PeiPei’s Pennies ~ Nan Desu Kan (NDK) 2018 editorial

You know, I have known my boss here at NerdFeed for about roughly ten years now. I can remember each of those early years she would invite me to Nandesukan (hereafter NDK) because she knew that it would be my type of thing. I also remember telling her no, one way or another, all those times. Yet, could I start over and go to each one of those years I would. I would go because ever since I’ve started going to NDK, I have enjoyed myself time and time again.

For any reader out there, a moment to describe what NDK is and what it’s about: NDK, hosted this year at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Denver, is an Anime convention that provides an outlet for those in Colorado to have a cultural experience. Despite the tremendous growth it has seen since its inaugural start in 1997, NDK still continues to offer a quaint impression of fellowship and closeness that something say as large as Denver Comic Con doesn’t necessarily offer. This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the convention and continues to see NDK bolster itself and its growth with more activities and programs and plans for an ever-growing future.

There is a considerable number of things to unpack when discussing all the events that NDK had to offer. From just walking around the convention floor to look at the stunning cosplay and every con-goer having a blast, to the planned events – panels, gaming room and tournaments, to the contests being held in the main event room – that to go over each one in detail could take pages. Though, I’d find it rather inattentive not to note on my time with the experiences allotted to me.

NDK 2018 allowed me the chance to re-live a lot of memories of growing up with anime that no other convention can provide. The AMV contest, in particular, showed me just how far the art form has come since my days of watching mashed up Animated Music Videos set to screamo bands.  I was also put in an extraordinary position to interview some prominent voice actors, Lex Lang being a personal favorite. Getting the chance to talk to those professionals who have made not only my own, but other nerds’, favorite characters come to life is certainly both a pleasure and a bit of an honor.

Whether amateur or professional, however, the marvel that was the Cosplay Contest was astounding. Sitting there, laughing, cheering, gawking at all the wonderful contestant’s talents and courage to make their cosplay stand out to the entire audience is truly something worth admiring. Not to get too anecdotal, I remember discussing with another representative from another press outlet just how impressed we were at not only the cosplayers’ talents, but NDK itself in how it handled the contests and shows, and panels that they had put on for us. Conversely, if sitting and watching isn’t quite one’s style there was the dealer’s room and artist gallery to explore where one could gawk at all the mad, nerdy swag that was for sale. I probably only spent a total of thirty minutes in the dealer’s room total, but I spent a good amount on plushies alone. I had also only spent a short amount of time in the gaming areas, and I did so want to take part in the fighting game tournaments that they had going on, or the table-top tournaments that were also being held. Truly, for each person and their respective tastes, there is something for just about any nerd that was present.

Always my favorite spectacle, though, being the foremost mentioned walking around and seeing everyone have a great time. It’s always a pleasure to walk around and see con-goers having a great time and showing off their cosplay. Simple cosplay made on the fly to the highly elaborate, each one is innovative and recognizable, yet, what astounds me the most is the cordiality of strangers to allow pictures, to have random discussions on their favorite things, and the occasional (consented) glomps that turn into acquaintanceships to friendships. Even Team NerdFeed made some great new friends! It’s truly something that I love dearly about the NDK experience.

That’s all just scratching the surface! There’s also the rave, the burlesque show, the auction that all happened and even all the stuff that happened that I am ignorantly unaware of! There’s so much to the NDK experience that I could go on for an extensive period of time about, though, I would encourage every reader to go at least once.

Contrast to the great times, I do remember a few less-than-stellar ones as well. Without going into too much detail, getting some things together for the Press teams, information included, certainly was something that could have been evolved with a slight bit more clarification and communication. And as an attendee I recall hearing some complaints on how certain lines were handled, especially those pertaining to the meet-and-greets of the special guests that NDK was so proudly boasting. Minor complaints at best, but due to a first-come-first-serve style of heading the lines at NDK, some attendees were unfortunate enough to not be able to meet some of the Idols that they might have only been at the con for in the first place.

I’ve heard that within the coming years that NDK shall grow even more so and perchance even upgrade to some new digs. I could only imagine the steps they will take to remedy these sorts of issues going forward, though, I have only ever seen the NDK staff be accommodating to the best of their ability so, I don’t doubt that they will find ways to make everyone happy as they continue to move forward with their growth the coming years.

Looking back, however, each of these past and present years that I’ve been attending NDK, I’ve had such wonderful times. I have had such wonderful experiences that I haven’t quite had at any other convention. Sure, I can meet new friends and idols at other conventions, but at NDK I’ve had the chances to meet people like Ryūsei Nakao, (one of NDK’s special guests last year) and Megumi Han, (one of the special guests this year) on complete accident. The latter of which being a prominent figure in my past and the latter being one in my present. By accident! NDK is rather special for that sort of thing, for me. Not to mention the great friends I’ve also made perchance while at NDK.

Perhaps, that has something to do with the fact that I am doing press work for NerdFeed while I am there, yet, I believe that there’s more to it than that. I’ve gotten the chance to do all the aforementioned things, actually took part in NDK’s panel line-up for a moment, and met some great people and new friends along the way, but there’s more to it than that. Because so can anyone! Any attendee could also have these sorts of things happen to them while they are here. I think that’s partially what makes an NDK experience so special. So many wonderful things could happen. I haven’t gone to too many conventions, there’s still a lot more to learn about, but NDK is certainly one that I have had such a pleasure exploring and going to as part of the things I do. I look forward to continuing to go and watch the advancement of one of my favorite cons, and hopefully get the chance to meet any of you who have stuck through this whole thing. Just take a hint from me, and listen to my rather obnoxious boss, go to NDK 2019 next year and the subsequent ones afterwards. It did great things for me!

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