Manifest 2011! What a time it was. Manifest is pretty much the only convention I make time to attend each year, so it’s a pretty big deal for me. For those unaware, Manifest (or Melbourne Anime Festival) is an annual Anime convention situated in Melbourne, Australia. It’s been going for 12 years now, and continues to get bigger each year. What I’m posting here is an honest account of my experiences over the past weekend. Enjoy my unique blend of sarcasm and sincerity. Let us begin!
On the first day, Friday, I had to actually attend a University class for an hour before heading down to the con. It was a bit of a killjoy, but I endured, with the promise of the golden treats which awaited! Once I arrived at Southern Cross I got quickly changed into my BATTLER cosplay, and ran to catch the train to the showgrounds just in time. This was my first ever cosplay, I really wanted to do BATTLER to represent my fandom, and bring quite possibly the first Umineko Chiru cosplay to Australia. I sure was surprised on Sunday though. For the first two days I had to carry three bags (a carry bag for the day, a laptop bag to bring to my friend’s place, and a suitcase to store my change of clothes). It was a bit of a burden, and it killed my shoulders, but I endured! Once I finally got to the showgrounds, my three bags in tow, I was disappointed to find that they had just run out of showbags. This is my first complaint, which I will funnel into a much broader complaint. I’d like to get the biggest negative out-of-the-way first. This Manifest was very poorly organized. I’m not sure what reasons the Organizing Committee have for this, but it shows that a lot of Manifest was organized at the last second. The schedule for the event only appeared online 3 days before Manifest, and even then it was quite outdated, lazily formatted, and missing many things, like the Video Game Tournaments and Screenings. This is a big disappointment. Out of the three years I’ve been attending Manifest, this is by far the most dysfunctional in terms of organization. I’m going to leave that comment there, and continue my account.
First thing I did when I arrived on the scene was drop off my excess baggage at the cloak room and head for the (first of many) Abridging Guests Q&A. I managed to sneak a wha-chow question in, asking the three ‘what tree they would like to be.’ Hilarity ensues.
Following that I also attended LK’s Abridged panel, which was pretty much more of the same thing, but it was good fun. After that I went to see the AMV Showcase, not sure what it actually was. In case you haven’t heard, I submitted my own AMV for the contest this year, my first ever AMV. But the event descriptions were very vague, and I wasn’t sure when I’d get to see my own one displayed. Turns out AMV Showcase wasn’t the event I was looking for, it was just a colage of popular AMVs from times past, and some videos that aren’t even AMV *cough vocaloid PVs cough*. So after a short while I ditched that event to socialize with my homies (of which there weren’t many on Friday) and checking out the traders hall for buyables.
I didn’t end up on buying anything on Friday, unfortunately all the decent Kyubey plushies were already taken by the time I found them. After that, I headed back to my friend’s place with his friends to watch Anime to get in the mood for Manifest even though I’d already been there earlier that day. Yep! By this point I was physically exhausted, and even standing up was a pain. After a long trip home followed by an uphill trek in the middle of the night, I finally made it to his house and pretty much collapsed on the sofa for an hour. We spent the night watching random episodes from random anime and eating pizza, ending the night with a viewing of Archer Kills Everyone: The Movie. By this point we’d realized that we’d need to be up at 6:30am to have a chance at getting to Manifest relatively early, so we decided to go to sleep then and not get any sleep anyway and wake up and DEPART. Only I didn’t realize I’d signed up for an hour-long walk to the train station, uughhghhhghhsghsghjhdgjsdrtyw44ASDASD
I’m not the most physically fit guy. By the end I was so exhausted and close to passing out multiple times that I ended up 15 minutes behind everyone else. And sure enough, we all missed the train anyway. Since this is the country, we had to wait 2 and a half hours for the next train. Mfw. Well in that time we ate some shapes, before the box was stolen by a bird, half full. WAT. And because of the wind my wig suffered some brutal casualties, and I spent half the time just trying to get it presentable.
After a packed train ride and arriving at southern cross, I FINALLY managed to get my wig right, just before we arrived at Manifest for Saturday. Unfortunately, we arrived at about midday, so I missed a couple of the panels I wanted to attend. Even more unfortunately, I forgot to bring my phone charger on this whole trip, so I had no phone to contact people to meet up and no camera to take photos with. OH DESIRE. But a spark of genius hit me over the head, in the form of the 3DS camera. 3D cosplay anybody? So that’s what I had to use instead, and as for meeting up with people, I’d just have to hope they run into BATTLER. I was quite surprised, a significant number of people recognized my cosplay, many complimenting it! Probably around 10 in total, and that’s 10 more than I expected. Supporting the fandom! The cloak is very difficult to pose in though, so I didn’t get many photos I was genuinely happy with. That and it’s difficult to hold bags with it on. But it was still totally worth it. The quality of the cosplay was excellent this year. Heaps of Madoka groups, which wasn’t a big surprise. And quite a few Umineko cosplayers! I’ll do a checklist of my fandoms at the end of this post. I got to meet up with my Aussie-Nintendo buddies, one of which had travelled all the way from Sydney to make it for Manifest. I got to meet up with a lot of people I don’t see very often, which was great! A short while in I was informed that one of the booths was selling Dango plushies, and at that time I pretty much dashed at light speed to get to them before any were sold out. I wasn’t quick enough to get a blue one, but they had purple, green and pink in stock. I couldn’t decide which colour to get, so I BOUGHT ALL THREE. It’s a big dango family! Majority of my disposable income for the weekend was spent on this one purchase, and I have absolutely no regrets. It was a huge opportunity that I seized for all it was worth. ❤ I also saw a really cool Madoka print which I bought for $6 (One of the things I was hoping to buy was a Madoka poster), so that was my other purchase.
Spent most of this day just hanging with friends, which was great. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to (due to not having a phone to find them) but I saw nearly everyone. =3= When it started getting late, I went to see the 18+ Abridged guests panel. It was full of lewd hilarity, but I had to leave midway to attend the AMV Extravaganza, my debut! I watched the AMVs people had submitted, trying to judge if I thought mine was better or worse. Some of them were definitely more technically superior to mine, with better visual effects and such, but I still think mine ranked higher than most! My masofriends seem to think mine was better than all the others, which is more than I can say. And then I saw mine pop up! Turns out I won the best of the ‘New to AMV’ category, how about that! ^_^ Unfortunately the version I submitted was restricted to the 6 minute screening limit, so half of it was cut off, and it had a little bit of compression errors that I wasn’t able to filter out by the due date. But fortunately, both of those are not an issue on the version I uploaded to youtube! Check it out here if you’re interested ^w^ After that I left with the A-N/Maso group to get home. Pretty much went straight to bed after I got home, having lost my Madoka print on the train Y_Y But at least I had my Dangos!!
Decided to get a decent amount of sleep instead of getting up early this time. There’s not much on on Sunday anyway. When I woke up though, my whole body was aching like hell. It’d take more than a single night to recover from all that physical exhaustion. For Sunday, I decided not to cosplay, so I could enjoy myself a lot more freely for the last day. Sort of regret, considering when I got there and had a look around traders I found UMINEKO CHIRU COSPLAYERS. OH MY GAAAAHHHHH. There was an Elder Beatrice, Dlanor and (I think) Gertrude (? Or was it Cornelia, I mix them up). They were amazing, but there was ALSO DAT GHOST TRICK GROUP. HNNNNGHH. Those guys reminded me just how much I love that game, some really high quality cosplay. Socialized with friends and browsed the traders for the first couple of hours (found the Madoka print again and bought it again XP), and then headed off to the cosplay comp to see some of the awesome skits. The Dynasty Warrior group was absolutely amazing, I kinda worried they they looked a bit TOO perfect XP Totally stayed just to see the Ghost Trick group though, which didn’t disappoint, they ended up tying for first place with another group (not sure which, I didn’t recognize the name… hmm). During all of these events I had my (now charged) phone out, tweeting along with everyone, it was good fun and adds another dimension of interactivity to events like this!
I left the comp midway to check out the ‘Super Secret Abridged Panel’. Turns out it was pretty much exactly the same as the last 18+ panel. It’s existence is a bit of a mystery to me. Why was it there? Why was it secret? Does ‘secret’ just mean ‘we came up with it at the last second’? Probably. I’m not against all these panels, but it seemed kind of repetitive to see like 10 guest Q&A panels, a little bit of a variety would’ve been appreciated… But whatever. For the most part the convention was a success, with lots of fun events running simultaneously. I really enjoyed the cosplay comp, AMV Extravaganza, as well as a bit of the Anime Idol I caught on Sunday. And with events like this, it’s really the community which make it special, you can really see how something like that is true just by looking at the Twitter discussion :3 Rest of the day was some shopping and socializing. My maso friends won the doubles Brawl competition! Well deserved my friends. After that, all that was left was the closing ceremony, to wrap up an amazing weekend. It wasn’t anything special of course, but we got medals! 😀 Ended up meeting with a few of my manifest forum buddies on one of the late trams, and ended the night with Lord of the Fries with the class of Uguutopia ’11. I had to run to catch the last train home though, and then had to take a cab ride home (my first cab ride ever :o), and then I finally got home and rested.
Okay, checklist time!
For Umineko I saw:
-A Beatrice on Friday
-A Virgilia and Genderbent Natsuhi (wat) on Saturday
-Elder Beatrice and Eiserne Jungfrau on Sunday. High Fives for Umineko Chiru!
-I think I saw a Bernkastel bookmark or sticker somewhere.
-Saw a bookmark or two, that’s about it.
Nothing. Not surprised really. SOMEDAY.
IT WAS EVERYWHERE.
-Kotomi Cosplayer on Saturday, and my friend did a nice Fuko!
-DANGO PLUSHIES <333
-Saw a single Kud plushie. It was a b-grade ripoff of the fumi fumi range, but it made me smile anyway. No cosplay. I’ll take the initiative next time with my debut of Kyousuke!
And I think that does it! GG Manifest. It was an amazing weekend as always. I was really glad to get so involved in it this time, doing a cosplay, entering an AMV (and winning), and even joining in the discussion on Twitter! It was great fun and I can’t wait to do it again next year!
I have some photo albums. If you recognize anybody in them, feel free to tag them. And if anyone got any photos of ME, please share!
And don’t forget to check out my award-winning AMV!
I think that covers just about everything! Thanks for reading, and to those who were able to attend, thanks for sharing such an awesome and amazing experience with me again this year! Let’s not neglect to make more memories together this time next year, okay? =)