Preview features - a new feature on Animetion where we look at an upcoming event.  We give you the lowdown and also interview one of the organisers for more information. 

For this preview feature we look at Animeleague Club London, or ALCL for short.  It will be run by Animeleague, who also run Alcon and the anime section of London Film & Comic Con.  They have also built a large community on their forums, holding regular meet-ups. 

The very first ALCL will be held on Saturday 14th November 2009 at The Slug & Lettuce, America Square, London - a stones throw from Tower Hill tube station.  The day promises to be a 'mini-convention' with a wide range of anime events (listed below) and it only costs 5 to get in.  Nearby overnight accommodation is available for just 17.50. 

Sound like an interesting event then.  We spoke the organiser Mike Towers to find out more:

The Slug & Lettuce, America Square, London - venue of ALCL

Animetion:  What can people expect from ALCL?

Mike: "A lot more than a normal club, that's for sure!  We are looking at being more of a small regularly run convention (with all the great atmosphere you usually find at one).  We'll be running all day Saturday from midday to midnight providing dealers, anime screenings, video gaming, an artist alley, card-gaming and a lot of staple events including the cosplay masquerade and pub quiz."
The long-running London Anime Club closed its doors last year, do you think there is demand for a new anime club in London?

M: "There are anime clubs all around the UK.  I think for anyone to claim that there is not one
in our largest city of millions of people is nonsense.  Provided the word can be spread everywhere, I have absolute confidence it'll be an amazing success."

Some people may see this as a replacement to the London Anime Club (LAC).  Is this the case?

M: "
Yes and no.  LAC was legendary and served London for such a long time, but all good ideas have their time. The anime scene has moved on, and what used to work for LAC no longer does.

The main changes which doomed LAC were -

1. Social networking sites making the scene less cohesive and together.

2. The explosion of new conventions and anime events in the UK.

3. A majority of anime fans watching their content at home (by either legal or illegal means).

For a club to be successful it has to -

1. Appeal to a lot of different communities and do a LOT more advertising across facebook, myspace, forums, websites and so forth.  It also has to put out a proper flyer campaign.

2. Run less often (i.e. 2 or 3 times a year) and establish itself as more of a mini-convention than a regular club.  People have less loyalty to one event or club, so to ensure they definitely attend each event, it has to run less often.

3. Offer a lot more than anime screening, and give good reason for people outside of London to attend.  Run regular video gaming, events, something for artists etc etc, and it becomes more of a mini-convention which people will travel to, rather than a club.

ALCL aims to follow in LACs footsteps, but we are by no means a clone of LAC.  We have put a lot of thought into why LAC died, and aim to create a new type of club that can be a big success once more."

As this is a new event, what feedback have you received on your plans for ALCL?

M: "
A lot of people have been very supportive, whereas some have been a little more sceptical.  After all, why should ALCL succeed where LAC failed with all their years of experience?

Generally people do like it being on a Saturday.  They also like the times, location and scope of what we're trying to do here."

A: What events will there be?

M: "
We'll be having a pub quiz, cosplay masquerade, DDR Tournament, dub that anime contest, drunken artist, Para Para dancing lessons, Guitar Hero Tournament, Mario Kart Tournament, AMV Evening and of course our Club London Party.  If anyone has any event ideas, feel free to email us at info@animeleague.com

A: Will there be guests?  If so, who?

M: "
Roppongi Street shall be attending.  MasakoX, creator of the hilarious Naruto Abridged and a major part of Dragon Ball Z Abridged

Also attending will be Cosplay Fever and Toymotion.  As to further guests, we're still sorting them out, but there will be quite a few more."

Animeleague mascots Al-chan (left) and Al-kun (right)

A: You state on the website that there will be a meet on Friday prior to the event.  What can people expect from this?

M: "
I call it "Anime fans around London", an idea we first came up with over a year back.  The premise is simple really - get a load of anime fans together, and take them around to see the sights of London for a day.  We'll be setting off at 1pm, and going around till about 11pm."

A: This is the first ALCL event, what are your aims for the future?

M: "
If we're a success, I'd like to see us run for two days at a time, rather than one. ALCL has aspirations of becoming a proper convention in London, which would be pretty cool.

Also, we already offer hostel accommodation (at just 17.50 a night), so costs for the attendee would be kept very reasonable.

In terms of how often we run, we are looking at either two or three times a year. We may keep it at twice a year for now and aim to get each event to be as good as possible before expanding to more often. "

ALCL homepage