It’s time for that post-convention blog post again!

Yesterday (Saturday 18th March 2017), I went to MCM Birmingham – a popular culture convention that takes place twice a year at the UK’s National Exhibition Centre – with my university’s Anime Society. As always with conventions, it was an early start, waking up at 4AM to be able to do cosplay, makeup and essential wig adjusting to become Danganronpa‘s Toko Fukawa. I had previously packed my bag full of tasty goodies and some just-in-case essentials the night before, so once my cosplay was done, I was able to go out of the door and go over to help my friends with their cosplay. More hair adjustments made, we were all done and we headed down to the meeting point where we saw everyone else’s amazing and creative cosplays: Alice Margatroid, Yang Xiao Long, several JoJo characters, the car from Initial D and Haikyuu!’s Kei Tsukishima were just a couple of stand-out ones for me, personally.
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Instagram-ready pose on the journey there… ^^”

The coach journey wasn’t as tedious as previous journeys. I was surprisingly quite awake for the entire journey, taking part in conversations about Danganronpa V3, music and trying to guess what cosplays we’d see at the convention itself. Different to previous trips, however, we made a stop-off at a motorway services, enabling us to get some food and drink if we needed it. I grabbed a coffee from the Costa there and it was quite an experience being the only one in line in cosplay and it’s safe to say I got a few looks from the group of middle-aged people in front of me! If I wasn’t already wide awake before, I was certainly buzzing by now, and even if it was slightly out of character– I wasn’t at the convention just yet, so it was fine!

Finally arriving at the convention, we walked through the grounds of the NEC. This was where I actually realised how big the place was. Sure, the halls are massive and it takes ages to get to where you want to be, particularly using the skywalk in my opinion, but walking through the grounds actually made me realise how big the place was somehow. It was a nice day, if not a little windy, so it was perfect for a day of cosplay, even if my friend as the Initial D car had some trouble ‘drifting’ past slow-walkers! We managed to find the hall quite easily this time around and we didn’t spend too long in the queues either – it was all quite a quick process!

The layout of the actual convention seemed to be a little awkward. Rather than one big square layout, the layout was more like a Tetris block of some kind, making it awkward to actually plan our route around the convention. Instead of actually planning something, we just dived right in and began walking around the stalls in the first hall, which was dominated by a massive Minion inflatable. In here, we found various different figure stalls which we spent a lot of time at throughout the convention, as well as stalls selling manga, something which I initially said I was going to buy but forgot to and didn’t realise until I got back home. Oops. We continued walking around the convention, making our way into the second hall, which was filled mostly by the Comic Village, the Theatre and where the autograph signings and photo sessions took place.

Whilst walking around the second hall, we stumbled across an artist’s stall that caught my attention with them saying “We have a print of your character!”. Of course, I immediately strolled over and saw an incredible print of Toko, which I ended up purchasing, along with a commission of Kanna from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, which I can’t wait to receive in the post! The stall was that of Blue-Fayt and I’ll leave their details at the bottom of the post. You should definitely check out their work, though, as it’s amazing!

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Most of those involved at the Danganronpa meetup!

We continued walking around the convention for a bit, simply wasting a little bit of time before a Danganronpa meet-up took place. Again, this was something we didn’t find out about until the convention itself – thank you to those dressed as Ibuki, Sayaka and Sonia for letting us know about it! The meetup was so nice! Everyone there was lovely and I never thought I could play charades for an hour or so until yesterday! The charades game itself was interesting: try to convey a Danganronpa character by acting out each death and execution, or by summing up a character in one word that CAN’T be related to the character’s Ultimate. It’s harder than you think! Fan meetups are always fun and this was such a highlight for me.

It became a case of highlight-after-highlight for me personally, as after the meetup I went to dash towards the section where autographs were being signed and went to find the one and only Vic Mignogna (Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, Free!) to get a couple of autographs from him – one for myself and one for a friend who was unable to attend the convention. I arrived to see no sign of Vic, to which the MCM staff member told me that he was coming back at 2. A quick look on my phone suggested a 15-20 minute wait, a length I was willing to go through, considering the queues for the other guests being super long – I wasn’t going to throw away being second in line to be stuck at the back of a queue! I got talking to a girl called Evie about Vic’s works and how we got into anime, cosplay and various other things, which was quite nice to do whilst waiting. 2PM came and Vic arrived shortly after. He’s such a lovely guy; he was so kind, asking about my friend who couldn’t attend the convention, and agreed to have a photo taken with me as well. Definitely a down-to-earth guy who I’m super glad to have had the opportunity to meet!

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Really blurry, but it’s me with Vic Mignogna!

Having lost the other people in my group, I spent a while walking around the entire convention by myself for a little bit, searching for them before I found them at a figure stall again. Where else, ay? We walked around a few more stalls again, where I purchased my own figure – my favourite volleyball player, Koshi Sugawara. This is my most expensive purchase from a convention, but it’s going to look great on my shelves in my accommodation next year, so it’s worth every penny. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, Mr Blobby… From here, I could also watch those taking part in the Silver Sabres’ LED Sabre Combat Academy, which looked quite fun, but I’d probably take someone out if I had a go, so it wasn’t worth investigating properly.

Not only that, but it was getting closer to the end of the day and many of us still had some shopping to do! I took a friend around the Comic Village again to look at various pieces of art, ended up picking a t-shirt which had a K-Pop graphic on, before going around the Main Hall again to discover we’d left some stalls out. A quick look at these meant that friends could have had some really good bargains, however it was soon to be the end of the day and we didn’t know where they were, nor could we get in touch with them due to people not looking at phones or not being able to connect to the NEC’s free WiFi. We also took a sneak peak into the Theatre during the Cosplay Masquerade to see some Love Live! cosplayers dancing. Admittedly, it was the music that attracted me to take a look in the first place, but the act were really good, so it was worth having a quick little look.

 

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A quick selfie with a Junko!

Meeting everyone at the gigantic Minion, a landmark we’d set as a meeting point, we made our way outside of the Hall to meet the rest of the Society again to get back on the coach. Whilst waiting for everyone, I managed to get talking to a Junko cosplayer and take a couple of photos with her, which was really sweet. I ended up talking to her friends as well, but the conversation wasn’t to last as we had rounded everyone together and were setting off. It was a shame, though – to come down to Birmingham from Aberdeen in one guy’s case was remarkable to hear about!

The coach journey was, once again, different to previous experiences. Unable to get comfy to at least have a nap, the most I could do was rest my eyes, despite being exhausted from the entire day. Similar to on the way down, we stopped off at a motorway services to grab some food; a green tea latte from Starbucks, cookies from Subway and a banana milkshake from McDonald’s, I was good to go. (I also had some food left over from lunch in my bag still…) We arrived back in Hull just after 9PM and it was great to see the familiar sight of student accommodation – it meant I could sleep and rest.

 

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The most expensive Convention Haul I’ve had, but I love it all ❤
As tiring as the day was, it was incredible and I can’t wait to hopefully do it all again soon! My next con will hopefully be Yorkshire Cosplay Con in Sheffield on the 3rd June and there’s a possibility of me going to Hull Comic Con on 6th August with Castleford Comic Con on 22nd July being absolutely certain. I have my next cosplays planned, even for my next MCM trip which is hopefully going to be November’s Birmingham convention, so stay tuned for future blog posts about them.

Until next time!

 
– Amelia xo

Blue-Fayt A&D
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