Just a short distance from the heart of Melbourne CBD, the ‘Melbourne Anime Festival,’ or ‘Manifest’ for short, takes place annually, bringing together some of the world’s most accredited anime voice actors and illustrators.
‘Manifest,’ www.manifest.org.au running from the 16th to the 18th of August, aims to bring anime, manga and video game fans together for a weekend of Japanese culture and competitive tournaments.
The event, which occurs at The Melbourne Showgrounds, boasts the increasingly popular Cosplay phenomenon, a ‘costume play’ in which attendees pay homage to beloved anime characters by sporting replicated outfits, and a personality to match.
The sensation has become the biggest crowd attraction for the event, with a ‘Cosplay Competition’ showcasing talent through skit performance, and even ‘Cosplay Chess,’ where the ‘cosplayers’ stand in for the chess pieces on a giant board.
This year, attendees from all over Australia will experience the theme of ‘Light versus Dark’ at the Amaranth Ball, a fine dining and formal experience to kick start the festival.
Other activities and competitions include video game freeplay, anime trivia, auctions (where ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’), art workshops and the ‘Manifest Merchandise Competition,’ presenting talented attendee’s designs to a panel of judges.
‘Manifest’ came as a result of several clubs from Melbourne University combining to establish the not-for-profit group, Melbourne Anime Festival Incorporated (MAFI).
The festival first originated in 1998 as an anime screening festival.
Since its beginnings, attendance numbers have grown considerably due to the increasing admiration of Japanese culture in Melbourne.
Manifest takes place this month from Friday the 16th to Sunday the 18th. Guides for ‘newbies,’ as well as the meet-and-greet timetable can be viewed at www.manifest.org.au.