London Anime Con 30 – 31 July 2011 – Report

London Anime Con is not a big event, not by the standards of MCM and Hyper Japan, yet this is not a bad thing.  What London Anime Con is, is an event created by fans for the fans.  The event saw 960 people in over the weekend, which is double their numbers from last year and if it goes the way of Summer of Sonic, this could well grow well beyond the capacity of their current location in the Rocket Complex.

At this point I would just like to say how much I loved the venue.  Events took places through several rooms including the main sales stands and displays, which happened on the first floor in a large hall that kept the venue cool throughout, despite rising temperatures outside.  Downstairs in the bar saw other events on the stage, talks and gaming in the side room (which did get hot) and up a set of stairs behind the bar the main gaming area could be found.  There was also an enclosed outside area that allowed you to get some air, whilst still staying with people from the event and avoiding the wandering crowds from the Emirates Cup which had saturated the rest of the area.

I had ordered a Con Badge and Con T-shirt before the event and after entering the venue, I queued to collect them at a side hatch.  It wasn’t the fastest moving queue, but as events didn’t start until 12:00 I didn’t mind a wait and it was my choice to go straight for my con badge rather than waiting for the queue to reduce later on.  The con badge is well worth it though, it’s a lovely touch, especially for a weekend event.

Saturday

My next stop was obviously the gaming hall and after clearing down my initial 3DS Streetpass hits, I checked out what they had on offer, which turned out to be a huge selection of games across pretty much all platforms.  An awesome retro area stood against the far wall, and through the centre of the room had tables setups of Xbox 360s, Playstaion 3’s and Wii’s.  Games of Gears of War 2, Black Ops and Mario Kart were already going on as I entered and didn’t let up while the event was open.  Later on in the day I had my first taste of Blaz Blue, which I loved and will almost certainly buy when my game backlog  reduces a little.

I attended the following events –

History of Martial Arts with Matt – I missed the start of this, but the less said about his Q&A the better.

LN48 Performance – I’ve seen these girls before at the Heart Japan event and their dancing is cute and entertaining.

Cosplay Q&A with Kelly Jane, TealPirate and Anais – Was an interesting panel, shame that they didn’t have microphones as Mega Ran, who was performing in the bar stole a lot of their thunder.  I still learnt a lot, and picked up a tip that I then contacted Kelly Jane about afterwards.  She’s very helpful and really knows her cosplay.

Cosplay Auction – More on this below.

Belly Dancing – Asaki with Oriental Roses – Awesome performance.  It was in the downstairs bar as well, so the crowd were very close, it felt like a very intimate performance.

Johnny Lazer Live – I saw him again at the Heart Japan event, I enjoyed it there, but he’s really grown on me now.  Am looking forward to seeing him again.

Cosplay Auction

The Cosplay Auction was one of my favourite events of the weekend.  Lise and Rebecca, the two girls presenting were very entertaining.  My many photos from this can be seen below in the gallery and I caught up with the lovely Sarah (pictured right) who raised the highest individual amount, £50 of the £565 total.  The highest total was £115 for a team of three Cosplayers.

Was this your first time at London Anime Con?
Nope! I’m becoming quite the veteran.

How many times have you been before?
It was my 4th time. I know it was LAC 3 but my first one was at the old venue near London Bridge before they started numbering them. I enjoy them so much so there’s no doubt I’ll be at LAC 4!

Who were you cosplaying and why?
I actually wasn’t cosplaying anyone this time. I had every intention of cosplaying but as usual I left it till the last minute and just went in my regular clothes. Although my regular clothes are so over the top that it could easily be mistaken as cosplay

How long have you been cosplaying for?
I’ve been cosplaying for about 3 years now. My first was Tifa from FFVII and I learnt the hard way that you should always buy a wig and not dye your hair black! I’m looking to be a bit more extravagant and original with my future cosplays though.

What was your favourite part of the weekend?
The drink? Haha. My favourite part was the same part as every time and that’s meeting the best people you could ever wish to meet. I love making new friends and having lots of silly fun. And of course the auction was great too.

Do you play any computer games?
I do! I’m always stuck in a time warp though when it comes to games and am currently re-playing GTA: San Andreas and Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. The best game of all time is definitely Broken Sword though.

Which systems do you own?
In my flat at the moment I have a DS, 3DS, PSP, PS2 and PS3.

What do you think of the Nintendo 3DS?
I can spend hours on it without even having a game in it. It’s so much fun!

Were you aware which charity the money would be going to when you registered for the cosplay auction?
Yes, I was told about it just before I signed up. I’d heard of the charity before and I was really happy that it was this one as I know that it is a very vital one so I was really glad that money was being raised for Help for Heroes.

What inspired you to put your name down for the cosplay auction?
To be honest, I was asked to. I wanted to anyway but as I wasn’t cosplaying I’d have felt kind of silly signing my name down but luckily an organiser approached me and said that my outfit was suitable enough. I’m really glad I did.

Are you aware of Help for Heroes and what they do?
Yes, I’ve been aware of the charity for a while now and think that it’s a fantastic cause. I think it’s an incredibly important and vital charity.

You raised a fair bit of money for Help for Heroes, how do you feel about that?
I felt absolutely incredible. I’ve been telling everyone about it and will definitely entering the next one. I’ve also been researching what more I can do for charity as it really if the best feeling you can feel knowing that someone will benefit from the work you do. It’s always good to give something back.

Michael Towers, the London Anime Con Organiser says that all the money raised will go straight to Help for Heroes, the charity voted for by London Anime Con forum members.  It is a similar amount to that raised back in their February event and they are looking at other fund raising options for future events.

Sunday

Sunday was a quieter day for me.  I had a later start and arrived in time to relax for a while in the bar and courtyard before heading upstairs to watch the genius Masa-Kun and Daniel-san set before the Cosplay Masquerade.  The Cosplay Masquerade photos can be seen in the gallery below and the quality of the turnout was excellent.  Some of the performances from the Cosplayers were also impressive, and unexpected.

The next event I attended was Dub That Anime, and after a slightly rocky start with the computer equipment, the team and the contestants soon got in to it and it flowed well.  I unfortunately had to leave before the end to cover the Mario Kart competition.

The Mario Kart Wii tournament started with sixteen players.  It should have been more but many failed to turn up even though they signed up.  There was some slight confusion over how the rounds would work as the tournament started, and unfortunately it was played on a small screen rather than the larger screen that some of the other games were being played on.  But the contestants were soon off and battled their way through the first round.  Sixteen was reduced to eight by the top two players of each four player game going through.  Sam and Liam soon established themselves as event front runners and some impressive techniques sent them both through the initial rounds.

From left to right, Unknown (if you know his name let me know), Nate, Sam, Liam

Eight was quickly halved to four during the semi-finals and we entered the final with four very strong competitors.  Out of the four players, Liam and Sam easily took first and second place in the first race, but Nate, who came second in his game in the semi-final, came from near enough no-where to steal first place in the second race.  His fair position in the first race, coupled with his first place win in the second shot him to the top of the overall leader board and placed him first overall.  He had finished second out of the players in every round before and after watching Liam and Sam play I thought the race was solely between them.  It just shows that in Mario Kart, anything can happen.

Congratulations on winning the LAC3 Mario Kart tournament.  It was a
close run thing and I thought two of the other guys had it.  How did you feel about the LAC3 Mario Kart tournament and your win?

The tournament was fun and I thought the final was really competitive.. The other guys had their game faces on so I knew I had to focus and keep cool all whilst having fun!

How long have you been playing Mario Kart for?

I remember when mario kart on snes came out, I was around 7/8 and my god brother got it for his 15th bday.. I wasn’t allowed to play because I was too young so I’d just sit, watch & learn! I would wait til they were out then me, my younger bro & best friend would take turns all evening, so I’ve been playing it since its release.

Is it ‘your’ game or do you dip in and out of it?

I’ve played all the kart games except the gba game & the arcade 1s. As for the rest I’ve owned them all. I’ve defo spent the most time playing the 64 game. Me & 5 others would play the whole weekend every week until perfect dark came out!

Who’s your Mario Kart character of choice?

I don’t really have a racer of choice but I guess the driver I used most is Luigi.

Do you own a Nintendo 3DS?

Yes, since the midnight launch.

So I take it you’re looking forward to Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS?

Yeah, I’m looking forward to spending the cold winter weekends playing MK7.

Thanks for your time Nate.

And with the end of the Mario Kart tournament, I moved in to the main bar area to listen to the Sounds of Nintendisco.  I hadn’t been able to catch them properly at the Japan Underground event in May so this time I wanted to make sure I did.  After a quick chat and some photo’s with the boys, and it must be said what gentlemen they are, I took a seat by the stage and head bopped as only a ninja can.  It was a pleasure to talk to them and to hear their set and I look forward to seeing them at their event on August 18th at the Switch Bar & Lounge in South Woodford .

That brought the event to a close for me.  I didn’t get many Streetpass hits, an average of 22 each day, with the most battles coming from Super Street Fighter IV 3DS which maxed out as soon as I entered the venue.  But there was gaming a plenty to be had and I learned a lot about cosplay and some sick tricks on Mario Kart.  I stepped in and out of the Neo Empire fighting games tournament room beside the bar throughout Sunday and the level of skill on display at the higher end was impressive.  For those who know DOA Rev from the Dead or Alive Dimensions Streetpass event, you know how good he is and he only made it to the last eight of the Blaz Blue tournament.

So, although small, London Anime Con is warm (not in the literal sense) and interesting event.  It’s more social than any other.  You can see the hard work and passion that goes in to the event by the organisers and I look forward to attending London Gaming Con (also by Anime League and in the same venue) in December.

A shout out to Super Jezmeralda from the Streetpass events who I think I managed to beat more than he beat me at Blaz Blue as we both battled to find the ultimate cheap shot and to Tru, the deputy operations manager who I had the pleasure to discuss just about all things technology to on Saturday night.  He got my salesman speech and demonstration of the 3DS and he knows he wants to get one.  And also thank you to Zonic as Press Co-ordinator for looking after me.

As always, fear the ninja.

SB

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  1. […] London Anime Con 30 – 31 Jul 2011 – Report (nintendoscene.com) […]

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  2. […] Gaming Con is brought to you by the organisers of London Anime Con and Al Con.  London Anime Con was a blast, and I have just as high hopes for this event.  More details to follow as their focus […]

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  3. […] all weekend taking on Mario Kart 7 challengers and trying my luck against Nate who won the the London Anime Con Mario Kart Wii tournament earlier this year.  For more details on London Gaming Con, check out their website.  Discounted […]

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