Madman 10th Birthday Partyby Friezaess, Nov 9th 2006
The company celebrated its tenth anniversary on the fourth of this month and festivities were to be had in their home base of Melbourne. Tuesday night saw around two hundred anime fans file into a side entrance of the National Gallery of Victoria, the smaller entry easily spotted by the big red Madman balloons. (Which proved to be popular “souvenirs”.)
After people had settled into their seats, the NGV welcomed everyone and made sure to highlight the upcoming Osamu Tezuka exhibition, a wonderful display of the famous artist's work which will be on display throughout the month. Madman's Assistant Anime Brand Manager, Sylvester Ip took over the MC duties for the beginning of the night opening with an AMV of Madman's titles, including snippets of footage from US conventions consisting of cosplayers wishing them a happy anniversary. By far the highlight of this was the one and only Man Faye, performing a sexilicious version of “Happy Birthday” with the style and grace that only a man in tight yellow hot pants can achieve.
CEO Tim Anderson was nostalgic as he gave everyone an introduction to Madman, recalling getting up early to watch anime as a kid like so many of us have (and for some, continue to do. Gotta catch 'em all!) After years of importing VHS's and going to Sci-Fi cons (one of the only places you could find anime in the bad old days) an empire was slowly built brick by brick. The hit anime Bubblegum Crisis being the first title to be released by the newly formed Madman Entertainment, closely followed by Evangelion. Now the chief of Australia's largest independent distributor, a grinning Tim thanked the consumers for their on-going support and received a warm round of applause.
Crispin Freeman, best known for his role as Alucard in the dub of Hellsing, expressed his joy over attending a conference rather than a con for once. He lamented the fact that he would be missing the Tezuka exhibition by mere days. A montage of his work was screened, followed by a spine tingling preview for the new Hellsing Ultimate OVAs which showcased all the original dub actors. It was then announced that the OVAs would be released on DVD in Australia come April next year.
Vic Mignogna impressed the audience with his wit, charm and fan-made FMA jeans. With the premiere of “Full Metal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa” being screened, it was only fitting that the English voice of Edward Elric say a few words. Happy to chat away and answer some of the strangest questions from fans, he revealed that yes, the female Voice Actors for FMA are as fine as their characters. … What does that say about Envy?
Once the movie was finished, an over sized birthday cake with an incredibly artistic version of the Madman logo rendered in icing was rolled on stage. Sylvester, Vic and Crispin stabbed the diabetic's nightmare as the audience crooned out Happy Birthday.
At least an hour and a half was spent with the Voice Actors doing Q&A and signings. Some thought that sort of thing would be best left for conventions before being won over by Crispin bellowing “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” Oh Crispin, you know us too well <3
In the foyer Madman had their little stall set up and was flogging the usual merch, along with some of Vic's CDs. The guys working the stand expressed the fun they'd been having in the days leading up to the big event. It was also mentioned that the 10th anniversary was a sign of how much people are pushing for anime.
It would have been nice to hear more from Madman themselves rather than the focus being on the overseas guests and FMA premiere (even if the DVD player did fail halfway through the screening); it was actually a bit of a surprise that there were no trademark handouts. However, the massive sale to be held starting 10pm this Saturday for ten hours did get a mention, received with a gasp of awe from some of the audience.
And to answer the question of otaku across the country; yes, the Madman logo is tasty. Awesomely tasty.