A few months ago, I went to YALC and the LFACC and decided to blog about it! I said in that post that con wise, I usually prefer MCM. So since I went this October, I decided to do another blog post.
This is a convention that I’ve been attending for years. I’ve been going since they were only in a small hall, and other events were on simultaneously. Now it takes up the whole building. The London events are every May and October, and they hold similar events in Birmingham as well. Though I’ve never been to that one. These are massive conventions with guests from TV, film, video games, comics and anime/manga. However, a lot of the merch and artists do tend to be more anime-focused. So if that’s not something you’re into, you won’t find as much. But you’ll definitely still find things. I mean, there was a Dracula-themed alcohol stall this time. This is a big event, so hopefully, there should be something for you.
The Event Itself
If you went in May 2022 and were disappointed, I have heard they kind of flopped with that one. We didn’t go, so I don’t know, but it seems like it might have been a slow start. October, however, was jam-packed with some well-known guests and so many stalls. I didn’t go to any signings or panels, so I don’t know what that was like. But I’ve finally worked out the way to best use my time! Ha. But I’ll go into that a bit later.
Now, if you’re on this blog, you’re probably a bookish person. And you might be wondering what this event is like on the book side, as it doesn’t have anything like YALC. You won’t find many publishers here. There was a stall I found for Penguin with Del Rey books on. I bought one of the newer Star Wars ones I’ve been after. And there’s also a Forbidden Planet stand with plenty of fantasy and sci-fi books. With Forbidden Planet, you’ll also find authors doing signings – who will be announced beforehand – and some bookish panels. Sadly the authors I was interested in were either on Friday or Sunday, but they can definitely be worth it. I met Susan Dennard there a few years ago, and it was great.
Since this event is massive, I’d recommend starting in the Artist’s Alley. There are still some normal shop stalls and people selling food or snacks, but it’s mostly artists selling their work. This is where I like to spend most of my time and money. It’s always great to support a small business, and it’s wonderful seeing what’s out there. It will mostly be things like prints and charms, but there were things like plush toys, amigurumi, clothes and bags on sale too. Plus plenty of other things too. I’ll list my haul below, but you know I bought most of my stuff from the artists.
If you can’t afford something, there are usually business cards or QR codes you can scan to find them online so you can buy them later.
For cosplayers and people wanting to meet fans of something you love, there are often cosplay meet-ups outside. I joined in the Ensemble Stars one for a bit before I ran away awkwardly, as I’m not good at being social and wasn’t in cosplay. But it was wonderful to talk to fans of something I love for a bit. So I do recommend keeping an eye out for that sort of thing. And a few years ago, I was cosplaying Kairi and was invited to a Kingdom Hearts one at the event, but I got outside too late and lost them. So keep an eye on the time if you do want to join one.
An issue I had with the LFACC that I didn’t really talk about in my last post was food. There weren’t too many options, there were signs saying you shouldn’t really eat inside, and it felt like a mess. At MCM, there are dedicated food sections with seating and floor space on both sides. Plus, there are Costa and other permanent stores in the middle. So though the queues can still get a little big, there are plenty of options.
Now it’s time for me to get into my haul!
I feel like I should have pictures, but lighting isn’t my friend today, so ah well. I also won’t have the names of all the artists I bought stuff from. I couldn’t always see them, and though I got business cards where I could, it wasn’t always an option. I’ll split this into sections, so if you’re not interested, you can move on to the next.
- Star Wars – The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis
- Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young (signed)
Only two novels here but I’m excited about both. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t actually been planning on buying any books like this and it means that my owned TBR is now back up to 100. Which, ah well, but when I saw these I had to get them.
What I usually get book-wise at Expo are manga, fan books and art books.
I’ll be honest, I was actually a little disappointed manga-wise this time. In the past, we used to get stalls selling a variety of different publishers and genres. I’d picked up some hidden gems I’d never seen before. But now it was like Viz, this random other stall and Forbidden Planet. And guess what? It was predominantly shonen. Sigh. This meant that I only picked up one manga book. It was a shonen but a series I’ve been curious about so we’ll see how it goes!
When it comes to other books, I did pick up two fan books. There was an art book I wanted as well but it’s on my birthday and Christmas list so I left it before. But seeing an – admittedly very small – section dedicated to bishonen which translates to pretty boy books made me very happy.
This is what I got:
- Blue Lock volume 1 by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yusuke Nomura
- Cute High Earth Defense Club Love official fan book
- Idolish 7 official fan book 1
Anime Goods and Fan Merch
This is obviously what I expect so spend most of my money on. And no surprise, I did. I got more blind boxes than usual as it was the one opportunity I had to get a lot of the gacha game boy stuff that I wanted. There was no Ensemble Stars merch that I could find, but honestly? I expected that. At least one blind box would’ve been nice but it is what it is.
For other artist merch, I’ll list who did it where I can, but I can’t promise that for everyone.
- Kokichi Ouma Trial Standee by Harpys (they do these for all three main games with a couple of bonus from UDG and the anime)
- Nagito charm by alienclaudia
- Diluc pop socket by alienclaudia
- Puppy Bakugou chasing standee by Spirutts
- Crona sticker by Spirutts
- Elf bookmark by Luisa Draws
- Fantasy Bakugou print by C Wilock
- Fantasy Bakugou charm by unknown #1
- Ryuji Sakamoto sticker by unknown #1
- Stitch winter hat by Gillesbone
- Don’t listen long-sleeved top by Darling Despair (you can also find their stuff stocked in some HMVs)
- Dango necklace by The Jewellery Patisserie
- Dorian Storm charm by unknown #2
I’d obviously recommend buying from all these stores. I’ll also quickly list the other bits and pieces I got as why not share the whole haul?
- Mimi Tachikawa mochimochi plush
- Ryou Shirogane can badge
- Tenma Sumergai can badge
- Chihiro Fujisaki rubber strap
- BNHA x Sanrio blind box can badges (Bakugou and Aizawa)
- Twisted Wonderland blind box pouch (Azul)
- Twisted Wonderland blind box clip (Riddle)
- Touken Ranbu blind box mochimochi plush (Yamanbagiri Kunihiro)
- Touken Ranbu blind box rubber strap (Tsurumaru Kuninaga)
- Idolish7 squishy rubber head charm (Iori)
- Idolmaster Side M blind box mochimochi head charm (Ryo)
And that’s everything! I spent too much money but it was money that I’d put aside over time. I’d recommend saving for events like this as soon as you know you’re going and limiting yourself to that. It’s what I did with this lot. That way you can spend a lot, but you’ll still have money for the things you need outside of the con.
I definitely think that MCM is a great con. I know there were issues with some people’s tickets not arriving, but if you get in early enough, even that queue isn’t too bad. Priority tickets are a great idea as it means you’re in the con before it gets too packed. I had a great time and it’s a con that I’ll always recommend going to.
There’s so much here that if you book weekend tickets, you probably could spend a lot of time there. There are games you can queue to try, workshops and panels. If you’re doing a cosplay meet, you don’t have to worry about missing out on things inside etc. I still wouldn’t want to do that personally. I’d only wind up spending one day there, so it’s not worth it for me. But there’s definitely more to do compared to YALC or LFACC.
Did any of you guys go to this or plan on going to the Birmingham event later this year? Let me know!