In London, we’re lucky to have several events throughout the year catering to anime and gaming fans, such as Hyper Japan and Eurogamer Expo, with the London Anime Gaming Con, run by AnimeLeague also providing an event for those fans, albeit on a smaller scale compared to the larger events. This is my first time going to this convention even though I have been to other events like Eurogamer several times already. The convention is hosted at The Rocket Complex in Holloway Road, London; which during a standard weekday is part of the London Metropolitan University. However this convention is restricted only to 18+ meaning kids won’t be able to enter though I’m sure some sneak in.
The first thing that caught my attention when I arrived to the convention is the size of it. Compared to Hyper Japan /Eurogamer it’s a lot smaller, however don’t let size catch you off guard. The convention is very organized by separating each section to different areas of the building to ensure they don’t clash with each other. The convention is split between 2 floors and an outside area which allows people to relax and take a breather from all the excitement.
Upstairs was the main stage as well as the stalls where attendees can buy figures/games/artwork and many more. At the beginning of the event, this section was very crowded making it difficult just to navigate around which I am not surprised about as people want to grab the good stuff before others. Most of the offers in the events were reasonably priced however some can be a bit too expensive in my opinion. Example would be classic RPG games from PS2 era (Persona 3) which was selling for £30 which was too expensive. You can buy the same game on ebay much cheaper. Artwork there was very impressive, CAnime was there with new canvas work which usually attracts the crowds at MCM London Expo. Their artwork is also at a reasonable price which gives buyers the chance to purchase one canvas of their liking.
The main stage had many performances during the whole day. Ranging from guest speakers from Indie Game companies to Fashion show. There is also chance for people to show off their skills by dubbing anime during “Dub That Anime” where people vote for their favourite dubs. These dubs are completely random and doesn’t follow the script so creativity is the key factor to winning as well as a good voice.
Downstairs had another side stage where guest speakers would give advice to people about japanese culture such as music/cosplay etc. Late in the evening bands would play to entertain the crowd which was one of the highlights for me during the convention. Just near the side stage is a big bar when people can order drinks from soft drinks to alcohol; one nice gesture was free water was also provided for those who doesn’t want to drink. It was very warm inside so the water helped a lot of people.
The gaming area was split into three sections; Card Games, Indie Games and Console/PC gaming. The card game I saw was mostly Yu-Gi-Oh where tournaments were held for people to win prizes. However I didn’t stay that long in that area as it wasn’t something I was that interested in. Inside the same room was classic games where people can play against each other, this ranged from Street Fighter on the SNES to Doom on the PC. However due to the amount of consoles and PCs in this room, the heat generated caused the room to be a sauna which was quite unbearable after a while for me.
The Indie room consist of new games created by Indie developers which was nice to see. Their games was developed mostly for PC at the current moment however I believe they would be able to port them to console if they wanted to. Most games I saw there was co-op games where people can team up together to beat the game. However most of the games are still in development and will be out soon.
Last of all is the Console/PC gaming section where the most popular games were all together. Console games were mostly fighting games (Blazblue, Dead or Alive 5, Tekken, Halo) where tournaments were held to see who is the champion of this year’s event with amazing prizes for the winners. PC games however was mostly League of Legends where people were given the chance to play 1 on 1 with people at the event. A tournament was also held for this game with good prizes to the winner.
With every convention, a special guest is always there. This year it was Maggie Blue O’Hara, the amazing voice actor of Bulma from Dragonball Z. We managed to meet up with her at the convention and have a quick chat. Unlike most voice actors I met, she was very relaxed, calm and casual which was surprising. This was probably the highlight of the event for me to see someone well known to attend the convention to greet her fans.
Overall, The event was interesting to attend. Unlike other convention, this one was more relaxed and casual compared to the others which is a positive aspect. Addition to this the event was only 18+ as well which was nice however people who are younger than this will miss out this is a negative fact. The games were good from the Indie developers however the event lacked new games to display to the public and focused too much on existing games. I hope they expand the number of guests they bring to the convention as well even though they had Maggie, it wouldn’t hurt to have one more to attend.