Anime fandom is on the rise here in the UK.  If you want proof more titles are available then before, merchandise is easier to get hold of and Expos and conventions are become more and more popular. 

This year sees the introduction of new conventions and one of those will be Alcon, being held on September 7th to September 9th. 

Organised by the AnimeLeague Convention (Alcon for short), Alcon is open to all anime fans whether you are a member on the Animeleague forums or not.  300 places are available and, at the time of writing, places are still available. 

Being held at DeMontfort University in Leicester, Alcon is not to be confused with Amecon, which is held at Leicester University.  The coming of Alcon this year makes Leicester second only to London as a UK hotspot for anime gatherings.

From what has been announced so far, Alcon looks set to sit comfortably into the anime calendar.  A number of exclusive events and impressive guests fare well and should spell success for the organisers. 

So what will you get to see if you go to Alcon?  Well first up is Lawrence Simpson, better known to anime fans as MasakoX, the co-producer of the highly successful Naruto Abridged series.  Prepare for all kinds of question surrounding logs, Clucky and Gaara of the funk (and also an interview with MasakoX will be appearing on Animetion soon)!  Also appearing will be Dave Cheung, creator, artist and co-writer of the popular Chugworth Academy - a popular manga-style webcomic featuring more fanservice then you can shake a pair of panties at.  Expect both Q&A sessions with both guests there to be a lot of fun!

Events promise to be a lot of fun as well with a pub quiz, AMV night, a party playing Japanese tunes and a charity auction.  There will also be versions of famous shows, including Anime Idol (ala Pop Idol) and a cosplay version of Blind Date.  There will, of course, be a cosplay masquerade as well.  Also an artist alley and anime viewings will feature, one of the anime screens will be in the bar area - excellent combination!

There will even be some non-anime events in case you bring any non-anime fans with you.  There will be a video gaming and a role playing area which anyone can join in.  Add all the dealers, such as TokyoToys and Otaku UK, into the mix and there is a heck of a lot of stuff to do over the three days. 

Al-chan & Al-kun by Hel Ewart (click for larger image)

Of course there is one matter that can put newcomers off and that is the hardcore element.  The element that can punish you for your lack of knowledge and put you off conventions for life.  Mike Towers of the Alcon committee is confident this will not happen though.  Mike told me that the committee have worked hard to make sure that Alcon will appeal to newcomers and the hardcore alike.  He says that everyone should be happy with the range of activities on offer on Alcon

Over the page I talk to Helen Grounds to go a bit further into the running and aims of Alcon.