Thursday, October 1, 2015

Kraken Con Fall 2015: Robbie's Report

This was bound to be a unique Kraken Con from the get-go, and it most certainly was. This Autumn’s Kraken Con was held on the USS Hornet Museum, making for a new and different convention experience that will be remembered fondly for a long while.

I arrived early, or so I thought, but there were already lines forming and people picking up their badges. Fortunately, the staff was very efficient, and I got checked in quickly. I may have been in a bit of a hurry, but I had a good reason: pre-con press interviews.

Kraken Con had set up an opportunity for all the attending press representatives to interview the guests of honor in the opening hours of the convention. From 9:30 to 10:30, we were given time to speak with each of the guests in order. You can check out each of the videos below.

First off, there was Sarah Williams, known for voicing Jinx in League of Legends, Sayaka in Madoka Magica, and Nonon in Kill La Kill. We discussed the importance of #PerformanceMatters (if you’re not familiar with it, you can check out the Will Wheaton post she refers to here), and what draws people to the various characters she’s voiced.

She was a little surprised when she first learned of Jinx’s popularity, but feels people are drawn to her “chaotic neutral” personality. As for Sayaka, that was her first big role, which she felt was a great break for her career.

Following Sarah, we spoke with Christy Carlson Romano, who voiced Kim Possible, as well as Yuffie in the Kingdom Hearts games and Advent Children, starred in Even Stevens alongside Shia Labeouf, and has an impressive Broadway career, portraying Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway and the puppets Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut on Avenue Q. My first question was, of course, “Now that beepers are a thing of the past, do you feel the Kim Possible theme song needs to be updated for the modern day?”

You can see her response in the full video below.

During the interview, we talked about her various roles in Disney properties, and asked if there were any other characters she’d like to portray. Christy mentioned that she’s a fan of Once Upon a Time, and would like to appear in that, although Belle is already taken. Of course, there’s no Kim Possible character in Once yet, leading to my proposed hashtag: #KPforOnce2015. Tweet it, ‘gram it, get that hashtag out into the world, and maybe we can see the latest season end with a mysterious redhead taking a phone call and asking, “What’s the sitch?”

And at the request of our friend Bart from Team Misaki Studios, she provided a response to Shia’s internet-famous “Just DO IT” video: she did it.

The third interview was with Zach Callison, who voices the titular character of Steven Universe. While that may arguably be his most popular role, he’s provided voices for TV and radio, and appeared on stage and on the screen. In fact, he’s done voice work for some personal favorites, Legend of Korra and the sadly under-appreciated (but very awesome) Sym-Bionic Titan.

For this video, and the Tiffany Grant interview that followed, my own camera was giving me some problems that made the footage unusable. Thankfully, my good friend Bart from Team Misaki Studios was there as well, and has allowed us to link to his video, which you can see below, starting at 28:45.

With Zach, we talked about the growth in the SU fandom, something that he’s noticed as well and greatly appreciates, and attributes to the show’s willingness to break new ground, to go where other shows are cautious to tread, as well as as Rebecca Sugar’s storytelling and carefully-planned plotlines.

We also touched upon his voice role in Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, where he voiced the protagonist, Jiro, as a child. He’d been a fan of Studio Ghibli since long before getting the role, as well as a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who voiced Jiro through the rest of the film. So for him, that was a role of great importance.

Last but certainly not least, we got the chance to interview Tiffany Grant, whose voice acting resume spans over 1500 series. While her most famous role is undoubtedly Asuka in Neon Genesis Evangelion, I’m also a fan of her work as Kaorin in Azumanga Daioh and Bonta-kun in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. You can see her interview starting at 41:33 in the Team Misaki Studios video above.

While she’s no stranger to conventions (there are only 6 remaining US states she has yet to visit for a con), this was Tiffany’s first time at a convention on an aircraft carrier. Naturally, jokes about Asuka’s debut and how she has a tendency to destroy battleships in battles against Angels ensued throughout the day.

Fun fact: Tiffany’s mother thought that learning German would be a waste of time when she studied the language in high school and college. Then she got the part of a German-speaking Eva pilot, and proved her mom wrong.

Another fun fact: they initially considered giving Asuka a German accent, but decided that because she was multi-lingual, she’d be talented enough to speak without an accent.

Once the interviews were over, I made my way onto the flight deck. The autograph sessions were beginning, and even though I’d just spoken with those guests, I still wanted to get their autographs. First up was Christy’s, and the line had grown pretty long by the time I made my way to the flight deck.

The autograph area was held behind the main stage, on the deck of the ship. While that did mean that those waiting in line would spend a lot of time in the sun, it also meant we were entertained by “The Squiddly Show” while waiting, where the host (David Studebaker) would interview certain guests not in line, and they’d answer audience questions. Compared to standing in line for hours doing nothing, like at certain other cons, it was a much better experience. (Although I should have brought some sunscreen.)
The Black Ranger, ninja style
One additional bonus was the way they were doing autographs. Attendees could get one free print and one free autograph, which would usually mean getting the print signed. Although in my case, I’ve started getting guests to sign blank “Cards Against Humanity” cards with whatever they felt was fitting. (She decided the most offensive thing befitting a CAH card was “Voting for Trump.”)
Signed "Cards Against Humanity" cards from Tiffany Grant, Zach Callison, and Christy Carlson Romano

As soon as I got through her line, I lined up again for Tiffany’s autograph session. As I waited, though, entertained as I was by Zach’s interviews on “The Squiddly Show” (a little child cosplaying as Steven asked him to sing the “Cookie Cat” song from the first episode, and it was adorable), I realized just how hungry I was getting, and decided to get lunch.

Thankfully, Tiffany Grant had a table at the convention, and I got an autograph from her later. She decided to make an equally political CAH card, but decided to go for someone slightly less evil, slimy, or inhuman than Trump, and wrote “Cthulhu for President.”

For food, Kraken Con had a few different food trucks parked outside, with a variety of options. There was also a takoyaki booth on the flight deck, which had decently lengthy lines throughout the day. I hopped in line for waffles, but had to run back through the ship again to get on the flight deck in time for the Splatoon gathering. (Thankfully, my girlfriend was there to get the waffles for me. They were delicious.)

Cosplay gatherings were a new thing for Kraken Con, but there were plenty of fans willing to organize and run them. Splatoon, Black Lagoon, and Kantai Collection were all series that could make full use of the ship and dock environment, so there were cosplay gatherings for all of them.

I was co-hosting the Splatoon gathering, along with my friend Defender Dev. There was a nice amount of cosplayers there, so we managed to get pictures of all the different teams of Inklings in battle with each other. Everyone was really cooperative, and it looked like they all had a great time, so I would call the gathering a success.

Stay fresh!

Even before the gathering was over, though, the line for Zach’s autographs was growing long. I had to quickly run back to my car to change costumes (switching from an Inkling to Jamie from Steven Universe) then back up the deck to get in line. Before his autograph session even started, the line had reached the point where they had staff members telling everyone that they’d have to be quick about it so everyone in line could get a chance.
Steven Universe cosplayers

By the time I reached the end of the line, Zach was still happy to meet and talk to the attendees there to see him. While he also had prints available, I opted for the Cards Against Humanity card (he wrote “Bellybutton Gem”).

After all the running back and forth between food, autographs, and gatherings, I was ready to relax and enjoy the rest of the con at a casual pace. So I made my way below deck to check out the dealer’s hall, where there were rows of vendors and artists set up to sell their wares.

In addition to the dealer’s hall, there were some of the USS Hornet’s own attractions there for people to check out, such as a flight simulator or “ghost tour” haunted attraction. There was a spot where you could get photos of yourself in a jet cockpit, both a theater and screening room, and to the delight of those dealing with costumes, a cosplay repair station.

I wandered the dealer’s hall for a bit, buying a few things, getting snacks, and talking with friends. Nearly everyone I spoke with seemed satisfied with the event, and was enjoying the experience. Of course, Kraken Con is also known for providing some extra games and entertainment for its attendees, with scavenger hunts to follow and clues to find, which adds to the entertainment factor of the experience. There’s also the usual Kraken Con trading cards that can be found at various booths or while meeting certain people around the con, which made for nice little souvenirs.
The Great Saiyaman and Saiyawoman

So let’s take a moment to look at some of the pros and cons of being on an aircraft carrier.

- Unique location makes for great photos! The sea, the ships in the background, the planes on the dock, all of them added to the scene and made for some pictures unlike any you’ll see at most given conventions. 
- The Hornet’s own attractions (flight simulator, etc) added new draws and things to do.
- The very concept is pretty cool.

- Going up and down the stairs between the various levels could be tricky for those with large props or tricky shoes. Comfortable footwear was a necessity.
- Not much shade on the flight deck for those waiting in line; they did warn us to bring sunscreen.

All in all, I’d consider those drawbacks to be very minor. This Kraken Con was a new kind of experience, and a con I’m glad I went to. Attendance was at its absolute maximum for the location, and there was enough to do for everyone.

Kraken Con returns to the Oakland Convention Center next April, and I for one am looking forward to it.
Omega Ranger from SPD
Double Jamie selfie


  1. forgot to mention that location was not handicapped friendly and no wheres did they mention this.

    1. Actually checking it says it on their eventbrite page where you buy the tickets and on their location page on their website. You can see it at and

    2. As the unknown commenter said above, they did mention it multiple times, not only on the website and eventbrite page, but it was also mentioned on the Facebook event page in a few posts. So yes, it was something they noted and tried their best to work with, but even then that's more an issue with the Hornet than the convention.


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