Another year has gone by for the annual Manifest convention (Melbourne Anime Festival) and this has been my 8th year attending it. I would’ve assumed I’d get sick of it and probably stop going (and part of that is true in regards to certain events and activities held there) but I’m aiming to at least attend the con for 10 years straight in a row…so only two more years of Manifest to go to before I think about whether to continue attending or not. (first time I ever went was back in 2003)
I won’t try to go on too much about the things I did at the convention as I can’t seem to make things short whenever I start to ramble, so the summary will be a series of dot points and a small digest of my thoughts. (Some guy tried to take a photo of me on Friday as probably thought I was cosplaying when I wasn’t even doing it on that day lol)
Things I did at Manifest 2011:
- Walk through traders hall about 20 times over the 3 days of the festival lol
- Got a tutorial on how to play the Weiss Schwarz/Vanguard card games
- Watched the Southern Hemisphere world premiere of “Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing”
- Attended the Sunday auction
- Attended Madman’s XTREME Panel on Sunday
- Watched a few screenings
- Attended the closing ceremony
It’s become a tradition for me recently to start making money at Manifest auction with the few odd/duplicate items I have I usually submit for bidding, so because of that my interest in spending money at the traders hall have declined greatly. This year I hardly bought much other than a Working!! doujinshi fan artbook and the Solid Works 1/8 Shana figure (Ceremony version), and that Shana figure wasn’t even bought from the traders hall! I got it off an online friend that I decided to pick up from him at the convention. The other two items were basically free items being given out.
Most of my money was spent on food and drinks. I’d say I probably spent about $60-$70 just alone on that over the 3 days (I actually eat a lot despite my small appearance).
While we’re on the topic of traders hall, this is what it’s typically like walking through the hall as you try to get a browse on the various stalls.
The auction on Sunday was somewhat entertaining, there was a few items that raised some laughter and jokes. There was also some funny bidding wars between potential buyers too. Initially out of the 5 items I submitted in for bidding, I thought only two of them would sell as the other three items were my duplicate copies of the Japanese BD limited edition of Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works Movie, first press BD of Carnival Phantasm and volume 1 limited edition DVD of Ano Hana and I didn’t think anyone would be interested in buying original Japanese BD/DVD imports, not especially at the starting bid prices I had set for them to make back the money I had originally spent on importing them but they all did sell. It made me think what the bidding would’ve been like if I had actually submitted in my 2nd copy of the Japanese Kara no Kyoukai BD boxset but I was glad I didn’t. Why? Well to my surprise, there was actually one trader that actually had a copy for sale from their stalls…but the price tag was $998!!! I guess I’ll just keep my spare copy and let the value rise until I decide to put it up on ebay or something. (They were never able to sell it throughout the festival by the way, not surprised it didn’t with that price lol)
Manage to record some video of the auction event for a few items below.
Besides the auction, I attended the southern hemisphere premiere of the 1st episode of Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing on Friday. Madman were pretty strict with this screening as all phones and recording devices had to be left out the theatre only to be collected once the screening was over and all bags had to be in the cloakroom. This is pretty understandable seeing how this 1st episode has only been screened about 2 times in the northern hemisphere and has yet to air in Japan. Can’t really say much about the episode since I haven’t seen the original series but they did give out promotional postcards of the series and also got the audience to record 2 lines that might be used in a future episode. The two lines being “Tsubasa ni Kaze wo” and “Oikaze wo Inoru”. I’m sure this also happened with the 2 or so screenings it had in the northern hemisphere in case the Manifest audience did really crap (which we were sorta for Friday since the turnout wasn’t that big! Not sure about Saturday’s encore screening though).
The one thing that I really liked from my attendance this year was getting an idea on how to play those Weiss Schwarz card games after getting a tutorial from Ozanimart’s Vanguard card game area. Those have always peaked my curiosity as I find it also funny the idea of using a deck from a slice of life anime against something like mecha anime and now I have some small knowledge on how to play it, I just need to buy a deck first lol.
Getting in line and waiting to see the cosplay competition used to be an event I took priority in seeing, but the daunting wait and huge popularity which causes massive queuing of at least an hour in advance was a big turnoff for me. Usually it eats into precious time that I could be using to see other events or panels running, add to the fact that these events 99% of the time get delayed due to the organization and rushing of cosplayers to get them into the theatre before letting the audience in which can result in the event running overtime. That’s why this year I skipped watching both days of the competition for other events or screenings that I was interested in. (Although I did hear from a friend that a ticketing system was used this year to solve the problem of the massive queues that result in many people not being able to get a seat)
The screenings I was pretty impressed with this year as it had a good balance of new and old animes with some of the new ones only having just recently finished airing in Japan. I guess MOC (Manifest Official Committee) took note seeing how last year I had expressed my disappointment over the screening schedule being filled with many old series that most would’ve probably seen already and some that were being repeated from the year before that.
Manifest still had their problems though, while not as bad as the past couple of years, their scheduling for certain events had to be reshuffled due to some last minute problems the day before the festival was to start according to one committee member. This resulted in certain events having to be moved or not running at all, in particular, the Siren Visual panel was one that I was interested in going to see only to find out it wasn’t running at all when I asked the Siren Visual booth as they were given such short notice on the change of timetables. The other problem involved holding the video games and cultural events area so far apart from the traders hall which made many patrons having to walk a couple hundreds of metres back and forth to various activities running throughout the day. Still, these problems seem very minor if it’s compared to the previous years which involved many hours wasted lining up to get your pass or to see a popular event.
Overall, I seemed to have enjoyed Manifest this year much more than the past few years being held at the showgrounds. I think it’s mainly cause I got to hang out with a few friends for most of the day and also starting to cosplay every year at the festival. I would like to start participating in more events next year though, maybe enter anime idol and a video game’s tournament? I did enter anime idol way back in 2006 and made it to the finals so maybe I should try it again.
The theme for next year’s Manifest was also revealed at the closing ceremony.
I didn’t take much photos of cosplayers other than a few random shots but here they are anyway.
Two Kirino cosplayers from Ore no Imouto (one actually being a guy cross dressing as maid Kirino XD)
The photo below isn’t really part of Manifest but I decided to take a quick snap of it as it looked pretty cool and interesting. It was actually on a ute and I spotted it when it stopped at the red light next to the tram stop outside the Melbourne showgrounds on Sunday night as I was waiting for the tram to go home after the festival.