After initially meeting Tim from GeekOut South-West through blogging, we first met in person in March 2014 when I was attending the Rezzed expo and he was at Kitacon. Both events were located around the NEC in Birmingham so what better opportunity to get together for a few drinks? He brought along some friends and Cards Against Humanity – which I’d never played before – and as soon as he handed me a card with the words ‘William Shatner’ printed on it, it was friendship-at-first-sight.
After my confession that I hadn’t heard of Kitacon before, Tim thought it would only be fair to introduce me to the colourful world of cosplay and snuck me into the Hilton Metropole so I could see what it was all about. I spent the next couple of hours staring in awe at the amazing costumes and wondering just how many hours of work had gone into them, then being chased around the lobby by Slender Man. It was an experience which left me feeling traumatised.
Over the years we’ve spoken about the possibility of attending the convention together one day and now it’s finally happening: this summer we’re all heading to Kitacon. 1,400 Standard tickets sold out in just over eight minutes so I’m extremely grateful to Tim and his partner Jake for being poised at their PC, ready to click on the ‘Buy’ button.
Taking place at in its new home at the University of Warwick from 18 to 20 August 2017, this is the UK’s largest residential, non-profit, anime and geek-culture convention. It features large events such as cosplay masquerades and talent shows; and attendees are able to host panels and events of their own covering topics both personal and important to them. With workshops during the day and parties during the night (which I’ve heard plenty about), it’s going to be a busy weekend.
Being my first time and not really knowing what to expect, I recently joined the Kitacon Official Social Group on Facebook to pick up some advice from the veterans. So many people have posted details of their cosplay plans already and ideas for not one, but several ambitious costumes. The most popular choice of character at the moment seems to be those from Overwatch or Pokèmon’s Team Skull – which makes sense, as both games received plenty of attention in 2016.
I hate to admit it but t’s possible I could be a little out of my depth. I know nothing about anime and, where a lot of the costumes being proposed on the Social Group appear to be of that nature, I can’t even tell you the names of their characters. As of yet I don’t know who I should go as; and on top of that I have absolutely no clue when it comes to dress-making or cosplay creation.
Tim tells me not to fret:
These [conventions] are educational, they’re wild, and they’re full of passion and personality. A lot of joy at conventions is the conversation. Don’t worry if you don’t know a costume – just ask the cosplayers! They love to talk about their craft and character.
I understand what he’s saying and indeed, everyone I met at the Hilton three years ago was so friendly. But it’s one thing observing as an outsider and another thing entirely when you’re a participant in the middle of so many amazing cosplays!
Perhaps it’s preparation that’s the key, so the sooner I decide on my character (or characters) the more chance I have of pulling something half-decent together. Here are the ideas I’ve come up with so far:
|April O’Neil||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (original)|
|April Ryan||Dreamfall: The Longest Journey|
|Sheila||Dungeons & Dragons|
There’s no way I’m going to be able to do all of these and some are more ambitious than others, but at least it gives me a starting point. I’m still open to suggestions however – if there are other characters you think I should consider, give me a shout (and if have tips on how to make their costume then even better). Maybe I’ll end up putting it to vote if I can’t make a final decision.
So that’s where I am at the moment: a little overwhelmed but plenty excited. I’ll let you know how I’m getting on with my cosplay ideas in the near future and hopefully I’ll have something to show for my efforts. Now to find a sewing machine and learn how to use it…