by Robert Suske
Naka-Kon 2015 — what can I say? I’m a geek at heart. On March 13th I got to experience a con worth the trip.
Located in the heart of Overland Park, Kansas, Naka-Kon is a anime convention that is growing bigger and bigger every year (some say it’s getting as big as Anime Expo). The convention itself is built up on panels, raves, gaming, and special guests, garnering attention from all around the country. I myself have been going to anime cons since 2007 and have always enjoyed myself going to this particular con. The atmosphere is always happy, the con staff is friendly, the vendor room is massive (I like to buy things) and the friends you make here some of the best you’ll ever have.
This year, before the con started on the first day, I got a chance of a lifetime — sitting in on an interview with Japanese voice actor Junko Takeuchi, who performs Naruto, one of my favorite characters. And before I start acting all cool and all, I just want to point out that I was indeed fan-boying and I don’ care who knows.
During the interview I got to find out what it is like to voice act in Japan, what kind of schedules they have to work to make an anime; I even got to hold a script to one of the Naruto movies and see how their scripts were written out compared to the American versions.
Right after the interview Junko agreed to sign some of my Naruto stuff (I had a lot to sign) and my group went on back to the convention. Later that night I got a second chance of a lifetime and sat in on one of Junko’s panels, during which fans had a chance to perform part of a Naruto movie (and man it was a blast to watch).
The second day of Naka-Kon: lots of cosplayers, people geeking out all over the place, and me hanging out with friends I don’t get to see often. My girlfriend talked me and our group of friends into entering the cosplay competition (everyone in our group was dressed as One Piece characters). Don’t get me wrong; I love the competition, but it took seven hours out of my day to do it, which is a total bummer because Saturday is the best day to spot awesome cosplays in the hallways. But the chance to be up on stage with all my friends dressed up as the whole One Piece crew was a great opportunity, and I would give up that time again for another chance at it.
Later that night I got the opportunity to help host a panel called “Cosplay Combat”. What a thrill it is to watch people dressed up as their favorite anime characters fighting in mock combat (aka larping) for chances to win a prize and to get cheers from their fellow cosplayers.
The third day of Naka-Kon was a little more slow paced. Most people were still tired from the night before (including me). Lots of people were trying to pick up last minute swag to get autographs from voice actors that were special guests at the con. I, on the other hand, had a fun time photographing friends around the beautiful convention center.
As cons go, Naka-Kon is still one of my favorite conventions to attend. People go to this con to have fun and hang out with old friends and to make new ones. So if you ever want to have a blast and meet great people then this con is right up your alley.
Robert Suske is a film major, photographer, and a cosplayer. He’s been attending conventions and cosplaying since 2007 and I have been cosplaying. In his free time he enjoys anime (huge fan!), and he’s a big Minecraft junky.