Done? Alright, here we go.
Kraken Con is a convention new to Oakland, located at the Oakland Convention Center. This was its second go, following a well-received debut in 2013, so attendees were optimistic. The convention floor opened at 9 in the morning, and was off to a good start, with con-goers moving in to enjoy all that it had to offer.
The convention itself was mostly located in a single, large room, mostly a dealer’s hall and artist alley. At the top right corner was a screening area, where several anime series were shown throughout the day. At the other end was the autograph area, where the convention’s main guests held their autograph sessions.
Also located in the main hall was a maid cafe, where guests could get light snacks and enjoy games in the company of volunteer maids. Near that was the gaming area, where several televisions (and one projector) were set up with various games, mostly of the fighting variety.
There were a few panel rooms right by the entrance, and the convention had a nice variety of panels, both for professional pursuits and fan interests. The rooms did not have a listing of the panels out front, though, so anyone curious as to what was going on would have to peek inside and figure it out from the context.
There were three main guests of honor at the convention: Niki Yang (voice of BMO and Lady Rainicorn in “Adventure Time), Patrick Seitz (voice actor known for many roles, such as Ragna in “BlazBlue” Luke Valentine from “Hellsing, and several “League of Legends” champions), and Natasha Allegri (creator of “Bee and Puppycat”). Outside of their autograph sessions, they could occasionally be spotted wandering around the convention. Patrick, in particular, was often seen talking to fans and getting pictures with them throughout the day, to the fans’ delight.
For the attendees who were tired of aimlessly wandering the halls, Kraken Con offered a scavenger hunt. Those participating would answer questions to find coordinates to the location of the next clue, following them until they’d answered every question. They also needed to find several stamps at various artist booths, which were key to answering some of the questions. After answering each question, a word scramble made from the previous answers revealed the location where attendees could claim their prize: some candy and bragging rights.
Around the convention were some decent places for food, including restaurants in Oakland’s Chinatown. The information table also had a handy map of nearby eateries, and the convention center itself was right across the street from a supermarket.
As the day neared its end, the cosplay contest began. While the cosplay around the main hall varied in quality from casual to extreme, some excellent cosplayers took to the contest to show off their skills. There were many prizes to award, and they all went to deserving contestants.
For a relatively new convention, Kraken Con was exceedingly well organized. The lines moved quickly, and they made good space of the room they had. It may have had some places in need of improvement, but it did much better than many conventions do in their early years. The next Kraken Con will be in October, with Eric Stuart (voice of Brock and James from “Pokemon,” and Seto Kaiba from “Yu-Gi-Oh”) signed on as a guest, so we can expect it to improve even more in the future.
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