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London MCM Expo October 2011 Review

03 Nov

My my, it has been quite some time since I did a review of the London MCM Expo, there have been many reasons behind why I haven’t committed to those reviews in the past. A lot of it being due to time constraints or just being purely too lazy to write anything haha. But now in October I’ve decided to come back and do a write-up on my 7th Expo experience purely because this happens to one of the most different Expo experiences I’ve had in all the time I’ve been going down there.

Now before we get into the nitty-gritty aspects of my MCM Expo experience let be go about and establish a few factors to help you understand this story I’m going to tell you… Firstly for those who don’t know, the London MCM Expo ia also known as London Comic-Con, it is a convention for anime, manga, comic books, movies and video-games held two times a year in May and October. It is a joyous event for people of all ages to experience the joy of your favourite things all in one place for a weekend of unforgettable fun. Me and my two best friends (codenamed Touka and Microdroid) have been going for the last three years (well technically Microdroid missed a few Expos for a while now lol) and so far the Expo has never failed to disappoint and has always brought a new level of awesomeness to the table. However this time there were some variations on our Expo experience, firstly me and Touka were university students, secondly since I now am based up in Sheffield, me and the guys aren’t travelling together to and from Luton anymore and thirdly this is the first Expo where I missed the whole Saturday which is more or less the most important day of the weekend so yeah there is gonna be much to discuss so let’s press on…

Also one more thing before we begin, a lot of stuff happens at Expo so some stuff may be left out or be in the wrong order so apologizes in advance ladies and gents! Okay let’s start this thing!

Friday

So on the Friday I had checked the times of the trains from Sheffield to London just so I was sure to meet my friends at London St. Pancras train station, after a partially lengthy train ride I got down just in time and was waiting only mere minutes before my good friends showed up and the Triforce of power (that’s what I call me and other two friends) was complete again. So then we ventured on down to the good old Etap Hotel, dumped our stuff off and went back to the awesomeness that was the Excel Center. We lined up and then got let in and my god, it literally felt like I had come home, whenever you come back to the Expo it feels like time has never passed and everything is at ease with the world, especially for an Expo veteran like myself. Cosplayers abound, video games all over the place, manga on several shelves, costumes on sale, tv monitors showing trailers of films and anime… My god it just felt right and to be honest this was probably the most busy Friday that I’d seen for quite some time.

And so me and my friends cruised around and at one point we lost Microdroid because he went off to talk to one of the artists in the Artists’ Valley, so I went back to the Nintendo Unleashed section to try out of Super Mario 3D Land and my much-anticipated game The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. With Mario on the 3DS it’s literally like playing a scaled down version of Super Mario Galaxy with a ‘Mario 3’ style and level structure. It was alright but nothing to shout about, plus I don’t really like playing Mario with the 3DS Slider, it feels awkward and wrong when compared to a standard control stick, but that’s just me. Skyward Sword on the other hand was a hell of a lot better, it was exhilarating. I went straight into the boss battle with Ghirahim, at first I subconsciously went waggling the Wii remote around like Twilight Princess forgetting that the game works with Wii Motion Plus, so after being told to change my style of play by a Nintendo representative I finally got into the groove and I blocking and swinging. And while the battle with Ghirahim did take longer than it should have because he kept blocking most of my sword attacks and the sensor wasn’t picking up my movements very well I was still having fun. After that I decided to have a tour of the new dungeons in the game and fight some of the new enemies that respond fairly well to the new style of gameplay. Overall Skyward Sword was fun and the game really does look lovely when it’s in front of your eyes, screenshots and trailers don’t do the game justice in my opinion.

After my time on the game Touka and I did some more cruising, bought some manga and other items  and then returned to the hotel and suited up into our cosplay uniforms. Yes, after 3 years of Expo we were finally gonna cosplay, not anything too complicated, but no less important. We were dressing up and as Friend from the manga 20th Century Boys. We had tested out the way in which the masks felt before we headed out and they were impressively made, I still love Touka for crafting them for us. So in our masks and full suits (besides Microdroid who just went in his mask coz he didn’t have suit) we went back to the Excel Center and my god, trying to test out the masks in the evening sky outside in the car park felt impossible to be honest. The lights from lampposts and the buildings was all in my eyes! I’m sure we all had a bit of trouble seeing so we took off the masks and waited until we got closer to the building and then put the masks back on as we headed inside. Even though my vision was partially impaired I could see that we were getting some proper strange looks and it was hilarious and amazing. Went we went back inside of the Expo hall and cruised around and it felt completely exhilarating, but the best part was when some guys walked past us and was like “Who the fuck are they supposed to be!?!” It was so funny. We got around 4 or 5 pictures taken of us that day I think, though I can’t recall at this point in time. But after a bit we decided to power down and it was short but successful cosplay, though had for a long duration of time, plus my mask kept shifting upwards and messing much my eyelashes! And so then once that day was over we went back to the hotel, however I had to leave for another station in London to meet my dad to take me back home in Luton.

Saturday

Well haha, basically I wasn’t there. Yep. I missed the most important day of Expo, however I had a family anniversary to go to so that was mandatory for me and I still had a great day outside of the Expo. Although I did miss my mates that were only coming down on that day specifically, plus I missed the Euro Cosplay Contest and overall it felt wrong to miss out, I mean it was my first Saturday away from the Expo in like forever so it felt and still feels wrong haha.

Sunday

And so Sunday came, the last day of the Expo. Every time you wake up on this day the dreadful realisation that Expo will be over in a few hours sets in and it breaks the hearts of Touka and I greatly, though on Sunday I always try to live in the present and never look into the future or think about the boring reality that I’ll have to go back to. So then we went in and Touka and I cosplayed as Friend once more and got some pictures taken of us only mere minutes after we got in, I think Microdroid went off on his own again so me and Touka cruised around for a bit and chilled by a wall for a few minutes and got some more pictures taken of us. While there I noticed some people looking at us all funny when they walked by, again it was funny as hell. But was really surprising was when some guys were looking at us from a distance and I saw one of them changing their body position and the next thing I see is some bang against the wall next to me, the bloody guy tried to throw something at us! The cheek of that guy! And he then came over to us and asked us if we could see through the masks and we both replied yes to his question. He blatantly tried to through something at us just to see if we could see anything through our masks, what an asshole!

Anyways after about 10 minutes we took our masks off and cruised the Expo hall looking at some fancy artwork, talking to some artists and I watched Touka buy lots of stuff from food to artwork and so on lol. We had also watched 2 panels, one on anime and asian film cinema distribution and then we watched a panel with the winner and the other 2 top cosplayers from the Euro Cosplay Contest, which was every enlightening, heart-warming, inspiring and interesting to watch. Also took a random look outside but there really wasn’t anything going on, especially when you compare it to the crazy happenings that took place back in the May. At one point we came across Masa-kun, the epic violist who we saw at the May Expo and we watched him, Daniel-san and some drummer guy play some songs for ages, it was incredible. I requested like 3 songs, I even got to hear him play the Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1 which made my day! After a bit Masa-kun started to draw in a small crowd of people and even had a mega epic jamming session with one lass with a ukulele, she was just walking by and got drafted into the crew and I think they played a song from Super Mario Bros. and it was just beautiful! At one point Masa-kun had lost his crew and required a drummer to tapped the box, but no one answered and then he looked in my direction and asked me to join him, but I had to say no because I knew if I had gone up I would have messed it up somehow and looked like prat. But I still looked like a fool for not going up after being called up. So we watched Masa-kun for a while after that and then when he finished Microdroid forced me and Touka into picture with Masa-kun, not that it wasn’t awesome, it was just wasn’t of my own doing.

So after that we went back into the Expo and cruised around and after a bit we had done all that we could do so we decided to go to line up for the Cosplay Masquerade, as we headed out there were people saying once you left the Expo hall you couldn’t return inside which troubled me a bit. But since we were going to line up I thought it’d be alright, however the place where it was meant to be was closed and we thought it was somewhere else. So we asked at the entrance but the person there told us it was the place where we thought it was, so we were a tad confused. When we asked at the exit apparently the line for the masquerade had gone in already and I like “I knew it! The line that was forming while we were watching Masa-kun was the line for masquerade because they were lining up proper early.” So at one point I had given up hope and thought “Shit, we’re fucked.” But Touka didn’t give up hope, we went back to the entrance of the Expo hall, asked the staff to be let back in because we had gotten our tickets already and after one of the guys had talked to one of the people on the other end of walkie-talkie (which was a very tension-building moment) we got let in and got some amazing seats at the front. It was an awesome feeling! The masquerade started a lot earlier than I expected, but it was still pretty impressive with some great performances and wonderful costumes on show, though the whole masquerade on whole seemed to move fairly quickly and ended so much swifter than previous masquerades.

And so after that, it ended. The latest Expo, there and gone like a flash of light. It felt like I blinked and it was all over, but I did miss a whole day so it was a pretty quick experience for me. So after we left the Expo hall Microdroid, Touka and I suited up one more time and got some pictures taken and did our crazy walk to finish up our time at the Expo in true style! It was hella jokes to have the whole group back again, though I still felt detached from the guys because of my one day away, but heck we still had a good time regardless. Here’s hoping I’ll be going back to the Expo in May and be able to rock the Excel Center full-on next time round!

Thanks for reading yo! 😀

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