Nan Desu Kan 2019: All In The Family
This year’s Nan Desu Kan (NDK) was like coming to an annual family reunion, with all of the happiness and dysfunctional moments that one comes to expect. Compared to NDK 2018, this year was an immense improvement and it felt like everyone was truly present. The parents (i.e. Board of Directors) felt like they had everything under control. The aunts and uncles (i.e. Staff) were eager to please and not sit in the corner simply waiting for the convention to end. Finally, the children (Guests and Attendees) were so engaged that there was never a dull moment. While there were some hiccups, as expected with any family reunion, it was still a great time catching up with others that we only see a couple times a year.
In all seriousness, this NDK was a great reminder of what this con is all about and why it is still going strong after 20+ years. It may have its ups and down due to the changing climate of the anime community, they always try to adapt as efficiently as possible to keep their family engaged. Fandoms are an ever evolving experience, one has to expect change. Even if it is hard to change and accept it when all one wants is the status quo. However, sometimes rapid change as seen last year was required to help the NDK family adapt to change for this year and next. Not to say that change is the reason why NDK 2018 fell flat in many areas, but it did help lessen the blow with things that occurred this year. Regardless, we are not looking back at NDK 2018, but this current year in 2019. Therefore, in the sections below, we are going to look at the pros and cons of this year’s family reunion.
As you are reading this, I cannot ask which you would prefer – the good news or bad news. With that said, I am going to rip the band-aid off and start with the cons. We might as well take our medicine before getting the treat with the positives afterwards.
Autographs – This is a consistent problem at almost every convention and every year I have attended an event. No matter what is tried (ticketing system or limiting line access) it never quite feels like it works. However, this year at NDK, it was especially worse. While attendees were technically unable to line up until 2 hours before the autograph session to get a ticket, this did not occur. Many attendees had to sacrifice the rest of the con experience and hang out in the autograph line area more than 2 hours before to ensure a spot. Quite a few attendees tried to follow the rules outlined by NDK and were too late to even have a chance to get in the autograph line. One attendee lined up 4 hours in advance and was still unable to get an early ticket as other had been there even longer. While I know that autographs are optional to the attendee, it still harms the overall experience when rules are not followed or being abused.
Audio Malfunctions in Main Events – Not sure what happened this year, but every event I attended in Main Events had audio issues where it sounded distorted, choppy, and did not give the best quality. This was most notable during the Kazha concert when the bass overpowered the vocals and even LAVA mentioned this issue during their sound check before their improv show.