Like many other anime fans in Glasgow, I am counting down the days for Rai Con: Glasgow’s very own anime convention!
True, we already have a couple of conventions held annually here in Glasgow, like MCM Comic Con Scotland, and Film and Comic Con Glasgow (Collectormania) – but that is about it. The majority of conventions in the UK are down in London, which kinda annoys poor students like me who can’t afford to go. So, I was over the moon when I heard about this event a few months ago – so much so that I bought my ticket a month in advance, and started planning my cosplay at the same time.
With my Rikka Takanashi (from Love, Chubinyo & Other Delusions) cosplay ready, I can barely contain my excitement. Except, it’s to the point that it is starting to bum me out a little. For me, this is like Christmas day. I can’t really go to cons that much, so when I do go I act like a child in a candy shop. If you don’t believe me, ask my friends.
Maybe this is just me, but I love planning and packing. Even if it is just for a day trip. Again, ask my friends. So, here is my list of things you should do if you’re going to a convention, as well as advice for first time con goers.
#1 Bring a backpack.
If you are anything like me, you are going to buy a lot of merch. It gets annoying if you carry around separate bags for every purchase. Unless you have a friend to be your pack mule for the day, you should bring a decently sized backpack. Personally, I like to match it to the cosplay. For instance, I used a school messenger bag for my female Kaneki Ken and green rucksack for my Ash Ketchum cosplay.
#2 Bring your own food and drink.
This might just be me, but I refuse to buy overpriced food. I’m morally against it. You spent a fair amount on a ticket, bought a lot of expensive merch, and they think you will cough up more for food you could get for three times less from down the road. Uh, no! I often bring a packed lunch and a couple of snacks. Don’t forget a big bottle of water, because cons are often crowded and hot. Combine that with a wig and you might get dehydrated.
#3 Set a limit.
Leave cards behind and only carry cash. That way you don’t spend more than your means. It is so easy to say “I’ll only spent X amount” but once you get there and see all the merch available you will get tempted. Trust me, it will happen. Be sensible. If you have a level headed friend going with you, get them to talk you out of buying blind bags and stuff you will regret buying the second you leave the convention centre.
#4 Create a battle strategy.
It is never a good idea to just go in blind. Plan when and where you will go during the con. This goes double for bigger weekend cons. See the official schedule and decide in advice what you are going to do and where.
#5 Prevent impulse purchases.
Don’t buy anything the second you get into the con. Chances are you are caught up in the excitement and just want to buy something then and there. We all do it. Look around the stalls in the vender hall before you buy anything. It’s likely you want an item and buy it instantly only to find the same item at another stall a fair bit cheaper. Also, ask yourself these three questions before you buy something:
- Could I get this online cheaper?
- Is this an item I will use/wear more than once?
- Is it worth the price?
If after answering these questions, and you have concluded it is a good buy, then get it. If you are unsure, it is best not to get it. For instance, at MCM comic con, they were selling Ocarina of Time replicas for £25. I thought I saw the same make cheaper on my high-street so I didn’t get it. Turns out, I was right and I got mine for £19.99. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like I save a lot of money, but when you are a broke student with parents constantly nagging you about how much you spent on that BB-8 plushie, every penny counts.
#6 Cosplay complications.
When it comes to cosplay, it always pays to be prepared. Bring safety pins and other things so you are able to fix your cosplay if something falls off. Most conventions have predesignated areas for fixing cosplays, but it never hurts to bring a sewing kit with you, just in case.
Those are my top tips and tricks for conventions. If you have any other con advice, leave a comment below.