“Why watch anime at an anime convention?”

September 30th, 2015 in Kraken Con by


When I first heard that, I thought the speaker was crazy. That is a driving reason TO go, as you get a chance to see the latest and newest before anyone else or an opportunity to find something you didn’t know about. For “KrakenCon”, it was a grand disappointment for me in regards to the anime offered.

Two of the viewings made sense: “Evangelion 2.22” and “Kim Possible: So the Drama”, as the ladies who did the voices, respectively, for Asuna and Kim, were guests of honor (or ‘luminary’, as that is what their badge said). The rest of the shows had some kind of naval or military tie in: “KanColle” (girls who are battleships), “The Princess and the Pilot” (giant airships that are like aircraft carriers), “A Lull in the Sea” (about watery folks), “Arpeggio of Blue Steel” (a Japanese submarine takes on an alien battleship fleet), and others, although I would have chosen a couple of different ones, like “The Pilot’s Love Song”, “Squid Girl” and/or “Tide Line Blue” (OK, that last one is an older title, but one of the first series I watched during my Seventh Anime Attempt). But, except for “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet”, I have seen them all and I have reviewed them all. That is a problem when you watch as much anime as I do: unless it is a Grand World Premiere, it’s old hat. I did try to take in “Gargantia”, but logistical problems arose and it was not shown.

As you saw from the previous review, I spent most of my time in the panels…..when I wasn’t going nuts on the ship. I am sure that it was a major coup for KrakenCon to snag an aircraft carrier for the convention, but things are just so much more interesting with this venue than the show. I mean, a ghost tour? Who can say ‘no’ to that? A flight simulator? A history of the Apollo 11 mission with the original capsule?? An elongated penny machine!??! (Sorry, a hidden pleasure of mine). Forget watching anime at an anime convention; who has time for anything else at an anime convention when you are competing against 27,000 tons of military metal! Planes on the flight deck! A stunning view of San Francisco (and on such a clear day)! Sitting inside a jet mock up!

The scavenger hunt and the Global Justice games were nice, since the latter took place entirely on the flight deck. The inside of the ship was, as to be expected, crowded and noisy (all those flat hard surfaces), making watching the anime at the open theater a real workout. And since they abandoned the schedule, nothing was shown at the time projected, which was a disappointment. Maybe I could have gone for the flight simulator, as it was at least an hour wait, since my plans went POFARP!

KrakenCon is still a young convention, and a small small at that. The Spring Event pulled in 2700 people. Perhaps they do better with two days and at a convention center than such a distracting location. They honestly lost out against the ship and what it had to offer, although the culture shock was something to deal with. I personally find it ironic that a ship that fought in WWII and went up against the Japanese had, on the flight deck, a takoyaki stand.

This convention was a brilliant mistake. One day conventions are tough enough as it is, but with numerous distraction and the ever-present logistical problems, I do not feel it was as effective as it could have been, especially with the mushy nature of the panels. But you learn from your missteps. My feeling is that you do not have it on an aircraft carrier, owing to limitations in space and with what THEY have to offer. Yes, conventions centers can be rather drab and dull, but you have room to spread out and not feel like sardines in a tin. It’s just that it needs to decide what it wants to be and how it can be different than Fanime! or SacAnime or S.N.A.F.U. (that’s one in the Sierra Nevadas).

I may end up going again in the spring, as the daughter wants to make another attempt to be a vendor, but we will await that one. It could shift to SacAnime or even ASAHIcon (that one is a tiny tiny, but a good starting point for her, as it is incredible local). So for the nonce, this one was a B-. There is room for improvement and it can become more and better, but you have to commit.

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