The nerd and pop culture convention circuit in Australia has slowly become a well-established fine-tuned machine in the last decade. Madman Anime Festival is a late comer to the scene and with things like Supanova and Oz Comic-Con around, some may question the point of a con with smaller focus and size. However, I’d argue that it’s smaller stature and ambitions are exactly what make Madman Anime Festival an important entry into the con scene.
You see, this one is for the anime fans. Now, I am not saying we need to segregate all the fandoms but if one was into One Punch Man and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid but can’t tell the difference between Carol Danvers and Kara Danvers, you can see how a large portion of OZ Comic-Con and Supanova would be wasted on them. For those people, this is the con they’ve been waiting for.
Madman Anime Festival is a much smaller con and it’s a good thing. There’s not a lot of downside to going small for anime fans. It has enough traffic and cosplayers to have that fun con experience without having to elbow and shoulder check everyone to get a stall attendant’s attention. The show floor is also smaller but it has everything an anime fan would salivate over. Madman themselves brought many booths, ranging from the expected anime, manga, and related merchandise to the pleasant surprises like the anime lucky dip, and Japanese snacks & beverages. Plenty of third party vendors were there as well, hawking all kind of anime wares from action figures to Zoids. From wall scrolls, to costumes, to plushies, to weapons, all the usual suspects in anime merch are well represented here so this fledgling’s con’s size should not deter any anime fans.
For those who are here for the pretty people in pretty anime clothes, plenty of attention was given to cosplayers. The Madman Cosplay Championship meant that a lot of cosplayers were strutting their best both on the show-floor and the stage. There was great representation of award winning and professional cosplayer presence as well, with cosplay celebrities doing panels, photos, and signings and the level of interest shown to them impressed me. For a more in-depth cosplay coverage keep an eye out for our newly award-winning Mei-Li’s articles.
If screenings of new and popular anime are your thing, Madman had you covered as well. There was an all weekend long screening of the first few episodes of hot new Madman titles. New anime movies got some special attentions as well with the English dub premiere of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale and Australian premiere of Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic. We also got Australian dub premiere of Dragon Ball Super as well, which was my personal highlight.
There were a few special attractions as well. For a small con, there was a reasonably large amount of space dedicated to artist alley and craft stalls. There were also special exhibitions dedicated to Tokyo Ghoul, Attack on Titan, and One Punch Man as well. The Attack on Titan stall was particularly awesome with a lot of original art from the manga on display, like an art exhibition. The other two experiences included quizzes, screenings and other fun competitions.
All in all, Madman Anime Festival is a must see for any anime fans, especially those who have little interest in other parts of pop culture. It may be small, but it has all the features you want from a con and some unique aspects made possible by its singular focus. A perfect way to spend a very anime weekend.
To find out more or when the Madman Anime Festival is in your home town next head to the official website – www.animefestival.com.au