I’ve been going to NDK for six or seven years now, and is it exploding. The convention has grown so much that events have begun spilling into surrounding hotels. Regardless of size, NDK still remains a very friendly and loving environment. The convention is full of awkward people awkwardly sharing their love of the Anime arts. If you plan on attending, I would suggest a camera to capture all the amazing sights, a bag to hold all your plunder, and an attitude that shows you’re ready to nerd out.
NDK offers a wide variety of panels for attendees. There are conceptual ones that discuss ethics in Anime, or the potential reality of others. The conceptual panels are really interesting to listen in on and allow you to take your fandom to the next level, exploring these fictional worlds in much more depth than before.
There are several craft panels that discuss tips and tricks to improving or beginning your projects. One year I went to a sewing panel. This year some of the keen tutorials offered were hat making, armor making, and drawing. All three included experts that would take you step-by-step through learning their craft. There are also several guest speakers that have voice acted several well-known characters. It was particularly interesting hearing the voice of Shou Tucker from Full Metal Alchemist (same voice actor as Stein from Soul Eater). There are so many panels that cover the gamut, and there are bound to be at least five that you’ll want to attend. I will add, however, that there are some pretty gnarly lines for some of these panels.
If the panels aren’t enough for you, there are also game rooms, artist’s alley, and the dealer’s room open all three days! There are two gaming rooms available, a video one and one for tabletop games. The video gaming room has both old school and new and hosts several contests throughout the weekend. Pokémon and Smash Brothers tournaments are probably the most popular, but regardless of your skill level or game selection, it’s always fun playing with new people. In the tabletop game room, you get an opportunity to learn several new games. We learned about this amazing game called Star Realms, and I’m saying right here, right now, everyone should go play it.
Artist’s Alley and the Dealer’s Room is where your money starts to vanish. You can buy several hand-made crafts, prints, or key chains of beautiful art in Artist’s Alley or manufactured merchandize (usually from Japan) in the Dealer’s Room. The Dealer’s Room also offers some Japanese food for sale, which was surprisingly cheaper than our local Asian-mart. The Dealer’s Room also offers wall scrolls, figurines, manga, stuffed toys, clothing, and so much more. In short, it is all a wonderful money suck.
If all of that isn’t enough for you, there is also AMV and Cosplay contests, and a party on Saturday night. AMV’s are fan-made short videos that match up clips from Anime(s) to a selected song. It’s so easy to get pumped watching these videos, since most of them are action packed, and most of the time I walk out with a new list of Anime that I need to go watch. The Cosplay contest is your opportunity to vote for the best, or maybe see that one amazing costume you missed throughout the day.
written by Sara Elkhatib
all pictures were taken by Sara Elkhatib and are owned by Hush Comics.