Manifest Blog - Day 0

by Jon Hayward, Sep 22nd 2006

The Melbourne Anime Festival is Melbourne's premier anime convention and what follows are my initial impressions from “day 0” and day 0 alone. A full report will follow for Saturday and Sunday.

This is apparently the first year that Manifest is running on the Friday, no-one had any idea of what to expect. When the schedule was released earlier this week, it was widely criticized as “confusing”. People from the interstate contingent were relying on friends within Manifest for the time to rock up for pre-registration. There were conflicting reports of 10am, or 11:30, or 12:30. In the end, the doors didn't actually open until 2:30, and with over 600 people showing up on Friday, the lines were long and patience was thin. Whatsmore, after 2.5 hours in line, many people learned that their pre-reg information had been lost. However in Manifest's favour, the on-site registration line was fast and well handled with the staff making it easy for attendees.

The con bags were a pleasant surprise, Hessian shopping bags printed with the manifest logo, with a variety of publicity material in the bags. However the A4 sized program guide was a big shocker, and not the good sort. The program schedule is so confusing that it includes a full page explaining how to read and understand the schedule. The maps for the multiple-building convention are also very hard to read and understand. Let me put it simply: you need a degree to understand how the program book is supposed to be read.

But I must admit, the mascot's broken English was entertaining.

So we've looked at the convention pre-reg, we've looked at the program booklet, so now it's on with the convention… right? Sorry to say this but Friday was disappointing, mostly screenings, and later in the evening, there was a FRUiTS cosplay competition and a Yaoi 101 panel. As I lurked around the convention, there were various cosplayers, but not many in recognizable cosplay, with a lot of people dressing up for the aforementioned FRUiTS cosplay, the atmosphere was very festive. The screening theater was packed and running an hour behind schedule. Despite various unfortunate issues, anime fans were everywhere, just enjoying themselves. I have had many good reactions from various attendees and they're looking forward to the start of the convention on Saturday, when things really get underway.

I must admit, Saturday looks good; there's ongoing Zoids modeling, various art activities, a manga industry panel, Japanese cultural events and Piano Stories IV.. A pretty busy day to be sure, and after pre-reg, everything should be smooth sailing. I'll try to give another update tomorrow, so I hope to see you then!

p.s: if you would like to share your galleries or thoughts on manifest with anyone that reads ann.au, please email myself here (jon at animenewsnetwork.com.au) and I may put a link up.


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