We’re back, everyone!
So, excuse the writer, as he is somewhat groggy due to intoxication from copious amounts of alcohol consumed and for he has eaten far too much Pocky. What? You don’t know what Pocky is? It’s time to begin talking about anime conventions, but more specifically – What went down at Kitacon Invasion 2014.
Please note: I am not celebrating drinking to excess. With and without the alcohol, this was a very full on and fun event, though!
The Epic Journey
Please note, I do not use the word “Epic” lightly.
When I was a World of Warcraft player, an “Epic” was supposed to be something to be revered. Epics weren’t something you just got for the sake of it, as you had to do something important for it, such as a very long quest chain; win the item by working on killing the bosses; for the services to your allegiance, etc.
“Epic” is a reference to time.
And our journey there, considering it was just to Birmingham from Bristol, was longer than it should have been. Several reasons, but first, here’s a picture of a map. A Google Maps picture, to be precise!
So, why would I call this epic?
Well, you see, I can be a bit of a klutz when push comes to shove and I am sure there are some of you who read this and think “It shows”. I’d like to think I was a lovable klutz at least.
So, we got our way to Birmingham via coach. This was the easy part! Bristol Coach Station to Birmingham Coach Station – Easy. However, our journey was 20 minutes longer than intended, due to a build up on the motorway. Boo!
We then had to get on a bus – We started by standing on the wrong side of the road until I had noticed this, then we moved over to the correct side to get our bus (The 900) from one side of Birmingham to the other. Dear Bristol: We can learn from the Birmingham bus system. £2.10 fixed price – for all over. Sure, for small journeys it’s not so good, but to get to the other side of Birmingham for £2.10 – Bargain in my eyes!
Ah, side-tracked again. My apologies, dear reader.
So once we had finished our bus journey, we ran into true problems. The bus driver amusingly had to tell us “Not this stop! You want the next stop. Don’t get off here, you funny costume wearing people!” Nice!
We were now at the NEC.
Well, Labyrinth is an exaggeration. It isn’t hard to navigate at all, but we had no idea, two clueless guys trying to find their way around without a map of this place. So we wandered and wandered, until we found Rezzed!
Wait a second, I didn’t come to Birmingham for Rezzed, that was 1001-up‘s expo of choice! We would go on to meet up with 1001-up later in the weekend. More on that later. We stared partially in awe, but then partially in confusion as to why we were there. We then went past Rezzed and lo and behold, an exit! We left the NEC and found a path that pointed to “Hilton Metropole”. We were there, only an hour or two later than intended.
***Excellent start, well done me for helping us be so darn late!***
Not like it mattered. We went in and we finally saw the big sign saying “Kitacon Invasion 2014”. Thank you, Kitacon.
Costume, Panels, Ideas
Tomorrow, I will show off some of the goodies I received from Kitacon Invasion 2014… Oh, but how rude am I? Some of you may want to see the costume, if you didn’t catch the post I made earlier today.
That’s me, dressed as Edward Elric, it’s not perfect, but hey in all fairness, a lot of the costume was pieced together and a lot had to be altered. A lot of ambition was key to finishing the costume, but hey, it was worth it.
Was it expensive?
Nope, not really. I will admit, though, with regards to materials and the likes, I was lucky enough to get materials from vouchers I got for Christmas.
The coat, as people who read this blog will be aware, came from an Etsy store. It’s incredible how easy it is to pick these things up.
The Worbla was a bit expensive, mind you. £30 for a huge sheet of Worbla, so it wasn’t expensive in the usual respect. My Worbla had to be coated in several layers of Gesso and then painted over.
Of course, the problem with Worbla, as I have now found out – It is very stiff. This is why in the picture above, there are no fingers on the hand. Instead, they were made as separate pieces. These separate pieces then had enough extra to fit underneath the flap of the hand (With the exception of the thumb which was put on with a “Hinge” I had made out of Worbla).
Would I use Worbla again for a whole arm? Possibly not… Possibly I should have done foam. I am not sure, though. I’ve got a lot to learn and many years to learn it in. Worbla is perfect for those details and for those big armour pieces.
The wig was another Christmas present, along with the pocket watch. This means, my whole spend on this outfit, possibly around £75 – £85 – Including the coat.
Granted, if I hadn’t had the pleasure of doing all this around the Christmas period, then this could have ended up a lot more expensive. Onwards to the convention again!
The convention, Day 1
I’ve not got too many pictures, sadly. It tended to be a very fast paced, very active at all times weekend. The weekend flew by without any real slowing down. It was scarily quick, but it is also a sign of how much we enjoyed it.
The first night, a group of 4 of us were just wandering aimlessly, enjoying the first night. Seeing what was around, including the spectacular traditional games room. We found this to be a place we ended up a lot. Big thanks to my good friend Joel of Quotes From The Tabletop for hanging out with us in and out of the traditional games room. Please guys – Check them out and if you have any traditional games quotes (Usually in the form of Dungeons and Dragons or a pen and paper RPG of some description), please submit them over there. There are some highly amusing ones!
So the first day came to a close very quickly, but then the first nights party. Horrah for dubstep!
Not too much else to add here, so instead, here’s a picture of the bed I go to stay in!
The convention, Day 2
So on day 2, I mostly made sure I attended a panel on Electronics in Cosplay. Aren’t I getting fancy?
Some incredible information was provided, including some websites where I can start buying supplies, such as RS Components and free design software called Fritzing. If it would interest people knowing more of the kinds of things people use electronics for in Cosplay, drop us a line in the comments section! I’m sure a post could be made on that!
So, we went to more traditional games room events and we went to the Cosplay Masquerade!
After the Masquerade, we attended the Valve Panel, where the voice of Sniper and the voice of GLaDOS were there.They spoke about doing work for Valve, how to get into voice acting and their favourite games. Many thanks to the wonderful guests of Kitacon!
Next up, a group of us went for a bit of a trek to get to Frankie and Benny’s for some grub. We could have eaten at the Hilton, but admittedly, we were looking for something a little bit cheaper. We’re not afraid to admit it: We’re not rich!
When we got back, the parties were about to start. So we headed straight there and the rock battle begun!
The convention, Day 3
And now we’re down to day 3 at Kitacon.
This day, we decided we were going to play a lot of Magic: the Gathering. I also gathered people for my 3DS’s Street Pass, as well as a few people for Pokemon. I never did get around to those Pokemon matches. Hawlucha is waiting to use his Baton Pass ability to confuse any player who watches me use him as a support Pokemon.
We headed to the video games room, where I saw a Pac-Man machine and almost beat the high score on it. Was very close, within 1000 points (Which in pac-man terms is eating 3 ghosts consecutively, or eating 100 of the little pac dots.)
We played Street Fighter, BlazBlue, DDR (Yes, I strutted my stuff to Smile DK and I’m proud to admit that.) and much more. We never got around to Time Crisis, though. A shame, as I do adore that game so very much.
After this, we headed over to the NEC to finally meet up with Kim and Phil of 1001-up! We had been discussing a meetup for several months, then when we found out we would be in very nearby events at the same time, we just had to use the opportunity to go for it.
Thank you very much for being great sports guys, I’ll keep in contact with you both about upcoming events and the likes.
They also completely showed me up with the equipment they have. I simply use a single smartphone to do all of the work. The 1001-up team are ultra professionals, with great personality and charisma as well as having the ability to laugh with us.
They took pictures of our game of Cards Against Humanity before they came back to the Hilton with us, so look out – We may (Hopefully) see some of the silliest ones over there soon!
We parted our ways with 1001-up, as they ran around the hallways looking for cosplayers to take a snap of, before running to get back to London. I heard they had safe travels, so I’m glad to know they didn’t get taken away by all of the fun-loving cosplayers of Kitacon!
It’s The Final
The last thing to do before the last party – was the closing ceremony, before Kitas Got Talent (The talent show they run, for the attendees, by the attendees.)
So, there was an interesting announcement. Kitacon, next year, will be a “Big” summer convention. The following year, it’ll be a smaller winter convention. There has been a partnership between two of the big conventions in Kitacon and Amecon. What does this mean for us all, even for the conventions in question?
Let’s take Kitacon 2014. As you’ve just seen, a lot happened at this years Kitacon. I’ve made some great friends and I’ve got some incredible stories. Like the time I heard That Guy say “Anime”. I think I might have been one happy “Otaku”. Oh my, am I going to make that full transition from “Fan” to “Superfan”? Possibly not, but I’m hooked. Whilst a lot happened, Kitacon and Amecon are going to work in collaboration, so one year, one plays the “Big convention” and the other plays the “Smaller convention”.
They will then swap – So the following year, the one that was the big convention becomes the smaller convention and the previously smaller one becomes the bigger one.
As someone new to the scene, it didn’t sound like too much except for beneficial from a logistics point of view. A collaboration is always more effective than the effort of one group. I look forward to hearing about the next Kitacon (August 2015!)
Then finally… It was time for the last party.
And of course, with the last party comes the expectations of staying it out. Not going back to your room until you physically cannot go any more. I was able to still “go” – but in the end, we just had to give in. With a late night pizza delivery, we stayed up until a good 4am-5am, once more playing Cards Against Humanity with some lovely people from Finland and England alike.
I truly hope these guys do not mind me putting a picture of them up here!
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and Kitacon 2014 has now ended.
It was incredibly exciting, with much to see and much to do and… Oh my, I haven’t even shown you all of the “Swag” I picked up from Kitacon 2014! Well, I think that’ll be a post for another day.
For now, here’s a haunting picture of a hallway with people walking away… Forever away…
… No more . . . . . .
Sorry, the ghost story teller in me kicked in! It’s quite sad to see a hallway that, just a few hours before, was filled with enthusiastic minds and conversation galore. With people making new friends; new things of interest; visiting panels. Now, this picture represents the end of Kitacon 2014. Beautifully haunting.
Over to you
What did you think about this recap? Tomorrow, I’ll post the “Swag” I brought back with me from Kitacon, along with information as to how I got the stuff, prices of things, etc.Have you been to a convention before? Why not tell us how it was for you in the comments section?