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Nan Desu Kan 2015 Review: New Venue, New Experiences

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Nan Desu Kan is the most popular anime convention in Colorado. With a new venue and new management, NDK 2015 was looking to be pretty great. The last few years have been iffy mostly due to a small space and typical convention drama.

Space is a big deal because there are plenty of people running around – add cosplayers into the mix and the miniscule amount of wiggle room becomes almost unbearable. After dealing with Wasabicon 2015 (Hallcon 2015) a big space for an anime convention seemed too good to be true.

The hotel was at the Sheraton on 16th Street Mall in Denver, CO. It’s technically two buildings. The main building is where the panels and events were being held, and the other building was dedicated to hotel rooms. The top floor was the lobby and, where many cosplayers gathered to socialize with their respective members of their fandoms. The second floor was where badge pick-up, main events, and the Artist Alley were held. You would think this area would be the most crowded, but it wasn’t. Picking up your badge was easy, and lines were easily identifiable. Artist Alley tended to get a bit cramped once in a while, but it wasn’t as bad as it was at the previous venue.

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The room that had Artist Alley and Badge Pickup

One of the biggest events at NDK is the rave. For many years, people loved and hated the rave at NDK due to an atrociously small amount of space. This was always the reason why people would despise going to certain events. This year, the main event room was open and not incredibly hot due to the amount of people. It was a nice change of pace. Panel rooms varied but turnout really depended on who was more interested in what. The panel variety was nice to see; despite it being an anime convention, there was also content geared towards gamers.

I do have some grievances about this convention. As this was the first year, I’ll be somewhat lenient.

First off, the venue was understaffed. It was really hard to find someone belonging to NDK staff closer to the entrance of the hotel. I spoke to a con-goer and she said that she felt relatively unsafe when someone approached her and offered to call an Uber cab so they could “be somewhere together”. When she looked around for a venue staff member or even a hotel staff member, there was no one around.

A lot of problems like this can crop up with this many people around, and I am happy to see that this person was able to get back to her room safely with her friends. But a lack of staff presence is disheartening and I can’t forgive that.

The second problem was the timing. The convention was happening at the same time as the Taste of Colorado. This created an environment with much more people than previously intended and as usual, brings the attention of the homeless population that Denver is known for. There was just too much going on and people would be over-stimulated from the amount of bodies present. I understand that the organizers wanted the Labor Day weekend benefits, but more people attend Taste of Colorado than an anime convention.

Other than those two problems, the convention turnout was great. I was satisfied with how it was run and the staff were kind and helpful when needed. The first year at the new hotel with NDK is considered a success by myself and a large number of attendees that went. The cosplay was fantastic and the sponsored events were great fun. If you find yourself in Colorado for NDK and love anime. This is a must-attend event for you. The cosplays alone are fun to see. If you are new to the convention scene, you have to experience NDK at least once in your time in Colorado.

Be sure to head on over to the website and buy your badges early for a discount. Next year’s event starts September 2nd.

About Zach Martinez

Freelancer here at Armed Gamer, North American Video Game Correspondent for Following the Nerd, and a regular on Examiner.com, Zach has made somewhat of a name for himself at the age of 23. He has been writing professionally for just over 5 years now. He doesn't care about resolution or frames per second, he cares about what matters most, the games. You can reach reach him directly at zach.martinez09395@yahoo.com.

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