Kraken Con 2016 (Winter) - Convention Review
by Bryan Mero

What's better than two great conventions in the same year? Nothing! Kraken Con continues to impress as they put on the second convention of the year. There aren't many conventions in November around the Bay Area so this one was just right, even if it rained a little on us.

The Hall:
Much like Kraken Con (Spring), the vendor/gaming/main stage areas were the same. This configuration seems to work nicely in terms of space but its tough when they play some loud movies or music in the gaming area. The main stage seems to suffer a bit of loud noises when your having a panel. The questions and answer sessions with the celebrity guests was a bit tough this year. The guests were great and worked with it as best they could. These panels were the best as you got to know your celebrity voice actor a bit more than just their current work, first jobs, family, etc.

As the earlier mentioned gaming area...loud, fun and inviting. Always the highlight of the day is the "mystery" tournament where the game runners choose a game from the past for people to play...this time...Jo Jo's fighting game was chosen for the final. Such a great time for all and with many open games for people to play, dancing game and more, it seems like it is an automatic go-to place now.

There wasn't a panel I attended that wasn't a no show...the only thing close was the viewing of The Force Awakens...the movie didn't actually show until about 40min after the start time. But it did start and people were happy. There was a variety of topics this year from the history of anime (much recommended if it's there again), to stand up comedians. Now, comedy is a fickle thing. One man's joke is a nother person's personal offense. I saw a few attendees triggered and leave but overall, fun was had, people laughed and jokes bombed. Telling jokes in front of people has to be one of the most stressful thing ever but the audience for the most part was gracious.

For every con there are more and more cosplayers. With the rain coming down this weekend, I thought most would not risk getting their outfits wet...I was wrong! And thankfully so...part of the Con is to see all the great cosplay. The skillset only increases over time and people look great. As Director Orsen Krennic myself, it was great being recognized and stopped for pictures. This is always my favorite part of the con and I know it will only continue with more people and more elaborate designs.

I again somehow missed the animation/movie submissions. Please KC, please promote the Kraken con film festival better. People go through hours, weeks, months of work to produce some incredible movies. I'm sure they would appreciate a little more exposure, so would I.

The charity auction was promoted much better this year but...yes, there's a but...time to get someone who is comfortable in front of an audience and knows how an auction actually works. I praise the volunteers for doing an 'ok' job but it could have been so much better, quicker and higher bids. I wanted to jump on stage and do it myself it was so awkward. I would love to volunteer for that next time. Or just find someone who has a bit more experience. I think both presenter/charity/audience will all benefit and have a much better time. Even so, there were plenty of items that went at some great price and high prices.

Summary: Kraken Con is a great time. I even had a friend who made this his very first con. He didn't make it until Sunday afternoon but he had an awesome time, loved the venders, the cosplay...everything! Thank you Kraken Con, for putting smiles on so many faces and making a new follower to anime, manga and conventions.


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