Kraken Con + WonderCon 2014 After-Action Report

Spring Kraken Con 2014

Kraken Con is a relatively new convention held in the SF Bay Area.  Last year’s location was at the South San Francisco Conference Center near SFO, but despite that it had great staff and a high turn out for a first time convention.  This year, they moved it to the Oakland Convention Center.  With the big move came fundamental improvements to the overall convention experience.

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Cosplayer: Fatima Camiloza (FB)

Cosplayer: Fatima Camiloza (FB)

 

Change of Scenery

The new location was a definite improvement.  The downtown location was close to BART and also close to Oakland Chinatown, giving people better access as well as an abundance of food choices.  Usually when a convention moves locations, there is a huge settling period as the con tries to adjust to new surroundings, but once again, the staff managed to effectively utilize the space they had.

The overall layout is similar to the last year.  Badging and Con Ops were located in front of the convention and the large ballroom was used as the artist alley, dealers hall, game room, and viewing room.  Kraken Con’s Maid Cafe and autograph room was also located to the side of the artist alley.  The panel rooms were in smaller rooms, though without Room designations clarly displayed there was no way to figure out which room was which, creating some confusion.  Still, this is a minor gripe as in every way, the new location is vastly superior to the old SFO location.

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Final Thoughts

If you can’t tell already, I love the new location as it is easier to get to, easier to find food around, and pretty easy to find places to shoot.  Unfortunately, the crowding and other events going on at the same time did limit my photoshoot choices.  Having the convention held on a Sunday probably limited their attendance, but considering the numbers, I think they still managed to succeed where other conventions failed (I’m looking at you, Fanime).  I’d say if you need a convention in between the winter conventions and the summer, this is a good one to try out.

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Good:

Yuna: artisticpsycho

Yuna: artisticpsycho

Gallery – Much better location

I salute you! – Competent Staff

Bad:

Okay... Moving on now... – It was on a Sunday?

Warnings:

Fear the katana! – It was in downtown Oakland?

Con-Rating: Star! Star! Star! Star! (Damned Good for a New Con)

Fun Factor: Star! Star! Star!  (Good Fun at a Growing Con)

WonderCon 2014

WonderCon is the smaller sibling to the more famous San Diego Comic Con / Comic Con International.  It shares the same themes of SDCC, so it holds panels and screenings for Western Movies, Comics, TV, and Video Games.  A few years ago, the con moved from Moscone Center in San Francisco to the Anaheim Convention Center.

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Sibling of Comic-Con…not so little now

Cosplayers: Variani + KittyCatChi

Cosplayers: Variani + KittyCatChi

Like Comic-Con, WonderCon has a big Exhibit Hall which houses all the artists, dealers, showrooms, and lots of things its bigger cousin has.  It may not be as big as SDCC, but it is getting there.  I’ve gotten lots lots of times in the dealer’s hall and had to look up at the overhanging signs to figure out where I am.  Panel rooms in the 2nd and 3rd floor are regularly loaded with fans and industry panelist talking or showing off to fans. There are some lines for the larger panels, but it is not as crazy as Comic Con for now.  You’ll also have a chance to see your favorite celebrities in the industry walking around and rubbing elbows with their fans.

If you wanted to experience what SDCC is like (but without having to hassle with badges, crowds, or only being able to go about 5 inches an hour (in cosplay or otherwise), this might be the con for you.

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Friday:

:iconshiimapan::iconshiya::iconkurisuchiekitty::iconloneshadow-wolf:+ Jakuri-nu Cosplay  + Ada Mist

Jeckt - Jakuri-nu

Jeckt – Jakuri-nu

Saturday:

:iconloruhcee::iconikariyamanga::iconxxfruit-cakexx::iconloneshadow-wolf::iconwindofthestars::iconpaprikamari: + Jakuri-nu Cosplay

Sunday:

:iconphavorianne::iconkimba616: + Jakuri-nu Cosplay + Ren Fawnlet

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Final Thoughts

Anaheim Convention Center is a nice, big place for a con like WonderCon.  Nice places to shoot around, food is close by (including food trucks), hotels are close-ish (depending on budget/availability), and worse comes to worse, you can always just go to Disneyland.

I still miss having such a large convention in San Francisco.  ^^;

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Good:

Cosplayer: Sam, Jazztea, Lizzie, Paprika Mari

Cosplayer: Sam, Jazztea, Lizzie, Paprika Mari

Gallery – SDCC without the hassle.
Camera – Good locations for photoshoots (badge might be required for some areas)

Bad:

I'm in ur post! Shakin mah fish! – It STILL belongs in San Francisco!  (or in NorCal)

Warning:
Censored There are (sadly) a lot more creepy photographers than usual…

Con-Rating: (Great)

Fun Factor:  (BOOO-YAH!!!!)

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Next Events:
? – uncertain schedule

Morgana - xxfruitcakexx

Morgana – xxfruitcakexx

?BigWow (5/17-5/18)
?Fanime (5/22-5/26)
?Anime Expo (7/3-7/6)
SDCC (7/24-7/27)

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~ by BlizzardTerrak on May 3, 2014.

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