Manifest 2013

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Written by Daniel Coomans

Photography by James Katakis and Daniel Coomans

 

Melbourne Anime Festival returned on the 16th of August for all of those fans of Japanese animation, manga, games and all things pop-culture. Running from Friday right through to Sunday, plenty was on offer once again in this jam packed haven for all lovers of anime and manga.

Upon entering the Melbourne Showgrounds one thing was abundantly clear; I was going to have the best weekend of the year, pre-ordering our tickets allowed my friends and I to bypass the wait for on-the-day tickets. The checks at each door gave me a high, like I was someone of great importance (and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to feel like that). The first sight to grace my eyes were cosplayers everywhere, all the many people dressed as their favourite characters from their respective animated series’ was quite the sight to behold, but there was plenty more to come. A crowded trading hall awaited, lined with numerous trading booths, including anime and manga stores (Madman, Hanabee and Siren Visual) and many merchandise stores (including, but certainly not limited to: Critical Hit, Ozanimart, Of Science and Swords and One Stop Anime). My buddies and I made the rounds and spent quite some time buying all the toys, figures, DVDs and accessories we could afford.

Then we went and took a peek at the Idol Anime Music Video competition, where guys and girls with enough courage and the correct pronunciation of the Japanese language sang songs from their favourite J-musicians or anime series. We stuck  around for a very entertaining bout of the cosplay competition, where entrants are judged based on how well their hand made cosplay’s match the original characters, this doesn’t bar entrants with bought cosplays but as they didn’t make them themselves they aren’t allowed to win. There were some great first time cosplayers who put a lot of time and effort into making their very first attempt and, as part of the usual Manifest tradition, when each newcomer came up on to the stage we all chanted “One of us!” to welcome them into the world of costume play.

We popped our heads in to see what some of the theatres were screening, ended up sticking around to watch some stuff too. Then we went to the Hanabee sponsored Doki Doki Station’s Maid Café, where we were served some delicious crepes by really cute and polite Japanese maids and while we ate were even treated with a show! My friends and I being regulars at Doki Doki Station hung around to chat with some of our fellow regulars and the friendly maids for a while, eventually we left, but not before we had our polaroids taken with our favourite maid! We then wandered around for a bit; checking out some of the other events, chatting with friends and fellow attendees, taking photos of cosplayers, and playing some video games in the games hall where they had Halo, Team Fortress 2 and even some Guitar Hero (Dance Dance Revolution sadly did not make a comeback this year). Nearly having the day ruined by someone who decided to cause an hour’s worth of havoc by letting loose a ‘stink bomb’ in the trading hall that smelt more like an electrical fire, we were ushered out of the trading hall and had to find our entertainment elsewhere while they cleared the smell and smoke and trading resumed for the final hour before closing.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend full of things to see, events to take part in, screenings to watch, merchandise to empty our pockets on and cosplayers to admire and snap photos of – we almost didn’t have enough time to fit everything in! We certainly didn’t want it to end, but unfortunately it did, leaving us a little sad but completely exhausted and eagerly awaiting the next year where we can do it all again!

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