Cosplay is the first thing that comes to mind whenever you think of an event like this, and this year was no disappointment. With every year going by, trends come and go, so if you're in a generic Akatski cloak, dressed as Fin or if you're really basic, and order a Pikachu onsie, don't worry. You will still find you're place... along side the rest of the people in the exact same thing.
This year I was so close to not going in cosplay. What a big mistake that would have been. Cosplay is never necessary but you do feel more part of the community and fandom if you are. Especially if you plan on doing any after partying. I went as Mario from Mario Odyssey. I had the Mario Odyssey hat as a pre-order bonus when the game came out and I had the rest of it from a previous night out. I decided "why not" and sharpied in a mustache and I was all set. The cosplay was great this year, I saw a massive life size Lex Luther who made a whole robotic suit. Out of foam I'm guessing. My Hero Academia was the trend alert this year but by no means was that a bad thing. Seeing such a new anime recognized as this generations Naruto or Bleach really excites me and I hope anime and cosplay continue to go in this direction. Its progression for the many diverse characters the show boasts and people have so many options to cosplay from just one single anime. I mean as diverse as an anime can be.
Apart from the obvious things to do there like buy merch and eat food and take pictures and buy more merch, there are loads of stages to see a multitude of things. The Pop Asia stage still remains one of my favorites. Its a stage where anyone can book a slot and perform anything they want! This then turns into a nerdy Britain's Got Talent and shows off as many comedy acts as there are some unintentionally hilarious acts. Singing, dancing and any entertainment in general is allowed and at points had me in stitches then at other points had me screaming "YAAAAS BITCH! WERRRRK!" and even in awe of some of the talent all these like minded people had to share.
How ever the panel shows are something I will push myself to go to next time. Voice actors, real actors, Directors and producers make up this panel of stars who come to talk about their new film or TV show. Panels don't interest me as much as I'm a do-er more than a see-er, but its worth a shot and this just goes to show, there is never nothing to do here.
There a lot of games companies also there, promoting their games, having competitions, all the usual stuff. Nintendo wasn't any different either showcasing Mario Tennis Aces, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze and the Splatoon 2 Octo expansion. Me dressed up as Mario happened to be passing the big Nintendo booth when I hear from the stage a cry for volunteers. I shot my hands up faster than getting a mushroom on a boost in 200cc. I was chosen because I assume I was dressed as Mario. I was then joined by 3 other people picked from the audience who were also in cosplay.
We then were told we are in a tournament now and will be playing rounds of different games to show who was the best at Nintendo games. We then proceeded to play Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze which I am terrible at. I came second and stayed into the next round which for some reason was FIFA. Nerds haven't come from all across the country to Comiccon to watch me play FIFA! But I sucked it up and gave it my best shot. I ended up winning and the final round was Donkey Kong Jungle Beat on the Gamecube which I have also never played. My luck finally ran out and I didn't win the finale but I did get a consolation prize of some stickers, lanyards a poster and some other free Nintendo goodies. 2 Donkey Kong games and FIFA is not what I had in mind for a Nintendo themed tournament, but it just goes to show if you're in cosplay, you get more opportunities.
If you want to make the most of Comiccon and you have a whole weekend ticket you may want to schedule what you want to do on different days as the crowd continues to get bigger and bigger each year, with the most of them being there on the Saturday. Friday is when I pig out and eat loads of food as during the first day, kids are at school, no stall have deplenished their stock and by the end I get sick of the food anyways. The line to play games is a lot shorter too and getting in line to play anything once the official weekend has started can take up way too much time. I like to spend Saturday chilling, maybe not buying as much, making friends and generally taking it easy for the day. Sunday you are going to be so tired. You would have walked around and seen what is on offer merch wise. You will have remembered what you want to buy and have compared prices of places so you can finally go in for the kill now. If you really are a bargain hunter you can wait till the last hour or so to buy things as many places will have sales and special offers as usually stores have a limited stock they need to get rid of. Many people opt to go for only a day, some people get a hotel and do the whole weekend and some people are lucky and live in London and can commute and do all 3 days. I have done all of these things and this year was the first time I did the hotel. Me and some mates stayed in the very fancy Novatel, straight across from the Excel Center. It was comforting to have the option to go and chill out in the hotel, whether it be because I need a rest, need to use a clean toilet with no line (which actually saved me time to use than the Comiccon one) or just needed some space. After knowing what its like to have one, I don't think I can go back now. Prices can be costly and I may not get a hotel every time, but It sure helped, to have a comfy bed to sleep in right next to the event to save us a lot of time and get more out of Comiccon.
Final part of Comiccon and arguably the best part, is the night. The hotel becomes packed with the Comiccon crow and just normal guests of the hotel. This is more for the people that like to get fancy drunk and don't do too much moving. A nice place to relax if you've got the money for expensive drinks, but I spent most of my time out of the hotel, only returning every now and then for the loo again. The field outside is occupied mostly by the people who cant be tamed. Crazy rebellious cosplayers drinking, with glass on the floor everywhere and a few funny smells in the air, this is the place for people who don't want to stay in the hotel and be classy but don't want the restrains of a bar/pub and want to play their own music and reenact your favorite fight scenes, even if that can be a bit too much for some people. It was for me, but I don't judge. Each to their own. There is the official Comiccon party that takes place back in the Excel that starts at 8 and finishes at 12 if I remember correctly. I have only had bad experiences from going to the official party. You have to fork out another 15 - 20 pounds on another ticket and pay extremely expensive prices for drinks on a dance floor which is carpet and with the majority of people standing on the outskirts of the room speculating... Needless to say I didn't go this year. After a few years my friends and I have finally cracked the code and now go to The Fox. A pub that has a dance floor and becomes more of a bar with loads of your pumping anime and gaming themed bangers with normal music in between to suit all and every audience. Most people are in cosplay or just generally look very weird. At one point a man with a huge sousaphone wrapped around him was dancing around trumping to the beat while Batman was break dancing as a No Face from Spirited away was casually buying a drink from the bar. The amount of people in hear does make the place sweaty at times but the outside smoking area is just as lively with another bar to buy drinks from.