Between 23-25 October cosplayers flocked to the Excel centre which could only mean one thing; it was MCM London Comic Con! Consequently the DLR was packed with an array of colourful costumes and props – much more fun than suited up office workers. Unsurprisingly the event had a record breaking attendance, 130,560 passed through the doors of the Excel Centre, topping May’s 122,600 attendees and the 110,200 at last October’s event.
Arriving Friday, the con was spacious and the perfect time to explore the dealers and exhibitor stands. Key exhibitors attended such as JPU Records, CEX, Tokyo Toys, Dreamy Bows and Rising Star games etc. Along with the usual manga, DVDs and imported merchandise the event had several ‘photo opportunities’ – a trend for events at the moment featuring artificial sets and props to recreate scenes from fan-fave shows. For example the American Horror Story hotel was recreated. Attendees ring the lobby bell and choose a room key for the chance to win a prize – even I had a go! Behind this was a Walking Dead zombie cage re-enactment, attendees were encouraged to get in the cage with the zombies then tweet the photo for the chance to win prizes. Following national Back to the Future day, fans could pay £5 to dress as Marty McFly and have a photo sitting in the time machine.
As a big fan of Wolverine and the X-Men I couldn’t resist getting an autograph from Nolan North, the voice of Cyclops, however most know him for voice acting in games. It was a pleasure to meet him and he happily chatted away about how much fun he had on the series and was still friends with all the cast. Like me, he too was very disappointed that the show was not picked up for a second series (If you are a fan of WATX check out this page which features scripts from the first six episodes of the second series).
My Saturday highlight from the weekend was the Humans panel featuring the cast of Channel 4 series Humans, based on an original Swedish show with the same name. Humans became an overnight hit with record breaking ratings. An impressive line-up with the majority of the cast attending: Emily Berrington (Niska), Will Tudor (Odi), Sope Dirisu (Fred) and Tom Goodman-Hill (Joe Hawkins). A last minute addition was Gemma Chan (Anita) which was a very pleasant surprise! Queuing for over 30 minutes I managed to get a decent seat in the fifth row. The standard questions were asked with fan questions towards the end leading to a bizarre discussion on the casts favourite toast toppings (FYI Gemma and Will love Marmite). Interestingly attendees learned the process of ‘synth school’, which each actor playing a synth had to attend before filming to learn how to portray the robotic movements and behaviour of the synth. The actors mentioned that the hardest part was not being able to blink! Unbelievably, during the panel not once did any of the synths say “I’m sorry I don’t understand the question”. Such a shame the cast weren’t participating in a signing session but very impressed by the line-up. Although I didn’t attend, there were other panels over the weekend from Roosterteeth, Doctor Who featuring Steven Moffat and a Sherlock panel – no Benedict Cumberbatch unfortunately!
MCM isn’t just about having a large exhibitor hall, playing host to the Eurocosplay finals, a competitive cosplay competition which sees cosplayers from all over Europe compete. Representing the UK was Kaldorei Cosplay and Wrath Creation Studios. What featured some of the best entrants to date, I would not have wanted to be in Katie Cosplays, Lady Lemon Cosplay and AmenoKitarou shoes, they had the difficult decision of picking the winners. For those who missed it, the champions of Euro Cosplay were; 1st place Russia (Rococo Princess by Sakizou), 2nd place Hungary (Queen Ravenna – Snow White and the Huntsman) and 3rd place Italy (Mary Poppins). On Sunday I attended the judge’s panel on the Pop Asia stage, where the international guests shared their personal experiences in the cosplay community and the difficulties they faced in judging. Shortly after the expo, MCM announced that next year they will be hosting the World Cosplay Summit UK qualifiers, formerly run by Hyper Japan.
Both days I attended the Studio Ghibli meets, one of my favourite meets filled with such lovely people. It is great to see my favourite characters come to life. This year we had a variety of cosplays from a giant moving cat bus with No Face driving and a beautiful original design of Howl’s Moving castle. There are a number of community meets for all fandoms; Dragon Ball Z, Star Wars and Dragonage etc. it is worth checking out to see if your fandom has a cosplay meet. These will usually be advertised on Facebook or direct on the MCM website.
One noticeable difference, and a hot topic among many, were the venues extended barriers covering the grassy area between the Excel Centre and Novo hotel. Put in place to stop non-ticket holders entering and prevent the grassy area from getting polluted, an issue that the event has faced previously. Overall, I felt the event was well organised – queue times were definitely decreased from previous years!
During the weekend I was fortunate enough to interview both Jessica Dicicco (Flame Princess, Adventure Time) and Todd Haberkorn (Natsu, Fairy Tail) who were signing at the MyM magazine stand. Videos coming soon.