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Kitacon Preview

What to expect from one of the UK’s best anime conventions!

I’ve been in the anime convention scene for a few years now, my first experience so to speak was May London MCM Expo of 2007 and I helped run Fuyucon 2007, Fuyucon 2009 and Fushicon in 2011. I’ve been to Amecons and Ayacons, Gemucons and London Film and Comic Cons. But only one convention gets me really excited and that’s Kitacon.

Starting life at the Northampton Park Inn Hotel in 2009, they’ve since moved home to the much bigger, swankier (and frankly all round better) venue of the Birmingham Hilton Metropole hotel.

Coming to you this March, from the 28th to the 31st, I’m here today give you an idea of what you can expect. Always going the extra mile for their opening ceremony, the presentation is always first class with animations, music, lights and things going on stage all at once, the start of the con is very much a show in and of itself. With a registration process that tends to go quicker and smoother than most other conventions, you’ll have your badge in no time and be unleashed upon the weekend’s festivities.

From there, make a mental note of when any of the big events you want to attend are happening, such as any guest panels and signings or a showing of a particular anime you’d like to see or keep your trusty con-book on hand if you aren’t cosplaying (or if your costume allows it!).

Speaking of cosplayers, this year’s venue, the Hilton Metropole will spoil you when it comes to locations for photo shoots, boasting lavish interior shots if your costume is more sophisticated, a nice wooded area nearby for more feral costumes, some public access areas that’ll suit urban cosplays or the lake for more general picturesque shots. The con has a lot of love for cosplayers events-wise with the standard masquerade but also Cosplay Chess and the always popular Build-A-Mecha where teams compete to build a cardboard costume to be the ultimate mech. Kita Got Talent, the cons resident talent show, will give you an outlet to perform those skits, musical numbers, comedy routines or more to the majority of the con goers.

The dealer’s room never disappoints with a massive selection of anime, manga and general geek merchandise with art books, model kits, cosplay items and so much more featuring.

The on-site games room is always a blast with DDR, Rockband, Dance Central and a wide range of beat-em-ups always on offer, whether you want to smash fellow con members into the floor or just want to rock out and or get down with them. There’s a great chilled out bar area where you can sit with your friends and indulge in a little handheld gaming with a great bar on-hand for drinks. If gaming isn’t your thing and you want to have a break from the con, the Hilton itself has an excellent pool and great gym facilities for if you wanted to unwind a little.

With a chilled out bar area and games rooms on hand for people who want to chill out from the mad dash antics of the events, Kita has something for everyone, whether you’re getting stuck into the festivities or just watching from a comfy chair with a drink in-hand.

However for me personally, the highlight of the convention is the nightly parties. With one for each night, things kick off Friday with the space themed “In Space, No One Can Hear You Party” night, boasting four DJs and spanning J- pop, chart and party classics, dance classics and finishing the night up with Geek and dance anthems.

Saturday hosts the “Rock-it” night, with j/k rock, indie rock and ending in a DJ battle between DJ LastKnight and Shenny. LastKnight lent his skills to the parties of Gemucon last year and was a floor filler.

Sunday hosts the obligatory cosplay ball, followed by guests Ellen Mclain and John Patrick Lowrie (GlaDos of portal fame and Sniper of Team Fortress fame respectively) performing live, Professor Elemental taking over for a DJ set and ending with the wheel of cheese.

Their website, www.kitacon.org has all the information on guests, rules and FAQs and the forum, all of which should answer any questions you have.

I look forward to seeing any of you that attend (I’ll be cosplaying Jaune from RWBY, Hotline Miami and joining the Assassins throughout the course of the weekend) the convention, in my opinion it’s the primo anime convention in the UK and you’ll have an excellent time!

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