by Aly Runke, contributing writer
Day one of Kraken Con commenced Saturday morning, October 4, in downtown Oakland, California. Free parking was available a block form the convention center and tons of adorable sandwich shops surrounded the immediate area. Once inside, the con atmosphere swallowed us in its comforting embrace. The whole of the convention took place in the ballroom and several other conference rooms for panels. In other words, everything was close enough to give you time to get to that last minute panel, but spread out enough where by the end of the day our feet definitely felt it.
The convention was definitely intimate. Walking around the vendor hall, no one was squished and there was room to breathe, but it didn’t feel small. In one corner was the autograph-session table. Caitlin Glass who voiced Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran High School Host Club, Winry Rockbell from Full Metal Alchemist, as well as other roles, was casually chatting with staff member and con-goer alike. After calling out my Ariel cosplay and Zoe de Lellis’ Wonder Woman shirt, she showed us a picture of her own Wonder Woman cosplay from back in the day, then signed our Press Passes. Just like that, as if we’d met her on the street, no fuss no muss and all of us were inwardly fan-girling. Another great aspect of small cons is that voice actors and other VIP gests get to participate in the fun, too. Glass walked the vendors’ hall and mostly got to do as she pleased and enjoy her time in Oakland.
Another great aspect was the cosplay. To me, it feels as if there are two different aspects of cosplay mentality at conventions. At bigger cons the pressure is definitely on to be of a high skill level, which can sometimes take away from the simple joy of being in costume. There were tons of people dressed up, showing off their fandom love. This included a family of Star Wars cosplayers, the youngest a mere toddler who loved the camera, and it loved her back. People dedicated to hours of hard work, and the best part was everyone got to show off and feel like they were a part of something. I cosplayed Ariel in a Ballerina style; it was the first time I’d worn the cosplay I made a year ago, and I decided to debut it at Kraken Con on a whim. I was nervous about how it would be received, since my cosplay was an interpretation of the character. I got great responses and left feeling more self-confident in my costuming than I have in a long time. I was even asked to pose for one the con’s professional photographers who scout out costumes for their portfolios in the convention lobby.
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Over all it was a fun day with a great community of people. Sunday should be just as enjoyable and I’m already psyched to go to another small-to-medium sized con in San Francisco in January.