WARNING: This article is incredibly image and video heavy!
AmeCon 2018 was a roaring success in my personal opinion, however the event started off with a few technical issues. Having said that, the crew battled on through those issues to be met with a weekend that had both roaring heat and ridiculous rainfall. The parties were fun, the cosplays were incredible, the guests were wonderful and the panels were all in all great fun (at least the ones I saw). Usually at these events, I don’t spend enough time going to events, usually because I’m in costume myself. For the first time ever, I went to an event with no cosplays, which felt strange, but seriously, it was rewarding to be able to look and appreciate the craft of Cosplay and Japanese fandom as someone looking in again. Read on for more on this year’s experience.
Oh man am I tired. Well done Amecon, I am mentally and bodily drained. What a wonderful and weird weekend, and surprisingly well managed in the face of the adverse conditions.
I am not a hot-weather person, so the forecast of overwhelming heat was daunting in its own right, especially as I’d already resolved to cosplay (more on that later in the week) the concept of layering up beyond the basics of shorts and t-shirt was nightmarish, but I’d already made my decision. A lot of construction being done at Warwick meant some chronic reshuffling of the venue to allow space for all of the events taking place throughout the con, which meant a few insufficiently air-conditioned rooms. In many ways the weather turning on Sunday was a blessing, but I’m already getting ahead of myself.
I’m getting used to arriving on a Thursday to a convention. It usually offers an opportunity to socialise but this year, perhaps because we were not staying on-site (due in no small part to this year’s accommodation issues) we encountered very few people. We instead resolved to return to the hotel early, get a nice meal at the hotel, and kill the evening with some Magic.
Friday! The queue for registration was long and warm, we got a head start on making new friends (hello queue-friend, see you some other time) while the big monitor over the circle gave us an exciting countdown to an animated dance routine by AmeChan that made several reappearances during the weekend – why not, if you’ve put the effort into something like that then get your worth out of it. There were some organisational issues, not so much with managing reg itself, but managing the queue itself, but everyone managed to get through with little enough fuss before opening ceremonies.
Two complaints of my own for the day, apparently as a VIP (or premiere member, whichever) I did not get the traditional box of Pocky in my con-bag, does put a crimp in the start of ones convention, but I was more upset that I was barely boo’d at as I walked past the rest of the queue! Last year was such a delight, I was vilified, hated! None of that this year, shame on all of you.
I attended a handful of panels during the day, starting with an intro to Bunkazilla: a geek culture radio channel hosted online and created by Iain Boulton, his post-convention retirement project. A mech panel with a particularly dirty minded slant that proved as enlightening as it was entertaining, I suddenly understand far more of the jokes in Gurren Lagann. Then onwards to take, what would be a regular post in the traditional games room to prepare for the evening.
Now, Tim may have more pictures than I, but the end of my Friday was the GM’s Round Table panel, and I know I’ve said this to you both already but Chris and Lynsey, thank you both so much for making that panel what it was. While I enjoy hosting panels on my own, it was a much warmer affair to have you both on hand to answer those questions I could not, to really keep the conversation flowing, and turn the hour into an hour and a half.
In the panel we swapped stories, many of which not safe for this website, but tales of character ingenuity turned games master’s despair, conversations on the matters of player management, inter-personal disputes at the table, and some of our proudest and most embarrassing role-play moments. You – the audience – were fantastic, thank you all for the feedback, both positive and negative, it all helps make us better. See you in the future with something bigger and better than before.
There’s a lot of my Saturday I’ll need to circle around to in a day or two, suffice to say that I got an early peek into the dealers room and landed a harvest of dice and materials for a project that’s been in the works for some time. A panel about coffee in anime and gaming proved interesting, delving into how coffee has taken hold as a culture in Japan, although walking in to the gentle smell of a fresh brew was both tantalising, and a cheap trick to buy my affections, bravo. Thank you to those of you who joined the game of Dungeons & Dragons that evening, I shall say nothing about what took place, but those of you who played or witnessed were fantastic, and to you, my table is always open.
It is currently two in the morning, you’ll pardon me if I do not go overly in-depth on the subject of Sunday. I attended a variety of panels, saw some more friends, attempted to actually spend some time catching up with them, all of which felt inadequate, and so many of you I never even got to talk to beyond a quick “Hi, how was your weekend?” Let’s address some of the serious news of the day…
ChairChan is back.
It’s a convention meme that predates my time being involved with conventions, a chair, a magnificent chair, made wondrous by the adoration of its hoard of adoring fans, and the props that get left on it….
Y’know what, that’s not it.
My first convention was at Ayacon Apocalypse in 2013, and in the five years that followed I have learned and done a great deal, and consider myself to be experienced enough to know that I was spoiled, and that the venue may very well be the single greatest venue for an event of this kind, with rooms for panels and events, an enormous live-stage, party rooms, amenities, and on-site accommodation at reasonable rates, the Warwick Art Centre has it all. So the renovations taking place there now can only improve matters, right?
For now, they are a hindrance, an impediment that has caused something of a pall to be cast over next year’s Kitacon, and its bearers are the titans of the committee vacating their posts, and passing the baton down to a new generation of inveterate con-goers, event managers, and dyed-in-the-wool nerds. Their rest is well earned, but the duty of finding a new venue, even a temporary one for Kita 2019 is an uphill battle for anyone. Just don’t take us back to Nottingham guys.
Ame, we will see you again in 2020.
Kitacon is well on it’s way to coming round once again, so I sit here and think to myself ‘Damn, I really need to get on with my costumes’. Fortunately, I have been working on my cosplays (slowly), as I make my pieces in preparation for this year’s convention. But cosplay isn’t the only thing we’re all looking forward to. Here’s a look at what activities are on at the party convention of the summer.
Hilton Metropole in Birmingham, you need to get yourselves ready! With the Karnival on the way, Kitacon Karnival 2016 sent out information about their guests for 2016 – So join Timlah as we look at the guests announced and what they’ve got going on this year!
For those of you who keep up with us on social media (or more to the point, Facebook), you’ll have seen me posting quite a few pictures from my phone on the event I’ve been at for the past two days. Whilst everything was still all go here on the GeekOut website, I have been at a convention, working as staff once more and also attending. How did my last main convention for this year go for me?
On Saturday 3rd, I had to be at the Future Inn Hotel at Cabot Circus nice and early. Arriving at 8:30am, I managed to get there easily enough and was set to work the moment I entered. We were set to open the doors at 10:30am, but we managed to pull through some tough opening moments and get the ball rolling at 10am. It was an impressive team effort by everyone involved, so that was well received.
I was put on the stall for press, along with two of the cosplay guests. I spent most of my Saturday at my stall, answering questions anyone had about the event and so on. It was a busy day in all, but the whole event seemed to run really quite smoothly. There were the usual issues of a few panels being changed and a few being cancelled last minute, but this is typical of working at a convention. Now that I’ve worked at three fan-run events, I can tell you that this really is the norm.
Once my shift had finished, I went off to get dressed up like a wizard, had a great Japanese meal over in Obento then back to the convention. Bristol really is a great place to host an event like this, as it’s a large city that has plenty of shops, restaurants and bars nearby. Within 10 minutes of the venue, there’s access to so many different shops, restaurants and pubs, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus, the venue was spacious enough to fit what was to be 1,400 people over the space of the weekend!
Special shout out to Bostin Blam and to Bristol Gaymers who both made an appearance on the Saturday. It was lovely finally meeting the Bostin Blam crew and seeing one of their fantastic Ewok hoods and it’s always nice catching up with Luke from Bristol Gaymers.
On Sunday, the press team was merged with the registrations team. In the first hour, I was handling payments of people entering the event, as well as acting as a sign-post of sorts for people who wanted to come into the event. Couple this with my duties as press, I had a very busy Sunday – Often running about to get things sorted before events happened. I finished my shift at 6pm once more, when I decided: Now it’s time to sit down and play some games with people.
I met some great people, a lot of guys and girls who didn’t know of GeekOut… And many who did know of GeekOut! It’s great to meet so many people who are interested in what we do and why we do it. Many members of the Bristol Anime and Gaming Convention staff were also interested in what we do, so it’s great to have been able to hand out some more of our business cards. Amusingly, one guy who took our card shouted out “I’ve picked up many cards this weekend but this is one of the nicest cards I’ve ever received.” Thanks to you, dude!
We hit up the club night at the end for a brilliant party to end the convention. Thanks to the Future Inn hotel for being such a great venue for a new, smaller venue. We had a lot of fun there and it was well worth the work. Well, enough talking about how fun this was: Here’s our gallery!
In conclusion, this was a lot of fun. The entire event was fantastic and the party with DJ Morgnator and DJ Shenny on the Sunday night was simply superb! Thanks to both of these brilliant DJs for putting on a great last night. This was a brilliant addition to events in Bristol, which were quite sparse just last year. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of these events in the future and that it continues to have success. If you were there, let us know in the comments below. Even if you weren’t, leave us a comment below, or on Facebook and Twitter.