London Anime and Gaming Con Review 2016
When I first saw this Con being advertised on my Facebook page, I was a little hesitant as to whether I should apply. First and foremost I want to cover as many Cons in the UK as I can for The Geek Lyfe, however, those who live in the south of England will
know the absolute horror that is Southern Rail at the moment and will also know they don’t charge cheap train tickets. Not only that, but I am not the fountain of all knowledge when it comes to Anime, having only ever followed a select few, and I wasn’t sure I’d fit in. (That’s another blog post for another time) However, since our press passes were approved, I realised that The Geek Lyfe is giving me so many opportunities to get out and spread the geeky word that I just had to go.
So far all the comic cons in London that I’ve been to have been really easy to find, with a tube or train station just a few minutes walk away. Thankfully, the LAGC was no different. The con itself was held at The Rocket Complex, less than two minutes walk from the Holloway Road Tube Station. Now I had never ventured this far on the tube before, but my trusty companion and photographer Crymonic , has a good working understanding of the maze that can be London’s underground and we got there no problem. There were also travel directions provided on the website so it shouldn’t put you off if you’re thinking of visiting next year!
The venue was very well laid out, (a handy pamphlet was given out with directions to everything) and since it was a Friday, it was easy enough to wander round and explore without getting lost at all. I can’t speak for Saturday or Sunday (sad to say I had other commitments) but I can imagine it was busy. Though smaller than say, the MCM con, it all still looked great!
As I said before, it was sad that I couldn’t attend the entire convention, but I know this won’t be forever! Friday, being the quieter day, was full of less extravagant highlights but was no less enjoyable. There was live music by The Kut , the first of four talks by Robert Axelrod on a guide to anime writing, karaoke in the evening, plus much more! On Saturday, events included a Harajuku fashion show, cosplayer Q&A’s, and even a cosplay auction! ( Volunteer cosplayers were bid on with the proceeds going to Epilepsy Action. Winners got to meet their cosplayer for an agreed amount of time!) Sunday featured the League of Legends tournament finals and a cosplay masquerade!
The LAGC prides itself on being ‘the home of UK Cosplay’ and indeed it was. There was obviously over a dozen of the best UK cosplayers guesting at the event and hours of cosplay talks, panels and events. There was even the prestigious qualifiers for the UK Cosplay Championship appearing. Tickets, a place at the finals and a chance to win £250 with a trophy was all up for grabs!
Staff at the Con were more than welcoming to me and my companion and quickly set us up with all our goodies and information! A little later, I admit I was a tad lost looking for cosplayers to interview and the staff at the front desk where happy to inform me about which big names had already arrived and where I’d be able to find them!
Besides all the big cosplayer names in attendance, Robet Axelrod also came to the event. He is most renowned for being the voice of Lord Zedd in Power Rangers, but has also voice acted for over 50 animes including, Digimon, Robotech and Microchip. World-famous cosplayer Nicole Marie-Jean also attended and I even got an interview with her that you can watch here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMNdJHnaFJI
There were some great exhbitors including AnimeGami, and Anipopgam, Bit Planet an Charming Sushi. However, I suppose I was a bit disappointed. There was only one vendor selling American Candy and by the time I was done doing all my duties and went to get some they were closing. And everything else just seemed… the same. I think it can be hard to find new and interesting vendors at Comic Cons because all the ones there are selling the merchandise they think we will be interested in and want to buy. But what I think needs to be addressed is that we see this stuff all the time, over and over again at every Comic Con and I for one am a bit bored not buying anything because I know it’ll be cheaper online. I know the vendors have had to pay rent for the space, and maybe it’s just the bargain hunter in me but I would like to see something different and eye-catching at these Cons. Something like body painting. Of course any new vendor runs the risk of being overlooked for not selling all the usual stuff, but it’s just at thought.
(Perhaps it was more exciting on Saturday and Sunday, I’m not sure)
Overall, I would say it was definitely worth my attendance and you should definitely go on say the Saturday or Sunday, just be wary that it’ll be busier. In fact, Fridays are generally good days for wandering round if you’re staying for the whole weekend. Although I was hesitant, I did really enjoy myself and got a fantastic interview with Nicole Marie Jean!