Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Memories of LAC

The London Anime Convention, organized by the animeleague was held over the weekend in the Rocket Complex at London Met University. Most if not all conventions were originally started by fans of the relevant subculture, and this was very obviously a fan-run operation, read: amateur. In ten years, when they have plenty of experience, when they've moved to the ExCel Centre and have corporate interests from around the world participating, people will look back on these simpler times and sigh longingly. But not me so much - I was lost in a perpetual state of confusion, partly because I had never been to a convention such as this before, and also I felt a little out of place with my suit jacket and briefcase.

More after the jump...

Perhaps my views of the event are colored by the ticketing fiasco we were caught up in - after dithering over whether or not to get tickets while trying to find out from people if they were interested in attending or not, tickets for one day of the event ran out, a possibly which none of us were aware existed not having been referenced on their website. Even aside from that, the payment options lacked convenience and seemed a little shady. The e-mails they sent out on the subject were listed with conflicting dates and information. Despite this sloppiness, when we arrived at the venue we were turned away for a lack of photo ID - you needed to be 18 or over to enter, but it's clear (at least I hope so) that we were over. This pedantic attitude towards entry was not helped by the fact it was a gonk behind the counter denying us access.

We eventually got in Saturday night around 9pm and were confronted by the scene on the left. I didn't quite catch what group these dancing girls were from, perhaps an offshoot of AKB48? Anyway, an inauspicious start considering the presumed nature of the crowd. Despite the dancers and a band and pumping bass music, the bar area was pretty empty and devoid of energy, and I wasn't about to jump in and add some. It seems that most of the attendees had gone home by that point and all that was left were the die-hards (including some gamers giving off a stereotypical smell) and some pretty girls dragged along by their boyfriends.We eventually settled for standing out the back to drink and smoke agreeing that we'd have to be back earlier tomorrow.

The next day, we discovered the area upstairs with the main stage, stalls, artists, all of it. We browsed around a little bit but I wasn't in a buying mood. Maybe next time, I'll be more prepared - I really wasn't sure what to expect on this occasion. On stage, the timing appeared to be all messed up. The MCs took to throwing a rubber duck into the crowd to pass the time, which I'm sure was a lot of fun for them, but not so much for the proprietors of the origami stall which seemed to get thrown at a lot! At length, the cosplay masquerade started. I was unfamiliar with most of the characters, but there was a Reno & Elena sighting... except they were walking out and doing their bit to Eyes On Me. No, no, no, no, no! You fail Final Fantasy forever. The winners (I didn't realize it was a competition, that's how well this event was run) were a pair dressed up as characters from Angel Sanctuary, though I probably would have gone with Zuko and friends. Well after that, not a lot really happened. We just walked around taking in the sights and sounds, knowing that next time it'll be a lot better for us now that we've been initiated. And there will be a next time, and it will involve costumes.

Naturally, the most bizarre thing I saw all weekend had nothing to do with LAC - at least it did only in the respect that we were on the way home from London Met when we saw it. It was on the bus, on a packed upper deck and to the front of us was an honest to god pimp wearing a top pimp hat, a brown suede pimp coat and screaming down his pimp phone to a woman of indeterminate identity about how he had a mental disorder and was on medication. Not enough, by the looks of things!

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