Animania Brisbane 2007 Day 2
by Luke Carroll,
Nearly two years ago in wake of the ever growing Supanova convention, a new event appeared on Brisbane's shores. Going by the name of Animania the event proved to be quite popular, so much so that it was soon expanded to two conventions a year in Brisbane. This year was not only reduced back to the one Brisbane convention for 2007, but it was instead expanded to a full weekend event. With the last few Animania conventions turning out to be sub par to what was first shown in 2005, I was quite intrigued to see just how they would tackle a weekend event. As I would soon find out though, for every step Animania takes forward, it takes two of them back.
Sunday morning brought some chilly weather to the scene in Brisbane. Arriving at a similar time to the previous day I was surprised to find that the crowd was less than half of what I witnessed 24 hours ago. The Animania Staff kicked into the initiative early and began to sort the pre registration and weekend pass holders from the main line. To my complete surprise, they began to let our line in 15 minutes early. Although it really needed to have been done on saturday, it was encouraging to see that the staff actually giving some thought to their previous mistakes and working something out for the following day. I would soon discover that it was the only thing that was amended.
Getting through registration was a simple process of scanning the barcode you received the day earlier if you were a weekend pass holder, or paying if this was your first day. Sadly the advice to actually hold onto the small piece of paper with the barcode on it was not given at all the day prior, so it was just pure luck that I still had mine. Knowing that there was going to be no one in the booths area this instant, I sat down and played a few rounds at the games area before heading off to the stalls. Surprisingly there were only a handful of people in the room. A walk over to the screening rooms however found the missing crowd who seemed to have instead hunkered down into the episodes of Naruto and Bleach that were going. The attendance would have been lucky to break the 100 mark before the Olympia event started.
Being a new day, many expected something fresh from the Olympia. We were rest assured by the host that today would be brand new and fun. With the crowd barely filling half the room, the first event showed up on the screen; Warriors of the Clan. I was not at all annoyed that they used the same event first up as yesterday as it was something simple, quick, and they had plenty of other events to make different for the day. The second event known as "Wot's Dat" was a simple game of blindfolding the contestant and having them guess certain items. The hopes of mine that rose for the Olympia were quickly dashed though as the next event Live Dubbing made a return from yesterday, followed by Deaf, Dumb and Anime, and then the Mexican Tsunami. The last game was "The Emperor's New Task" and was very much a copy of the final game from the previous day just with slightly different materials used. The day was only a third in and the rehashed Olympia had me already feeling bad vibes for the fate of Animania today.
The main area filled up briefly as everyone left the main hall. Most of this crowd ended up heading out for food, but as I slowly began to notice, there was no plan for half of them to return. Just like Saturday, the time after Olympia is very much where Animania falls flat. The low attendance for the morning left many of the rooms with barely a handful of people in them at any stage. Those who remained were either glued on the game consoles or talking in small groups around the doodling tables. The convention had not even hit the halfway mark and I was already envisioning not only the downward spiral of Animania this year, but how to amuse myself for the rest of the day as there was nothing on the schedule to look forward to at all.
The Cosplay crept its way around, and soon enough we were sitting back in the main hall seats hoping to see something special. Thankfully there was no Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts cosplayers in sight, however there was a clear lack of crowds and enthusiasm. The cosplay list was a lot shorter this time around, but the complete emptiness feeling that the room gave made it an endurance of strength not to leave. The quality of cosplaying also dropped quite a bit, with some people showing little or almost no reference at all to the characters they were listed as. The lighting was better in the hall this time with not only some light in the actual hall, but the spotlights were brightened to make the cosplayers a lot easier to take photographs of. However, like the line up in the morning, this improvement was one day too late.
A quick walk around after the cosplay proved what I feared, declining numbers. There were slightly under 100 patrons left in the whole floor. I headed back to main hall to watch the AMV screenings, which were a selection of winners and runners up from one of last years Animania events. Many of them weren't too impressive however, although the Animania website claims we were seeing the winners and runners ups. With the AMVs over, and nothing but empty rooms to look at, I settled on watching some of Starship Operators before the Awards started and ended just as quickly as they began. By now, the convention was dead. People were on their way out, leaving those that remain to play video games or attempt to squander some last minute convention deals. With a final game of Tekken, the convention had ended and we were quickly ushered out. Animania was over, and for a few of us, it couldn't come any sooner.
Animania today will be view by many as a failure. In many ways, I find it hard to disagree with them. There was nothing ultimately different about today than there was yesterday. There was a lot less crowds and everything felt underwhelming. Whilst yesterday felt like one of Animania's best outings, today felt like it's worst. It's very hard to recommend what they can do to improve at their current venue, especially since there are some problems that they cannot avoid if they continue to stay there, such as the long entrance times that were experienced on Saturday. I do agree that they need to turn a new leaf and drastically show us something more appealing if they want to keep up the crowds that came in Saturday. A change in pricing is something that will likely change a lot of heads to begin with. Paying at the door currently will set you back $5 more than Supanova, for the both the day or weekend passes. It's hard enough to justify the cost of a day pass alone considering the amount of content Animania has at Brisbane at the moment.
Honestly, if I could forget that Sunday ever happened, I would be hard pressed to not call it Animania's best outing in Brisbane. Sadly though, they strived for two days and the results were quite clear, with a very underwhelming audience and an event line up that played out similar to the previous day. After Sunday, I find it hard to recommend anyone to go if Animana chooses to do another two day event next year. I can only say this; if you strongly like to attend anime conventions and love to watch screenings and cosplay, then you will find Animania a great thing; but if you want something that is similar to Supanova, full of fun events or stalls, do not bother as Animania as it currently stands pails in almost everyway.
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