In case you missed it (and I don’t know how you could have when we mentioned it daily for a few months) last weekend was KuroNekoCon, Spokane’s very own anime convention. For two days anime, gaming, fantasy, comic book, and sci fi fans converged on the Spokane Convention Center to hang out, buy stuff, wear costumes, attend panels, and dance the night away. It was a swell time with swell people and I was there, because of course – Mia and conventions go together like honey mustard and just about everything (trust me on this one).
This was my very first year at KuroNekoCon and I was excited to see what a smaller anime convention had to offer. Sakuracon was already pulling in 20,000+ people by the time I attended at first so I never knew what it was like in its smaller days. There is certainly a lot to be said for a convention with hundreds of attendees versus thousands of attendees (I’m not really sure on the numbers for that, it just seemed like hundreds of people to me). I could walk through halls without squishing past a bunch of other people. There were no lines to go up and down stairs, there was breathing room in panels, and fighting to look at items in the vendors’ hall wasn’t necessary.
It was nice. Small but nice. Intimate in a way that a larger con can’t quite manage anymore. Fox 28 was the official TV sponsor of the convention and we got our own booth in the vendors’ hall where we gave away posters, raffled off goodies, and showed episodes of The Simpsons for fans and passersby. It was fun to chat with people about our programming, which shows were their favorites, which shows they missed from our line-up (oh Almost Human, we still all miss you SO MUCH), and which shows they were excited to see coming up this Fall. Posters for Bones, House, How I Met Your Mother, and Animation Domination were snatched up like they were going out of style. And dozens of people showed up for the raffle drawing Sunday evening. It was pretty cool.
I attended a voice actor panel on Sunday with actress Natalie Hoover presiding. She was pretty dang adorable. She came bouncing in the door and immediately wanted to show us all the charms she’d bought in the vendors’ hall. Then she launched into an interesting hour of talk about her own experience in the voice acting business, her tips and recommendations for breaking into the business ourselves (if we were so inclined), and why she loves being a voice actor. I don’t have any interest in doing voice overs myself (and my vocal range is nothing to write home about) but it was cool to listen to an insider’s view of the industry and what it’s like to be a part of it.
There were some other panels I saw on the schedule that might have been cool to check out, but I really spent most of my time down in the vendors’ hall at the Fox 28 booth or wandering around looking at awesome stuff I forced myself not to buy (though I did scoop up some Mario Kart inspired keychains for myself and the tiny/tall roommate because they were super cute AND I like to support independent artists). I also hung out a bit at the Blackwolf Gaming Center booth with the owner of that fine establishment. She’s a greatly entertaining lady who shares my love of exotic pets, tattoos, and pondering the appropriateness of spandex body suits. If you’re into gaming you should probably check out her business in Spokane Valley. Just saying.
All in all I had a pretty good time at KuroNekoCon. I chatted with con staff about their thoughts on the convention, how it was going, where they saw it headed in the next few years, and why they volunteered to be a part of it. I chatted with Fox 28 viewers about programming, with gamers about being immersed in anime culture, with parents who were there with their kids and had no idea what was going on, and with kids who were excited to be surrounded by fellow fans. It may not have been quite the whirlwind weekend I’ve experienced at bigger, longer conventions, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it even a little bit.
And it was fun to be dressed up in a popular cosplay costume. I attended as Louise from Bob’s Burgers (seemed fitting with the whole Fox connection) and had people stopping to talk to me, snap my picture, and tell me how much they enjoyed the show. A cosplay win like that totally makes it all worth it.