Anyone reading this will agree that there are far more anime events happening now then ever before, with new events popping up everywhere.  One new event which grabbed everyone's attention was Kitacon, a convention held in The Park Inn, Northampton where a previous convention - Ayacon - has been held.  Like Ayacon, the convention was a weekend long event, held on 17th - 19th April 2009. 

Upon arrival, Animetion was instantly impressed.  The registrations were quick and smooth, plus the venue was very spacious.  The wide corridors, large open bar, plus an additional bar meant that large gatherings didn't hamper those trying to move about.  By the afternoon of the first day then, Kitacon had already become very sociable.  The DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) machine in the corner of the main bar was a nice touch, a great way to meet new people and have fun. 

Also impressive was that, prior to the opening ceremony, people could watch anime in the room in which the ceremony was to be held.  The opening ceremony at a convention is

always held in the biggest room/hall, so, in effect, a cinema was created.  Alongside the usual, smaller screening rooms it provided something for those who wanted to relax before the opening ceremony.  

Whilst waiting for the opening ceremony, Animetion looked through the conbag which every attendee received upon arrival.  Alongside leaflets, the box of Pocky was most welcome!  What usually makes or breaks a conbag though is the quality of the obligatory conbook.  Thankfully Kitacon's did not disappoint and was produced on glossy paper in full colour.  The conbook contained a lot more images than actual articles, but this made it unique since conbooks usually focus more on articles.  Amongst the images was some very impressive contributions from congoers, which, in full colour, got the representation it deserved.  The small number of articles were fun and interesting to read, particularly the article on the website 4Chan as it is not a site Animetion has visited often.  It was also interesting to read 'the birth of a convention', an article chronicling how a group of fellow fans came up with the idea of Kitacon.  Also included were descriptions of the guests, puzzles and an introduction from the chairman.  Overall it was a good read and it was great to look at the artwork in full, glossy colour.

So, onto the opening ceremony.  It opened with an AMV to Interstella 5555 to Freezepop's Less Talk More Rock.  It was a great music video which had everyone clapping along, a good way to kick things off.  Afterwards we were introduced to the committee and given an introduction to the events and basic rules of the con.  We were then treated to another video, this time courtesy of Team Giblets who sadly were not there.  It was great to see them there in spirit though and the video certainly got everyone laughing.  You can view the video here

An unfortunate announcement made was that voice actor guests Laura Bailey & Travis

Willingham were unable to attend.  They made a video apologising for this, which you can see here

Soon after the opening ceremony, punters had a choice of events.  There was a yaoi panel, pub quiz and a Para Para disco hosted by Roppongi Street.  There was also a HD screening of Freedom running alongside these events, which provided a varied choice of events. 

Straight after the Para Para disco, a five hour J-pop/J-rock party got started and it didn't take long for everyone to start to dancing.  Surprisingly the drinks were reasonably priced for a hotel, so everyone was definitely in a party mood!  As well as the usual bar drinks, there were special anime-themed cocktails to choose from at a bargain price.  Excellent! 

Whilst the party was happening in the main events hall, Animetion thought it was great to see voice actor guest Chris Patton chatting to punters in the bar.  He is a real down-to-earth guy and came across as friendly, genuine and a fun drinker.  He was certainly a big hit with all those he spoke to and led to a large audience at his late panel at 1am which followed the party.  Yes you read that right, 1am.  Kitacon is a 24 hour convention with events and screenings happening day and night.  An excellent idea since people rarely get any sleep at cons anyway! 

The Chris Patton panel was a great way to round off the night.  Everyone was a bit tired from partying, but they were also a bit drunk and in the mood for a good chat and laugh before bed.  The whole panel was very jovial, with Chris Patton talking about his roles, fellow voice artists and his favourite characters.  The questions were generally relevant, one leading to the interesting answer that US fans can be overbearing, to go as far glomping Chris before even speaking to him!  The crowd was laughing throughout, although there were boos when Chris said Zac Efron would be suited to play Sosuke Sagura in a live-action version of Full Metal Panic!  But he soon got the crowd back on his side by saying Hollywood would probably cack up a live-action anyway. 

So that was the first day of Kitacon and for Animetion it was time for bed.  However people could still stay up all night and see The Ring, Speed Grapher, Gilgamesh and various other anime.  To read about the second day, click next below.