MCM London Comic Con May 2013

MCM_ComicCon_London

The MCM London Comic Con is the largest of its kind in the UK and this year it will be no different. Record attendance is expected once more as the event attracts more fans, new and old, of the best that anime, sci-fi and videogames can get.

We at eMagi have been sadly absent for the past number of years but are aiming to make up for it this year attending both the May and October London MCM ComicCons! It has been interesting to see what has changed since we last visited back in 2009 and below is our impressions on the show, the fans, the stalls and more.

First up you may have noticed a name change for the event this year; it is no longer known as the London MCM Expo but the  MCM London Comic Con rebranding it from within and to possibly align itself to the largest Comic Con in the world, the San Diego ComicCon in the USA.

Along with the name change, the halls have been expanded as well to take account of the record levels of attendees expected to make it to the event. This is a welcome addition as in previous years a lot of the space was dedicated to stalls and less so for the thousands of people making heir way through the arena, causing disruption.

Waiting in the morning queue to get into the venue was busy as ever but this time it seemed a lot more organised, with more staff on hand to guide excited fans along and to point them in the right direction. The layout of the London MCM ComicCon has also changed slightly from when eMagi last visited; the larger sponsors and stalls were still at the front of the venue but the middle was now welcomed by videogame companies and film distributors, of which have been a growing influence of the show in recent years.

Videogame companies such as Nintendo, Capcom, Namco Bandai, Konami, Activision and Tecmo Koei lend their support to the event to showcase their latest titles. Razer Inc also held a fighting game tournament featuring Capcom’s Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012 and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and one of our best fighting game specialists MadCatz’s Ryan Hart was in attendance. The Razer Fighting Championships was part of the European Gaming League (EGL) also streamed live but archives of the fights can be watched from the links below:

Razer Fighting Championships 2013

Sadly I was not made aware of the tournament taking place and was told by a few of the participants that the tournament was only announced two weeks prior. If I had known I would have entered after doing well in casuals with my rusty Ryu, however I did get soundly beaten by a quality Makoto player and a seasoned Balrog, both of which I later found out made Top 16! It was great however to see one of our local heroes Ryan Hart at the event as he has one of the best Sagat’s in the world, which was further demonstrated from his demolition of MadCatz’s Mago’s Fei Long a few months prior at the MadCatz Unveiled Exhibition.

Namco Bandai also had a large presence as they were showcasing their latest videogame Tales of Xillia that had been granted a European release. This is the latest game in the hugely popular Tales of series and one that many of us are thankful that it is making it overseas. Some of their previously titles were Japan only (such as Tales of Graces on the Nintendo Wii) but due to public demand it saw a remake on the PS3 as Tales of Graces: F in Japan and the US and it even made it to Europe. Tales of the Abyss was also Japan and US only on the PS2 but saw a subsequent port to the Nintendo 3DS. To help further promote this milestone none other than the producer of the Tales of games Hideo Baba was in attendance and he helped judge a Tales of cosplay competition where the winner would get a special edition PS3 along with Tales of Xillia.

Towards the rear of the venue there were the DDR:UK gaming section with their usual array of Dance Simulators and retro consoles for the public to play on casually and for contests. To the right of them a dedicated Japan:EX and Total Cosplay area was assembled which consisted of Japanese merchandise, food and drinks which is a welcome addition as it allows the public to sample some of the quality food available in Japan along with a place for fellow cosplayers to meet and greet.

Other than gaming one of the main reasons why fans attend the London MCM ComicCon is for the anime and manga merchandise and products. There were many of the more established sellers such as Gundam Nation, Genki Gear, Neon Martian and United Publications along with one of their main sponsors TokyoToys. More space was dedicated to the Artist Alley as well for budding illustrators to showcase their work. A new anime distributor Anime Limited also made their debut along with the heavyweights MVM and Viz Media, ensuring a good supply of the latest manga and anime titles for the fans. eMagi also noticed more clothing lines beyond T-Shirts such as the growing trend of Gothic Lolita apparel, which added to the diversity. Sadly though we also saw an increase of what seemed to be bootleg merchandise available to unwitting fans. This itself is a shame as it undermines the fantastic effort of those who stay above board but face ever shrinking profit margins to stay afloat. It hasn’t been the first time though this has happened at the event and multiple years on, I cannot see this sadly changing.

Another great reason to visit is because of the guests and other than some late withdrawals, the guest list held up well. Catering to the movie fans the director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright held a Q&A session with the fans discussing his latest movie, The World’s End. Moving to the TV side, there were guests from Merlin, Teen Wolf and Primeval. One of the bigger names on the guest list though was from the anime world as non other than Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop!

Here is a list of guests for the London MCM ComicCon May 2013:

  • Edgar Wright: Director
    The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Spaced
  • Shinichiro Watanabe: Director
    Kids on the Slope, Working!!, Genius Party, Samurai Champloo, Kid’s Story, A Detective Story, The Animatrix, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Cowboy Bebop, Tenkû no Esukafurône, Kidô senshi Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
  • Jane Espenson: Producer
    Once Upon a Time, Torchwood, Caprica, Dollhouse, Battlestar Galactica, Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, Tru Calling, Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Andy Barker, P.I., Jake in Progress, The Inside
  • Jason Flemyng: Actor
    Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, X-Men: First Class, Primeval, Kick-Ass, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Ironclad, Clash of the Titans, Wild Bill, Solomon Kane, Stardust, Transporter 2, Layer Cake, From Hell
  • James Moran: Writer
    Severance, Cockneys Vs Zombies, Tower Block,and episodes of Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, Spooks, Crusoe.
  • Camilla Luddington: Actress
    Claudette – True Blood, Grey’s Anatomy – Dr. Jo Wilson, Californication – Lizzie, Tomb Raider (Video Game) – Lara Croft
  • Tyler Hoechilin: Actor
    Derek Hale – Teen Wolf, Castle, CSI: Miami, 7th Heaven, Hall Pass, Charlie Brown: Blockhead’s Revenge
  • Barrett Foa: Actor
    Eric Beale – NCIS Los Angeles, Entourage, Numb3rs
  • Sarah Carter: Actress
    Margaret – Falling Skies, CSI: NY, Shark, Numb3rs, Smallville, Boston Legal, Final Destination 2, Wishmaster 3, Dirty Sexy Money, DOA: Dead or Alive, Entourage
  • Renee Felice Smith: Actress
    Nell Jones – NCIS Los Angeles
  • Mark Meer: Voice Actor
    Commander Shepard – Mass Effect, Mass Effect 1,2 & 3
  • Dougray Scott: Actor
    Norman Godfrey – Hemlock Grove, Doctor Who, Sinbad, Hitman, Desperate Housewives, Heist, Enigma, Mission: Impossible II, Deep Impact
  • Hannah Spearritt: Actress
    Abby Maitland – Primeval
  • Andrew Lee Potts: Actor
    Connor Temple – Primeval
  • Tom Hopper: Actor
    Sir Percival – Merlin, Doctor Who, Casualty, Saxon, Kingdom, Doctors, Tormented, Good Cop
  • Rob Van Dam: WWE – TNA Wrestler
    Promoting his new Graphic Novel ‘Twisted Perception – Soldiers of Karma’
  • Daniel Sharman: Actor
    Isaac Lahey – Teen Wolf, Immortals, The Collection, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, The Sexy Dark Ages, The Last Days of Edgar Harding, Lewis, Starting Over, Judge John Deed
  • Alexander Vlahos: Actor
    Mordred – Merlin, Privates, Truth or Dare, The Tower, The Indian Doctor, Pen Talar, All Shook Up!, Crash, Doctors, Bright Lights. Games: Doctor Who: The Adventure Games – The Gunpowder Plot
  • Holland Roden: Actress
    Lydia Martin – Teen Wolf, Grey’s Anatomy, Memphis Beat, The Event, Criminal Minds, Community, Weeds, Cold Case, Lost, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • Crystal Reed: Actress
    Allison Argent – Teen Wolf, Crush, Jewtopia, Drop Dead Diva, Crazy, Stupid, Love., Skyline, CSI: NY, Rizzoli & Isles, The Hard Times of RJ Berger, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • Christian Taylor: Writer
    Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Teen Wolf, Valemont, New Amsterdam, Lost, Miracles, Showboy, Six Feet Under
  • Jessy Schram: Actress
    Karen Nadler – Falling Skies, Christine Kendal – Last Resort. Once Upon a Time, The Mentalist, Unstoppable, Veronica Mars, Crash, Saving Grace, Life, CSI: Miami, Medium, Ghost Whisperer, House
  • Brad Bell: Actor
    Cheeks – Husbands
  • Drew Roy: Actor
    Hal Mason – Falling Skies, Hannah Montana, Secretariat, iCarly, Costa Rican Summer, One Wish, Lincoln Heights, Tag, Greek, I Blink, Curse of Pirate Death, The Daily Habit, Big Morning Buzz Live
  • Remi Aubichon: Producer
    Falling Skies, Executive Producer: 24, Persons Unknown, Caprica, Wildfire, Summerland, The Lyon’s Den, Young Arthur,
  • Keegan Connor Tracy: Actress
    Blue Fairy / Mother Superior – Once Upon A Time, V, A Town Called Eureka, My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, Psych, Stargate SG-1, The 4400, The Collector, White Noise, Jake 2.0, Final Destination 2, Dark Angel, Seven Days
  • Raphael Sbarge: Actor
    Archie Hopper / Jiminy Cricket – Once Upon A Time, Criminal Minds, Law & Order LA, No Ordinary Family, Burn Notice, NCIS, Dexter, Lie to Me, Medium, CSI, Heroes, The Mentalist, Dollhouse. GAMING: Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3
  • Monica Harris: Presenter
    A former glamour model now turned presenter and sports reporter. She also fights herself, boxing and Brazilian Jui Jitsu and has had 6 fights. As a model she has shot for Playboy, National and International newspapers and magazines.
  • Holly McGuire: Model
    Celebrity Glamour Model Holly Mcguire has been known as a Model – Singer – Actress -Tv Presenter for the past 15 years
  • Megan McGuire: Model
    Lingerie and Swimwear model, face of top London nightclub “Aquarium”
  • Charlotte Devaney: Actress
    Co-starred alongside Simon Pegg, Megan Fox and Kirsten Dunst in the massively successful Hollywood Film ‘How to Loose Friends and Alienate People’

The Euro Cosplay Qualifiers also returned which added some prestige along with the popular Cosplay Masquerade, which traditionally takes place at every show. eMagi passes their congratulations to “Dragonfly” cosplaying as Daenerys Targaryen (Battle Armour – own design) from Game Of Thrones, as she will be representing the UK!

The Industry Panel also gave us some fantastic news on the latest licensed titles that we can expect to see soon. Below is a list of titles that were announced:

Manga

  • Attack on Titan
  • Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
  • Space Battleship Yamoto

Anime Ltd

  • Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning

MVM

  • Daphine in the Brilliant Blue (relicensed)
  • Pumpkin Scissors (relicensed)
  • Red Garden (relicensed)
  • C-Control
  • Shangri La
  • Haven’s Memo Pad

Without doubt the largest franchise there is Attack on Titan as it has been making shockwaves since its release. I really hope the title sells well and that future large franchises will follow. You can also watch a legal stream of some of these titles via CrunchyRoll and their respective links have been added above.

With the halls being expanded since previous shows, we expected less congestion whilst walking around to visit the various stalls but sadly this was not the case. Due to record attendance the whole area was packed to the brim making it particularly difficult to move around with people often just pushing and bumping into each other to make it through. The proximity and layout of certain stalls as well did not help matters as eager fans that wanted to buy items had to navigate through narrow pathways bypassing people who were also browsing contently. It was made worse then the original exit for the venue was closed off and re-located right next to the entrance; this created a massive bottleneck as thousands of attendees were forced to queue up and wait just to move through. It was further compounded, as the larger stalls were right at the front of the entrance and exit with minimal pathways available to go through. This is fine enough if you are an adult, but the London MCM ComicCon attracts people of all ages and this is an area that the October show will look at resolving in the future.

In fact the May London MCM ComicCon will be the last in its current format and later this year the October one will be refreshed. Instead of a few halls being used for the event, the entire Excel Centre will be dedicated purely for the London MCM ComicCon. This should ensure ample space for the expected 76,000+ visitors that pass through its doors but it also creates a higher need of quality security and organisation. Since the whole of the Excel Centre will be hired out for the event, no-one without a legitimate ticket are allowed in the Excel Centre and this includes the area outside the venue too. This in turn limits people or family members who might not want to attend the event but would want to meet up with them outside. How this will be enforced will be interesting and is another logistics issue the staff and owners of the London MCM ComicCon need to get right.

However with the additional space this should prove to be massively successful and should allow a lot more flexibility to showcase larger events such as attracting guests, tournaments and shows. The return of the Euro Cosplay Qualifiers was a big bonus and in October there will be the finals of the Euro Cosplay too, which should provide a milestone for the re-structured event. I just hope the logistics are well thought out, especially for the queuing of tickets, entry and exit points, fire escapes and of course any medical assistance on offer which should always be a pre-requisite for an event so large.

eMagi will be back for the October showcase event and can’t wait to see the new changes implemented. We will be sure to cover as much as possible for you, our readers, and hope to see you there at the event itself!