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The very first Madman Anime Festival for Melbourne was held over the weekend and was definitely a success! This first-time convention drew in fans of anime and Japanese culture at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre over the weekend. Although there were many parts similar to other conventions held throughout the year, Madman Anime Festival definitely brought some great unique features too!

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The festival brought in some great names from the anime world, especially for fans of the very popular One Punch Man and Sword Art Online. The One-Punch Man Experience provided an interactive exhibit for fans to step into the world of the breakthrough hit anime of 2015. Shingo Natsume, director, and Makoto Furukawa, voice of Saitama, provided further insight into making this show with their One Punch Man panels on both days.

Another popular panel was for Sword Art Online, featuring director, Tomohiko Ito, producer Atsushi Keneko, and character designer, Shingo Adachi. The trio shared with fans what goes into making some of the breathtaking scenes you can find in this series, as well as treating everyone to a sneak peak of the upcoming movie, Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, coming 2017!

There were also a range of fascinating panels, including voice actors and cosplay stars from all around the world.

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Something that made the Madman Anime Festival unique was its various exhibits. There were plenty of shops, art stalls, gaming areas and cosplay events, as well as the Tokyo Ghoul exhibition. The exhibition featured life-size cutouts of many of the characters to pose with, and a first-of-its-kind artwork exhibit, showing the process from sketches to full animation. The gallery was extensive and really gave a behind-the-scenes look into this anime favourite.

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The Death Note display was also a popular one, with props, stills and the trailer from the upcoming film, Death Note: Light Up The New World, a must see for the many fans of this classic anime.

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Those who were early enough were able to reserve a spot in the extremely popular Mai Wish! Maid and Butler Café, an experience many people seek out when visiting Japan itself. If you couldn’t make it into the café, there was also a kiosk offering a taste of genuine Japanese street food, a welcome break from the usual burgers and fries available at most pop culture conventions. And for those needing a pick-me-up later on in the day, you couldn’t go past the Dagashi shop, stocked with all your favourite Japanese snacks, including a wide variety of Pocky!

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Overall the Madman Anime Festival had much to see and do, even in the smaller space it was held in. There was a fun and friendly atmosphere and was well organised. For its first run, it was quite successful, and we will sure be looking forward to seeing it come back even bigger and better in 2017!

Photos by Anthony Smith