SFL at the London Anime Convention

By Indra Wignall

After an arduous journey on subterranean railroad, the two plucky heroes met up and stepped into the cold, rain soaked streets of Holloway.
'Excuse me good sir, where be the convention?'
'Follow Mario and Luigi over there, that's where they're heading'
So the two carried on through the rain, after the red and green moustachioed pair until they finally came upon their destination.

Last weekend saw the first London Anime Convention of the year hosted by AnimeLeague, one of the largest anime communities in the world. Held at the Rocket Complex on Holloway Rd, the LAC ran for two days and covered not only anime but cosplay, gaming and more. As a smaller convention it was easy to have reservations as to how professional or entertaining it would be, however these concerns soon fell away.

London Game and Anime Con
Day one of the event was anime day and had everything to keep an anime fan happy; talks, stalls, quiz, competitions etc. The venue is split into two floors with different things going on over each floor. Downstairs housed the bar and stage where you could find cheap drinks and various events going on over the course of the day. Live music and bands took to the stage later in the day but before that the stage was home to the Abridgers.

Hailing from the great land of YouTube the Abridgers dub popular anime such as Dragonball Z and Yu Gi Oh to create shortened parody episodes that are rapidly becoming as popular as the originals.
Shadyvox and XtheDarkOne (Yu Gi Oh GX The Abridged Series) with MasakoX (Dragonball Z Abridged) were on hand throughout the weekend and took part in several elements of the event. On the Saturday the Anime Quiz was hosted by XtheDarkOne and MasakoX and, even with some difficult questions, the quiz was a huge success. A special mention has to go to the team who used a burger box as an answer sheet when they ran out of paper.

In a room behind the bar, you could attend talks by various groups and individuals on a range of subjects. These were both informative and fun and brought together like minded people who could discuss issues and ask questions about anything they didn't understand or were having issues with. A host of different topics from cosplay make-up to Bronys to reviewing anime were covered and there was something in there for everyone from beginners up.

London Game and Anime Con
On the Sunday the back room was transformed into a gaming tournament room mostly dedicated to fighting games. Blazblue, Tekken Tag 2, Street Fighter x Tekken and Marvel v Capcom 3 were all kicking and screaming for our attention. Some competitors had brought their own fight sticks with them and one guy had even brought a PS3 controller with adapter as all the consoles on offer were 360s. The room was a little cramped though this shows the popularity of the games on offer and the support people were getting from friends and other players. The arguing and rivalry that can often be found at tournaments was certainly missing here and that made for a refreshing change, with everyone taking their turns and enjoying watching others too.

If fighting games weren't your style then you could take part in other tournaments in the video gaming area which was available on both days. Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed and Mario Kart had fans zipping round the tracks to try and beat each other for first place, while FPS fans could get their hands on Halo Reach and CoD Black Ops II. Elsewhere, there were pletny of gaming cos-players too.

The Sunday also had a pub quiz in the bar area, this time it was based on video games though. The questions were again varied and there were two music rounds. The best thing about this quiz however had to be the hosts. They were charming, funny, charismatic and most importantly, one of them was me!

Heading upstairs you entered into a much bigger room with a beautiful blue and white high ceiling and a stage at the far end. In this room were several stalls selling toys, dvds, books and other items. The prices were quite reasonable and certainly felt a little cheaper than other conventions, if you picked through you could most certainly get a bargain......and we did!

London Game and Anime Con
In amongst the stalls of dvds, clothes and toys were a couple of artists and these were all indie artists, small names but big talent. It was nice to see unknown artists being showcased and the talent was to the highest standards. The stand out artist for me was Alice who is listed as Destiny Blue on Deviant Art. Her style was mangaesque, but had a life and glow to it that added a whole new level and needs to be seen by far more people.

Finally the stage at the far end hosted several different events throughout the week and queen of this stage was the voice actress Caitlin Glass. Best known for her role as Winry Rockbell in Fullmetal Alchemist, Glass took to the stage for a Q&A session giving the audience the answers to questions they've always wanted to ask. If that wasn't enough, Caitlin joined the Abridgers later on where she was introduced to fruit salad sweets, Abridger style chaos and even more questions from the audience. Fans even got the chance to meet her face to face and get her autograph in a signing session that didn't have the hefty price tag normally associated with them; it was free.

Every aspect of the weekend was great and there isn't a convention around as friendly, warm and welcoming. When you arrive at London Anime Convention you already feel as though you are in a room of friends, and by the time you leave, you will be. Staff, guests and attendees should all be proud of being part of London Anime Convention.

Related Content

Around the web