In a place like Kansas, you wouldn't expect any major convention to exist. While Naka-kon may not pull the numbers of some of the largest crowds (I'm looking at you, Otakon), it has thus far been more than enjoyable. The convention had over 7000 guests last year, and is likely to increase those numbers this year, despite continuing to be at the exact same time as the local comic con due to apparent scheduling contract issues. I'll try to be fairly brief here, as I am tired, it is late, and tomorrow is another day at the convention.
As a little note, The buildings to the left and right both housed a variety of panels, and were also significantly more crowded than outside (but it was nice weather!)
The first area I visited with my *ahem* assistant (username ShotReturned on kinja) after getting our badges was the vendors' area, which was extremely convenient for us because the press is given staff lanyards and has access to the room a couple of hours before everyone else. Employing my great money-saving skills, I managed to avoid purchasing everything in the place, only getting a poster and a wall scroll (for now):
The Tokyo Ghoul poster, by the way, is not official art and was actually drawn by a local artist who had an absolutely AMAZING stall (more details on her in future articles, I'm thinking).
The panels themselves also were generally entertaining. The first one I hit up was a Q and A with Matthew Mercer, who you may recognize as the English voice actor for characters such as Kiritsugu Emiya from Fate/zero and Leon from Resident Evil. The entire hour was very interesting, he had great insight on both the voice acting industry as a whole and personal experiences within his job. As you might imagine, he was very emphatic and into the entire panel, and if you ever attend a convention he is a guest at I highly recommend stopping by.
Somehow, Naka-kon managed to pull some strings and get Junko Takeuchi (the Japanese voice actress who plays Naruto Uzumaki) to attend our little convention. She had a live performance panel that more-or-less showcased both my favorite and... less favorite part of anime conventions. On one hand, she read a script while a scene from one of the Naruto movies played out and sounded absolutely amazing (like seriously, how do these people do that!?) and on the other hand, they let convention-goers attempt to do the exact same thing and basically generated an amusing but cringe-worthy performance. At the end of one man's attempt, he practically broke down on stage thanking her for playing an amazing character and being his idol, which is kind of the sort of thing you might imagine happening, but it was still quite the awkward moment.
Of course, there were anime screenings throughout the entire day (and they are continuing to air as I speak, it is a 24/7 kind of thing) and various other panels, some of which were kind of fun (anime jeopardy) and some of which were kind of dull (Japanese language in anime panel- it sounds interesting, but it was not). The most entertaining element that continued throughout most of the convention and is present at every convention, however, was the cosplay. So. Much. Cosplay. Here are a few highlights, with the rest coming up in a later article:
Another... amusing... incident at Naka-kon is that it actually had both FUNimation and Crunchyroll in attendance. Crunchyroll has a panel tomorrow which I will definitely be visiting, and FUNimation had some good blue-rays for sale, one of which caught my eye because of a certain other author's annoyance at his own country's lack of it:
Bwahahahahahaha come to America for the blu-rays, guys.
As a final closing note for today, a couple of people actually called out AniTAY when you saw us in our glorious shirts in the halls. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SAY HI. Please. It would be awesome. I don't fully know you, you may not fully know me, but it's about time we met each other. Here's a little pic of our happy-go-lucky Ani-TAYers' shirts, we will likely have the same ones on tomorrow but black instead of red.