On the 30th July, MCM Expo came to Manchester for the first time, bringing the cosplay, anime, manga and videogame show to the North West. As it is the first time that MCM has been to Manchester, nobody really knew what to expect.
The venue, Manchester Central
First, the venue was a lot smaller than it's Southern counterpart. Taking up about a third of the Manchester Central venue, it was quite tight. There was a lot to see though, considering the size. First and foremost, the cosplayers. Arguably the highlight of the day, there were so many amazing costumes. From Team Fortress 2, to the Legend of Zelda, to Naruto. They were just a very small fraction of the costumes there. There were amazing, hand crafted outfits, to professional quality ones, and they all looked amazing. My personal favorite was a John Marston. The outfit was completely perfect, down to the dust on the bottom of the legs, and the scars on the face. The guy had even shaved the area where John Marston has scars. It was pure dedication and looked awesome.
The force is strong at MCM
The stalls were weird and wonderful, stocking merchandise for all wallet sizes. There were hats, posters, shirts, figures, props, books, comics and DVDs, to name a few. Some of the items were a bit pricey, but walk to the next stall and you could find things equally as good for half the price. Shopping around is always a great idea, as is waiting to the end of the day, when some stalls will lower the prices to clear the stock.
The Assassins came in droves
Alongside the stalls, there were videogames, live shows and celebrity talks and Q&As. Nintendo Unleashed were there, allowing the public to go hands-on with Super Mario 3D and Mario Kart 3D. It was a great opportunity to try out the games, and the queues were not too big, giving everyone a good chance to play. The Nintendo reps were also conducting surveys, and upon completion were giving out Zelda keyrings. Some people were also given Ocarinas, very similar to the ones in the legendary Ocarina of Time. Luckily, I knew the answer to the secret question and was rewarded with one. The one problem with the Nintendo booth was that it wasn't very clear that it was there. No big Nintendo sign, just a small pillar with four 3DS consoles. I actually missed it the first time around, and luckily caught it as I made my way around for the second time. Next to the Nintendo booth were a few Xbox 360s, set up with Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon. This area was busy all day as the gamers jumped at the opportunity to play these new games.
The Twilight Princess Wolf
One of the bigger events was a small Robot Wars arena, giving a small demonstration of what happens at the bigger, nationwide tour. It consisted of 3 rounds, with the light, medium and heavyweight robots taking it in turns to brawl. I didn't think I was too bothered, but it was surprisingly entertaining, as robots literally ripped parts off the others. The medium sized robots flipped each other 6 foot into the air, and the heavyweight ones had amazingly strong punches. One of them, Mantis, had his face punched straight off. If that's not entertainment, I don't know what is.
The Engineer and Scout from Team Fortress 2
There were a few celebrities of the nerd world at the show, making many fans very happy. Signing photos, having photos taken and answering questions were Craig Charles (Red Dwarf), Kenny Baker (Star Wars) and Warwick Davis (Harry Potter). For the children, there was Anjli Mohindra (Sarah Jane Adventures). It was a great opportunity to meet the stars, although some of the photographs for signing were ridiculously overpriced.
Overall, it was a great day. The cosplay was fantastic, there were so many freebies, the stalls were packed with so much merchandise, and it was awesome to see the celebrities in the flesh. The main complaint was the size of the venue, which can easily be fixed for next time, as only a small section of Manchester Central was used. Perhaps MCM didn't expect such a huge turnout, which surely implies that to bring it back next year is a no brainer. We can only hope. Until then, we have MCM London, in October and May, and Birmingham in November. See you there!
Manchester was transformed into Wonderland
M. Bison and Chun Li
Some of the outfits were amazingly detailed
Images provided by Tony Curtis Ziemiański
Images provided by Tony Curtis Ziemiański