Since MCM Comic Con Manchester 2019 is nearly upon us cosplayers, freelance and professional journalists, YouTubers, the normal public etc, let’s look back at what felt like the best MCM Comic Con Manchester convention thus far (regardless of the fact, none of my favourite voice actors and voice actresses attended the convention) before I address the numerous elephants (to put it bluntly, nitpicks) in the room.
Whenever I’m planning to attend a convention, it’s hard to decide whether I want to be a cosplayer or be press (in my case, a freelance journalist/critic/writer). In fact, it’s impossible to be a cosplayer and a freelance journalist/critic/writer at once.
Upon arrival at the entrance, I made a beeline for one of the female restrooms after staying in a queue for what felt like an eternity when in reality, I remained in the line for roughly a few or so hours. First and foremost, at first the water is running correctly as usual, that is until the flow of water is suddenly reduced to nothing more than trickles until it reaches until the point where the water stopped descending from the taps completely. This proved to be rotten timing, particularly when me and the other ladies wanted to use the water for their personal needs whether if it’s applying face paint or washing their hands after doing their business. In future, the organisers need to check and make sure if the water is spilling out from the taps correctly before opening the doors to the Mancunian population.
The quality and the experiences vary from convention to convention and from person to person, depending on your mileage.
As with everything else, each convention is without its faults and the MCM Comic Con Manchester conventions is no exception.
If I have to be brutally honest, the conventions started to go downhill the instant MCM Comic Con underwent new management. I started to realise this when MCM Comic Con refused to allow the visitors to turn on their loud speakers and music equipment. Switching them on lets the cosplayers to line-dance. Please, all for the love that is good, MCM Comic Con must bring back outdoor line-dancing to bring some life back into the aforementioned conventions. Not allowing the attendees to turn on their music apparatus causes the atmosphere to be somewhat dull, drab and dare I say it? Boring. The blatant lack of line-dancing just simply drags the weekend on at a snail’s pace.
I, for one, reckon MCM Comic Con should capitalise on outdoor line-dancing, seeing as it may draw in more possible, future customers and visitors to potentially buy tickets to attend the convention in the future.
It’s disappointing the conventions are devoid of outdoor line-dancing but fortunately, I have Animeleague to thank to fill in the void in regards to their cosplay events/gatherings and conventions.
If I may so bold to point out it’s saddening when people can no longer take photos with their favourite voice actors/voice actresses free of charge without needing to take professional photographs with them. Back in 2014, I was able to have my picture taken with Hannah Spearritt (of S Club 7 fame) for free. I know it’s a long shot but MCM Comic Con needs to give people the opportunity to take photos with their favourite celebrities for free. This will allow said people to save money without feeling disappointed if they couldn’t afford to take photos/selfies with their star-studded idols.
As I stated earlier in my Spyro Reignited Trilogy review, be careful what you wish for because sometimes your wishes don’t turn out the way you wanted. Such as the case with when I requested Charles Martinet for not only MCM Comic Con Manchester but also MCM Comic Con Birmingham last year. Fast forward to now, my wish came true all right (of course, this is sarcasm) in 2019, but not the way I desired. Now I regret requesting Charles Martinet for MCM Comic Con Birmingham. I initially assumed I was able to make it since my ex-friend, Sam Bean, who is comfortable to travel with anyone, particularly me, to Birmingham but since we’ve disbanded as friends (due to the fact I felt betrayed when he’d rather go to the PlayStation concert instead of accompanying with me to MCM Comic Con London last year), now I couldn’t make my way to Birmingham. Fingers crossed Charles Martinet will make Manchester his next stop in the UK hopefully later this year.
This brings me to my next criticism. I can’t stress this enough that MCM Comic Con should try at least to invite much better, top-of-the-line, A-list voice actors and voice actresses to MCM Comic Con Manchester. For heaven’s sake, there is more to the United Kingdom than frickin’ London. Manchester shouldn’t continue to get the short end of the stick in comparison to London, Birmingham and Glasgow. I know I shouldn’t complain about my birthplace but London shouldn’t always gets the good stuff just because it’s the capital, leading to other cities are left behind in the shadows.
From now on, I’ll only request voice actors and voice actresses for MCM Comic Con Manchester and only MCM Comic Con Manchester.
From that point on, I promised to myself I won’t wish for anything ever again, video game wise, after being humungously let down by Yooka-Laylee and Spyro Reignited Trilogy.
If there’s anything I could suggest is MCM Comic Con should relocate its MCM Comic Con Manchester convention to a much larger venue in Manchester for example, Manchester Arena, (perhaps) in the future in order to house more, additional indoor shops, stalls, stages, resting spaces and what have you. That way MCM Comic Con can invite more guests/celebrities.
Most importantly, here is my wishlist for MCM Comic Con Manchester conventions in the future in no particular order: James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Tara Strong, Charles Martinet, Tom Kenny, Cristina Vee, Jess Harnell, John DiMaggio, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Tong, Mercedes Rose, Kerri Kane and Laura Faye Smith. Here are my top five voice actors and voice actresses from my wishlist for MCM Comic Con Manchester in no particular order: James Arnold Taylor, Tara Strong, Charles Martinet, Tom Kenny and Cristina Vee.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record but it isn’t fair when the celebrities that were invited to the MCM Comic Con London and MCM Comic Con Birmingham conventions, chances are they may not be invited to the MCM Comic Con Manchester conventions. For example, Jess Harnell is invited to MCM Comic Con Glasgow 2018 and Charles Martinet got invited to MCM Comic Con Birmingham 2019 while whether they’re coming to MCM Comic Con Manchester this year or in the future is still up in the air.
Not everyone can make it to MCM Comic Con conventions outside of their homecities whether if it’s due to not having the money to attend them, adult responsibilities, work, jobs and occupations, other commitments, going to educational facilities (nursery, school, primary school, high school, college or university), travelling to other non-MCM Comic Con conventions, saving up money for other conventions, cosplay events, concerts, festivals etc, parents or family relatives not letting their children to venture out of their homecities to head to far-away conventions or anxiety/mental illness reasons.
It goes without saying, moving the voice actors and voice actresses to the room where the voice actors and the voice actresses should normally be (I can’t remember the name of the room for the life of me) is a humongous improvement in contrast to MCM Comic Con Manchester 2017 where they were cramped in the same room as the stalls and mini stages which makes for a infuriatingly frustrating time, trying to travel to destinations and all the while, pushing people out of the way or squeezing through whilst saying “excuse me” or “pardon me”. This causes the room to be overcrowded than it already is or than it needs to be. I love me some indie games but for goodness sakes, no disrespect to the indie developers, they shouldn’t be given a platform whatsoever under no circumstances, must less a room. Fingers crossed it’s not the case when MCM Comic Con Manchester 2019 eventually arrives.
Another thing I’d like to add is in terms of queue criticism, even though allowing people to wait on a Sunday inside in an extremely long queue which extended as long as the eye can see is generous, the aforementioned people should’ve been given the choice to stand outside in a line in the pouring rain instead while the staff members and volunteers give their visitors free waterproof raincoats just like during MCM Comic Con Manchester 2014. This allows them to see what is ahead of them and what is at the sides of them. In other words, be aware of their surroundings. The fact people are forced to stand in line indoors, short attendees are unable to gaze ahead of them over the countless heads of the many individuals in the queue, especially if they are in a hurry to somewhere.
On that note, the way the queues are laid out in the massive room for the famous guests are, to be brutally honest, atrocious. The words, “unruly” and “unorganised”, are best to describe the lines. This resulted in the visitors confused as to which line belongs to which autograph stall/table. The staff members and the volunteers should’ve used barricades or fences (similar to the ones for the indoor queue near the reception and the entrance of the venue) to separate each of the queues in order to prevent the lines to intertwine with one another so they don’t become messy and disjointed.
As much as I enjoy attending the MCM Comic Con Manchester conventions despite the questionable ticket prices which are deemed to be highway robbery, MCM Comic Con shouldn’t host MCM Comic Con Birmingham during my birthday (24th November). Not only does it clash with my birthday (24th November), it may also clash with other non-MCM Comic Con conventions. In my opinion, it’s unfair when MCM Comic Con London and MCM Comic Con Birmingham takes place twice in a year while the conventions in the other cities such as Manchester and Glasgow only happen once a year. To make things fair, MCM Comic Con should host the conventions (per se, MCM Comic Con Manchester and other MCM Comic Con conventions excluding MCM Comic Con London and MCM Comic Con Birmingham) twice a year in all of the cities across the country. If MCM Comic Con desires to host a convention in a UK city for a second time, they should re-evaluate and revise their dates and host it on a different date.
Despite the main, major, glaring nitpicks which stick out like a sore thumb, I reckon this is the best MCM Comic Con Manchester I attended thus far. Most likely due to there are lot more well-known voice actors and voice actresses and PlayStation cosplayers more than usual, attending this convention.
In spite of the flaws, my favourite highlights from the convention are meeting the Ratchet & Clank voice actors (Nolan North and Robin Atkin Downes), taking professional photos with them and obtaining their autographs, meeting up with my friend (who cosplayed as Kiera from the Jak and Daxter series. She also cosplayed as Sly Cooper for MCM Comic Con Manchester 2016) and my friend’s mum again (who cosplayed as Big Al from the Ratchet & Clank series again). Speaking of Jak and Daxter, I stumbled upon a Jak and Daxter cosplayer by luck (it’s a coincidence this happened after the day I got mistaken for Jak and Daxter again), engaging my other friend who cosplayed as PaRappa The Rapper in a PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale-esque battle as we pointed our props at each other and Phil LaMarr (of Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends, Samurai Jack, Jak II: Renegade, Jak 3 and Jak X: Combat Racing fame) spotted me within the audience and recognised my Ratchet & Clank cosplay whilst I watched his interview which took place on one of the small stages within the main room.
Irrelevant to the main, major, negative criticism, getting mistaken for a different character is the norm at conventions which is to be expected. For example, I got mistaken for Jak and Daxter twice in MCM Comic Con Manchester 2016 and MCM Comic Con Manchester 2018 while I cosplayed as Ratchet & Clank. On the other hand, while I’m having my photo taken with a Jak and Daxter cosplayer, I heard a voice from a random guy saying, “No love for Sly Cooper?!”, behind us. The way he uttered these words, he seems to be in disbelief, considering there aren’t many Sly Cooper cosplayers in the UK and the current state the Sly Cooper series is in; just as stagnant as the Jak and Daxter series.
If there are any regrets I have aside from not plucking up the courage to ask my parents if I can travel with a friend to MCM Comic Con London 2018 to finally meet James Arnold Taylor (and meeting Jess Harnell, John DiMaggio and Rosario Dawson) due to dreading my parents reacting in a negative way (they’re prone to exploding with rage at the slightest mistake) is not taking a photo of a cosplayer dressed up as Razputin “Raz” Aquato from Psychonauts while I was waiting in the queue while I had the chance. I recall seeing the cosplayer on the left side of me even as I moved along in the line. I feared if I stood still to take a photo of him/her, I’ll lose my spot in the queue. If I move while I attempt to take a snapshot, the photo will become blurry when it’s produced. A Psychonauts cosplayer is something you don’t see everyday at any convention. This is the Johnny Bravo cosplayer from MCM Comic Con Manchester 2017 all over again as I make the same error.
My experience may have been a bit dampened by the fact my favourite voice actors and actresses didn’t show up which I can’t stress this enough, there is a plumbing problem in one of the restrooms and the prices are a little left to be desired, seeing and meeting new cosplayers and bumping into my friends makes up for the glaring, unforgivable issues.
Since I spent the majority of my money on the professional photo-ops/photoshoots and autographs, I didn’t have much money left to purchase merchandise from the stalls. This means there is little in the way of describing about my opinions in regards to the stalls. The only thing I bought is a Shantae postcard. Concerning the prices, they differ from each other, depending on what you bought. Though, the food, professional photoshoots, autographs and merchandise from the stalls are expensive for what they are. The same can be said for the convention tickets themselves, seeing as the prices for the tickets tend to increase with each passing year. This is why not everybody is made out of money and why we can’t literally afford to go to every convention that’s out there. For instance, I skipped Animeleague Manchester Anime and Gaming Con in favour of Play Expo Manchester since it’s much larger and the atmosphere is better in comparison. Furthermore, Play Expo Manchester normally contains a superior guest line-up (this is not the case with Play Expo Manchester 2019 unfortunately but that’s perhaps a review for another time) than Manchester Anime and Gaming Con. Not only do you have to keep an eye on your budget just in case you don’t overspend, you also need to save money for lunch, dinner (if you’re intending to eat at restaurants, pubs, cafes etc instead of going home for dinner), public transport (bus, tram, train, taxi etc) and sleeping at a hotel.
Whether the upcoming MCM Comic Con Manchester 2019 can top the previous convention is still up in the air and the guest/celebrity list for MCM Comic Con Manchester 2019 will determine whether it will surpass the previous convention or be considered to be a yet another downgrade. But I won’t hold my breath. Only time will tell.