Review: MCM London Comic Con May 2014
MCM is probably the biggest popular culture event that visits many cities in the UK, and once again, it returned to London for the first of its twice yearly trips to the Excel Exhibition Centre.
It was one year ago that I first attended the event, which in turn was my first time at such a huge convention of the likes of this. The event brings together fans of all types of mediums – including gaming, comic books, Japanese culture and cult media! It’s a vast epicentre of geek multiculturalism where inhibitions are tossed out the window and the fun times roll!
Unlike my previous visits to MCM London, I only attended for the day on Sunday 25th May, but despite this, I was really glad to have gone along.
Having been well informed of how the vast growth of MCM in the last few years has made for some rather cumbersome times in manoeuvring in and out of the event, this time around, there were some changes implemented, which I think were actually quite suitable to handle in the influx and how people were navigated in and out of the centre.
Ticketing – unlike the past where queues clogged up the front area and made things very congested inside and out – was this time handled by directing people to the riverside entrances, where there were lines for re-entry, priority pre-purchased tickets and for general purchase on the day tickets. From what I noticed, and was particularly happy about, the lines actually seemed to keep moving fairly regularly so you weren’t stuck around for too long. (Unless you were buying a ticket on the day, then you run the risk of queuing for hours with the tremendous amounts of people turning up. It’s always highly recommended to buy a priority ticket before attending, though this year they were in limited numbers online.)
Exits from the event were fixed at both the east and west entrances, and as mentioned, the re-entry line was back around the riverside. Okay, so some might not find it perfect with the long walk all the way around and having to go upstairs back through one of the halls, but it worked to keep many walkway areas free of human clogging, so to speak. It was just nice to find that I could get and in and out without having to go through a death-defying experience.
The stalls, stations and exhibits inside the Excel were spaced out between numerous halls, and the walk space of the aisles was nice and wide this time around, giving you plenty of room to slowly peruse the extensive variety of goodies and visual spectacles of MCM. You could never say the event was ever lacking in things to see or buy! From video game and anime figurines to Japanese crockery – being someone who adores such things, it made everything on display so tantalising. Alas, I didn’t purchase anything this time, but I was so tempted… especially with a T-Shirt about exercise degenerating into mentions of bacon. That made me so happy…
The event is more than just being enticed in to by delicious food stuffs and mountains of rare and collectable pieces of merchandise, there was also the chance for a free play of video games demos, brought to you by some of the top gaming companies, including Capcom, Bandai Namco, Tecmo Koei and many others. An extremely popular one was ‘Evolve’, an anticipated gaming attraction at the event, which proved extremely popular with attendees. Though for me, my heart was for Tecmo Koei’s ‘Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate’ – just because I’ve always been a big Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors fan. Lamenting now that I didn’t have the time to test the demo, but I know it’s a definite purchase on release!
The event was made even more poignant with the vast amount of cosplayers attending, providing such colour and excitement. It is just a wonderful opportunity to dress up and slip into the role of your favourite character, just to appreciate and show off the things you love and share it with the others around you. My fellow Renegades and I also attended in costume, joining in on such a great vibe that punctuated the Excel. It was fantastic to see so many people come out in costumed force to enjoy the fine weather on the Sunday and add to the fun; and it’s just stunning to see all the different cosplays from all different games, films, comics and the like, filling up the concourse and throughout the halls, many posing for pictures with awe-astounded members of the public. There were probably those there that had always wanted to join in on the cosplay, and I would personally endorse how wonderful the community spirit is amongst cosplayers who will welcome in newbies and share in the good-natured atmosphere. It’s one of the most perfect times to let out your inner geek!
Though, I don’t envy anyone who dressed up in one of those huge, full body costumes, like the Cookie Monster and Bender I saw on such a warm day in such humid confines of the building. They are brave and admirable people and we thank them for sharing their passion and dedication to entertain everyone around them!
If there was a little bit of an issue, it was with security and a bit of miscommunication with attendees and staff with which entrances and exits could be used, but I’m sure a bit more understanding and information could be passed around to make it easier at future events.
Would I recommend the MCM London convention? Of course! It does get a bit crowded and a little bit warm inside the event, but with so much to enjoy onsite, it’s not really a big issue. Of course, if you do have little children and babies, you might want to consider these factors before going to the event as it might be a little uncomfortable for them, though if they are able to cope with these things, then the more the merrier! Accessibility for prams and wheelchairs is available on site with ramps near the outside entrances and lifts inside at certain access points.
There is food and drink for the warm and weary conventioneer, but the prices are quite steep, so might be worth packing sustenance or going to an offsite restaurant or cafe. Access to the Excel is easily managed by the DLR train system with the Custom House stop right on the doorstep, or it can be accessed with a car with underground parking facilities on site.
The next MCM London Comic Con will take place in October. Come and join in the fun – we hope to see you there next time!
MCM London Comic Official Page: Here
All images are © MayDay