University of Central Florida—the second largest in the United States—kicked off its third year of Knightrokon with Avatar-esque style. With a Legend of Korra theme as its basis, Knightrokon attracted hundreds of anime and gaming fans across Florida. Gathering at the heart of the campus—the Student Union—attendees plotted their daily Con schedules: a mixture of panels, cosplay, special guest meet-and-greets, and vendor room shopping.
While panels ranged from “Steampunk 101” to “Tips for Aspiring Writers,” the most popular events of the evening followed the Legend of Korra theme. An official cast of cosplayers, costuming as characters from the popular TV series, wandered the Con, interacting with guests and posing for photos while in character. Auditions for these character roles began two months prior. Those lucky enough to score a character role spent those two remaining months memorizing lines and practicing impersonations.
These character antics were among the highlights of the Con. “…[R]unning around the convention chasing a specific evil villain [Vaatu] is something that was incredibly fun,” said Stanley Kuschick, the official Bolin cosplayer. “Knightrokon is rather unique in that sense because it has its own narrative. The whole weekend was a hunt for Vaatu, which led up to the Murder Mystery Night’s plot. This Con had its own story. Most Cons don’t even attempt that.”
Following several Avatar-themed events, such as Pro-Bending and a mass Q&A, the final day of the Con culminated in a two-and-a-half hour Murder Mystery event. Part theatrical performance and part interactive experience, the Murder Mystery centered around the cast from The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra as they banded together to uncover the identity of the notorious cabbage-man killer. On-stage acting occasionally gave way to intermissions where audience members were encouraged to participate in the sleuthing.
“Our director, Bronte Bettencourt, really put a lot into the show,” said Kuschick. “Her commitment to the project, along with her co-authors for the script, really did a tremendous job… Seeing things come together, creating things like bending, they lend a lot to the final product. Being a part of the cast was honestly more fun than I could have ever imagined.”
As a part of its Avatar focus, Knightrokon featured special guests from the franchise, including Dante Basco (Zuko) and Jennifer Hale (Avatar Kyoshi). Janet Varney—the voice of Legend of Korra’s namesake character—was forced to cancel her appearance due to a biking accident the day before the event. Despite this setback, Knightokon was able to invite John Swasey (Bordorlands, Black Butler, Neon Genesis Evangelion) in a last-minute reschedule.
Among the entertainment guests was Florida Whammy Entertainment—who hosted multiple panels and gameshows—and Random Encounters—a local band from the Orlando area. Random Encounters treated fans to a one-hour musical montage on Saturday night, playing themes from some of the most beloved video game franchises.
Students at UCF could enter the convention free of charge, just by flashing a student I.D. For non-students, the price was $10.00—a fair, affordable price for a Con held at the nation’s second-largest university. For many participants, Knightrokon marked a very special, first convention experience.
“Knightrokon was the perfect size for the Student Union. It had lots of great things to do,” said first-time Knightrokon attendee Lily Novak. “I was super impressed with how it turned out!”
For updates and additional information about Knightrokon, check out the official convention website: http://www.knightrokon.com/