Kupocon, put simply Kupocon is a Final Fantasy convention ran and organised by fans for fans. The latest event was held in London at Novotel London West. Being a Final Fantasy fan I popped along to the event.

I didn’t know what to expect from Kupocon, fan conventions aren’t new but I’ve never attended one as, to be honest, I’d always assumed that without any official or corporate backing they’d be rather lackluster affairs. Well, boy was I wrong. 

So, what made me decide to travel all the way to London for the event? Two simple reasons to be honest. Firstly, I’d heard of Kupocon from a friend of mine who’d attended past events and was full of praise for the event, said praise combined with the second reason, the announcement that Ali Hillis (Voice Actress for Lightning) would be attending. Anyone who knows me will be aware that Final Fantasy XIII is my favourite installment of the illustrious franchise and Lightning is my favourite Final Fantasy character!

The day of Kupocon Pomex arrived and my party and I left Birmingham behind for a day of geekery in our nation’s capital. I’m equipped with my Final Fantasy Trading Card Game Lightning card (1-141L) that after much deliberation I’d decided was the one I would ask Ali Hillis to sign. 

I’m still geeking out about this!

As regular readers will know I’m a big fan of the FFTCG and upon attending the UK National championships earlier this year which Jon Campling (The motion capture artist and visual basis of King Regis from Final Fantasy XV) was present at I got my Regis card signed, thus starting a new obsession of mine, getting as many FFTCG cards signed as I can. 

Anyway, back to Kupocon. We arrived and were presented with ‘The book of Mogwin the masterful’. Well, right off the bat I knew that any misgivings or worries I had about this ‘Fan-vention’ were misplaced. 

The book of Mogwin the masterful is so much more than an event programme. It’s a 50+ page guide to an event full of Final Fantasy goodness. The usual event guidelines and Ts&Cs but what makes the Book of Mogwin special are the quests contained within. Yes, A Final Fantasy event with quests! 

Quests ranged from hidden puzzles dotted throughout the venue, a riddle (which I’m ashamed to say we didn’t figure out) which we had to track down the Kingsglaive voice actors to receive. 

There was a TriPom tournament (imagine triple triad but with fan-made cards that are and have been available at other Kuopcon events). The quests that were the most fun, however, were the Cosplay quests. These involved tracking down cosplayers of certain characters and completing different tiers of challenge. The three tiers of challenges rewarded you with different levels of EXP. In the instance of Squall, taking a picture with Squall was worth 50EXP, a photo of Squall playing Tripom was worth 100EXP and a photo of Squall with headmaster Cid netted you a staggering 200EXP. Throughout the day you earn as much EXP as you can, then you can cash out your EXP in exchange for Gil. This Gil can then be spent on exclusive Kupocon goodies. All of this is included with your ticket fee and is a great way of getting people socialising at the event. In fact, one of my party became obsessed with wrangling cosplayers and earning EXP.

All my Kupocon swag!

Every single cosplayer at Kupocon was a delight and fully up for any and all challenges involving their chosen characters. I’ve attended many a convention as the resident comic book geek here at Game Hype but the standard of cosplay at Kupocon was incredible.

A great group shot of Mofeayo Agusto (Barret) and friends.

Speaking of socialising, Kupocon will provide people who attend the event alone with a Chocobo sticker upon request, meaning that they can look out for others with Chocobo stickers or other friendly attendees and party up to ensure that everyone at the events feels part of the Final Fantasy and Kupocon family.

No convention is complete without merch and by golly did Kupocon have an amazing assortment of traders selling a plethora of fan crafted goodies. Special mention has to go to Chibi Panda who’s artwork was simply breathtaking. I managed to stick to my budget, something one of our party failed at in a most spectacular fashion, although in fairness I don’t think she was trying all that hard to begin with. 

As I mentioned earlier it was the guest list that was ultimately responsible for my buying a ticket to Kupocon Pomex. The convention had a fantastic list of guests with talent from several Final Fantasy games and expanded media. Not only were the guests available for signings and photos but talks with fan Q&A sessions were held throughout the day in the theatre room. These were an absolute delight, getting an insight into each actors process and the often hilarious answers to fan questions. One response by a particular question made my day, I won’t be revealing what it was here, if you want these experiences for yourself simply attend the next Kupocon event.

A sensational Kefka cosplay, FFTCG players may recognise Kefka as Joesphyr.

I think that for me, the thing that came across abundantly clear over the course of KupoCon Pomex was the sense of community and the passion both fans and organisers have for Final Fantasy and how welcoming that community is. For those who took the time to organise or attend  Kupocon Final Fantasy isn’t just a game on a shelf, a 40+ hour narrative experience, it’s apart of their lives on a daily basis, helped them make friendships that aren’t dulled by distance or frequency of meetups, friends that they know will be just as excited as they are next time KupoCon rolls around. 

With the community being at the heart of Kupocon I reached out to one of the event organisers, Alan (@redFFwolf on twitter) asking him to share his thoughts at what to date was the biggest Kupocon yet and if he had a dream guest he’d love to have feature at Kupocon. Alan was kind enough to respond with the following. 

“Pomex was by far our largest event. Months of planning and prep all boiled down to one day. We were fortunate to have the time we did the Friday prior to set up a decent chunk of the venue – it can take a long time! – and you have to prepare as much as you can before then, whether prior to arrival or the two days at London beforehand. Running the event during the day itself is the easier part, for sure. Getting to the end of the day and being able to say “It went smoothly” is what I live for in these events (not as if I want the day to skip to the end, ha, no, no, simply that as staff you only want to see it and the people within it thrive). And for Pomex, I am glad to say it not only ran smoothly but that it left an impact surpassing all other events to date. The community is buzzing – whether the key Facebook group, Discord, Instagram, Twitter, etc., seeing all these positive posts, of people expressing the fun and joy they experienced at KupoCon, of all the memories and experiences formed and kept. Our aim at KupoCon has always been to make these events immersive, inclusive, and intimate: For people to feel at home and comfortable being themselves is the accomplishment to strive for. 

While I personally have not got particular dream future guests in mind, the idea of a dream guest for KupoCon is any guest who engages with their fans and truly enjoys the interactions throughout the day. So, if I were to choose anyone we have not yet had as a guest at KupoCon, I have to say the team are very much looking forward to meeting our upcoming guest, John Bentley (VA of Barret, FF7:R), who has been announced for Vancouver (Nov 2019) and Glasgow (Feb 2020). If you were there for the Opening Ceremony at Pomex, you would have heard his voiceover clip at one point; it was a very kind and brilliant gesture he offered to do for us. He’s shown great passion for his role in the game as well as incredible engagement with the fans online alone. We want guests to feel as much a part of the event as the attendees, for them to enjoy their day and indulge in the warm, inviting atmosphere and joy people share for the series.”

In the time since I first got in touch with Alan and this article going ‘live’ it’s also been announced that Voice Actress Briana White (Aerith in the Final Fantasy 7 remake) has been announced as a guest at the upcoming Port Pom (more details here https://kupocon.com/ptp/).

Speaking of upcoming events, there are two locally (locally meaning within the UK) on the horizon, a Kupocon north of the wall up in Glasgow and a Final Fantasy VII remake launch party in London.

I’m counting down the days until tickets for these events go on sale, based on my first KupoCon experience, I’d definitely recommend attending.

Special thanks to Mofeayo Agusto and Joe Hill for the use of their cosplay pictures and to Alan Steve for responding and his words within this article.