For those of you who know me in person you will know that there is one anime convention a year I am guaranteed to turn up at. That convention would be KitaCon which for the last two years has been hosted in the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, and prior to that in the Park Inn in Northampton. This year I decided to go up a day early and help with the set up, see if I do work in excess of 18 hours over the course of the convention I get my ticket for the next Kita for free, which means more money can be put towards other things. So yea the Thursday evening was spent stuff convention bags and dealing with pre-convention registration. I think I also managed to successfully annoy some of the committee members. See I like a band called Eisenfunk and they did an awesome cover of the Tetris theme tune, (It’s on their album called 8-bit) I had that tune playing on loop while we stuffed the convention bags, needless to say most of them were whistling or humming the tune for the rest of the convention. Most of Thursday evening was spent whistling Eisenfunk tunes, throwing empty boxes about the place, and dealing with pre-convention registrations, a process that was streamed down to taking just one hour instead of the usual two. Whoever suggested doing registrations over a custom LAN system instead of by hand is AWESOME. The downside to it though meant I spent more time sat on my rump in an empty room babysitting the laptops until the useless hotel security turned up to finally lock the room up. One night down, a few more to go.

Friday was a whirl, and I ma so glad that Cafe Nero in Birmingham International Airport is manned by sane people and unlike every other shop in the airport they charged normal prices, they didn’t add stupid lots to their prices because they happen to be at an airport. I did discover that Cafe Nero caramel waffles taste so good first thing in the morning dunked in coffee. First job on Friday was to set up the traders hall. Easily done, though it does get boring hauling tables around from place to place, though amusingly I was used as a measuring stick of sorts. I’m not a small person and if I can get between the gaps between the tables no one else should have a problem. Well if it works hell why not? To be honest the rest of the Friday was a bit of a blur. I remember the rest of the registrations going on, then meeting up with the other kinky convention goers aka “The Purple Pervs” as we all had purple lanyards to denote that we were interested in the kink and fetish side of things as well as everything else going on at the convention. I managed to get myself a free drink at the munch as well which was a plus, though drinking on an empty stomach is not good so the booze (and it was only a pint of Magners) went straight to my head. That’s the downside to being so broke half the time, you end up going teetotal and kissing goodbye to any form of alcohol tolerance you may have had in the past.

Then the afternoon chaos began, trying to get people into the main hall for the opening ceremony oh good gawd that was an absolute shambles. For some unknown reason, none of us could communicate our ideas or the plan for the seating arrangements. So that was a big old mess, did get everyone seated eventually. Perhaps almost shouting myself hoarse did the trick, next time I should pack a megaphone, but hell it’s not a proper anime convention until things run late and start going wrong. Once the opening ceremony was done and dusted I lost a few hours, I think it was spent finding food, so nothing interesting there. Ah now I remember what else happened on Friday, the Yaoi panel, how the fuck could I forget about that. Yes I like gay porn and I find gay anime porn hilarious at times. You can pretty much guess what the panel about, what was the real icing on the cake was two of my good friends (both of them guys) were making out in the front row. They successfully managed to freak out another of my friends, bless her she was so innocent and naive until we dragged her to the yaoi panel. She’s not going to see those two friends of ours in the same light ever again. After the yaoi panel, bed and turning too at six in the morning to get my arse back on site for eight.

Saturday, yet another blur between running around, baby sitting stands and attending panels and such. After general gophering and looking after a friend’s stand. I found myself in a talk called “Sandmonks or Spiritbombs” and it was a genuinely interesting talk all about the story of a monk, who’s name I can’t remember, and his journey into the West. The talk was about this monk, the original story and how that story has been retold again and again in different ways among the most recent were Monkey Journey To The West and the computer game Enslaved. I wish I had recorded the whole thing so I could watch it again. That was closely followed by what was supposed to be a nerf panel, it turned into a nerf war, it reminded me why I own 13 or so modified nerf guns and why I need to own more. I’ve not had that much fun in years. We got split into two teams and the idea was to capture the enemy base (also known as a mass off poorly stacked chairs) so we played that scenario and then added zombies to the mix, hell zombie larp nerf is so much fun, survival being the primary aim of the game. Seriously need to find somewhere local that does these style games, or hell even organize a game of nerf tag in the city centre some how. It’ll probably so a lot to help deal with the amount of stress I’m under on a day to day basis. Much of the rest of the afternoon/early evening was spent baby sitting stands, to the point where I couldn’t go and poke fun at my fiance who was running the transformers panel, but given I’d heard him rehearse it and helped him out with it I knew what was going on anyway. Would have been nice to see the final talk though, ah well shit happens. Some hours passed and I landed up on the door for the Yuri panel, that’s anime lesbian porn for those who didn’t know and I think I melted my brain, some of what was shown was highly amusing, the rest was stomach churning, and some of just weird. Nowhere near as amusing or as well put together as the yaoi panel. Shit happens I guess. Many hours were killed, I vaguely remember an impromptu gathering of the purple pervs for a play session. I was going to watch the Hentai panel but ended up too tired to keep my eyes open. My fiance and I decided to head back to our hotel, and we managed to spend an hour lost in the NEC complex, locked into it, bumped into another con goer and ended up climbing a fence to another hotel to ask the consierge there to book us a cab to get us home. So much for the bridge from the complex over the railway being  open 24  hours a day, liars. Trust me walking around the NEC at 2am, in sub zero temperatures clad in PVC is anything but fun. Well you learn from your mistakes.

Sunday, I remember having a splitting headache, and needing a lot of coffee to get me started. First job of the day was attending my friend’s panel about Little Apple Dolls, she makes them and I collect them. I’ve got all of the ones released so far. It was so hard to stay awake, coffee and Voltz fixed that though, then it was difficult to pull me off the ceiling. Never going to mix those two again, it’s a sure fire way to mess up your gastric system. So back to my friend’s stand where we got talking to Ellen McLain, you may know her as the voice of GLaDOS from the portal games. She bought one of the dolls and was kind enough to sign my copies of Portal 2 and Orange box. That kinda made my day. After more bouncing I went to a panel called “Disgusting China” where we got to sample some particularly nasty sounding (and tasting in some cases) Chinese food, which included, pickled sour plums, smelly bean curd (aka Chinese cheese), chicken feet (which tasted surprisingly good) and thousand year old eggs, thankfully they couldn’t bring the deep fried locust.

I don’t remember much else other than attending a few first aid incidents getting a photo taken with Ellen McLain, getting my fiance photographed as a kind of Little Apple Doll, he borrowed my friend’s mask for it (the same friend we traumatized at the yaoi panel) and the Gopher party, where one awesome member of staff gifted me a bottle of mead, sod the wine, he gave me a bottle of Moniack mead. I was so happy, free mead and free food and lots of free goodies, consisting of retro cartoons, anime, manga and other dubious things (read as manga porn). I have no idea what time we got back to our hotel or how I even managed to get back, I was rather sozzled. Shame that it was over so soon. I had a great time and I can’t wait for KitaCon 5 in 2014, the committee are taking a year out, they need a break. Roll on Kita 5!