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Geek It! Anime Spotlight: Madman Anime Festival 2016 Impressions

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Celebrating Madman Entertainment’s 20th anniversary, Madman recently hosted its inaugural convention, Madman Anime Festival, on September 3rd and 4th. The big question was: Did Madman Anime Festival live up to its reputation and fans’ high expectations? CtrlGeekPod finds out!

Sword Art Online and One Punch Man Experience

As expected of Madman Entertainment, they went all out with everything they have in order to deliver the Sword Art Online and One Punch Man experience. With one industry panel per day for both SAO and OPM, these panels offered great insight into the animation industry, and the processes for both anime series.

Of course, these panels would not have been successful if it weren’t for Madman’s incredible guests. From the Sword Art Online end, the guests include Director Tomohiko Ito, Character Designer Shingo Adachi and A1 Pictures’ Producer Atsushi Kaneko. From the One Punch Man end, the guests include Director Shingo Natsume and voice actor Makoto Furukawa (Saitama).

Personally, we were particularly impressed with the SAO panel. Great guests, and great questions from fans. All three SAO guests were very eager to discuss about the production process — they even teased us about the upcoming movie, Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale! While we’re not huge fans of Sword Art Online, it was fascinating to learn about the development of character design, and the production process for animating battle scenes.

Unfortunately, we were slightly disappointed with the One Punch Man panel as it was not on the same caliber as the SAO panel. While there were good questions for Furukawa-san and how he approached Saitama’s character as a voice actor, we felt that there was a lack of industry-related questions for Natsume-san. It’s such a shame because One Punch Man was one of 2015’s popular series that is best known for its incredible animation sequences. Nevertheless, it was good seeing the casual interaction between the director and voice actor. We hope to see these guests return to Australia one day!

Cosplay

Bringing anime fans together, Madfest was a way to showcase their passion and talent for cosplay. It was fantastic seeing an array of anime cosplayers across the weekend with a majority of cosplayers in favour of Love Live! and Sword Art Online. Check out our cosplay gallery post [here]!

Exhibitions

Featuring exhibitions such as Tokyo Ghoul Art Exhibition, Death Note: Light Up The World exhibition, Itasha Car Exhibition, and the Sword Art Online Mini Gallery, never before have we seen a diverse selection of exhibitions available to fans — all in one place!

From our point of view, the most impressive exhibition was the Tokyo Ghoul Art Exhibition. Featuring over 50 original storyboards, sketches, and character designs, it was an extensive exhibition that many Tokyo Ghoul fans will appreciate. For non-fans of the show, this was a great opportunity to get a taste of what to expect from the popular thriller show.

It was also very impressive of Madman to host the The Death Note: Light Up The World exhibition. Being huge fans of Death Note, the exhibition features exclusive images from the film, along with props used in the film including the one and only Death Note book. Since it has been awhile since we last revisited Death Note, this exhibition would have no doubt sparked some interest amongst fans. We absolutely cannot wait for the film! 

  • Tokyo Ghoul Art Exhibition
  • Death Note: Light Up the World Exhibition
  • Sword Art Online Mini Gallery
  • Itasha Car Exhibition

Exhibition Hall – Vendors, Artists, Gaming

It’s hard to decide which part of the festival we enjoyed the most. Besides the Creators Zone, Zombster’s Gundam corner, and the Bandai Namco gaming area, our favourite part of the Expo Hall was none other than the One Punch Man experience. In this area, fans had to go through ‘tests’ to prove whether or not they can become heroes. From quizzes to the punching bag, this was a well-thought idea. Yet, we cannot help but wonder — if only there was something similar for Sword Art Online!

In addition to this, the Akiba Shopping Zone is also worth mentioning. When we first heard of Madfest’s Akiba Shopping Zone, we wondered what would be in store for us. Promising unique vendors that would be attractive to anime and geek fans, Madman certainly did not disappoint.

There might be the usual anime vendors such as Popcultcha, Critical Hit, and Tamarket, but we did encounter new outlets including Animeworks, Anime Kaika, Japan Toys, That’s Hot Gifts and Collectables, One Stop Anime, Go Figure Collectables and many more! Even Bandai Namco, Banpresto, and Bushiroad was at Madfest. From manga to pop-vinyls to exclusive figurines, our inner-geek was totally over the moon, and we wouldn’t be surprised if fans spent their money on collectibles alone!

Overall Impression of Madman Anime Festival 2016

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All in all, Madman Anime Festival was truly a fantastic event. Instead of being a ‘pop-culture’ event, it was an event that primarily focused on manga and anime alone. To see fans coming together to celebrate Madman’s twenty years of success plus share their love for anime…. we secretly wish that Madfest could be every day. Fantastic guests, panels, cosplay and vendors — we’re already counting down the days till the next event. Until then!

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