We've lived here for four and a half years, and today was the first time we actually went down to London for one of the biannual MCM ComicCons down there. Why now? Two words: Donnie Yen!
is pretty much a lifelong fan, and of course she accidentally fell really deep
into the Baze/Chirrut corner of Rogue One fandom so.
It was an interesting experience! I've only been to cons in Japan before (JumpFesta, Comiket and other doujinshi events), and this was definitely different. Most like JumpFesta than anything else, with the stages and goods booths and whatnot?
But Japanese cons don't have (or haven't had - who knows what's changing) bag checks - and having them sadly felt good after the week we've had here in the UK. There were also sniffer dogs both outside and wandering the exhibition centre, and as you can see they were GOOD DOGS who kept us all very safe. ♥
The crowd control wasn't bad, either - like, not Japanese standards, because these weren't Comiket level crowds, but serious kudos to Transport London for their work outside the event and staff for everything they did inside to direct people, keep lines manageable and generally be helpful and attentive.
Once inside I found myself still operating mostly on Japanese con protocol, which includes stuff like NO PICTURES of anything ever - I took a few snapshots, but I kept waiting for there to be some kind of cosplay area where pics were welcome? Which is obviously not how this con worked - lots of people were stopping cosplayers and asking for pics wherever they happened to come across them! But I never quite worked up the courage to do the same...
There were lots
of really good cosplays though! Some of my favorites were Yotsuba's carboard robot, an Al from FMA with glowing red eyes, a Victor & Yuuri couple where Yuuri was pantsless and had his tie around his head, a lava-flowing Akainu, Jedi!Ariel (yes, the mermaid), Stormtroopers in helmets with stormtrooper-pattern suits carrying clipboards reading IMPERIAL (TORY) MANIFESTO, an inflatable t-rex, Jesus, and a little group of Gintama cosplayers that I loved just because Gintama
And I think I caught a glimpse of someone cosplaying a Jaran rider from the Kate Elliot series I've been reading?? I mean I could be wrong - they were heading up some stairs and when I followed them they were lost in the crowd so I didn't get a chance to ask which I totally regret. But they fit the description of one of the main characters exactly, which is so weird?! Is there some other show/film/manga that features someone in a red silk shirt with embroidered hems and sleeves, black trousers, black boots and a close-cropped black beard? Like. It was a full-on cosplay beard. I am so curious now - I wish I'd called out to them, but I was so busy thinking I must be missing something because surely nobody would be cosplaying Ilya Bakhtiian
...? But maybe they did. Missed connection sadness!
My least favorite costume of the day was a grown-ass dude in a t-shirt that read "Breast cancer awareness week: we stare because we care" UGH GROSS BAN MEN.
We got good spots for Donnie Yen's Q&A (here
at 48:29), and Skuld got a lovely photo off the assembly line photo shoot. Not too much queuing - well. Maybe an hour for the photo shoot? And then we were supposed to walk out and grab the prints, but there'd been some kind of glitch so there was a whole crowd milling about outside the photo print place. When they finally fixed it and ended up with a bunch ready there might've been as many as a hundred people waiting, meaning they couldn't just slap the prints down on a table without causing chaos... What ended up happening was the staff literally holding photos up over their heads and yelling vague descriptions:
"Rogue One T-Shirt!"
"Pink Shorts With Child!"
"Guy with, uh, glasses? Wait that's all of you I can't use that.."
It definitely broke the annoyed sort of tension that had been brewing, and sent us off smiling, so good work staff!
We had some overpriced and underwhelming Japanese festival food for lunch, eaten on the floor, but I'm not complaining because it's been ages
since I've had takoyaki and the floor was kept tidy by attentive staff.
I didn't think we'd buy anything, but OOPS. There were Bandai figures on sale (a £10 Chopper and a £5 Barto Club ship are both steals), and we happened across the last copy of the most recent One Piece
art book that we've been meaning to get... and then I found the next volumes of both Princess Jellyfish
and Vinland Saga
and they had Junji Ito's Cat Diary
which we've been wanting for ages because it's THE BEST... and then there were a bunch of Scandinavia and the World
books including ENGLAND so we snatched that one (the booth seller was Swedish and we were both so excited to speak Swedish and both like "...wait it's been so long how does this language work?!") and Skuld had a fandom friend selling original stuff there so of course we had to get some annnnnnnnd then we got some cute stationary stuff because hey why not but that's really it.