Nana Desu Kan 2013 – or NDK for short, is Denver’s premiere Anime Convention – NDK has been running for 17 years now and is easily the best organized and run Convention I’ve been to. NDK was the First to give POI a chance to cover their show as Press. Last year, we were there to celebrate their Sweet Sixteen.
This year, NDK took place September 13 – 15 at the Marriott DTC. This was really cool for me, as the Con started on my Birthday this year! Leading up to the Con, the excitement grew as i was confirmed to get the interviews with Voice Actors i had requested. I was also happy to know that we would have tons of pictures this year, as our Official Photographer, Katie Bryan was going to be going me. I even got to help NDK with their Guidebook App – NDK also means that ill get to see Friends i had met last year, and see some familiar faces.
Friday was a little crazy trying to get everything ready for the weekend. After Katie and I got to the Con, we already had a small handful of pictures taken before we even got our Passes! Friday for me at a Con, is always a day of recon for me. Getting familiar with the layout, figuring out where certain venders may have moved, and to get a ‘lay of the land’ – Plus this was the First time Katie had been to NDK, so it was good for her to see where things were. Being an Artist, Katie was really excited to see Artist Alley. Whats great about having her with me, is that i take more time at each booth. Its so easy to overlook something. The Vender Room is a great time as well. We purchased a few items, and took a look at what everyone had. We snagged some Rumane soda and some candy to fuel the adventure. We got a bit caught up in the fun and almost forgot about the Opening Ceremonies. We were able to catch the last few minutes, and even the little we saw we were excited. Later, we went to the Raj Ramayya/Lotus Juice concert – Raj is best known for his work on Cowboy Bebop and Video Game music. He was a lot of fun, and got the crowd singing along and energized. Being ‘Gang Bowed’ was a big hit. When his set list was complete, it was time for Lotus Juice to come out. Raj then said that he and Lotus Juice were going to make a brand new song with the crowds help. He asked each section of the audience to come up with a word. The 3 words chosen were ‘Puppy-Cat’ ‘Twerk’ and Tofu – He then started to play a riff and started to belt out a pretty good tune about Puppy-Cat Twerking in Tofu – As he was playing, Lotus Juice provided the Beatbox for the song, it was really cool to see that they both were able to hold it together, despite almost busting out in laughter. Lotus Juice then took over the show and really got the crowd pumped. This was his American Debut, and everyone was digging his unique style – Lotus is best known for his work on the Persona and Dead or Alive Video Games. We left as his set was finishing up, as we had a full day planned for Saturday
Saturday was a full day starting early at 9am for the Press Breakfast – the NDK Staff is some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, they had all kinds of goodies to help get you energized. We saw our Friends from GirlsOfGeek, it was good to catch up with them. I confirmed where i would be interviewing for the day, dropped off some of our gear, and hit the Con floor as soon as we could. Its so much fun seeing everyone in costume – even if i dont know who 95% of them are, the amount of detail that goes into each costume is amazing. So much so that we missed a couple panels we were interested in getting into. We made our way to the Lolita Boutique – Lolita fashion is a Victorian aged type of clothing, its very modest and elegant – The outfits are very intricate and eye catching.
NDK doesnt arrange group for photos or to act out a scene, its all done by groups that are attending NDK. While on the floor, i noticed some Marvel costumes, and upon further inspection, there were a bunch of Capcom costumes – It was like Marvel Vs Capcom the game, only in real life! So many Deadpools fighting Ryu, Ken and Guile. With all the costuming and spending time in the Vender Room, time really flies by – We broke for lunch, but upon getting back, i was noticing a huge amount of people outside the Con. It was a great opportunity to break out my recording device and do some investigating. Upon chatting with a few people, we discovered that a Fire Alarm had gone off. This was a First for many, including myself. Katie was having a blast snapping pictures, and i ran around talking with anyone that wanted to share a little something about their costume and their experience at NDK. After the Firemen gave the OK, the Con was back on and everyone made their way back in. This lead us to our First interview of the weekend.
I got the great opportunity to meet and chat with Tia Ballard – Despite my nervousness, she was amazing. Getting to hear about the Disney College Program, and all the projects she’s got to work on, including a couple of her favorites was great. Getting some advice on Voice Acting, how to hone your craft were my favorite parts. Be sure to tune into StayingOffTopic – The NDK Special – for the full interview. Also be sure to check out her current project, Fairy Tale – which will be out around Christmas this year.
My next interview was with Todd Haberkorn, best known to me by Borderlands 2 and Street Fighter IV – Todd has been in a multitude of Anime movies, including; Fairy Take, Dragon Ball Kai and many others. The interview went well, although i didnt get to review my questions prior to sitting down with Todd, so i stumbled quite a bit. Its not everyday i get to sit with Voice Actors, especially one that has been in a few of my favorite Video Games – yes i may have got a little Star Struck. I found that asking the question – ‘What upcoming projects can you talk about’ – was really hard for all the Voice Actors to answer. Even with some prodding, they all know what they can and in most cases, cant say.
I had some vehicle issues and had to cut Saturday night a bit short – But overall a great day, NDK sold out, i got interview Voice Actors, we took about 500 pictures and a Fire Drill….what more can you ask for!
Sunday was BUSY – much busier than it was last year. Just goes to show how much fun NDK is. I was without Katie for most of the day, but filled my time with Cosplay Chess, probably my favorite event of the entire weekend. Pitting pretty good chess players against eachother, while Costumed attendees act out the game on a huge Chessboard on the floor is just pure fun! Each Cosplayer taking on the persona of who theyre dressed as is a blast, and everyone watching has a great time. I also sat in on Voice Acting tryouts with David Vincent – David spoke about his history with Voice Acting, how to develop your ‘Demo Reel’ and some of the wide range of roles he has had. I got so much great info on the world of VA/VO, including some websites and books to check out. The Question portion of the panel ran a bit long, so there was only a couple people that to go up on stage with David and give Voice Acting a try – David worked with each of them a bit, to help them understand what it would be like to be a booth, and what a Director might ask them to do.
My final Interview was with Taliesin Jaffe – Best known for his roles in Street Fighter, MK vs DC as well as Mr. Mom, Fairy Tale (have you spotted the theme with everyone ive spoke to?) among so many others – Taliesin was great to talk to, and is passionate about his craft. It was great to hear that he first started with VO just sitting around with Friends and talking over the Anime he was watching at the time. When i asked him about future projects, he just laughed as everything he is doing is under a gag order and he couldnt speak about it. I know for future interviews to scratch this question from my list. There is so much they want to say, but cant.
NDK was once again a great Convention – everyone from Staff, Security, Hotel Staff and Attendees were amazing. The amount of Guests, and the fact that they’re all so approachable, make this a not to miss Convention. There really is something for everyone. Im not the biggest Anime watcher, infact my list of Anime that i can name off the top of my head is sad, even i have a total blast at this show. If you havent checked out this Convention, do yourself a favor and dont miss it next year. They already have tickets on sale for next year. You’ll be sure to see POI there once again, camera and mic in hand, ready to capture all the fun that NDK can throw at us! Again i was to thank NDK for giving POI a chance to participate is such a well run Convention – and giving me my first shot at covering a Con as Press last year.
Be sure to follow NDK on the Twitters and ‘Like’ their Facebook page – If you have ANY questions about NDK, dont be shy and ask!