This year’s Nan Desu Kan was amazing… and busy. Started back in 1997 as a film festival at a local movie house in Denver with just over 200 people attending, in a little over a decade they have grown to become one of the most popular conventions in the Rocky Mountain region. The con has a yearly estimated 6,000 attendees from not just the US, but from around the world. For the last four years, NDK has been held at the Denver Tech Marriott Hotel, the con’s best venue yet.
The whole weekend was great. The only downside was that NDK is only three days long, so it felt at times like things were rushed. Even if you spent all day in the dealers’ room, the announcement at night that it was about to close made you feel like you still needed to walk around the room about a hundred more times.
The most confusing thing about the con was the handling of the lines for different rooms. The place where the line ended was not actually even close to the room in which the event was happening. My favorite line, however, was the line for getting your badge on opening day. It wrapped around the building, showcasing some of the coolest cosplay I have ever seen, ranging from infants experiencing their first con to the fans that have been with NDK since the beginning. The Iron Man and War Machine costumes were the best this year, I think. The cosplay overall was really balanced – there wasn’t an overload of Naruto or Bleach characters. There were also a whole lot fewer Final Fantasy and Kingdom Heartscosplayers than I thought there were going to be.
Walking toward Artist Row Saturday was a little hard – it was blocked by a huge crowd waiting for a turn at the Oxygen Bar, where people can inhale concentrated flavored oxygen. It was a new feature this year and will hopefully be back for years to come. From strawberry to lavender, they had a good choice of flavors that would help even the most stressed cosplayer relax.
The best part of the Con was when we got to sit down one-on-one with Michael McConnohie. After introducing ourselves, we got into our hour-long interview, and believe me, an hour is not enough to talk with this guy. He started off in theatre as a kid, went into the Marine Corps, and from there did some work on radio. One of my favorite people in the business, he moved on to star in roles such as the title character (and his demon left hand) of 1985’sVampire Hunter D, Tracks and Cosmos from Transformers, Shin from Fist of the North Star, and much more. Some of his favorite roles were in D and Dirty Pair. He went on to talk about how he had a lot of fun with the characters “Big Daddy” Asagi in Gungrave and the Narrator in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, in which his favorite episode is one where he had to voice all the characters.
I asked him what advice he would give to aspiring voice actors. His reply was, “Don’t do it.” I laughed and looked at him, confused. He smiled and said, “Unless it is all you want to do and it is the only thing you think about, then yes, do it. Other than that, just don’t.” He then explained that you need to start small and build up a resume, like trying to get parts on the radio. His final statement was directed to Transformer fans – “Tracks is not gay” – and followed with a poem from Tracks: “You can paint me blue or you can paint me yellow. Doesn’t matter what you do, I’m still one handsome fellow.” If you see this man at a con, stop him and thank him, because I am sure he was responsible for bringing one of your favorite characters to life, be it from epic, classic anime like Robotech to geek-tastic games like WOW.
If you’re in Denver, CO around the time of Nan Desu Kan, stop by! With a diverse group of attendees and guests and a wide range of things to do, the long lines don’t get in the way of having a great time.