Much to my surprise, and despite my having drifted away from it somewhat with a bare minimum effort put into cosplaying this time and no more free tickets from working on the forums Expo this year improved.
More Space. They finally booked out the whole of the Excel Centre, which had some people who want to just go and sit in corridors a bit miffed, but was a great plus point for the event itself. Having a huge main hall and then smaller, quieter ones including the theatre made for a chance to relax, and though of course still very busy and with a higher attendance than ever, it was noticeably lessed squished. Bigger cosplay groups got whole areas to hang out in, and nobody was a confused bystander having to share the building with something that alarms them. The huge AR video screen was a hit with kids, too.
Stalls. Though there were the usual knock-off goods and junk stores, we're definitely seeing more shops run by creators selling their original, high-quality wares. Great to see Good Smile there, too and the food stands have improved vastly.
The Popular Series. Of course, Attack on Titan was predominant, though Danganronpa gave it a run for its money. Street Fighter had a good turnout, as did League, FFVII, Marvel and DC and there were plenty of Links. I was quite surprised to see Sword Art Online hanging in there despite how fast its fandom turned against it, but very happy to see Magi groups.
Personal Highlights. I saw a lot of cosplayers that made me smile. A Bee with very well-made Puppycat. An awesome Borderlands group. Someone went as a League of Legends ward. There was a really impressive (short) Female Titan, and I smiled at characters from Beetlejuice and from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Celebs. I'm not one who cares much for the celebrities that come to these events, but it was lovely to see Ron Moody and I was pleased to see Hattie Hayridge. Not sure I knew who any of the other TV stars were. It was nice watching people give personal gifts to the guys from Studio Wit, and though I care nothing for Tomska, his audience's enthusiasm was infectious.
Next time. To be honest, for an event I didn't think would ever do anything much to improve, this one saw a pretty dramatic step in the right direction. There's still more of the ExCel to fill and perhaps more high-profile guests and exhibitors could be attracted as the event goes in the direction of JapanExpo. Personally, I would like to do another cosplay that requires time and effort and preferably is recognisable. I want to be part of a group again, and I need to slim down a bit once more.
Right, I've had a little break and the event is still going. I think I'll head back, at least for a little while!