Howdy ladies and gents, today I am here to give you my review on the London MCM Expo. Now it has been AGES since my last review of this convention (the last one being in 2011), but I felt like I had to talk about it considering all the madness that’s took place. Now before I get started I just wanted to mention that I only did the one day because I just didn’t have the funds or the free time outside of work to attend all three days. But that’s about it. Okay, let’s get going!
So the London MCM Expo, the biggest UK convention for anime, manga, comic books, movies and video games held two times a year in May and October, it came back this weekend, and I attended for the first time in two years. Last year marked the first time I hadn’t attended since I started going in 2008 which was really random to me, but since I had a great time at the London Film and Comic-Con in July, that more than made up for it. That being said, this event, even though it has gotten absurdly huge and different in appearance over the years, I have such a heavy load of good nostalgia associated with this convention, so it was only a matter of time until I went back. And my Saturday experience was a combination of joy, extreme happiness, tiredness, frustration and confusion. Make no mistake, MCM is still a great place to go for a unique and joyful experience, but some of its pleasures come at a cost, and I’m not just talking about you wallet.
Now I’m going to talk about what I got up to and separate this review into two halves; what and I liked and what I didn’t.
What I liked
This year was all about seeing what’s new, what’s remained the same and enjoying myself, and there was plenty to enjoy. Going to the Expo this year I noticed how huge the hall space was, I feel like it’s doubled in size since my first time in 2008. Walking from one side to the other felt like a 5-10 minute walk, but if you weren’t walking straight, stuck in walking traffic or had to make certain turns at different spots, then it would be a slightly longer trip.
There was this nice wall of cat drawings and I contributed as well, the one cat with his eyes closed and arms crossed on the yellow paper was mine. 😀
In terms of what I got up to, well I didn’t play too many games, see too many talks or even see the Cosplay Masquerade, but I did get to talk to some great artists, play some games and get some photos with some guests. I took a fair few photos of cosplayers. After 2012 I really lost interest in taking photos because I stopped making YouTube videos and it felt more like work than something I liked doing, so I really wasn’t going to do much this year, but then I got a good few photos this year. And just in general there was a lot of great costumes on show, loads of Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Spider-Man, Final Fantasy and Nintendo-related characters among many others. I was surprised by the amount of Game of Thrones characters with a good few Margaery Tyrell and Daenerys Targaryen ladies walking about.
When it comes to games I viewed some cool matches from Dragon Ball Z: Xenoverse, enjoyed seeing J-Stars Victory VS in action and looking at all of the crazy attacks and multiple characters from different anime in one place. The only other game I checked out was One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, it looked a little more impressive than I thought, while the game looked just like your standard hack and slack with really dumbass CPU enemies that run around just to get beating up, but when I saw Fujitora in action with crazy attacks, combos and finishing moves it made me want to by the game. But when it comes to the games I actually played, it comes down to Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. Wii U.
Firstly, even though I’ve had no interest in Splatoon at all since its reveal at E3 last year because it wasn’t my kind of thing, I thought I should have at least given it a try. So with the demo on show I gave it a try and I found it to be pretty fun and much better than I expected. Running around, shooting ink, swimming and defending your territory, it was pretty fun. I even ended up getting the most ink covered for my team and didn’t die once, for a first-timer that was great. The controls felt a bit weird though with the use of the Wii U Gamepad to move the camera around and that threw me off when I trying to move around and defend myself from enemies.
But then I played some Smash Bros. and that’s when things got interesting. For me, this game series is my jam and this was the first time I got to play the game with a Gamecube controller (and it felt amazing), so we played a 6-player stock match, 5 humans and 1 Amiibo and 3 lives. The first match was hectic and it came down to me as Captain Falcon vs Ness, unfortunately I lost, but in the second match I came back with a vengeance as Lucina and schooled Ness as I sent him plummeting into the abyss! The final match I played as Fox, but was knocked out fairly early on because that tricky Mega Man Amiibo kept moving all over the place and giving me problems. 😛
But the highlights for me was three things:
- Meeting John Noble
- Meeting Iain De Caestecker
- Meeting Jon Schnepp and seeing “The Death of Superman Lives”: What Happened?
The main reasons I went to this convention was for those three points listed above. When it comes to the photo sessions, when I saw that John Noble, yes, the Walter Bishop from Fringe was gonna be there, I literally exploded in my mind at the chance to see him. So waiting to see him yesterday was insane, long and extremely tedious, but just getting there, meeting him, shaking his hand and being so humbled by his kindness, it was the best kind of overwhelming experience. It was a heartpounding and lovely moment. And then I got to meet Iain De Caestecker later on, I liked him in Filth, but I’ve mainly been invested in his performance as Leo Fitz from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the guy was SO nice and friendly, loved it.
And the final part of my day was seeing a screening of The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?, the documentary from Jon Schnepp looking into the cancelled Superman film from Tim Burton starring Nicholas Cage. Seeing this film was great, it was such an intriguing and informative look into a film that got so far into development but then got canned. All of the great guest contributors, archive footage, editing and humour all came together in such a fantastic and fascinating manner. This was definitely a story that needed to be told and I’m glad that Schnepp was able to get this documentary finish. And speaking of Schnepp, I just wanted to comment on how great it was to see the man in person. He introduced the film and then did a Q&A afterwards and he was just as hilarious, charming and humble as he is on AMC Movie Talk and getting to meet him after all of these years of watching the online show felt like a dream. Oh and shaking his hand was such a delightful feeling. 😀
What I disliked
Firstly I have to address the LINES!
Now I’m no stranger to standing in lines at events like this and I’ve gotten used to it especially when it comes to playing games, watching the Cosplay Masquerade or getting autographs/photos with celebrity guests… That being said, usually there’s a system in place so that you know where to go when you start to queueing and avoid collisions with the general public just passing by, but NOPE, not this year. Those guys at the Excel really dun goofed this year. When it came to photo sessions specifically there was no order, everyone was everywhere, lines for certain people were spread across three different locations, some people skipped the queue altogether and the general public just trying to get by had to force their way through. There was SO much frustration and it was all because of miscommunication and lack or order.
And the staff, they had no clue. Really, you could have asked four or five staff members where you were meant to stand before you got the correct answer and by that point you had probably wasted 30-45 minutes of your time. And only after allowing you to stand in the wrong places do the get organised and attempt to get a system in place for the different queues passing into each other, and even then, there was conflicting information and a lack clear instructions because no one had a bloody megaphone! I know I complained about the waiting periods at London Film and Comic-Con last year for their outside lines, however, at least their photo session tickets had clear sections to stand in and system in place for calling you up when it was your turn. This kind of thing can’t continue in the future as the fans I was standing with were ready to revolt out of anger, confusion and sore legs.
The only other thing I would complain about is more of a nostalgic nitpick, and it relates to the state of the Expo. A few years ago this convention was big, but it was controlled, fun and felt unique, but in recent times the convention has gotten a little too big. There’s so much going on with the stalls, events and guest stars, I feel like the event’s gotten too big and out of control. Sure making the Expo bigger to accommodate more stuff is always interesting for new and returning fans, but I feel like this isn’t the event I remember and some of the charm has been lost.
In conclusion the MCM Expo in London was a good time. After a little break from this convention it was nice to go back and revisit the place that exposed me to the madness of fans and the content on display. This even was pretty frustrating though, unorganised staff, loads of queues and lack of information really knocked this experience down a few pegs, if the Expo is to continue then it needs to get its act together. But other than those formalities I had a hella good time and should I find a reason to return in the future I may do so.
So did you go to the recent MCM Expo and if so what did you think? Please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post. Laters! 😀