UPDATE: As of 8th July, the Melbourne Anime and Manga Festival (MAMF) has had to postpone their event. No dates have been announced just yet, but their plan is for ‘early next year.’ Most of these new events ran once or not at all.
Earlier this year Melbourne lost its largest and longest running anime convention when Manifest announced it had come to an end. People pined and begged the Manifest volunteers to rethink their decision and resurrect their old con, but instead something else happened. Manifest was gone for good, but in a matter of months three brand new events had sprung up out of nowhere.
They were the Melbourne Anime and Manga Festival, CHAOz and Animaga. In order to understand this phenomenon, we contacted each event to find out how Melbourne quickly went from having a drought to having a surplus of anime culture events.
Each event is run by a completely different group of people – and each event has a slightly different focus. CHAOz is the one that, on a surface level, seems like the spiritual successor to Manifest since it’s being held at Manifest’s original venue: The University of Melbourne. In actual fact, CHAOz has been planned on and off for the last couple of years. Created by Red Panda Event Management, they told us that “”the closure of Manifest certainly motivated us to get things rolling fast [but] we are not a replacement for Manifest.”” CHAOz has a broader interest beyond anime and also hopes to attract cosplayers, hobbyists and artists.
MAMF or the Melbourne Anime and Manga Festival has origins more similar to Manifest, since it’s being run by the anime club of Swinburne University. It was originally created to compete with Manifest – although ‘compete’ may be is an odd word to use when talking about a free event. “”As the event is free we are hoping to attract a larger audience to attempt to break the world record of most people dressed in costume in one place at the same time.””
Lastly there is Animaga, which is being brought to life by a mix of volunteers, artists and traders who used to be involved with Manifest. The event also has a split focus between anime and gaming – making it similar to AVCon in Adelaide. Like the rest of the events here, it was already in the works when news broke of Manifest’s closure and – like Manifest – will also have a maid cafe.
Of course it is easy to think that three conventions is too many for a niche interest group, especially since these events all occur within a 2 month window. The real test will be to see if all of these events can co-exist and stick around for a few years, but for now it seems to be good news for anime fans in Melbourne who are being spoiled for choice.
Article photo by Michael Miller. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License.“