The London Expo has long established itself as the biggest
event in the UK anime calendar, bringing together the majority of UK
anime fandom along with the biggest distributors, publishers and
retailers in the market. The Expo has expanded
exponentially over the last few years, going from a two to a three
day event, adding a full programme of fan-run Fringe activities and
encompassing the ever growing EuroCosplay Championship
qualifiers and finals.
This May's Expo promises to be as good as ever. Although not strictly speaking an anime and manga event the Expo boasts the biggest and best of pretty much every aspect of anime fandom. Leading anime distributors Manga Entertainment, Kaze and MVM will be on hand to discuss their license announcements and show off sneak preview footage of forthcoming releases, with the fantasy epic Berserk: The Golden Age Arc - The Egg of the King given a special presentation by Manga and Kaze followed by a Q&A session with Kaze rep Andrew Partridge and voice actor Michael Sinterniklaas. Sinterniklaas will also be hosting
a Q&A with actress Stephanie Sheh for the forthcoming Manga release Welcome to the Space Show, as well as doing free signings alongside Stephanie at the Manga stand. All three distributors and manga publisher VIZ Media will have numerous deals and offers on their stands, including Manga's bargainous clearance stall which sells their older titles for as little as £1 each!
Elsewhere your wallet can be hit
extremely hard by the huge number of anime-inspired retailers
around, whether figures and merchandise from
clothing from Genki Gear or
the latest manga and imported DVDs from
there are plenty of temptations to separate you from your
hard-earned cash. The Expo has always been primarily a
retail experience with the ExCel Centre's cavernous halls mainly
filled with stalls selling all manner of sci-fi and anime goods.
However, it's not all about buying nowadays, anime fandom has
embraced the Expo in a big way with the Totally Cosplay area
and Sweatdrop Artists Alley permanent fixtures. Cosplay
is massive at the Expo, nowhere else in the country can you
see more people dressed as their favourite characters and the number
of costume-making workshops, Q&A sessions and photoshoots rivals
even the biggest UK conventions. The jewel in the crown is the
EuroCosplay Championships, and after two extremely successful
years the process of selecting the first of England's two entrants
begins with the Qualifier on the Saturday of this event. The
standard of competition has been jaw-dropping so far, and last
year's May qualifier was won by the eventual EuroCosplay
Champion Xaerael so expect the spectacular!
If you're worried about anime overload there's plenty of other things to see and do, with several big film companies on hand to showcase their latest films and manga game companies allowing attendees to play forthcoming games ahead of their official release. Already confirmed for this Expo are Capcom, SquareEnix and Tecmo Koei, who will have playable versions of Dragon Dogma, Dead or Alive 5 and Kingdom Hearts 3DS, and they will no doubt be joined by the likes of Namco Bandai, Nintendo and Rising Star Games. There's also traditional gaming on hand in the form of Konami's Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, as well as Q&A sessions and signings with Star Wars actor Anthony Daniels, voice actresses Ali Vowles and Seychelle Gabriel, B-movie queen Elvira and TV stars Pascale Hutton, Crystal Reed and Sarah Carter. Outside the venue you'll find the myriad of fan meets, photoshoots, cosplay picnics and dance-offs that form the Expo Fringe - check out the MCM Expo forum for more details on the current Fringe programme and information on signing up your own event.
The London Comic Con MCM Expo is held in the ExCel Centre in London's Docklands on the
last weekend of May (Friday 25th - Sunday 27th). Ticket prices
start from £10 per day for adults and £5 for children, with children
under 11 entering for free. Early entry tickets are available
at a flat rate of £16 per day regardless of age, or £29 for a
weekend pass which includes exclusive entry on the Friday. For
more information visit