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London Anime Con 30 June - 1 July 2012. Review & photos: Jennie Gillions

When a convention has cupcakes available at the reception desk it's a positive sign. Accordingly, the London Anime Con turned out to be a good-natured, chirpy affair; it was held in the London Met University's Rocket Complex, so wasn't the most glamorous event, but what it lacked in slick production values it made up for in enthusiasm.

London anime con

Fortunately there was glamour galore provided by the convention-goers, some of whom showed impressive devotion to their cosplay. I'm not an anime aficionado, so I won't pretend I knew who everyone was dressed as, but I definitely approved of the Super Mario Bros who kindly held the door open for me near the toilets.

Downstairs consisted of the bar, gaming rooms and anime showings, and a stage. When we arrived, an acoustic duo called With Ether was bashing out the Power Rangers theme song on a couple of guitars to an intimate but appreciative crowd.

Upstairs in the auditorium was a market of anime and manga goodies, and the stage for the main events.

The first of these was a Q&A with costumer and designer Estibaliz Moreno, aka Estilicious, who is a seasoned cosplayer. She did her enlightening interview dressed as Super Sailor Moon from the eponymous manga-turned-media-franchise, taking questions from audience members on various topics including how to make armour (Moreno uses a material called Sintra Plastic) and the best material for wings (wire frame and expanding foam).

Whatever you chose to wear would have been fine here, but those attendees who were most proud of their costumes had signed up ahead of time to take part in the Otaku Fashion Show, a mixture of Sweet, Gothic and Pirate Lolitas, Cyber Goths, Goth boys, steampunk and alt models from co-sponsor Spirit Models.

Irregular Choice and TUK platform heels made an appearance, combined with mainstream Claire's Accessories jewellery and hairpieces, in Lolita and steampunk outfits.

The Lolitas ranged from a self-consciously cutesie typical pink and white outfit, comprising a dress, long socks and bunches, to a hot Pirate Lolita with steampunk and Victoriana influences. Impressively, the Pirate Lolita outfit was constructed from charity shop buys, which goes to show that the most apparently mundane pieces can become something edgy and stunning in the right hands. A girl called Wing went for a different take on the Sweet Lolita; she had an awesome pancake mix handbag and wore plastic confectionary jewellery.

Otaku fashion show

Finny, one half of dance act Cinnamon Purin, wore a home-made Vampire Requiem dress as part of her Gothic-but-cute Lolita outfit. Also home-made was convention Head of Public Relations Ziggy's fabulous Smurf dress.

Otaku fashion show

At the other end of the fashion spectrum were the girls from Spirit Models (, who were showing new creations by Catalyst Latex.

The two men who took part had gone Goth; one guy was a self-proclaimed Marilyn Manson-alike and the other veered more towards Glam-Goth, long-haired and wearing a short black kilt over black trousers and a twill jacket.

The show went down well, which was good to see - more people were watching at the end than at the start, an increase presumably aided by the ending of some of the gaming tournaments at the same time.

February's London Anime Con is advertised on the site already, so if you fancy checking out the next one get yourself to I'd recommend it if you're new to anime and/or cosplay, or if you're just looking for a chilled, accepting environment in which to hang out with like-minded souls. If they have cupcakes again, the vanilla ones with silver stars are really tasty.