So, Naka-Kon just happened. Kausus and I were lucky enough to be in attendance this year (take a look at his convention coverage here!) and I’m pleased to say, even compared to some of the larger conventions I’ve been to, Naka-Kon was a solidly good time.
By all measures, Naka-Kon is a mid-sized, unpretentious event with all the quirks and charms of your typical anime convention. The crowd was notably older than what I expected from an anime con of this size, with many attendees looking to be in their 20s and 30s and relatively few teens and tweens. There was a friendly, casual bustle about the convention center, with a generous flow of compliments for the many cosplayers in attendance. About 1/3 of the crowd was either in full cosplay or wearing some sort of cosplay accessory, but I spotted few full armor builds or large cosplay groups throughout the weekend. Although there were some complaints about staff behavior on the Naka-Kon Facebook page, all staff I personally interacted with were polite and helpful.
Naka-Kon has been held at the Overland Park Convention Center and adjacent Sheraton Hotel (connected by a bridge) for the past half decade, and doesn’t seem to need an expansion anytime soon. Maybe my standards are just super low nowadays, but even at peak hours on Saturday, traffic inside the con center was manageable, with few lines and lots of open space available for picture taking. There were a handful of overflow hotels that were connected to the main convention area via free shuttle. Overland Park also had an abundance of affordable food options within driving distance, through few within walking distance aside from the slightly overpriced in-house catering option at the convention center–soda, fries, pizza. Parking, however, was a fresh nightmare. Although all options were free, the main convention lot filled up extremely early in the day, and “additional event parking” was a long walk through the flurries of Saturday.
Naka had a good variety of programming, catering to a huge variety of interests. Aside from the panels hosted by guests and Funimation, there were few events I was personally interested in, but other attendees seemed to be excited for the Rondorats concert, sake tastings, lolita fashion show, maid cafe, and many other unique options. Late night options ran until 2am both Friday and Saturday nights, suitable for the older crowd. The guest lineup was impressive, most notably including Robbie Daymond (the voice of Prompto in FFXV and Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon), Max Mittleman (Kousei from Your Lie in April and Saitama from One Punch Man), and others from the One Punch Man cast. The Dealers’ Room and Artist Alley were where I spent most of my time; the Dealers’ Room had a very diverse assortment of vendors, from a kimono store to a leatherworker to a fursuiter, and the artists in the Artist Alley had a phenomenal average quality of work given the size of the convention.