Sunday 9th December saw the first Plymouth Anime and Comic Expo begin, but was it worth the hype, or was it much like the weather, a damp squib that never got off the ground?
The event was held in the Copthorne Hotel in Plymouth across two floors. The downstairs featuring the majority of the merchants and sales stands with upstairs being primarily games orientated (most notably the Otaku Scalextric, which filled one of the two rooms available and a modified version of Zombie Apocalypse in the other). A few things of note struck when first entering and that was, where is the entrance?
This issue flummoxed many attendees as signposting was poor, especially when entering from the hotel’s main entrance. Furthermore, even once the front desk was found, entrance and egress was very easy with people being able to enter the event without tickets by dodging the waiting organisers, should they wish to do so.
Those problems aside however, the day could only be described as a resounding success.
Clearly dominating the trade stands was Keep-it-Secret, a Plymouth based online distributor of ‘all things kawaii’. Its large display of Japanese snacks attracted much attention.
Around them, Kamika-Z anime and local comic and merchandise stalls sold figures, comics and memorabilia. Along with artists, there was definitely something to catch the attention of the buying public.
The con-goers of Plymouth, starved of any local events for so long, took to the event as a stray cat might a bowl of milk (don’t do this people, milk is bad for cats). The majority of attendees relished their chance to finally wear their costumes without worrying about a possible multi-hour journey to Bristol or London and so those in everyday clothes were soon outnumbered by those dressed as Avengers, Batman villains, or One Piece characters.
Whilst at no point could the venue be said to be heaving, a steady stream of eager punters filed through the door throughout the day and everybody I talked to and almost every trader, spoke of a successful day.
But what of the future?
If the rumours circulating from the traders are to be believed, then this is the first but certainly not the last convention that Plymouth will see. With the possibility of using either the same, or a different, larger venue in the offing. I for one can’t wait for Fantasy Events UK to return to the city and to start to prove that fans of anime and comics exist throughout the country, not just London.