A Day In the Life of a Smash! Manga and Anime Convention Attendee in Sydney! 

Today Rosehill Gardens was painted in a colourful array of cosplaying characters that could only mean one thing- SMASH! ANIME CONVENTION 2017!

(before we start please excuse my iPhone photos- we had our wonderful photographer with us as well, who will have a full gallery of quality photos up soon!)

This was my second year attending the convention at Rosehill (having missed the first year they moved out there) and despite my initial grumblings that I missed the Harbourside Convention Centre about 2mins in my only thoughts were THIS IS FANTASTIC. There is so much more space, and everything just feels a whole lot nicer to walk around. There is also the added benefit that Rosehill literally BECOMES Smash while its there, so you have none of the common folk passing by and peering awkwardly in. Everyone can just comfortably do their thing and get properly immersed- which is always my favourite part of any convention.

This year was certainly no different, and as I wandered into the large gates I felt the excitement build! Actually, let me just take a quick step back and mention that transport to the convention is a BREEZE, an absolute breeze! Trains from the city go via Clyde with a teeny tiny train change at Clyde to go to Rosehill, which should really be called “SMASH! Convention Station” for the day because it is literally right there. No having to make complicated train changes and taking epic treks like other certain conventions cough Supanova cough.  

So back to it, I wandered in my comfortable cosplay- I was going to go as Eli from Love Live! but unfortunately it was a bit too chilly and windy so I went for a comfortable Glaceon mini-cosplay… Ah, but where to first? I knew I had to be at Main Stage by 1:30 as SAILOR VENUS (aka the lovely Shizuka Itoh) would be taking to the stage, but a bit of time before then so I decided to make a start on my explorations of the Exhibitors Halls.

The Artist Alley had moved into the bigger hall this year, and honestly it was rows upon rows stretching endlessly into the distance. At first it’s a little overwhelming (where to look!) but once you get into a rhythm of walking up one side, down the other, and maintaining a reasonable pace, you can settle in to being able to truly appreciate all the offerings. The artists displays are also large and clear, so you are easily able to make out which artists are your style and move in for a closer look.

My favourite artist this year was Thander Lin, or LAS-T: her work is AMAZING *.*

What I also love about Smash is that basically everything is anime-focused. I do like supanova, but I find the anime offerings limited compared to the Avengers being EVERYWHEREEEE *groans*. Although to be fair I did see a bit of BTS artwork popping up here and there… (but not complaining about that ;))

After Artist Alley I headed over to the more merchandisey area where I also wanted to buy everything. Here’s where you’ll find your figures, manga, sword props, neko outerwear and some surprises!

“VENUS POWER, MAKE-UP!” it was time to head back upstairs to the main stage! Shizuka Itoh was our first seiyu guest, and she was so charming and elegant- really beautiful! She did some live dubbing for us of both Lenalee Lee from D.Gray-man and from Sailor Moon Crystal. Unlike other years though they didn’t have the scenes from the anime which was a bit of a shame. The translator was also unfortunately a bit of a let down, Itoh would speak for about 5mins really animatedly about something and he’d translate it into a 10sec sentence. Little work needed there… But Itoh was lovely anyway. She also hilariously explained that her first role required lots of dramatic heavy-breathing and cheerfully demonstrated it for us.

After Itoh we didn’t even need to move, as Daisuke Sakaguchi was taking to the stage right after! He was an absolute bundle of happy energy, really energetic and appeared on the stage with a bouncing “NO ENGLISH!”. There were also some hilarious moments where the translator was confused about what animal he was describing that he wanted to see- turns out it was a platypus. He also did some live dubbing for us- Shinpachi Shimura from Gintama and Leonardo Watch from Blood Blockade Battlefront, ending all of his sequences with a super cute “FINISHED~”. I think out of all the voice actors I’ve seen live, Daisuke’s voice was the one that changed the most predominantly between normal speaking and his characters. It was fascinating!

Once the seiyu panels were over I wandered back outside and took a breather on the nearby seats. This may be an apt time for me to mention how much I love that Smash has so many areas where you can just sit and take a breather (again, unlike many conventions). Also PLENTYYY of CLEAN bathroom facilities. It all makes a world of difference.

After that I decided to have a last meander about. There are so many things to do and see, a few that I peered into but didn’t stay for too long were the AnimeLab theatre (they were airing A Silent Voice, but I’ve already seen it!), the Art & Craft Area (also known as the People Are So Talented Area), Overwatch Free Play (I really wanted to try my hand but way too much of a #newb) and of course I kept trekking through the outdoor performance area. There were also some really great panels through the day, like the History of Dragon Ball and the Yaoi Panel which I just couldn’t fit in!

Around 4pm I headed over to the Mini Stage. Back in the day, some might remember, there was this really fantastic orchestra called the Eminence Orchestra? They held annual concerts called “A Night In Fantasia” which was basically jam-packed with all the best in anime and game music. Literally, THE BEST. I remember the 2009 concert had so many composers as guests in the audience- the likes of  Yasunori Mitsuda, Kow Otani and AIKA Tsuneoka (who performed THAT piece from Shadow of the Colossus), Inon Zur and Cris Velasco. It was MAGICAL. Unfortunately that was the last concert they held, but orchestra founder Hiroaki Yura certainly hasn’t stopped! This Smash he was presenting the new game he is producing, called Tiny Metal. At the panel we were treated with a demo and walkthrough and all our questions were answered. It’s really going to be like a more… advanced Advance Wars and that makes me VERY excited.

After the panel I headed straight downstairs to the Gaming Area to give the actual game a demo (I didn’t feel too newb there as everyone was a newb to the game). And then I, very excitingly, got to chat one-on-one with Hiroaki all about Tiny Metal, Eminence Orchestra and everything else he’s been up to, so stayed tuned for that interview in the next couple of days!

However after the interview my packed-out day of being constantly stimulated by pretty art, things to buy, amazing people to listen to, and just being immersed in the incredible vibe of the convention really hit me and I had to call it a day because I was smash-ed (ha). And as I slumped into my train seat that overwhelmingly satisfied feeling of a day very well spent settled in. Till next year, Smash daisuki!

Smash Sydney is also on TOMORROW Sunday 20th August at Rosehill, for more information visit smash.org.au