Anime and Cosplay

Nan Desu Kan 24 Returns for Labor Day Weekend

The NDK Rave is only one of the many events from the fan-favorite convention.
The NDK Rave is only one of the many events from the fan-favorite convention.
Nan Desu Kan, Colorado’s premier convention for Japanese culture and animation, makes a celebratory comeback on Labor Day weekend in new digs at Aurora’s Gaylord Rockies Resort. The event was canceled in fall 2020 because of the pandemic and associated social distancing requirements.

“For many members of this community, NDK is like a family,” says Jeremy Pieta, board member for the Rocky Mountain Anime Association, which sponsors the event. “After a difficult year, we’re really happy to be bringing the family back together in a beautiful new home.”

“NDK has grown almost every year,” says Matthew Porter, NDK press coordinator. “In 2021, one of the biggest highlights is the move to the spectacular Gaylord Rockies Resort.” The Aurora facility marks a shift for NDK not only in terms of optics, but also opportunity. For the first time, the hosting venue will offer convention events as well as resort amenities like the Arapahoe Springs Water Park, on-site restaurants and bars, and a world-class spa and fitness center.

“The Gaylord Rockies provides NDK not only all the space the event could need, but also a grand setting that highlights Colorado's beauty,” notes Porter.

That’s not to say that the convention itself will pale by comparison to what the Gaylord offers.

“NDK operates around the clock from Friday to Sunday,” says Porter, “so there’s always something happening.” Events include cultural events and presentations, along with an exhibitors' hall including artists, vendors, and leading companies in the industries. Not to mention the more than 20,000 square feet devoted to video and tabletop games, 24 hours a day.

Special guests are important to any fan convention, and NDK is no exception. Featured guests this year include Major Attaway (One Piece, Fairy Tale, Borderlands 3), Billy Kametz (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Cells at Work, and Netflix' Aggretsuko), Dani Chambers (Ace Attorney, My Hero Academia, Fairy Tale, Marvel Avenger Academy), and Daman Mills (Dragon Ball Z, Final Fantasy VII: Remake, Pokémon Masters, Fire Emblem: Heroes, and RWBY).

Cosplay is always a strong draw for NDK, and this year shows no sign of that trend flagging. “Artists and models from across the nation come to NDK to show off their creations, to learn, and to share their expertise,” says Porter.

This year’s scheduled cosplay guests include Alysin Wonderland, Teca, Heather Martin and Starla Wynn; as always, one of the centerpieces of the weekend is the grand Costume and Cosplay Contest, which will be held on Saturday.

Given the global pandemic, there will be changes, though; serious steps are being taken to ensure the safety of all participants.

“Masks will be required,” Porter says, along with “physical distancing, hand washing and sanitization, and other practices to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in keeping with CDC guidelines. And NDK encourages everyone who can be vaccinated against COVID to be fully vaccinated before attending the event.” More information about NDK's safety measures in response to COVID-19 can be found online.

“Current conditions and safety practices will make this a different event from previous years,” admits Porter. “But the core of NDK — its welcoming community and its enthusiasm for the art of animation and for Japanese culture — will remain.

Nan Desu Kan will take place Friday, September 3, through Sunday, September 5, at the Gaylord Rockies Resort. For tickets and more information, see the NDK website.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen