This year a lot of my convention plans have gone out the window due to illness, so it was lucky for me that HibanaCon was pretty local, taking place in Milton Keynes! The con first ran last year and i’d heard pretty good things about it, plus it’s fairly local to me so I headed over last weekend to see what the con was all about.
What, Where, When?
The con took place in Milton Keynes from the 2-4th November in the Jurys Inn Hotel. The location is pretty simple to get to and it’a always nice to get cons outside of London as the hotels don’t cost crazy amounts. I’ve attended a lot of conventions and expos over the past decade or so and it’s been so fun to see some new cons this year like CosXpo and now HibanaCon! The hotel chosen was one of the better ones i’ve experienced a con in.
The rooms themselves were spacious and pretty fancy and there was an ample amount of room for the con activities. There was also a load of food places just behind the hotel and a supermarket nearby- ideal!
Technically, Hibana isn’t new as it took place last year too, but I was hesitant about getting a ticket last year as the con only offers whole weekend passes. Having heard that it had been a relaxed, cute and nice atmosphere-d con, I was keen to experience it for myself!
What was on?
There was a pretty big range of panels on at Hibana Con! It ranged from cosplay photography tips to a twist on Ready Steady Cook but with cosplay making. There was also a neat con crunch party on the friday complete with sewing machines for any last minute crafting!
There were a couple of dealers rooms with a nice range of artwork, jewellery and anime merchandise. It was great to see so many independent sellers at the con! I grabbed a couple of Xmas presents and some cute artwork and dice earrings for myself.
Another cool thing was the parties every night, packed with Kpop and nerdy music. On the Sunday night there was also a cosplay ball, which unfortunately I was too unwell to attend but my friend told me was great fun, just a bit low on people.
Last Minute Cosplaying
I hadn’t intended to cosplay at HibanaCon as I was awaiting surgery and none of my cosplays are super comfy to wear for someone not feeling great. However, on the wednesday before the con I started thinking if there was a comfy anime character I could throw together.
I’d really enjoyed the anime Violet Evergarden earlier this year and especially liked the design of Cattlaya from it. I popped on Amazon, grabbed a similar dress I could alter and made the arm wraps and jewelry. I got lucky in that one of Yam’s friends was cosplaying Violet from the same series so we did a cute little shoot which I can’t wait to see! You can see more of my Cattleya cosplay in the Gallery.
My extremely fabulous friend Yam was cosplaying Sinbad from the Magi Anime and Chrono from Chrono Crusade another day.
Would I go next year?
Absolutely! Although a small con at the moment, HibanaCon has a lot of charm and offered a very relaxed and wholesome feeling weekend. The location and hotel is great and it’s clearly got a passionate team behind it.
I think the main things the con needs to work on are getting some good cosplay guests (just UK ones would be great!) and maybe a voice acting guest. I’d prefer a more serious masquerade too ideally. Like I said, though, HibanaCon is a brilliant, chilled con which just needs a boost in numbers for when it returns in 2019. See you there!
Shout out to the lovely Queen Yam Cosplay who was my hotel & con buddy and looked after me! I did a little showcase on Yam’s amazing work earlier this year which you can read here.
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