This last weekend I attended my very first London MCM Expo. London MCM Expo is considered the biggest event in the UK of it’s kind, drawing in crowds from all around who are interested in anime/manga/comics/scifi and all other forms of geekdom.
A lot of my friends have been attending MCM Expo for years now, but I’ve always had other things getting in the way of getting down to it myself. I made sure I got weekend tickets this time though, and even decided to cosplay for the event.
Since the event is dedicated to all forms of pop culture, and not simply things from Japan, I decided to cosplay Zatanna from DC comics. I’ve recently started reading the newest instalment of Injustice, so I felt like going as a DC character. Plus, any excuse to wear a top hat and tails!
MCM Expo is probably most well known for it’s horrendously long queues. If you get there first thing in the morning, you’re looking at a solid 1 hour wait, at least, just to get in. If you’re a little bit later than that, you can be queuing for anything up to 3 hours. It’s not all bad though, because it’s a great chance to check out other cosplayers.
I actually think seeing tons of people dressed up as their favourite characters is one of the best parts about going to MCM Expo. There are truly all types of characters being reenacted, from comics to anime to video game characters. There are some really popular characters, such as Light from Final Fantasy who I saw a few of, and then there are also more obscure ones who I didn’t recognise immediately.
Some people also put in a huge amount of effort with their costumes, creating elaborate armour from paper mache, or using electronics to make fantasy weapons light up. I was getting pretty hot wearing a hat and jacket, but I couldn’t imagine what it was like for those who wore full body armour.
With all these cosplayers, there was plenty of chances to take pictures with some hot cosplay girls. I think comic conventions and pop culture expos are one of the few events in which you can wear extravagant clothing and show lots of skin without being judged negatively for, and that’s really a great reason to go. You can dress up in anyway and people won’t mind, or you could just wear what you wear everyday and people won’t mind. It’s that kind of place.
There are stalls upon stalls of things to buy at MCM expo. Everything from the latest figurines to variation cover comics to costume tails. It’s like a car-boot sale mixed with geek stuff, and it’s one of the few places you can get lots of old cartridge games from. There are also a ton of people that set up stalls selling their own wares. Oh, and there’s copious amounts of T-shirts to be bought.
If you’re not there for the shopping however, there’s still plenty of things for you to do. I had a play on a few new games that haven’t been released yet, and it’s a fantastic place to take your DS because you end up picking up lots of people on streetpass. There’s a dedicated section to gaming with lots of games available to play for free. You can also go head to head and battle it out with your friends in the newest addition of Street Fighter, and then go up against everyone else in a casual tournament.
There were loads of talks from people in the industry, everything from new tech coming out, new comics, new games to talks about how to make it on youtube from stars such as TomSka or Felicity Day. It was hard catching the different talks though, since the entire place was rammed packed.
There are several stages for music and performances. Part of the cosplay aspect is that you can do a little sketch as part of a show in your costume, and I saw many people get up on stage and dance routines they’d practiced for months. I can’t imagine having the courage to do that, but maybe next year I’ll try and bring the panty dance to MCM expo?
There were a couple of food stands that were present, serving easy to eat things like chicken on sticks or japanese takoyaki. I also had some shaved ice, which is one of my most favourite snacks. Super refreshing considering how hot it gets in there!
Overall there was simply too much to do at MCM expo, and there’s always going to be more things to do next year as well. I can understand why so many people keep going back and it’s an atmosphere you’re not going to get anywhere else. I’d highly recommend it, and if you missed this one, there is a second MCM Expo in October.