By Samantha Buttigieg
People gathered from far and wide, in order to visit East London’s Excel Centre for a weekend of Pop Culture fun. Escaping from our everyday routine, and gaining the ability to emerge ourselves in the world of the biggest pop culture event in all of these European lands. Joining together with like-minded people and rising talent; celebrating these common interests. Whether you’re into films, video games, sci-fi, comics, anime, manga, steampunk or cosplay, there was, and always is plenty to do. If you didn't get the chance to attend this time around, be disappointed not, as the next London MCM Comic Con is taking place in October. That's four months to save up for all the great purchasables, and decide if, and what you want to Cosplay as.
It has been an entire week since MCM London Comic Con was in full swing, with many of us feeling the longing for what has past - feeling those Comic Con blues. After all every single person attending the event helps to make it what it is, from the organisers, exhibitors, right through to the attendees and participants. It is a known fact that without the people who buy the tickets, the event wouldn't be the known success it is today. We know many of you love seeing the amazingly creative cosplay ensembles - we do too! And perhaps it'll help with inspiration for yourselves, here are some great snaps from MCM Buzz here and here.
Venturing to MCM London Comic Con for this brilliant weekend, meeting a variety of people and experiencing the buzz of the atmosphere was something special indeed! The weekend was brilliant, full of sci-fi and non sci-fi musings. Plus, plenty for us anime fans! It is particularly easy to get caught up in everything that is happening throughout the weekend with all the choice.
The weather was rather wet and dreary on Friday, but the lack of sun in no way dampened the mood. Come Saturday, things changed for the better! It soon graced us with its presence, granting its fine approval of the weekend, perhaps even attempting to join in on the fun.
With appearances from some great personalities, stars and creative minds; the guest of honour this year was none other than Edgar Wright , Mr three cornettos. His personal favourite is mint choc chip! And he hasn't received cake for his latest to-be hit, The World’s End.... yet. He discussed film and cornettos in a Q&A on Saturday, and I managed to nab a front row (centre) seat. A seat that was firmly kept throughout much of Saturday, with much happening (panels and Q&As)...
One of the major highlights for any anime fan (aside from all of the wonderful Japanese and Anime related stalls), thanks to lovely people at Anime Limited, was the rare attendance of director Shinichiro Watanabe. Watanabe’s work on Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo and Kids On The Slopes, are his greatest crowning directorial achievements to date. And, on his first visit to the UK, he attended MCM London Comic Con with his translator, and sitting with them was Anime Limited's Andrew Partidge, giving Watanabe's UK fans a chance to get interactive with a very talented man; taking part in the fun of Q&A sessions, as well as signings. He was also interviewed by Red Carpet News.
Watanabe is a dedicated and hard worker, therefore doesn't get much time to watch anime. Instead, he works his magic in creating anime that resounds around the world. He also dabbles in the production of music, for himself, and for others. And generally, you could call him a big mixer of styles and genres, in anime and music production. He tries to work on different types of stories in his anime productions, trying new things. Kids on the Slopes was the first time he had been asked to use his skills and creativity to transfer a manga to anime form. In actual fact, Watanabe usually works around his own original ideas. His choice, his power, his ideas. What attracted him to Kids on the Slopes was the fact it was a coming of age story, something which he hadn't touched upon, until now.
As a teenager he loved anime and live action films, and always imagined himself in directorial shoes, whether that be in the world of anime or live action. Funnily enough, as a young dreamer, he thought it would be easy, but obviously, it was not. It was his vision and love for music that saw him make the change, the cross-over from simply creating anime, to also creating the music to help piece the marvel and ideas, combining his vision for image and sound. Music production is actually something Watanabe considers a lot of fun, not exactly what he thinks of as being hard work. Especially in comparison to directing, which he does indeed consider to be hard work. However, Watanabe went on to express the fact that the major difference between being director, and producing music for others, is that directors have more freedom to portray their vision, whereas a music producer is there to help fulfil the vision of another. Unless of course they are producing music for themselves.
He acknowledged the fact that the hardest thing when working with hundreds of people, is trying to communicate what it is you want to create. After all, each episode of an anime can have anywhere between 100-200 people working on it, therefore communication is vital in order to see the desired outcome. After being asked if he liked any British bands, he added the intriguing fact that Cowboy Bebop was partially influenced by the music of The Beatles.
There were many people at the Q&A sessions eager to interact, with questions in hopes for inspirational answers. And for one boy, whose question was a request for advice for someone wishing to start out in the anime industry, he was able to receive an answer that would make the entire audience chuckle. In the eyes of Watanabe, the most important thing is to 'pull girls'! It was sure nice to see humour doesn't get lost in translation. As he goes on to explain (and his interpretor translates), he expressed the fact that the ability to depict people properly is one of the most important things. After all, a man is just one half of the human race, so the ability to understand the other half is vital.
There were many exciting panels, the other that would excite anime fans were the two Anime panels, discussing the latest news in the world of anime. Taking place on Saturday and Sunday, announcements included the licensing of Attack On Titan for UK release by Manga Entertainment UK, the live-action movie Space Battleship Yamato on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 19th August. The movie Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works is being released on DVD and Blu-ray on 26th August. Blue Exorcist: Definitive Edition is being release over two sets later this year, on DVD & Blu-ray combo packs. Collections 5, 6, 7, & 8 of One Piece will be coming to DVD in the UK next year, as well as the release of Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning licensed by Anime Limited.
Manga UK will be releasing audio of the Sunday panel very soon, so if you’re eager to hear it for yourself keep an eye out.
Aside from panels and Q&As, much of my weekend was spent venturing around, emerging myself in chit chat. Particularly getting lost in conversation in the Comic Village on Friday. Friday was relatively calm, it was the calm before the storm. That vital chit chat allows you to see the enormous passion and talent that is on show at these type of conventions.
A film, anime, motion picture... they’re all made up of frames, images. It takes a certain number of these still images to make motion. So getting lost in the Comic Village was a real pleasure in seeing a number of seriously brilliant still images, as well as graphic novels/comics. Friday is certainly the best day for this, with less attendees, an artist can spend a substantial amount of time in discussion. Mainly because there’s a lot less people and a lot more available time on such a day.
I met a lot of talented people, and intriguing stalls. One of the more intriguing services promoted during the expo was Apocalypse Training - Apocalypse training aims to give you the skills and knowledge you will need after the collapse of a modern society. Zombies probably won't attack, but the lesson skills on survival look rather interesting indeed!
Here is a small selection of some of the lovely and talented people I met on the day:
(Above) I met Jeannie Hart and Daniel J. Cook of Broken Record. We had a lengthy conversation and discovered a common love for Doctor Who, and Jeannie gifted me with a lovely Doctor Who piece!
(Above) Kill Shakespeare - the 'what if' stories of Shakespeare.
(Above) Lee Townsend - Artist for Marvel UK, DC, Top Cow, 2000AD, and animation for Disney, Dreamworks.
(Above) Liam Shalloo - video game and comic artist. Colour specialist - PlayStation, Spider-man, Transformers. Owner of an awesome giant pencil!
I have attended MCM London Comic Con once before, however, it was only on this occasion that I truly realised and had appreciation for the fact these type of events are held over the span of a weekend. So if you haven’t been to one before, here’s a tip or two. There’s an enormous amount of things going on, you have to make those bold choices between the various things you want to do and see, and decide what takes precedence in your eyes. But the good thing is there’s always coverage and pictures that ensure you won't miss out, offering the ability to catch up in one way or another.
Don’t worry if you missed out on this one, there’s always the next MCM London Comic Con taking place on 25th-27th October. Tickets are already available here. Perhaps we'll see you there!