2014, the year after Attack on Titan drove millions to insanity, the year of the horse, the year of Noragami, Kill la kill and Space Dandy was also the year that I went to my first ever Comic Con Convention. There I met the most amazing people, saw the most amazing cosplays, and even ran into my favourite Youtuber, Gigguk. I can wholeheartedly say that it was my favourite time of 2014
Going back to memories of that year, the blissful rose-coloured cherry scented times of youth. I remember I had planned this day for, what felt at the time in my 14 year old mind, an eternity. I had circled it on my Calendar and pre-ordered as well as modified my maid cosplay just for the day. It was in my birthday month and thus, for me, this comic-con was a coming of age ceremony of sorts.
The day began at 8:00 am with the ‘ding-dong-ding-dong’ of the door bell being rung as my friends, dressed to impress, gathered together at my house for the thrilling event. My Mother armed with her phone began taking pictures of us all, cooing and ahhhing as we went into all kinds of poses at the sound of ‘say cheese.’ Then after checking we all had everything, with excitement in the air and the buzz of summer on the horizon we began our journey to MCM london Comic con.
Walking to the local Tilbury train station early in the morning I’m certain we had a few glances in our direction with our unique costumes/dress sense. I definitely remember a few children that went to the local primary school cheering on my little brother who was dressed in his little knight outfit waving his plastic sword around.
At the station my Mum bought the tickets, being barely 15 at the time along with my friends, and with my brother in tow my Mother took it upon herself to be the responsible adult that would guide us along our journey to Comic con. Like an angel guiding lost souls to heaven my Mother was the definition of organised and responsible. Getting us all on the train in a timely manner as we travelled towards London.
I remember watching the rural countryside on the train transition into the urban lands of London. As modern teenagers do I began taking selfies with my friends on their blackberries and Samsung. As the train continued I remember the automated female voice saying ‘We are now approaching West Ham’, then as we looked out the window there were what felt like thousands of cosplayers or Comic con adventurers on the platform. I think they were looking for another train to the same location, some were getting on the same train we were on, as it also went to the same destination. It was a wonderful sight to see, so many dressed in wonderful cosplay, or wearing shirts/clothing that signified they were players of ‘LOL’ or ‘World of Warcraft’ and others.
I felt a sense of belonging as I gazed at that crowd. Despite never being bullied for watching Anime not many of my friends were into it, even the ‘best friends’ I was travelling with didn’t quite understand my fascination with anime in general. It was at this point when I had a comforting realisation that there were probably many that shared the same hobbies as I did. I had assumed that it was just my sister and myself that would rush home from school just to binge watch an anime or suffer from serious withdrawal symptoms after finishing a good series. Yet as the train left West Ham and continued on its way, I felt any assumptions of strange teenage loneliness disappearing. I realised that the throbbing anticipation in my heart to get to Comic-con was a valid sensation.
After we got off at Limehouse station we practically ran to the DLR, I don’t even remember why we ran, there was no reason too. Perhaps it was because my excited 5 year old brother rushed forward first and we all ran after him in hot pursuit. Or perhaps we were running with him, caught in the heat of blood-boiling excitement that the earlier sight had brought to us.
We travelled down steep stairs, through the barriers then up onto another set of steeper stairs. My mother striding with a confident atmosphere around us, assuring us that were in the right place and on the right platform. But, what assured us more was when we spotted people that were dressed similarly to us in their elaborate and expensive cosplays that I could only ever dream of being able to afford or craft. They were laughing with each other and when we made eye contact I couldn’t help but squeal. Making new friends was definitely one of my aims in coming on this journey, and I ended up migrating to their group and chatting about anime and games. I felt intoxicated by the welcoming atmosphere.
‘Rickkkkkk-et-tat-et-tat-rickkkkk’ was the sound of the DLR as it went towards London Excel. It’s large glass windows allowing the view of the city to blossom before my eyes. It wasn’t the first time I’d been to London, I had actually been raised there until I was eleven and my family found it appropriate to move to the more rural countryside, to gain what my mother called ‘fresh air.’ Perhaps because I had been raised in London I wasn’t as excited as my friends were when we went deeper into the city. At that time, even now, I find the sight from the DLR unimpressive. Sure it’s a capital city with a large population, fancy buildings and an impressive infrastructure but, it’s dull and grey in my eyes. I’ve always been someone that liked green landscapes and a splash of colour, and London lacked that natural vibrancy for me.
As the train got closer to London Excel I remember it getting more and more packed with cosplayers, I almost felt sad for the elderly women sitting with her shopping bags, she probably had no idea what was going on. I could tell from the bewildered look on her face as the train was soon filled with people, all of us heading to the same thrilling destination.
I guess you can understand how I felt when we finally did get to the London Excel only to find that we couldn’t leave the station because the line was generally that long. The line went from the station and stretched into the venue area, which wasn’t a short distance. I remember freaking out and gaping at the sheer amount of people. Not to mention all of their gorgeous outfits was just thrilling to see. I recall a group that all had different sets of sharingan contact lenses and I practically leaped at them telling them how lovely their cosplays were and how amazing I thought they were. There were people dressed as game characters, anime characters to cartoon characters, I remember a friend that came with me, her only purpose was to meet a Youtuber, and she was practically screaming in joy because she saw a boy dressed as Finn from ‘Adventure Time’. My Mother was also enjoying herself, she is an avid ‘Supernatural’ fan, and when she saw a man cosplaying as Castiel the Angel she nearly cried.
I think a Comic con convention is the only place where I can honestly say that the line was the most exhilarating part of the event, because I got to meet so many fantastic people that shared the same interests with me.
And, as the sun shined down pleasantly on all of us brave Comic con adventurers alike, I found my heart quickening and jumping up and down because I had finally made it. That was how I completed my first Journey to a Comic-con.