Tag Archives: Kitacon 4

So, what did you do last weekend?

Pub? Club? Perhaps a spot of shopping? Nice. Me? Oh, I just went to a strange world of fantasy and make believe. Yeah, it was just off the M6…

Of course, I am referring to the annual anime/Japanese culture event known as KitaCon. As this was my first visit to a con, and I had only the excited babbling of my friends that had been before to go on, I had very little idea of what to expect. To be honest, even had they been the most articulate and sensible of speakers, they would still have been unable to prepare me for the assault on the senses that is your first convention.

After a somewhat dull drive from Harlow to Birmingham, an equally dull check-in to a hotel nearly two miles from the event, and a long, confusing walk to find the hotel in which events would be unfolding, my first glimpse of the Hilton Birmingham Metropole set the tone – there on a balcony some three floors up stood a character from the Naruto anime, eating what appeared to be a doughnut.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

The Hilton Birmingham Metropole is a dark, brooding building outside, and a lavish marble affair inside, usually catering to business types visiting the NEC next door, or flitting off to Birmingham International airport. So to see this character casually stood there watching the comings and goings of the main entrance is something that is sure to have confused some of the normals!

I won’t ramble on too much, since Hibiscus has already done a marvellous job of re-capping our weekend at Kita in her recent post, instead I’ll pick out a few bits, mainly costumes that we wore, and got photos of (took a lot less photos than we planned, mainly because we were either in costume ourselves or were a little overwhelmed!). I’ll also divide the con into its three days…

Friday:

I was wearing my rather dashing Orb Nation uniform, for my cosplay as Kira Yamato from Gundam SEED Destiny. It’s the least impressive of the three costumes I took to the con, and the easiest to wear. But as the Friday only officially started at 5pm (despite the hotel being awash with con-goers all day), and I knew I’d be sitting in the bar quite a bit, it seemed a good choice.

Check out my heroic posing.

Darren (our housemate, and fellow con first-timer) opted for his Kingdom Hearts Squall Lionheart costume (I think that’s right – I’ve never played Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts!), and I think he chose that one because he simply couldn’t wait any longer to strut around with his Gunblade! And here is the only shot I have of him in that costume…

Diet Coke - The limit-breaker

Hibiscus was rocking her Duck Kigurumi – you can see a pic of it in her post that I linked to earlier.

The Friday was a bit strange. We headed through the airport, onto the tram to the railway station, then through the NEC (the quickest route from our hotel at the airport to the Hilton), slightly nervous that airport security wouldn’t take too kindly to having three strangely dressed loonies wandering through, one of whom was toting a life-size gunblade! But either they weren’t bothered or they’d been given a heads-up by someone, and we passed through unmolested. And as soon as we reached the NEC there were others in costume! We were no longer the only ones!

But the con didn’t officially start until 5pm, and we reached the Hotel at 11am… the hotel bar that day was awesome. We were sat next to a table seating Deadpool, Captain America, and the Raccoon City S.T.A.R.S team, Thor and Iron Man were queueing for booze, and the student council from Ashford Academy (Code Geass) were snapping photos down the hall. It was a very bizarre experience.

I don’t remember much of the party that night because I was rather drunk. Although I do remember Dal being ground upon as we were leaving by two young ladies clad only in t-shirts and underpants, begging him for kisses (he was dressed as Ezio, and they were excited by this). And I’ve just discovered as I write this that he had totally forgotten that happening. That’ll teach him for drinking more than me!

Saturday

Amazingly, despite not getting back to our hotel until gone 2am (we only made it back that early thanks to a student who showed us another route back to the tram, since the one we were going to use was closed – thank you sir, whose name I’ve forgotten!), we were up, costumed, and back at the Hilton by 11am again! This time Dal and I had planned our costumes to coincide. I was rocking my Altair Ibn la Ahad (from Assassins Creed for you infidels not in the know)

Ignore the building in the background!

Whilst he was appearing as the next step in the Assassins Creed story, Ezio Auditore de Firenze;

When I framed the shot, I avoided buildings...

The amount of photos we were asked for that day was a bit insane, and rivalled the number of snaps that I get asked for in my trooper armour! Neither of our wristblades survived much past lunchtime, hence the variation in our poses to using our other props. Hibiscus was once again exposing the world to her Duck impressions in her kigurumi, although she headed back to the hotel after lunch to catch some sleep since she’d been up half the night vomiting (I’m such a good boyfriend that I was oblivious to it until she told me in the morning.)

The Masquerade – Kita’s chance for it’s attendees to strut their stuff on the stage and show everyone their amazing costumes actually blew me away. We’d already seen some stunning costumes – Caboose from Red vs Blue (A Halo 3 Spartan) springs to mind – but some of the costumes in the Masquerade were a whole other level. In particular the Garrus (Mass Effect) costume. Wow. Just wow.

That night at the party, Larter convinced me to stay in costume so we could look doubly cool. And it worked. Plus, walking back, through the darkened NEC dressed as Altair was pretty freaking cool!

Sunday

The last day dawned, and once again (this time thanks to energy drinks and tea) we were at the Hilton bright and early (11am is bright an early to me after two nights of partying), and this time it was Hibiscus and I that had paired up our costumes, representing the Essex Ghostbusters in our custom EssexGB uniforms.

Larter was out looking for flesh as a Hunter from Left 4 Dead. Unfortunately, none of us managed to get a picture of the undead fiend, so you’ll just have to imagine what he looked like (unless of course he wants to send me a photo!)

The belt on my costume was a total pain in the arse. It has so much stuff hanging from it that in the corridors and panels it was constantly getting snagged on other people, chairs, tables, and everything bloody else. And I couldn’t sit down in it. Every time I sat down that day I had to take the belt off, and use a chair just for it to hang on! We didn’t get as much attention in these costumes, as it’s primarily an anime con, and a lot of the attendees were probably a tad to young to have been Ghostbusters fans in their youth, but the people that did recognise it were really bloody excited, which made all the hard work put in to building them worthwhile (including a scratch-built ghost trap, and Hibiscus’ customised kids Proton Pack).

The closing ceremony was a tad rushed (due to the technical glitches that had plagued the whole con the start time was delayed by nearly an hour), and it was sag to hear that there won’t be a Kitacon V next year – the committee are taking a well-earned break next year, but are looking to run it in 2014 (I’ll be there!), but the mood was immediately lightened by following the ceremony with Kita’s Got Talent – Kitacon’s answer to the dreadful Britain’s Got Talent. Hibiscus also discussed this in her blog, so I won’t go into details here, but there were some bloody good acts.

Sunday night’s party was the Road to Redemption Ball. So Hibiscus and I dolled up suitably – a dress for her, top hat and velvet frock coat for me – whilst Larter went for the suave styling of Ezio once again. The Ball was bloody amazing. I’ve never been to a party, gig, or anything where everyone felt such goodwill towards everyone else there. It was quite moving. Especially the massive linking of arms and group hug that lasted through and ended Bohemian Rhapsody.

So, there we go, we survived our first con, and will definitely be attending more in the future. While we decide which ones we want to go to, we’ll be off to MCM Expo London in May (stop me and say “Hi” if you see us!), and are already planning out next cosplays….

 


Kitacon IV

So yesterday I returned from my weekend at Kitacon, but before I start going in to that I’d like to apologise for not writing about getting ready to go, my thoughts beforehand, and in general no blog posts, but I have had a sprained wrist and was banned from using my hand for four weeks but it’s better now so I’m back!

Before going to Kitacon I wasn’t really sure what to expect; all I really knew was that there would be a lot of Cosplayers, some people selling stuff and that Chris Patten and Ellen McLain would be there. I was looking forward to seeing everyone in cosplay and buying shit that I don’t need but other than that I didn’t really know what to expect. I was disappointed a bit as well due to costuming problems as I was looking forward to properly cosplaying for the first time – I’ve dressed as Snow White and I’m part of the Essex Ghostbusters but it would be a complete event with other cosplayers and it’s a completely different crowd – but unfortunately my Yui (from Angel Beats – Rooney) costume needs a lot of work, mainly getting the lipstick off of the sleeve (if anyone has any tips on this then I’d really appreciate them, I’ve tried everything that I can think of) and also it needs taking in and my wig still hasn’t arrived, and then my Ranka Lee costume still hasn’t been made but I do have the wig and everything else.

I knew I’d only have my Ghostbusters to wear so straight away I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to fully experience the main reason I wanted to go. I was hoping to have at least two costumes. But never mind, I took my duck kigurumi because I knew that it’s normal for people to wear them at these conventions, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to wear it or not but I figured if not at least I’d be comfy at night! Seriously it’s the best invention ever! Every person needs one to experience the comfort… whilst looking adorable haha!

Anyway, to the convention! So we arrived at our hotel the day before Kitacon started and the three of us (Rooney and our housemate/friend/adopted son Larter) went to explore the area and find our way to the Hilton Metropole Hotel Birmingham which is where Kitacon was being held and we ended up following the sat nav on my phone (I left all the organisation of the trip to the boys and neither of them figured out that a map or directions would be useful…)(we did navigate all the way there without getting lost actually! – Rooney). It took us a ridiculous route but we made it there eventually but on arrival we bumped in to our friend Clem who just happened to be heading outside as we were coming toward the door. What are the chances? I swear he is actually a wizard. Anyway after receiving directions from Clem we managed to make our way back (via Subway).

With our new and improved route we headed out in the morning to register and start our weekend of sheer craziness. There were parts that I loved and other parts where I was a bit bored of waiting around but all in all I learnt a lot. I am very excited to start making the costumes that I’ve planned and the upcoming conventions and events. Cosplay is something I definitely want to get in to more and I’m excited by that. The costumes where incredible and I was surprised by the standard of costume making. I knew some would be impressive but they were all good, and a hell of a lot that where spot on and must have taken so much time, effort and money to make. It is amazing what people can make.

The atmosphere at Kitacon was incredible, there wasn’t any negativity and I felt an immediate bond with everyone pretty much instantly and this bond just grew and grew until the last moment there. Every single person had 100% respect for each other at all times. It didn’t matter whether your costume wasn’t top notch or whether it was hand made, bought or borrowed there was massive respect either way.

There were two moments where I felt overwhelmed by the love at Kitacon, one was at KitasGotTalent when a young lad went up to play the saxophone but the backing music kept stopping and he had to keep starting from the beginning. He was clearly nervous and the more pressure he was under having to start again over and over was making him look more and more shaky but then a few people started clapping along with him and within seconds every single person there was clapping in time for him and the people who new the words started singing along and I have to say I nearly cried. Watching his confidence increase and the fact that he played the whole piece of music while we supported him and feeling the love in that room at that time is a moment that I’ll never forget and I hope that this is an experience that will stay with him also.

The second moment was at the Sunday night ball which was beautiful. The DJs were doing the goodbye speeches and then they played Bohemian Rhapsody and everyone all started joining in a line with arms around the person next to them whether they knew them or not and swayed and sang along and I could have actually cried. It couldn’t have been more perfect. And it was finished off by a massive group hug. Both these experiences probably don’t sound as amazing as they felt, you had to be there.

All in all it was like a dream world, I felt so safe at all times and so relaxed. Where else can you make friends dressed as a duck while my two assassin friends pose for photos while Iron Man strolls past? Or at what parties do you see someone dancing while playing a DS at 1am next to two My Little Ponies and a Chinese dragon is walking across the stage?

Unfortunately Kitacon V won’t be happening next year but I’m hoping it’ll be in 2014 which so far is their plan. And I’m looking forward to experiencing other cons, expos, etc. I’ll be attending the MCM Expo in May and I can’t wait. If you see some Ghostbusters… I’m the female haha.


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