Pandora: London Comic Con May 2013

All my costumes had been completed way in adavnce of the event, and I’d packed for contingencies. I even had an umbrella that went with my Saturday costume! And for once my girlfriend didn’t have an awkward, fragile costume that needed protecting until the Masquerade! (Love you really!)
And the heavens opened! The torrential downpour was a nightmare to travel in and we were trying a new hotel this year, the Premier Inn on the East side of Excel, so that was a bit of a trek. But as it was mostly though the centre itself, we stayed fairly dry, and got to see a preview of costumes and things on the way. We also discovered a lot more of our friends were in the same hotel (including fellow Just Cosplay bloggers!)
Friday was our lazy cosplay day, so after changing into Ryoji Kaji and Asuka Langley Soryu, we hit the dealers hall. As ever, there wasn’t much I was interested in buying (I mostly get t-shirts and comics from Comic Village at Expo), but there seemed a lot more choice this year. Not just the same figurines and DVDs. We also met up with a few friends, and had a mini Just Cosplay breifing for the show. Our second surprise was finding out the manager of the Premier Inn had organised a cosplay contest for the guests. With a Sunday evening meal as the prize!
Suddenly summer! What a change 24 hours make. With the near tropical weather I was incredibly glad I’d packed sunblock, and had a costume with a short skirt, and a loose-fitting top! This was the debut of my hentai schoolgirl costume (complete with the tentacles I’ve been writing about!) Saturday was another day of wandering, but we also met up with more friends, and chatted to people we knew in Comic Village (where the charming Timothy Winchester quizzed us on expo gossip, and gave us some stickers).
Saturday was also the first time I’d watched a Eurocosplay qualifier, and we were here to cheer on fellow Just Cosplay blogger Luna with her awesome Sona costume (from League of Legends). There were some amazing costumes, and a few that weren’t too far out of my skill range – maybe I will be able to enter one day! The chosen UK finalist wasn’t who I expected, but good luck to her in October. Get us a win this year! I also got hijacked to help a guy in a giant robot suit get back into his costume for the judging! After that we went back to the hotel for an evening of drunken craziness (well… sober craziness on my part, but some expo-goers had a few drinkies).
Sunday was another warm sunny day, but we decided to have a bit of a lie-in this time. No waiting in line at the crack of dawn for us. We took it easy for most of the day, loafing around on the Excel steps enjoying the weather and an icecream, and meeting up with more friends (and I fulfilled my promise of doing a little cheerleading performance for a friend, complete with pom poms!) We did a little bit of final shopping, and watched the Primeval panel (which was a lot more entertaining than expected!), before the Sunday Masquerade. Again, lots of great costumes, and a few fun skits – including the Eevee evolutions singing Consider Yourself to the newest addition (Avenue Q style!) After that it was back to the hotel bar for a lazy wind-down to the weekend before travelling home on the Monday Morning.
The London expo continues to grow at a crazy pace (over 70,000 advance tickets alone sold this year), but it didn’t feel as crowded as October. Maybe the good weather, and a spare hall kept people spread out. Or maybe the layout was better – it certainly seemed like there were less bottlenecks (except after the Merlin panel!) It was also nice to see more variety in the stalls, and Comic Village seemed bigger. From a cosplay standpoint, there didn’t seem to be an overdone costume this year. From online chatter I was expecting a million Booker De Witt’s, but I only saw a few. And even if Homestuck and League of Legends are popular, there are enough different costumes that no particular costume seems outweighed. I wonder what October 2013 will bring? There’s certainly a few rumours and speculations surfacing. Watch this space!

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