Greetings all, it’s haul time~! First, let’s briefly talk about the convention itself.
This year was by far Naka-Kon’s largest year for attendance. I believe it had about under 10,000 people per day, which is mind-boggling considering that last year, I believe there were 7,000 or 8,000 attendees. This was also the con’s greatest year for number of guests, of which, I got to personally meet many!
The majority of panels this year were headed by the guest voice actors, very similar to years past. That’s not to simply ‘cast’ them aside, though (hehe, puns). My favorite two panels were Erica Mendez’s “DON’T LOSE YOUR WAAAAY” and surprisingly, Karen Strassman’s “Accents, Dialects and Voice Acting.” With Erica, her touching person-to-person interactions and meaningful responses made for a very entertaining late-hour sit-in. My favorite of all panels I visited, Karen’s regarding dialects, was not only informational, but hilarious and crowd-involving. She clearly knows her way around the human voice (could’ve said mouth, but yeah, no). After asking her for her autograph, she asked me for a hug. We basically became best friends. 🙂
The vendor’s/dealer’s room, while it wasn’t a disappointment, could’ve been much better. I remember last year they had several “hundreds” of bins full of small anime figures. They were cheap in price and quality, but scrounging through those bins was a crap ton of fun. It was sad to see they weren’t there. Also, many of the artists were returners from last year, which was no surprise considering their talent, local access, and presumably, affordability. These artists had many of their same previous works, so there wasn’t a whole lot to look through in terms of art (not that they’re bad at all, heck no, we just had already seen many of them before).
In terms of technical aspects, I absolutely love the convenience of this smaller con being connected to the hotel we stayed at. Last year, like floor 18. This year, floor 7 (ah yeah, took like 30 sec to hit the ground floor). I had the entire map memorized by an hour into the night, and as such managing our time and making it into lines early enough was pud. Speaking of our arrival, we left just late enough to arrive at 9:30 PM, and entry time was 9:00 PM *facepalms* so we missed ALL of Friday’s activities. Yeah, it bites, but I still got to attend plenty of cool events, trust me!
But you came here for a haul post, didn’t you? Well then, let’s not keep you waiting!
*MIGHT NEED TO VIEW SLIDESHOWS IN BROWSER*
Saber Alter Prize Figure
First up is this bad boy (woman, knight, spirit)! I’m actually not the biggest fan of Saber Alter, but I picked it up in a 2 for $45 deal. Initially, this was supposed to be that Asuka Langley Soryu I’ve proclaimed I’ve wanted for months now, and SHE WAS THERE, but after thinking, “Hey, let me scope out other prices here,” SHE WAS GONE!!! This was honestly the most stressful thing that happened to me. So instead, Saber came home with me, and I admit, she does look nice on my shelves. For being prize figure quality, this is clearly a grade B+ or even A figure. Solid build, nice metallic armor paint, though the hair lacks any shading. Minor details.
Eren Yeager Prize Figure
I really like how this one turned out. This was the second prize figure in the 2 for $45 deal, and I’m more than happy how he turned out! The shading in the cloak’s ruffles is outstanding, and all of the paint details on the chest, jacket,boots, and leather skirt part are superbly done as well. I also dig the hair texture, though there is only a solid black layer over it. Details in the face, specifically the eyes, are crisp, much like Saber Alter’s. The only disappointments are the lazy paint-overs on the Wings of Freedom logo, in that the green was presumably just airbrushed over the cape without regard to the logo. This green mysteriously also shows up on the back of the jacket, so I’m not quite sure what happened here. Finally, the base is weak. Not in design, because it stands quite balanced, but in paint job and texture. Could’ve been better there, but for $45 dollars for TWO figures (my first “statue” figures, BTW!), I’m more than happy with everything. Eren sure is tall…
Pins: Chibi Souma and NERV
If you might recall, I visited this same artist last year and bought a couple Log Horizon pins and an Attack on Titan one. I love this artists style, and seeing lil’ Souma eating away was a must-have for me (my sister bought two more so we could achieve the 3 for $5 deal). And that second one is just delightful for Eva fans like myself. It was only $2, and I plan to stick it on my bag at home! Love puns, love pins ^.^
Evangelion AT Field T-Shirt
So without Asuka, I had to compensate somehow for my lack of Eva merch, and this T-shirt was my tipping point. In addition to getting my first figures, this is my first anime shirt! I “absolutely” love the classic, bright yellow-orange AT-field from the original over the print! It works phenomenally, and I cant’ wait to wear it around! Hopefully the print stays on for a looong time.
Wall Scrolls: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Negima!, and Kill la Kill (autographed)
This one’s easy. An Eva wall scroll for only $10?? C’mon, that’s as cheap as they come! Also, it features one of my favorite franchises in artwork I have never seen before. BAM, its mine! As for Negima!, yeah, I just have a soft spot for the series. The sequel, as you might recall, was the first anime I ever watched, so finding merch for it was pretty rare. The last one is one of my favorite art pieces for Kill la Kill, so getting that one in scroll form was an instant hit with me. I also got Erica Mendez, the wonderful English VA for Ryuko to sign it ❤
I’ll just list my experiences with each VA below in sequential order:
Erica Mendez – This gal is as down-to-earth as you can get! She politely signed my LTD Vol. 1 release of Kill la Kill and even signed the scroll above. I think I’ll leave pictures of us out for now, but yes, she even took one with my sister and I. While at her table, I asked her about what it was like to be in the Aldnoah.Zero dub, and she replied that it was her first-ever role in a mecha anime, so getting to voice a pilot was pretty exciting. Thought I’d ask her about something different just to stand out, hehe, so at her open Q&A panel, I asked her what it was like to voice a calmer role in contrast to Ryuko, like Akari Sakishima in A Lull in the Sea. Erica responded claiming that she never thought she’d qualify as having an “older sister” voice, so to do it so early on in her career was sheer joy. Playing calmer characters brings her to a different level of understanding, she says, and especially in a slice-of-life/drama-heavy series like this one.
Austin Tindle – I DID NOT realize how big of a goofball this man was! Hah, his first panel, which was supposedly his serious one, was a joke, but I had a fair amount of fun sitting through and getting to know the voice behind Accelerator and Shu Ouma. At his autograph table, I asked him to draw what my void from Guilty Crown would look like upon merely meeting me for the first time. Thus, the “Badass gun” was born, and you can read about that XDD I sent my brother and sister with Index II and Railgun S, respectively, to get signed, as they wanted to meet him yet had nothing with them. After, we took a picture where he drew out my void. I’m such a dork, but it was hilarious!
Micah Solusod – Met this cool dude last year, and at his Q&A panel in 2015, I asked him what the most impactful moment in the RailDex franchise was, to which he responded correctly with the finale of the Sister’s Arc in Railgun S. So this year, I brought it up and told him about my meeting him last year (I was that self-proclaimed ‘RailDex kid’) and he remembered and was more than willing to fulfill the memory by signing my Railgun S part 2 DVD. Then we took a picture as “magical girls,” another ridiculous concoction from my stupid brain that made a lot of us laugh out loud! I also sent my brother with the same Index II and my sister with the Guilty Crown artbook. She, not knowing what to sign, brought up Austin’s idiotic doodle, to which Micah fired with his own drawing. Love this guy 😀
Karen Strassman – Coming in knowing her only as Kallen and Sola-Ui, this was otherwise a blind meet-up. We had extra time in our schedule to burn, so I suggested going to her dialect panel. BEST PANEL EVER! She’s such a compassionate, exciting, and generous person to be around, and after telling her so at her autograph table, she asked for a hug after signing my mini Fate/Zero pin-up and posing for a truly badass picture. I’ll never forget this woman for as long as I live!
Ayu Sakata – After re-reading the schedule of events the night before, I realized that Apphia Yu did NOT have an autograph booth set up (I only realized she had her own booth supporting her visual novel AFTER the con). Thus, she became the rare find of the day. My mom, who had caught her and taken a picture with her earlier that day, was willing to run around to her booth and have my Robotics;Notes part 1 and my brothers Airi art card signed. SHE DID BOTH, and upon my brother’s messaged request gave us a weather report (watch Robotics;Notes after Steins;Gate, both excellent anime with fantastic dubs). 71 degrees. Thanks mom XD
Greg Ayres – I also met this cheeky guy last year, but being in that”gotta catch them all” spirit, I went ahead and got a ticket for this last VA, and boy was it worth it. This guy is such a joy every time I’ve spoken to him, so this time, I brought the first DVD and show I had ever bought/seen for anime – Negima!?, the SAVE edition. I told him my story and how I got my brother and sister into anime with it, and I believe he was touched (or at least I was) because he gave me an extra-special message that I’ll hold close to heart, forever. I also got No.6 signed because he was mah boy Shion in it, and sent my sister with Kokoro Connect because she didn’t want to be awkward and have nothing. We took another picture, and that completed my 2016 VA-dex (Pokedex, anyone?)!!
The last thing I wanted to talk about was my cosplay of Mikaela Hyakuya – HUGE SUCCESS!!! Part of me wants to avoid pictures due to Internet security and stuff, but maybe if enough of you holler… Anyway, unlike last year, I had more people come up and as ME for a picture rather than me ask them. Can you believe that? Little ol’ me and my ugly mug, hah! It was so wonderful walking around as one of my current favorite characters, and I’m even more glad with the reception. Yes, I did buy it all (jeans, boots, and undershirt were mine), though I did have to modify a lot of the uniform and cloak accessories. Regardless, LOTS of cosplay experience was made, and it makes me want to try even harder next year – either make more props like swords and stuff, or even try make-up, who knows!
Thank you to ALL those who made this event so memorable and all-around wonderful! To the guest voice actors and actresses who followed through with my stupid requests and spent the time to chat with me, an EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS!! The con security was either body-guard-strict or bouncy and light-hearted, so I much preferred the latter of folks who volunteered with a NICE attitude. FINALLY, I want to thank Kausus of OtakuGamerZone and Crimson of MyFujoshiLife for capping this off as one of my most memorable years!! It was a pleasure – an honor – to meet such substantial figures in our small aniblogging community. I only wished we had more time set aside to sit down and chat, but we all came with our own groups so tension was high. Though brief, our meet-up was LEGENDARY, and hopefully next time (if there is one), we’ll have more time to revel in the experience. Was I the person you expected to meet?? We should talk!
If you read this to the end, thank you very, very much! I feel I’ve been so out of touch with the community as of late, but hopefully that’ll change. As always, I enjoy talking to you, so leave a like and comment below about your own recent con experiences or a simple hello! Anything cool you saw in my haul? VA autograph experiences? Let me have it all, and until next time everyone, this has been
– Takuto, your host