This is a little bit different. So I’m sure right now articles on Wicid are going really slow because we are looking for a new head editor, even over a month after the last one left. But despite that, it doesn’t stop us from producing new articles! It just means they will be MUCH slower getting published.
Regardless we are still doing stuff! For example, last month I had the chance to go to the Cardiff Anime & Gaming Con that was held at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel & Spa on February 10th and 11th.
I would do both days separately, but personally, I didn’t do enough on both days separately to talk about them separately. Also because there was not that much difference between the two days, at least for one person.
Also, I just need to preference that the opinions given here will be a mixture of myself and others I have interacted with and saw give their opinions from the Anime League forums that are linked with the events held by those who runs these anime & gaming cons in different parts of the UK.
Saturday was the busiest day for sure, also due to the Six Nations match going on at the same day. In hindsight, what an awkward time to told this weekend. They already have another Cardiff A&G Con sorted for August this year, but for the one after that, hopefully the timing would be better to get more people involved.
Anyway, on both days I had trouble getting in since I was never given the proper press pack in time to be registered on their press list. I was granted access a few days before the weekend happened, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that I was a late addition and they didn’t have the time to add me.
Others also had trouble getting in on both days. Sometimes they were sent to the wrong entrance since there were two, others were waiting outside in the rain for much longer than necessary. So it didn’t start the best for most of the people who were there on time.
Regardless everyone got in and things went much more smoothly after that. On both days the ground floor was packed with Japanese themed goodies and snacks. The snacks was the best part for me on both days! I got to buy a whole bunch of Pocky you rarely ever get in the UK. There was Melon Bread, which was amazing (very misleading, not actually bread), and of course sold out quickly. Drinks, more snacks, a diabetics worst nightmare. But I’m a bad diabetic so I didn’t care and bought what I could. I bought some Mochi, which while it tasted nice, had a very weird texture, so I had to give that to the family. And a whole bunch of artist work from different artists, figures and other figures. Mangas, Anime DVDs, necklaces (I bought a Kingdom Hearts one and a Fairy Tail one), t-shirts, other amazing stuff. An otaku’s paradise for sure.
The first floor above it used as a stage area and party zone for Q&As, performances, and much, MUCH cosplay themed events. As you’d guess, there were many cosplayers during this weekend, and praise to that level of commitment from people to do that, cause I myself do not have the funds, time or patience to truly make a convincing cosplay like these people could. People younger than me, some not even 10 years old, pulling off these amazing costumes, and there’s me, contemplating what I’m doing with my life.
But even still I went to some of these, I saw the Cosplay Masquerade on both days, and as you’d expect, more people being there on Saturday had more people being part of it then. But both days were great. A little bit of some awkward performances by people at the start of both, but it got better as time was too thin and they just showed off their costumes to regular music.
If I’d change anything about the masquerade for August, I’d just have it be people being on stage for like 10-15 seconds to regular j-pop or something. Shows off their costumes and no one else gets special treatment after doing ‘something extra’ to sway the judges. Like there was one girl who dressed as Yuri Plisetky from ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’ on the Sunday who did this AMAZING dance with her cosplay at the start. But while it was great, it dragged on a bit and maybe swayed the judges since she ended up being 2nd or 3rd on the Sunday’s final results. There is a Talent show on after the Masquerade on the Sunday, save it for then. And do another Talent show on the Saturday as well where more people can show off their skills.
Before I move on to the second floor, I should mention something bizarre was the presence of something you wouldn’t think to see linked to an Anime & Gaming convention… a wrestling company? Newport based promotion Exposure Wrestling Entertainment, who I used to do the occasional review of shows when I saw them live, were there this weekend. So they were there with some of their talent on both days, taking pictures of some of the cosplays and other people.
The weird thing that happened on the Saturday was they had a questions and answers panel which was to last from 2pm till 2:30pm, a solid half an hour. However this lasted all of 5 minutes, if that. They promoted the company and the training academy linked to them, the Knockout Pro Wrestling Academy I believe? Which is fine since I’d say everyone who went to this panel knew nothing about them and just wanted somewhere to sit down. But when they asked for Q&A, no one responded… and they just left and went back to their stand on the ground floor.
Many on the Anime League didn’t seem to like that, complaining it was just about marketing for them to an audience who may not even be interested in wrestling or have any intentions of becoming wrestlers themselves. They could have stayed they to make things awkward for everyone until they got questions. Or maybe done a bit where someone gets slammed or kicked or something to set up for one of their shows, but… nothing. They didn’t even talk amongst themselves to ask themselves questions to fill in the time, sadly not much help from the staff either. Maybe something like ‘What made each of you want to become professional wrestlers?’ ‘Where do you want to see EWE this time next year?’ or dorky questions about their favourite fandoms in the Anime & Gaming world, since, you know, they ARE at an Anime & Gaming convention.
But even with their lack of helping them out, the staff were none too pleased with them not filling up the time they had given them and how they used it, or didn’t use it. So whether they will be returning in August will be a mystery at this point.
I also requested to sort out some sort of interview with them for this site after the weekend, which they seemed to be down with. I sent them the questions a day or so later, and even over a month later, they never responded with answers to the questions. So to say the way they handle things is very… odd, would be an understatement. But it was different to see something different. It’s just a shame they left a bad taste in many people’s mouths when the weekend was done.
Now the second floor was mainly used for table-top stuff. So Card games, Board Games, One-shot Role-Playing games, that sort of thing, which is nice for a quieter place to do all of this stuff. There were people playing some Pokémon Trading Cards, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cards Against Humanity, and LOADS of others too! Some of the invited cosplayers were also up there chilling out, and some other photo-ops with other guests. Some talks and workshops took place in the other rooms, but other than the common ones like ‘Surviving cons!’ ‘Beginners to cosplaying’, ‘How to draw!’ and a whole BUNCH of other (sometime unnecessary cosplaying) ones, there wasn’t much variety to really go and see or learn from. I feel as though, depending on the guests they have, they need to be a lot more involved in their workshops. Some have suggested more art based ones, maybe some on making online content, video editing, social media presence if you want to become a cosplayer or someone doing things like Abridged making or other online content.
But while those options would be amazing, personally a Voice Acting workshop would phenomenal, the convention actually needs to get names experienced enough in giving advice through these workshops, which doesn’t seem likely as it is mostly filled with cosplayers. And yes, Cosplaying is huge and amazing and I’m not disregarding how important they are, but there needs to be something more for others attending these conventions.
They also had a screening room for people to watch anime, but other than My hero Academia, Log Horizon and DRAMAtical Murder, nothing really caught my attention enough. Maybe they should do polls and suggestions to ask people going to cons what animes they’d like to see and also include a bunch of niche ones like DRAMAtical Murder to get people interested.
And the final floor was for the gamers. They had two sections, ‘retro’ games where we had consoles like the NES, SNES, GameCube, Nintendo 64, some Sega Consoles and one or two Playstations with some classic games linked to them. And also the modern day gaming section, with your PCs, Playstation 3’s and 4’s, X boxes and Wii Us. There were some schedules tournaments going on and signups going on, but I never took part in any caused I unfortunately arrived too late to sign up for any of them on both days.
Though some tournaments like the Overwatch one were cancelled due to tech issues, cause there are unfortunately always tech issues with Video Game Tournaments. But they had some Smash 4 (Wii U), Mario Kart, Dragonball Fighter Z, Rocket League, and whole bunch of other games going on for people to just chill out. I had a quick go of some Sonic Mania and Mario Kart, it was very enjoyable.
One issue I should mention was the lack of use of the fire exit for stairs. Since this is a hotel over anything else, we understand health and safety rules need to be obligated. However there were way too many people waiting to go from one floor, just to one floor above them, maybe even two, four floor were being used. Ground and First, with stairs leading between them, and second and third, which needed to be used by an elevator. Except in the event of the fire alarm going off, which it did once, where people could only go down to leave the building. The Cardiff A&G Con will be returning to the same venue in August, so HOPEFULLY they can handle things a little bit better with the venue beforehand to make things better for people attending.
And I’ve already talked way too much for this review, so I think I’ll cut it short here with overall thoughts. Since this was my first ever trip to a Cardiff Anime & Gaming Con, I will say I enjoyed myself for the most part, but as someone who went by themselves as Press, I felt somewhat left out. Mainly due to the lack of workshops, anime screenings and other events that didn’t interest me, but if I was with a friends who enjoyed those things, I think I would have enjoyed myself more!
I remember going to Alcon many years go in Leicester, my first ever con at the time. I went with a bunch of people from my Uni’s Anime Manga & Cosplay society, and we really enjoyed ourselves! Granted they also had MUCH MORE going on then cause it IS Alcon, one of the biggest cons in the IK for sure, and bigger names appearing with them. I got a picture with Martin Billany aka LittleKuriboh, my life was made that day. He noticed I was wearing a NYLOCKE shirt from the web series terrain of Magical Expertise when I asked a question during his Q&A.
But that’s the thing, I talked about another con and my key moments in that one more so than this one because sadly, while it was a nice weekend… nothing stood out to me. Other than Exposure’s weird presence, which you don’t want to leave a convention on a sour note.
So will I be going to the next one? Who knows? ‘BUT WHEN IS THE NEXT CARDIFF ANIME & GAMING CON?!’ you might be asking. WELL I’M GLAD YOU DID! Cause it’s be on August 18th & 19th at the same place, the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel & Spa. Here’s hoping this one will run better and has more to offer this time around! I’ll attach the Cardiff Con Facebook and the actual event below so people can see more about it. But anything else like Twitter and Instagram or whatever? I don’t think they have. If they have, I can add that as a comment later on. And if they don’t, maybe they should get on that too.
Cardiff Anime & Gaming Con links
Featured Image used from Cardiff Anime & Gaming Con’s Facebook event