We recently saw one of the UK’s largest comic conventions take place in London and I was lucky enough to be given a press pass to go and report on everything Kawaii.
MCM was held at the eXcel London, and after a very early start and several trains later I arrived to a packed station platform to walk up to the eXcel to pick up my press pass. Walking through the convention centre was pretty entertaining, there were so many excellent cosplayers and a general excited atmosphere – the doors hadn’t officially opened yet as I got there before 9:00am. There were a lot of excited people and plenty of people to chat too. To start off with, I made my way over the POPASIA section, just before it opened. The convention was split into two sections – one side contained POPASIA and your standard convention fair and the other being more or a Western Comic/gaming section. I was surprised that there weren’t that many people waiting around outside, but it soon picked up later.
Shortly after 9:00am the shutters opened and MCM was officially open for the business! I was surprised to find that the POPASIA area was pretty small – I was expecting it to be half of the convention, but looking at the map it was only a small part, but the space was defiantly well utilized and cram packed full of stalls offering lots of Kawaii items – I recognised quite a few such as JP Books and Tofu Cute, but there were quite a few I didn’t recognise as well which was fun. Unlike Hyper Japan, MCM has a lot of action figure stalls, which was great to see. I was very pleased to see a very wide variety within the stalls of figures – I find sometimes when a series or particular thing is very popular every stall has the same thing, which didn’t happen here. Chatting with a few of the vendors who had stalls, they were very impressed with the footfall and the general atmosphere the convention had – The owner of Tofu Cute said that they had already been very busy on the Friday of MCM. Dreamybows had a huge stall full of kawaii clothing, accessories, plushies and make-up. They also had some of the rarer and very hard to get Sailor Moon make-up items.
Walking around the POP ASIA area it was clear that the set up had been very well thought out – given the variety of stalls available it was great to see that everything had been sectioned out – clothing and kawaii goods around the outside and food stalls/shops on the inside. There was a quite a wide selection of foods available from the POPAsia area – with the traditional Japanese bakery selling doryaki, another offering yakisoba, takoyaki and katsu curry, Temaki handroll were also on site giving customers a chance to try out their variety of colourful sushi handrolls (having tried these before, I can vouch they are delicious!) NiceIce were also here to save those with a sweet tooth and were serving up lots of different flavours of the traditional Japanese shaved ice with fruit and syrup. POPASIA also had this adorable Hello Kitty Japanese style garden set up – very Kawaii! The attendants here were handing out cute Hello Kitty paper hats for visitors. You could take a stroll in the garden, pose with the cherry blossom tree, check out little Hello Kitty Animations or just generally chill out in the colourful garden. This was a really cute and relaxed area – I’d love to see something like this again at future conventions as it seemed like quite a popular exhibit – I really loved the one of the outside walls which was covered top to bottom in roses.
Crunchy Roll also had a stand here and I went to speak with them about there new offerings coming up – you’ll definitely want to check out their website as they have some superb new anime coming very soon – I’d highly recommend checking out Bakuon which is available now. I also asked whether they would be showing Sailor Moon Crystal over here soon – sadly, although they have the rights to it, Toei still won’t allow it to be shown in the UK – Boo! Crunchyroll also told me about their Manga app – Did you know that you can download the app to your tablet or phone and read manga for free?! I checked it out and there’s a lot of books on there that look like they’ll be a great read – there’s even a few oldies but goodies on there like Crayon Shin-Chan!
Around the outside of POPAsia were plenty of stalls offering merchandise from everyone’s favorite series – There was definitely something for everyone. I even spied CBS in attendance with a Star Trek Original Series transporter room, complete with console! For the braver souls among us, there was a Walking Dead experience (Zombies terrify me so unfortunately I was not brave enough for this!) and a 3D scanning booth, allowing you to obtain your very own 3D scan of yourself that you could use for making action figures or 3D printing! For those wanting to purchase new cosplay items, MCM had you covered there too – there were plenty of stalls offering costumes, accessories, swords, props and weapons and even an entire stall dedicated entirely to wigs! I even found the traditional Japanese chinaware Doki selling wares. I was very pleased to see a lot of the Manga/Anime companies were present too from MANGA, NEO magazine and Yenpress to name but a few, bought along copies of magazines, manga and DVD/Blu-rays for perusal and purchase – this was really nice to see as I think this is the first convention I have been to where main publishers have been there too – it really gives you a chance to see what’s up and coming in person.
Over on the other side I found lots of comics, props and cars! There was even an opportunity to have your photo taken with the cars from Back to the Future (Who doesn’t love a Delorean?) and the Jurassic Park jeep. For lovers of Captain Marvel, MCM had you covered with a replica bike and Captain America – the detail that went into this bike and costume was amazing. There was also a beautiful Transam – I’m massive fan of these cars and this one was just stunning.
A lot of the special guests were on this side and there were already HUGE queues forming to meet the stars. The comicvillage section had some wonderful artists in attendance – it ‘s quite awe-inspiring to see just how talented these people are – I’d love to see this area expanded next year as art and comics are always a popular section for events like this. There was the opportunity to buy comics and prints from artists here too.
Gaming-wise there were several authors in attendance, but I think the main attraction for any Fallout series fans was Bethesda who were running a special event on the day. I have never seen some many wonderful Fallout cosplayers – some even had working PIPboys! There was some real attention to detail going on and I’m really not sure which of the ones I had the pleasure of talking to were my favourite.
Although I didn’t get to meet any of the stars at MCM it was very clear they were super popular! I did see lots of very happy con-goers with their autographs and photos walking about.
All in all, MCM ComiCon was a very popular and fun event. There was genuinely something for everyone here, from Marvel and DC lovers, to kawaii and star trek. If you are looking for a fun day out, then MCM is definitely for you – On reflection, I would love to see a bigger POPAsia area next year.
Did you attend Comicon this past weekend? Have you before? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Sadly, this is my last Cyten article due to time constraints. I’ve enjoyed my time here, especially attending cons + updating everyone’s kawaii knowledge! Hope you’ve enjoyed my articles and reviews ^-^