This year’s Naka-Kon guidebook.

Disclaimer: Naka-Kon 2017 is not over yet, as of this writing Saturday afternoon; it goes on tomorrow, but I will not be attending, and I left earlier than expected today. This is because we got BLASTED with a snowstorm and I wanted to leave before I had to dig my car out without gloves. Thanks, Kansas weather!

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As usual, this year was a lot of fun and had fantastic cosplay. Last night, Protonstorm and I attended, among other things I’ll let him talk about, a Q&A panel with Mark Roth, the conductor for the Final Fantasy: New World concert this morning. He’s a super friendly, upbeat guy, and he very clearly loves the FF series. He touched on numerous subjects both directly and tangentially related, including his experience working with Nobuo Uematsu, how his father (Arnie Roth, also a big name in concerts and conducting, including other FF concerts) got him interested in showbiz from an early age, and how video games infuse far more memories, emotions, and personal agency into music than any other medium’s soundtracks.

There was also a reportedly cool band named RONDONRATS in town for the con from Japan, but I didn’t get a chance to see them. I made up for it by seeing the New World concert this morning, which was FANTASTIC. New World is the FF “intimate music” concert, as opposed to Distant World which focuses more on battle and boss themes. They played several songs that were Kansas City area premieres, and one song from Final Fantasy which was a world concert premiere: Safe Haven. They also played one of the very few songs that is part of both New World and Distant World, Zanarkand; nothing quite compares to hearing a song like that performed live, and it’s a very different experience to hear it arranged for a chamber-music band versus the full orchestra. They ended with an unannounced encore which Mr. Roth cheekily claimed would be a “complete surprise,” knowing full well we’d all recognize One-Winged Angel in the first three notes.

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Aside from concerts and the other usual con events, the local public library also had what they called a “Pop-Up Library” in one of the overflow buildings, across the hall from the Live-Action Screening room. They had a bunch of manga on hand. Some of it was only available to read in the room, but much of it could be checked out by emailing a picture of its barcode to their website. Afterward, it can be returned to any local public library. They were also promoting the fact that the nearby libraries have recently signed up with Hoopla, primarily an ebook service, to offer digital checkouts; they offer manga, anime series, and light novels, all for free with a local library card, and apparently you can get 15 items a month. It’s a pretty cool feature, and the library staff were not only very friendly but also wonderfully nerdy (both in anime stuff, video games, and even tabletop gaming). I had a blast hanging out there.

Alright, that’s probably enough trip report out of me, most of you are probably here for COSPLAY! I had to make a Flickr account for this, as imgur has recently screwed the pooch on uploading an album in anything resembling a sane order. But apparently Flickr embeds a link rather than a flippable album, and Kinja just eats it, so... just hit the link in the caption for this picture: