I had planned to take dozens of photos and give very frequent updates throughout Kitacon 2017.
That all fell to the wayside in lieu of having so much fun!
A Brief History of Kitacon
For anyone who doesn’t know the history, Kitacon has had some rough patches over the last few years.
There was a time when myself and my friends were going to call it a day, due to behaviours that were out of the committee’s control.
However, the previous year’s Kitacon Karnival was such a surprising success that we did a complete 180, and our love for anime cons was reignited.
As you can imagine, we were relived to find that this wasn’t a one-off change.
Kitacon Quest was equally successful and we ended up having one of the best con weekends in recent memory.
Kitacon has a reputation as the ‘party con’ as in some ways, it really lives up to its name.
Thankfully though, the reputation has moved on from ‘oh my god, it’s out of control’, to ‘wow, this is a blast’ kind of con. The perfect transition if you ask me.
So, onto the con itself….
This year Kitacon moved from the Hilton Hotel in Birmingham to Warwick University in Coventry.
This was a very, very good move.
Let’s just say that some of us got the impression that the Hilton staff, while professional, clearly did not appreciate a hoard of costumed folk descending onto their pristine hotel every year.
Warwick University, on the other hand, is used to this, having hosted nearly 10 years of cons by now.
Rumour has it that even the staff at the the convenience shop there asked if they could dress up as they worked the weekend – bless!
When it comes to conventions, knowing that the venue actively welcomes you, rather than begrudgingly tolerates you makes a big difference.
Warwick also has the awesome amphitheatre space, which is the hub of social gathering and makes for a very handy “If we lose each other, meet there at X o’clock” location.
We were ready, Warwick Uni was ready, Kitacon was ready!
I have another confession – I only attended one of the parties.
(I know it sounds like I didn’t do much at Kitacon but I did, honest!)
I like a boogie as much as the next person, but I also like sleep, so two nights out of three, sleep won.
However, Saturday night was excellent! For someone who grew up on 90’s punk rock and indie music, the set on Saturday night was absolutely spot on!
From what I hear, the other two nights were equally popular and I don’t think there are any worries about Kitacon losing its ‘party con’ status.
One downside of this convention for me and my droogs was that the games room shut up shop very earlier each night.
This meant that if you didn’t fancy the party room, there wasn’t much else to do. I think a couple of panels ran a bit later, but choices were very limited.
In social forums since the event, this absence has been addressed, so hopefully next Kitacon will offer more choice for those who prefer a quiet sit-down sort of all-nighter.
I won’t go into masses of detail about all of the panels, simply because I wasn’t able to attend all of them.
Unless you have Hermione’s Time Turner, it’s not possible for anyone really.
The panels I did attend (Dramatic Readings, Room 101, Who Wants To Be A Smeghead?, and more) were entertaining, well-planned out and a lot of fun.
That’s what I love about these panels – you can feel every drop of hard work that goes into each one, even if the topic isn’t quite your cup of tea.
From what I have heard and read about regarding the other panels, it was a pretty decent selection with only a few dips here and there.
I even did my own panel this year, which combined my years of marketing with cosplaying/gaming/writing for a living.
As a new event runner, I got a fairly quiet slot on Saturday morning, and was also up against two of the more popular panels.
I had about 10 people in all (including 3 friends offering moral support) but I was really happy with that considering it was my first panel.
I’d like to run another one, but will need to think about how I can make the subject matter seem a bit more exciting (Marketing FTW!).
I really enjoyed myself this year and I’m so glad my love for the UK anime convention scene hasn’t waned.
I know some long-term con-goers have decided recently that it’s not for them anymore and have moved on to others hobbies, and that’s natural I think.
However, I’m happy in myself knowing that I’m just as excited about planning next year’s cosplays as I was 10 years ago.
As for this con itself, there were some complaints about events running over or not starting on time.
Honestly, I think this was to be expected.
To go from working within a single hotel, which is not really built for the kind of entertainment con-goers expect, to one of the largest and most technologically equipped universities in the country, is a big shift.
Considering the number of unexpected variables and unforeseen pitfalls that come with such a change, I think the Kitacon crew did a fantastic job.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for yet another stellar weekend.
Bravo! And see you at the next Kitacon!