Monday, 13 March 2023

MCM London October 2022 Review

As winter draws to a close and the con season is starting to approach the end, we once again find ourselves attending the largest and most anticipated con of the year, MCM London October 2022. With 100,000 expected attendees, stars from all corners of pop culture making guest appearances, new stalls, artists, attractions and of course cosplayers! With the first 2023 MCM show approaching we reflect on October 2022. Did the show live up to the ever rising ticket prices? We’re gonna discuss some of our experiences from the weekend to help to answer this question. My thoughts are below along with input from Rebel in the Chaos who is our Editor and Letsgetreadytorinba who is our writer Erin.

Organisation and Security

Upon arrival at the ExCel centre you are directed towards the sidewalk entrance leading up to the main entrance hall where the different queues are located to pick up passes. Interestingly, unlike previous years, the inclusion of separate queues for disabled attendees and families with small children were available, a feature we thought was a really positive change! We also noticed that these accessibility entrances also extended to the front entrance where normally attendees are funnelled through the chokepoint that are those front doors. A separate entrance was provided for those with disabilities as well as creator and press pass holders, just to the left of the main doors. 

The Wong Cosplay: In my experience I found the layout this time around to be much better. Some of the more major vendors and stalls were located in easy to find locations towards the front of the main halls and were clearly labelled on the map. When a disaster occurred with one of my props, I was able to find the cosplay central area, which was this time actually central to the North hall, and make a fix to my prop. The show floor this time also felt more full compared to previous cons post pandemic, which has its obvious ups and downs, but for me added to the experience as it feels that more vendors and artists were present. 

Rebel in the Chaos: I personally found the layout easy to navigate. The show floor was easy to follow and find what I was looking for.

Security at the event this time around had seen an overhaul in terms of their organisation and level of service they provided compared to previous events. Here are some of our personal experiences with the security there:

The Wong Cosplay: My experience with staff and security was largely positive throughout the weekend. Many of the guards I interacted with on the doors to the main building and at the gate leading to the Sunborn were pleasant, respectful and helpful. When a friend realised they’d lost their weekend pass, the guard on the door was sympathetic and directed us to the customer service desk in order to obtain a new pass. When we later came out of the main door, he came over to check that we were able to get a new pass re-issued. This level of service was not something I experienced back in May when my pass went missing. Guards operating the bag/weapon checks in my experience were also respectful. Even when one accidentally dropped one of my spell rings (yes my heart did stop), he immediately apologised and made sure it was all ok before proceeding. I only faced a couple of issues with security that weekend; one of which only minor involving bad directions and abruptness from a member of staff in the car park. The other however, were guards operating the gates outside near the ramps and by the field prevented me from gaining access back into the con despite having a booked photoshoot 1 hour before the closing time for that day thus causing me to miss my shoot. 

Rebel in the Chaos: My experience with the staff and security was good. It was smooth and easy to access the building. I didn't come across any issues personally. I was only in attendance for two days but my personal experience is that I had no issues.

Letsgetreadytorinba: My experience with security at this event was quite mixed. For the most part, my interactions were good. One person in particular was exceptionally friendly and helpful. He was stood by the disabled entrance next to the Aloft hotel and helped me when I had some issues with other security guards with the accessibility of the event. 

Due to the ongoing expansion to the Excel centre, the east side entrance / exit was closed to the general public, only available to those with accessibility needs. As a registered disabled person staying in a hotel on that side of the centre, this worked out quite well for the most part. Unfortunately I encountered an issue on the Friday, along with multiple others, where the security guards had ‘closed’ the gate and were redirecting everyone to the other end of the centre. What would have been a 15 minute walk back to my hotel ended up being around an hour and a half. The security guard we spoke to refused to listen to me, or the many others who were seeking to use the accessibility entrance / exit, and told us there was nothing they could do as it was closed. 

Fortunately this issue only happened on the one day, I am guessing due to the many complaints they received, and the rest of the weekend I was able to use the entrance / exit with no further complications. 

As a collective, we all agree that the security has seen some definite improvements since May. Our experiences were largely positive, and any mistakes that were made were quickly rectified and apologised for. We encountered no reports of any inappropriate interactions during searches this time compared to May which is a massive improvement. Accessibility, although mostly acceptable, could do with a review as there were a few instances that should be addressed. The most notable instance was the closure of the gate with no forewarning and no thought to the impact it would have on guests with accessibility needs. It would seem some staff and security were possibly unaware of the different needs or requirements of some attendees, and were sometimes unable to provide assistance when needed. This issue, alongside some others we experienced, we feel could be ironed out in a team briefing before the event. We understand that organisation of a large scale event can never be perfect, but were glad to see that feedback was taken on board from previous events and massive improvements had been made.

Events and Attractions

Once inside, this is where most of the entertainment lies. Some of the notable attractions included Universal Studios,, Konami Yu-Gi-Oh!, the main stage, cosplay central (which this time was located at the centre of the one of the halls, making it so much easier to find if you had a cosplay disaster that needed fixing), artist alley, the creators corner (where you could meet some of the biggest names in cosplay).

One attraction that really stood out to Letsgetreadytorinba and DollyMatrix was the stand advertising the new Netflix show “The B*stard Son and the Devil Himself”. A unique vending machine stood at the end of the queue system, containing Human Hearts*. Once you reached the front of the queue you were called forward to complete a quiz on the vending machine’s touch screen, the results of which decided whether you were a fair born or a blood witch. Both writers were determined to be blood witches and were given a heart to initiate their blood witch powers! After receiving your heart, the staff kindly offered to take photos for you and you were given a selection of additional goodies to take home. The whole setup was really well executed and the staff were very into their characters, exceptionally friendly and took the whole experience to a whole new level. If you haven’t seen the Netflix show, we fully recommend watching it! Letsgetreadytorinba binged it in a weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it!

*Please note, these were not actual human hearts. They were confectionery made to look the part.

Celebrity Guests 

This con brought us guests from all kinds of different fandoms. Some of this cons notable guests included Michael Sheen (Aziraphale - Good Omens), Anthony Daniels (C3PO - Star Wars), Christina Vee (Xingqui / Bennet - Genshin Impact), Smallville actors: Tom Welling, Erica Durance and Laura Vandervoort as well as many other reappearances. When we say many reappearances, there really was a lot. Some of the faces of classic Doctor Who, VA’s from Overwatch, John Rhys-Davies (Gimli - LOTR) to mention just a few. More than what we usually see from MCM guest lineups….

The Wong Cosplay: I gotta say, this time around apart from the Overwatch VA’s who were absolutely brilliant to chat with, there were not many other guests that I was looking to meet other than Michael Sheen and Christina Vee who I unfortunately missed. I did appreciate this year however, we were able to once again have a conversation without necessarily having to purchase an autograph or photo, providing they weren't too busy. Unfortunately this was what put me off of seeing Michael Sheen due to the steep price for his autograph. 

Rebel in the Chaos: I didn't have any guests from my personal fandoms there to catch my attention. I always enjoy walking around and people watching to see how people interact with the guests which is always good to see.

Letsgetreadytorinba: I found the guests this year to be quite lacking, there weren’t many that I wanted to meet, especially when the costs were so high. 

Fan Meets and Cosplay Gatherings

The_Wong_Cosplay: The meets of the fandoms I get involved with all unfortunately seemed to clash with each other this time around, but I did my best to swap between the ones hosted outside and bring you the following collage. (There may be some gaps too with regards to some photos, these were because I was a part of those group shots like the missing Liyue characters shot in the Genshin Meet.) Pages for meets are as follows:

Rebel in the Chaos: I didn't attend any gatherings. I always take time to wander around the typical cosplay photo areas including the trees, the grey walls, the green outside the Novatel.

Letsgetreadytorinba: I didn’t attend many gatherings this time around, with the exception of The Creative Geek CommUnity ( which is always great fun. I instead spent my time walking round and finding people to take photos with instead.


(The Creative Geek CommUnity group meet)


(The Creative Geek CommUnity group meet)

(League of Legends / Arcane meet)

(League of Legends / Arcane meet - the group was slowly getting bigger and bigger)

(Genshin Meet UK - All Monstadt characters)

(Genshin Meet UK - All Inazuma characters)

(Genshin Meet UK - All Sumeru characters)

(Genshin Meet UK - All Fatui Harbingers) 

(Genshin Meet UK - All NPC’s)


(CBBC’s Raven Group)

(FromSoft Meet - Group Shot)

(Marvel Meet) 

(Marvel Meet)

(Marvel Meet)

(The Creative Geek CommUnity group meet)

(Cobra Kai Meet Up (ft. from top left to right) - @thegentleman_geek, @cobrakainationyt, @milkart_official, @maxreconcorp20, @jayc_cos, @alexbrabrooke)


So to give you the quick rundown, our collective thought on MCM London Oct 2022 was that it was a major improvement on what we had all experienced back in May. There are still things that can be changed and ironed out, particularly regarding staffing and security which we feel could be better briefed on accessibility needs and the layout of the convention, and the number of attendees. We also felt that the guest line-up could be a bit fresher, bringing some guests we haven’t seen before as well as moderating the prices of autographs etc so they are not astronomically high. Apart from that we were happy to see the addition of more accessibility entrances and services, a more filled show floor with an improved layout; changes we hope will continue to be included going forward. 

What we think you’re all here for though is our opinion on whether the ticket price is worth it. The answer to that is yes, just about. Of course this will vary depending on personal needs and experiences, but there are plenty of things to do with stalls, activities and panels that you can indulge in. The services provided have improved massively and overall the general atmosphere is like none other. The cosplayers and the attendees we find really make the con experience what it is, and so long as this is well facilitated by keeping attendees happy with good levels of service and facilities then overall the con experiences greatly increases making the price of your ticket more worth it. 
Our hope for the 2023 season is that ticket prices don't get raised any further and that the continuation of improvements to the services provided can be seen. We would also love to see some new faces we’ve not seen before for celebrity guests should this happen, the ticket will be definitely worth the asking price. 

What do you guys think? Did you enjoy MCM October 2022? And was it worth the price for you?

MCM London May 2023 is coming soon! We can wait for the next instalment and to see what the 2023 show has to offer!

The Wong Cosplay

Friday, 10 March 2023

Mirai Cosplay Café Interview

Hello to all my fellow Vancouver cosplayers and nerds!

The 2023 Cosplay season is here, and this year will mark the 6-year anniversary of local pop-up café, Mirai Cosplay Café, with whom this year, they are back with a bang!

Mirai Cosplay Café, previously known as, Mirai Maid Café will be hosting an extra special Pokémon themed Café at Anime Evolution on the 25th March 2023, to honour Ash’s 25 year journey coming to an end. :’)

AniEvo is a local, non-profit convention, predominantly celebrating Anime and Japanese culture! The event, named Harumatsuri, will be held at the Nikkei Cultural Centre in Burnaby between the hours of 10am-6pm.

So, mark your calendars and come and join in the fun whilst supporting your local businesses. 

Mirai Cosplay Café have successfully held in person events all over Vancouver. Founder and Hostess,Misaki, runs special events over on her Twitch channel.

At Mirai Cosplay Café, you will find a variety of food and drinks available for purchase, with food being catered for by local fine foods establishment - Caffé dé Medici.

After paying a small $2 seating fee, you will then be able to enjoy all the entertainment Mirai has to offer! Such as dance & vocal performers, games, and prizes to be won!

On top of that, you can enter this events raffle to win some super cute Pokémon Plushies!!

This is an event you will certainly not want to miss! 

Can you tell us a little bit about your café and how this idea came about? 

Mirai Cosplay Café started back in June 2017, as "Mirai Maid Café". At this time, my partner and I wanted to just start a maid café for Anime Evolution events. We changed the name to "Wonder Café" and finally "Cosplay Café" because I realized two things:

1: Going to a "maid café" in Western countries is still a little daunting, even at anime conventions. It's one of those cultural concepts that can be difficult to explain to new friends, etc.

And 2. I wanted the café to grow beyond what most imagine a typical "maid café" to be. "Cosplay" finally felt like the right word, because hosting themed café events is a lot of fun for everyone! Knowing that the staff share a similar interest with the guests helps bridge the gap, and I hope makes everyone feel welcome.

What does the cosplay community mean to you? 

To be honest, I was quite removed from the cosplay community for quite a long time - due to my own anxieties and lack of confidence in how I looked. The friends I've made through running this café mean a lot to me, because they helped me feel confident in this hobby again. The community as a whole, means a lot to me because of the impact anime has had on my life overall. Seeing such enthusiasm for something that's brought me immense joy over the years is amazing. I'm honoured to contribute and provide the café for those who've wanted to attend a themed café but couldn't travel to one. 

What kind of food and drinks are available at your pop up café? Does your menu change to fit different themes?  

For the most part, our food options come from Caffe de Medici, on Venables! The drinks are always soft drinks, tea, and coffee that we can prepare & offer on the day of.

Medici has a wonderful variety of both classic café snacks, and their own unique twist on some goodies; such as their vegan chocolate cranberry muffin. We try to order a wide enough variety for our guests based on the season and the feedback we receive at each event. 

Do you provide any options for people with dietary restrictions i.e. vegan, dairy or gluten free, etc? 

We always offer dairy-free creamer for tea and coffee, and we try to order vegan or gluten free options whenever they're available! I hope to grow the café again, now that in-person events are returning, so that our budget for more specialty foods can increase!

What's your number 1 seller? 

Our bestselling menu option is most often the sandwich set! It's a combo featuring a sandwich and a cold or hot drink, for $8. It's our most popular set at Harumatsuri for those who want more of a meal and not just a small snack.

Do you have any merch for sale?

We do! Our café has partnered with many local Vancouver artists to create our acrylic omamori charms. "Omamori" are protective charms you'd normally find at Japanese shrines. We wanted to create a more modern, durable option, so we made acrylic charms - and we have a wide variety! From Digital Security to Pet Safety, and even some inspired by pop culture - such as "Think Happy Thoughts".

We also offer waterproof vinyl stickers of the café mascot; Nyurei! Our little ghost kitten who loves to play with his food.

What kind of entertainment can we expect to see for this special Pokémon event? 

In addition to our usual Jpop dance & vocal performances from some of the staff members, we'll be raffling off some Pokémon plushies! Every guest will be given a "Who's that Pokémon?" game sheet. Those who answer all Pokémon correctly will be entered into a raffle for the plushies. Winners will be drawn at set times during the day, as advertised on the day of.

We offer polaroid photos for $3, either of yourself or with one of our staff. For this event, we will have special Pokémon polaroid’s available!

What boardgames do you have available and are they free to play? 

The café charges a $2 seating fee per person. After that, guests are welcome to stay at the café for the full 45min seating, whether they order food & drink, or not.

Our game selection is completely free-to-play! Due to the 45min seating limit, our games are usually quite fast & simple to play. Such as; Lanterns, Let's Go Fishin', and Geek Out! Every winner gets a small prize!

Do people have to be dressed in cosplay to enjoy your café

Not at all! Our café is open to everyone, cosplay or no cosplay. All we ask is that children under the age of 13 are accompanied by a guardian.

Are you still accepting volunteers or searching for performers? If so, how can people apply? 

We open staff applications 1-2 months before an event - applicants must be 20yrs or older, be able to attend training before an event, and must provide their own cosplays. We'll always post on Instagram and TikTok when applications are open!

Performing is not mandatory to be part of Mirai Staff, but it is certainly an asset!

What else can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? 

At the current moment, our café heavily relies on Anime Evolution as a primary host. Late 2023 and into 2024, we're hoping to start hosting more online events; Anime Music Quiz nights, community games (Jackbox, Among Us), and more!

You can check out our YouTube channel for unboxings, game reviews, and dance covers!

Thank you to Mirai Cosplay Café for taking the time to participate in this interview and I hope to see you all at Anime Evolution this March 25th… Also, I will be living out my Pokémon dreams and cosplaying as a femme Ash Ketchum this day, so come say hi and let’s snap a photo together!

Mirai Cosplay Café Instagram

Mirai Cosplay Café Tiktok

Mirai Cosplay Café Twitter

Mirai Cosplay Café Twitch

Sammy <3



Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania Review

A little apprehensive about watching the MCU’s (Marvel Cinematic Universe) first film of 2023 after a rocky phase 4? Concerned about what the critics and the divided audience are saying about it on the internet?

My advice will remain the same. Do not let anybody else influence your decisions this easily because this Ant-Man threequel did not disappoint me and my group of friends who watched it this past weekend. The star studded cast of Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Evangeline Lilly (The Wasp), Michael Douglas (Original Ant-Man), Michelle Pfeiffer (Original Wasp) and Jonathan Majors (Kang The Conqueror) delivered a powerful performance in nearly all realms of acting!

Please note that this article contains spoilers lie ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and plan on watching it soon, kindly stop reading after this.

Scott Lang who has embraced his life as a superhero now has his own biography published touting his journey about morphing into an Avenger from being an ex-convict while also being a father. However, he seems to have developed a slight disconnect with his teenage daughter, Cassie who has been an activist for a while and also secretly working with Hank, and Hope on building a machine that can establish contact with the Quantum realm. Jannette immediately pulls the plug off the machine after it’s revelation by Cassie. However, the signal was already received and they are all sucked into the mysterious world.

Once they all land in the enigmatic universe that exists outside of space and time, Scott and Cassie find themselves in one part of the esoteric destination while Hope and her parents reach somewhere else. It is at this moment when the audience learns that the quantum realm is not just a barren wasteland but has civilizations present. This is when I remembered Ant-Man’s DC counterpart, Atom at that moment and was telling myself “DC and Warner Brothers truly dropped the ball with him just like many other heroes in the last couple of decades while they all had better stories to be told from the comics than Marvel”.

As I attempted to momentarily neglect DC and Warner Brothers’ shortcomings, I proceeded to be enthralled by the new universe the MCU has started to disclose more details about. As Scott and Cassie are seemingly captured by some uncanny looking creatures that communicate in an unknown language, Cassie seems to not be as anxious as her father until he is forcefully smothered with a liquid down his mouth that then enables him to decipher the language the residents of the Quantum realm communicate in. That was a very unique detail that I appreciated as it illustrated how advanced the beings over there are.

Meanwhile Janette begins to show the way around for Hank and Hope who discover that she has connections in this world and is trying to reconnect with an old close contact, Lord Krylar. Played by the infamous, Bill Murray. This scene was met with a shocking awe from the viewers as some of us had completely forgotten about this legendary actor’s involvement in the film. Hats off to Marvel again for onboarding another big name in one of their projects!

As Krylar and Janette catch up, he reveals to her that things have changed since she left the Quantum realm and is now ruled by Kang. As Janette and her family flee after stealing Krylar’s ship, she finally opens up and tells them how she met Kang and worked with him to repair a multiversal power core from his ship to get them out of the Quantum realm. However, she learns of his real intentions of conquering worlds across several timelines and immediately decides to throw a wrench into his plans by using her remaining Pym particles to enlarge the power core and escape him until her rescue.

At the same time, Cassie and Scott are told by the rebels’ leader that Janette’s involvement with Kang is what led to his rise in power. They are soon ambushed and captured by M.O.D.O.K’s forces, who turned out to be Darren Cross, AKA the Yellowjacket from the first Ant-Man film. I commended MCU for bringing back old characters and actors, and was also very pleased with M.O.D.O.K’s look in the armor/helmet, until they revealed what his actual face looked which can be seen in the stills below. This is my first issue with the movie, as it was completely unnecessary to have a life-like depiction of the character’s face. It might as well have been an early 90s version of the film if they ever had made one back then. They could have honestly just stuck to the look where he had the helmet on and the character verbally revealing who he really is.

Shortly after their apprehension, M.O.D.O.K transports the title character and his only child to Kang who threatens to kill Cassie if Scott does not cooperate by helping the antagonist fix the power core Janette had displaced a long time ago. Scott agrees and finds himself with several variants of his own until Hope arrives to help him out. This scene took me back to the Doctor Strange films which had similarly bizarre visuals.

After an uprising from the dissidents of the Quantum realm, and some assistance from Hank’s evolved hyper-intelligent ants, the main protagonists manage to beat Kang by sending him into limbo, and return to their home world.

You must be thinking “Classic Marvel film where the heroes beat the bad guy... end of story”. Might wanna hold your horses there because Kang isn’t your ordinary baddie. He is the next Thanos of the new Marvel saga after Endgame. That’s probably a given considering how they have an Avengers movie coming out with his name in the subtitle. We were treated with some actually meaningful mid credits and post credits scenes this time by an MCU film. The first one featured several variants of Kang planning an uprising of their own. Followed by the last teaser featuring none other but Tom Hiddleston himself as Loki and Owen Wilson as Morbius reprising their roles from the renowned Disney Plus show from last year, attending a speech of another Kang variant.

While this movie was not an instant classic like some of the phase 1 films, Quantumania did triumph over its predecessors in my eyes compared to most other Marvel heroes’ own respective franchises like Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Thor who all had multiple movies but did not manage to surpass their initial projects that put them on the map. Ant-Man and The Wasp may have played a pivotal role in the MCU previously around Avengers: Endgame, but they will definitely be taken a lot more seriously by me going forward after this one.

Alternatively, my only other issue with this movie was that more screen time and character development was focused on Janette, which is understandable as she served as a strong base for the backstory of Kang for the film and the MCU going forward. However, it took most of the spotlight away from the title characters in my opinion. Hopefully Scott and Hope (Oops. didn’t mean to use the same word/name twice in the same sentence!) manage to get more focus on themselves in the future films and not continue to get undermined.

In the end, I was very pleased with Kang’s presentation as he did not fall into the MCU jaws of gags and overwhelming urge to be funny almost every time they get the chance. It is one thing to have a comic relief character and making everyone else be involved in something that attempts to get the audience to cackle. The atmosphere of the film was fun in general but did not go overboard like Thor: Love and Thunder, which is not even worthy (pun intended) of being mentioned anywhere. Overall, I would say it was above average and definitely worth watching if you are a Marvel fan.

I would give this film a score of 8/10! 

Thank you for taking the time to read this review and please let us know your thoughts about the film in the comments section below.

Arthur Kaz