It’s been almost a year since we went to Kraken Con, and at the time, Jeanette and I decided we should try to check out new local conventions. It is always good to support growing conventions that have had both positive reviews and a good focus. Since 2013, this bi-annual convention (Spring and Fall), has shown a modest but steady growth with about 3,000 attendees in 2016. While most are used to conventions that occur once a year, there are some cons and events that occur more more frequently, such as Sac-Anime. The Kraken Con mission “is to create an open and inviting convention for fandoms in all genres to come together and celebrate the worlds and characters we enjoy”. It’s a nice earnest mission, and much of what is the core motivation for most convention attendees. They indeed try to live up to that aspiration as their offerings of panels, meet ups, and merchandise cover all degrees of fandom.
One of the reasons we decided to try out this convention was their acceptance of my Naruto panel. It definitely encouraged us to make the decision to plan and prepare for the event the best that we can. Panelist are given a free day on the day of their panel, which isn’t too bad for an hour’s worth of work. The panel had maybe 15 people attend, 4 of which I knew, but it’s always nice to have people come in and participate, especially the young ones. I haven’t changed much since the previous presentation, so not much new. Jeanette and I, however did come in better cosplay, so that was fun. Per our new tradition, we also had the chance to give out a few sketches from our friend and artist Kelly Nguyen.
The convention as a whole is fairly small, but with a great variety of activities to pull your attention. The exhibit/dealers hall is actually the area for all things: games, autographs, photo booth, main stage and anime viewing. While all of this reads as standard fare, there are some nifty little aspects that help to provide it’s own identity. As southern California’s Anime Los Angeles has ribbons, Kraken Con provides cards to attendees for participating in a variety of activities, such as attending panels to simply registering. It’s a fun keepsake and builds a desire to return to build your collection. They featured a Rockband stage in one corner of the convention, general and big stage gaming in another. Rockband is always fun as it brings a great upbeat attitude to the area. A friend of ours had a booth right next to it, so she always got free entertainment. There was also a Cosplay Senpai table, so you would be able to sit and talk to a cosplayer of experience or high skill about, well, I guess whatever you want.
We didn’t attend very many panels, but that’s usually how things go for us. There were a few industry supported panels, with voice actors. My cup of tea tends to be writers, creators, and artists, which doesn’t happen at anime conventions and Kraken Con was no different. We did have a friend who was holding a saber combat workshop, so we stopped in to support and say hey. It is always nifty to see people who want to participate, and I think everyone has a desire to feel like a Jedi.
Cosplay was in full effect, and it was definitely one that covered all genres. While we saw some amazing cosplays, one that I felt was indicative of the atmosphere was a “Night at the Museum” group. It is groups like this that I find most interesting. There has to be a deep passion and desire to make a costume for a convention, and even more so to convince a group to do so. The types of costumes ranged from gaming, comics, manga/anime, and general television and films. Since the scale is smaller, I feel like the cosplayers get to feel more at home; it is more about being part of the environment versus a part of a spectacle.
Kraken Con is a nice convention to spend a day and roam around. There is plenty to do for a day, but personally, there isn’t enough square footage and personal interest in the offerings to bring me back for the second day. However, if you love anime conventions, and want a much homier feel, Kraken Con does a great job. It is everything you need in a really nice dose. We’re considering be returning this year for the fall event, and hope this convention continues to grow.
And that’s… a (ninja) wrap!