Hyper Japan: July 2017August 1, 2017
Welcome, one and all, to the first MDM Projects convention report of the year! After how much fun I had at Hyper Japan 2016, it was pretty much a given that I’d be sticking with that particular con this year rather than reverting back to London MCM Expo. But … there were some changes afoot! While last year’s Summer event was held at the easily accessible London Olympia, this year’s was moved to Tobacco Dock, the same location that hosts Hyper Japan’s annual Christmas Market. Now, the route I’d have to travel to get there if I stuck with my tried and trusted travel method was a little roe cumbersome: the train journey was longer, there was a longer walk to the venue at the end of the trip, and some other issues meant that I’d be using a replacement bus service part of the way. So, I paid out for an Uber instead. For what it’s worth, the drivers that I used were thoroughly pleasant, entirely professional, and got me from point A to point B both safely and quickly. For all the horror stories you hear online, my experience was entirely different.
So, onto the event. The venue itself was interesting. While the Olympia was mostly open plan, Tobacco Dock saw an open middle ring that was used for food and a handful of performances. The other stalls were spread out through the various side rooms that ran along both sides of the middle ring, both upstairs and downstairs. There were some other areas set aside for performances, but I unfortunately didn’t have the time to go to these, so couldn’t say what they looked like on the inside. As to how the lay-out affects the overall feel of the convention though, that’s a double-edged sword. In some ways, having groups of stalls were quite useful in finding different clusters if you wanted to revisit anything. Yes, it could get a little labyrinth-esque at times (it’s a big place), but being able to compartmentalise different stalls like this did generally help with finding things. The issue for me was the spacing.
I arrived with my youngest daughter shortly after the event opened at 09:00, and we ended up staying until the morning session finished at 15:00, so I got to see how this set-up held up at different points during the day. The crowd size was definitely at its smallest during the first few hours of the day, and there were small lulls during bigger performances through the day. The numbers also seemed to shrink a little towards the end, though it never hit the low of the early morning. During the quieter moments, the side rooms were mostly fairly easy to traverse. Some of the more popular stalls were of course swelling with activity, but for the most part, you could roam about and dash up to anything that you wanted to check out. Once the crowds got bigger though, I personally found that it became harder to get into a lot of different places. Though it got crowded last July, the open plan floor allowed for more space between stalls and gave much more open space to walk through. Here, it became inevitable that you’d find yourself in large crowds wherever you went as the day went on. While this is to be expected at any popular con, it’s amazing how much freedom of movement can be lost by simply throwing a solid wall into the mix.
That all being said, one thing remained constant here from last year: people were generally very polite and good natured. While I’ve always found London MCM Expo to be a little mixed in this respect, Hyper Japan are now two-for-nought in terms of atmosphere, so that’s a major thumbs up! The good folks at Ai Mai Maid were also awesome, and provided plenty of Jenga-based entertainment while we ate.
The stalls were chock full of deals and bargains if you knew where to look, though I would always recommend taking the time to look around if you can (unless you see something that you simply must have, of course). For me, I picked up a fair few items:
Noragami is a show that I originally watched on Animax. I’d been hunting for it for a while, but wasn’t able to find it at a decent price until now. Meanwhile, Psycho Pass is a show that I’ve been recommended by a lot of different people. Judging by the premise and a ton of AMVs, t did look up my street, but I really couldn’t justify paying over £40 for it. Once again, I found it here at a decent price, so I picked it up. Both these deals came from United Publications.
Again from Untied Publications, I managed to pick up the first two volumes of Flying Witch. After finishing second in Crunchyroll of the Dice 2016 and shortly thereafter becoming one of my favourite shows, I really wanted to check out the source material. I would have picked up the first few volumes of Ancient Magus Bride too, but they only had books four and on left by the time that I got there.
Next was this Blaze the Cat plush. I’ve been hunting for one of these for years, and I almost missed this one. Thankfully, my daughter spotted it in a mixed box, and I was able to snap it up.
Next up, we have this little beauty from Little Fuzzballs. The shirt is adorable. It’s also a barefaced lie when it comes to some games. Still, I like it.
And that’s where things go slightly wrong. You see, I did buy some other stuff: some chopsticks, a fan, some socks, a book from UK manga creators Mayamada, the new EP from Lovebytes (an all-female Japanese power metal band), a Veemon keyring … but there was a problem. I was copying the files over to my laptop, cut them by accident, didn’t notice … and it glitched. In short, I lost the photos. The most annoying part of that is that I lost the majority of the photos of my cosplay too -_-
Still, I managed to salvage two shots from the cosplay, so … here they are!
I’ve updated the actual Inukai post to show these. Oh, and as a side on that, I was asked to appear in a music video too. I’ll post about that when it’s available.
All in all though, Hyper Japan July 2017 was a great experience again. Despite preferring the Olympia as a venue, I thought that it was a pretty awesome day, and I’m looking forward to heading to another one.