This was a convention that wanted people to feel first and that was goal achieved. The guest list was a reflection of that through the many artists and cosplay related guests this time around. Through them this convention felt more open, more people centric than it did prior.
Maybe I am just grasping at concepts, but in all seriousness this convention just made people it’s number one priority this year. Photoshoots were another key player in this concept as many first time photographers and photoshoot hosts. Each one had the chance to experience something almost magical and that was inspiring to see. Even the panel hosts were accommodating and just a joy to behold. And while there isn’t much I can say about panels that haven’t been said by others, this convention defiantly does them right.
One essence that was lacking was Funimation. No panels were hosted and while there seemed to be a lack of retweeted or spoken information, it was a bit hard to convey quickly. The panels were cancelled due to the panel team being virally ill and having to stay home. Funimation did have a vendor presence, but it made the convention feel lacking in a terrible way. This is not the fault of Naka-Kon nor Funimation, illness should be taken seriously. It’s just hard to reorganize oneself when a big panel draw is suddenly canceled. While I cannot confirm there being other options, I am sure something could have potentially been done, but I am not the expert.
The final experience I managed to take away from this convention was just the pure bliss I managed to feel while taking photos. I’ve been officially doing photography for a year now and it still takes me by surprise what I can capture. It’s a feeling that I cannot find a comparable item to compare it to. I managed to cover three photoshoots in my time at the convention center and those three shoots where the happiest moments of my life. Being around so many happy faces, so many individuals who love what they do and what anime stands for can be dangerously intoxicating.
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